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Ancient systems of intuitive decision-making like Tarot cards and the Chinese I-ching are becoming more and more popular, at the same time that their psychological validity is being recognized and understood.

For thousands of years these classical systems have been used to help people make better decisions around questions and issues that logic can't handle, which includes most relationship issues. Now a branch of modern psychology is explaining how and why these classical divination systems work.

All too often we over-analyze when we would be better served by an experience of intuitive opening.

The father of depth psychology, Carl Jung, researched classical oracles for over 30 years. He used the term "archetypes" to describe internal energy sources available to every human being from our "collective unconscious." Each of the 78 cards of a Tarot deck, and each of the 64 hexagrams of the I-Ching, represents such an archetype. Tarot cards can be looked at as symbolic flash cards for one's inner life, because every one of the 78 archetypal energies is present within every human being in one form or another.

Oracles on Relationships

Ancient oracles have historically been consulted by sages and emperors about strategic matters as well as by the common people about issues of personal concern. These days, according to my friend, Paul O'Brien, founder of and, 65% of the queries that people bring to these intuitive tools are about intimate relationship.

This makes sense because there is a greater need for clarity about relating in a chaotic age like ours, lacking the traditional structures that used to make relationship a much simpler (if not predestined) matter. With freedom comes greater responsibility, but modern relationship quandaries do not often lend themselves to simple, linear solutions. All too often we over-analyze when we would be better served by an experience of intuitive opening.

When one is confronted with a problem that logic can't handle, it's good to reflect and gain perspective. But how do we step outside the "rational" realm to activate intuition and gain perspective? Meditation

is one powerful way to become free from the tyranny of limited thinking. And, for thousands of years, people have used the Tarot and the I-ching, which are actually powerful meditation tools in their own right.

John Gray is the author of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" and other books, tapes, etc. on relationships. For further information on John Gray's work, please visit his website.

A sensitive intuition is an important relationship skill. Good counselors and coaches can provide this. Tarot and the I-ching are other resources one can use when a gifted personal advisor is not available.

Intuitive Relationship Tools
I never rely on Tarot cards or the I-ching to tell me what to do, but I have found that they do help me think outside the box, to view situations and relationships with greater creativity and wisdom.

A sensitive intuition is an important relationship skill.

The very act of using Tarot cards or I-ching coins can be liberating. The use of such a tool to focus on a problem in a fresh way gives you a bit of distance from whatever might be on your mind. The exercise also gives rise to curiosity and anticipation--you are about to receive new insights through the interpretive power of your intuition! For many people, the conscious use of their own intuitive power is a surprising experience. As Jung said, "Intuition does not denote something contrary to reason, but something outside the province of reason."

How Tarot Works
The spread, or layout of the cards, represents a situation or relationship in the present moment. (True Tarot or I-ching is not about predicting the future.) A Tarot reader, or someone using to give themselves a reading, will interpret the cards based on the classical meaning of each card and the particular slant derived from its position in the spread.

Once the cards are in place, we see which archetypes came up for us in a context, which encourages us to look more deeply into the situation we inquired about. We can identify discrete forces and take a fresh look at how we are reacting to them. Tarot provides a way to view relationships and situations in a global, more objective way--in the NOW--not merely as chaotic forces that may hopefully someday make sense. With the Tarot, one can use symbolism to paint any number of "possible pictures"--thinking outside the box of habitual and self-limiting modes of thought.

Intimate relationships have an exquisite mystery that transcends logic. It behooves to improve one's intuitive skills. Ancient mystical tools like Tarot and the I-ching can provide excellent support towards a higher understanding of the soul connections in our lives.

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