Part Art. Part Science. Part Mysticism.
I spent a lot of time a a child in the bathroom. Not because of intestinal distress, but looking at the mosaic tiles on the floor - the little bits and pieces forming together in my head, transforming into stories of far off castles and mysterious creatures.
What makes the brain create these images in our minds, making something out of almost nothing... this has always fascinated me and perhaps led me on my path to being a neuroscientist.
Somewhere along the way, I became interested in Tarot cards. Here is a divination system, that has lasted through centuries, which people use to offer insight on someone's life.
There are different tarot decks, and different practitioners use a deck that they feel most
I picked up some of these and was taken in by the vivid images that these cards have.
When you see tarot cards, your brain wants to make associations, create patterns, make stories.
Scientists are funny folks. They are both really open-minded, and also conservative when it comes to explaining phenomenon beyond their understanding. But recently there have been studies in neuroscience about insight, training your intuition to predict and even using brain waves to predict what action someone may perform. It is fascinating!
In some ways tarot does this all - it has vivid images that evoke our imagination and brain associations, and perhaps if we train our intuition enough we can make a story that makes sense.
A Tarot deck usually has 78 cards - 22 Major Arcana cards which are supposed to signify significant life events, and 56 minor arcana cards (4 suits of 13, which are similar to regular playing cards) that also have divinatory meaning.
The thing that struck me about the interpretation of the tarot cards, was how much it had in common with concepts in neuroscience - but in someways it is not a surprise right?
We are talking about life events, emotions, behavior -
and all these are directly connected to neuroscience.
This led me to create the Neuro Tarot deck. A deck of Tarot cards inspired by neuroscience principles. At the moment I have designed the major arcana, but am following up with booster decks with all the minor arcana suits. Each card is hand-drawn, taking into account Tarot interpretations for the images and using Neuroscience knowledge and themes.
For instance, in the images here - the #15 Impulse card represents the Devil Card in Tarot. The divination meaning implies having care with impulsivity and hedonism. In the realm of the brain, our basal ganglia controls hedonism and impulsivity, regulating us like a puppet master.
You can gain insight using the imagery, while also learning something about the brain.
This website will have blogs and videos with explanation for each card and how to use the deck.
The deck will be accompanied by a small book with both scientific and divination meanings.
Have fun reading the cards, and gaining insight!