Tarot Psychology - The Elemental Array
Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone (The Tarot School)
“An array is an organization of a small universe of variables into an order of preferences so as to give an insight or information about a subject.” – Wald Amberstone

Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone—founders of The Tarot School in NYC and authors of the book Tarot Tips—provide live TeleClasses on a variety of subjects. These TeleClasses are then made available for purchase in either cassette or CD format. Also available are study notes to go along with the courses.

The Amberstones have created a series of Tarot School Intensives that are advanced studies catering to individuals already familiar with the Tarot. Two of these courses deal with Tarot Psychology. According to Wald, “The essence of Tarot psychology has to do with the premise that all beings are magical, living in a magical universe.” In fact, Wald likens Tarot psychology to the search for the magical unicorn that, in essence, is the search for the magical self.

An 8-hour course, The Elemental Array is an analytical technique using just the four Aces of Tarot. An individual merely organizes the Aces according to preference that results in an Elemental Array. This array, which also serves as very effective magical therapy, provides rapid insight into a person’s:

Strengths and weaknesses
Beliefs, challenges, insecurities, fears, preferences, and revulsions
Personal style of learning and doing
Surprises they hold in store for others
Deep problem areas or pathologies
Possible therapeutic strategies
Potential growth or greatness
Strategies and approaches to personal evolution

Wald and Ruth Ann describe the process of choosing the cards in order of preference with both a quick method and a long method. When discussing the short version, Wald explains what positions 1, 2, 3 and 4 mean in the Linear Elemental Array. For example, my Linear Array is:

Swords – Pentacles – Wands – Cups

He then elaborates on how each element (Cups, Swords, Pentacles and Wands) modify the position. For example, since the First Position reflects personal strengths and competency, and individual with Swords first would often play with words, think aloud, “try on” ideas, pursue intellectual endeavors, and be a natural communicator.

The Fourth Position, however, reflects qualities of potential trauma and wounding. When Wald explained the potential traumas and wounding of the Cups in Fourth Position, I about fell off my chair. The accuracy of this system is utterly amazing—especially when you consider that only the four Aces of Tarot provides this intimate knowledge of personality!

The teaching continues with the Qabalistic order of the positions that corresponds to the Four Worlds. (Don’t worry: if you’re not familiar with Qabalah, Wald’s explanation of the Four Worlds and their elemental correlations is easy to understand. As one TeleClass participant humorously remarked: “Wald makes Qabalah non-annoying”.) He even describes the four positions with a corporate analogy. For example, Position One would be the sole investor or CEO.

Launching into the Linear Array done the slow way, Wald and Ruth Ann explain what it means when some cards are disliked or all liked, and how the spaces (or lack thereof) between each card reflect specific psychological information.

Phobias and fears that are characteristic of each suit in the Fourth Position are provided in detail, as are particular anxieties and gains/losses through each of the four positions. Again, this was another accurate eye-opener!

Still analyzing the Linear Array, Wald and Ruth Ann explore Elemental Synastry, which is the relationship between two arrays. Using Barbie and Ken as an example, Wald compares a variety of arrays, explaining how particular elemental positions can serve as forces of attraction or conflict in a relationship.

Wald then delves into the heart of Tarot: the four concentric, circular worlds of Qabalah and how these circles relate to the four elements. He describes the symbolism of the Vesica Piscis (the almond shape arising from overlapping circles) and the “double face of sexuality” contained within the suits. Feminine and masculine, male and female, two distinct movements either towards Dark or towards Light becomes the four elements/suits.

Taking the Elemental Array to another level, Wald and Ruth Ann show how to move the Linear Array into a Square Array. Instead of just four positions, there are now six different pairings that can be analyzed and interpreted with even more depth:

Positions 1 and 2 form the Pair of Above
Positions 3 and 4 form the Pair of Below
Positions 2 and 3 form the Prime Diagonal
Positions 1 and 3 form the Defining Diagonal
Positions 2 and 4 form the Right Side
Positions 1 and 4 form the Left Side

These pairs are described at length, including how the various suits are reflected in each pairing and how this manifests in an individual’s personality—both the “public” face and the parts that are known only to intimates. Wald and Ruth Ann analyze the Square Array of several TeleClass participants, and the students provide interesting feedback on Wald’s analysis.

The Elemental Array is a profound window into an individual’s likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, habits and predilections, and general patterns of thought, feeling, and behavior. This is not divination, mind you. Suits and positions mean something quiet specific in this technique. However, The Elemental Array paints a complex portrait of personality that serves as a valuable tool for Tarot readers. Whether for helping clients, friends, and family or aiding in self examination and healing, The Elemental Array is a powerful and fascinating form of practical magic.

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Content copyright © by Janet Boyer. All rights reserved. This review was written by Janet Boyer. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission.