The Masks of Tarot | Faceless

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. – Oscar Wilde

Recently, New York’s Enrique Enriquez and I were exchanging ideas and I shared with him some guided imagery scripting that naturally arose from my book, The Masks of Tarot. I decided that I wanted to share this with you, as well, as a further way to say Thank You and to celebrate the Kindle version release of Masks; a little guided imagery exercise that actually started out as a mnemonic device for remembering the main technique in the book. What I am about to unleash on you is a shortened version of something that quickly turned into a stand alone method on its own.

Let’s start with the belief that masks have majestic and magnificent power. They will fundamentally and forever change who you are. What you are learning today is a well-worn method for directing your own thoughts – or the waking dreams of others – so that the seeds of your imagination can give birth to some truly intuitive and penetrating understanding. I encourage you to work your way through the following steps in order and without skimming through the exercise or jumping ahead to the end. Why? Perhaps Carl Jung said it best: When you concentrate on a mental picture it begins to stir, the image becomes enriched by details. It moves and develops, and so when we concentrate on inner pictures and we are careful not to interrupt the natural flow of events, our unconscious will produce a series of images that makes a complete story. I want you to develop and wear your complete story without the interruption or overlay that skimming or skipping will cause.

So, grab a piece of paper and something to write with. Find a nice quiet place so that we can play together for a short while. And . . .


STEP ONE: Imagine that you are in a costume shop. The store seems endless as you gaze about at the costumes that abound. Notice the collection of colors. Notice the different types of outfits. Then, you see the nearly boundless wall of masks. Every shape. Every size. Every type of character is there. You get to choose one that you would like to wear. That’s right. Take the one from the wall that calls out to you the most. Put it on. And notice how it fits and forms just perfectly to the contours of your face. It is as if your remarkable mask has finally found its home!

STEP TWO: With your mask still on, step outside the costume shop. Notice what it is like to look out from the mask’s eye openings. Be acutely aware that you are looking out from a disguise. You can feel the texture of your outer concealment against your face. Write down the details of the mask that you are wearing. Who do you appear to be? Then, write out three adjectives to describe your mask.

STEP THREE: As you look out from your singular disguise, you suddenly see an open and dark pit. There is a deep and disturbing rumbling coming from inside this hollow – it wants to make the ground shake . . . but it is only you that is disturbed. Soon, you see a beast, a demon, a monster start to emerge from the hole. As it comes into view, you get a clear and understandable look at it. Write down what you see becoming visible. Then, write down the three adjectives that best describe the beast.

STEP FOUR: Before the beast is able to take itself from the pit, something happens to weaken and discourage it. It almost appears to you that the beast has been blinded or has seen something that has disheartened it and stopped it in its tracks. Write out what has brought this beast to a standstill. Then, write out three adjectives to describe what you have seen.

STEP FIVE: With renewed conviction, you return to the costume shop and reverently place the mask that you have been wearing back on its place on the wall. You do so with gratitude and a sense that you have been left with some significant message to remember. You step back from the wall and almost start to leave. But . . . your eyes catch sight of one more mask – it is one that you would never want to wear. In fact, it is one that almost makes you want to shrink back in disgust at it – it is that disturbing. Write out the details of this mask that you detest so much. As before, you next write down three adjectives to describe it.

STEP SIX: Now, turn your attention back to the mask that you originally chose. Be content in your decision to have chosen this mask and thankful that you don’t have to wear any other mask, ever again, if you don’t choose to do so.

STEP SEVEN: Finally, you remember that there was a message you were given while you were wearing your mask. What is it your mask revealed to you? Write it down.


The Mask – This is how you view yourself, what you are attracted to, what makes you who you are, or perhaps the quality that you take for granted in yourself.

The Beast – This represents what you resort to under stress, what you excuse in yourself, how others view you (as opposed to how you view yourself), or your instinctive motives.

The Light (what repelled the Beat) – The Light (as I call it) it what you need to gain balance in your life, what others wish you had more of, what you look at with wonder when other people demonstrate this trait, or what you desire to accomplish.

The Shadow (the mask you did not want to wear) – This represents what you see in others that you do not want to acknowledge in yourself, what you must still learn to control, what you become when all else fails, or what you just thought you had left behind (but still need to address).

You can use this technique for some grand self-exploration. You can also use this method for giving some truly inspiring and deeply stirring readings.

Just some thoughts. If you enjoyed this, please click below to share this with others.

And make sure to sign up for my blog mailing list so you get all future postings delivered directly to your inbox.

© 2012 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.

The Masks of Tarot | The Alchemy of Human Needs

What follows is a little technique – okay, a big, telling technique – that you can use to uncover the reasons and methods behind the choices you make and the routines that you use. Why should you care? Well, if you are continually failing to get the results that you want, perhaps the way you make the decisions that lead to those perceived failures is the root of the challenge. If you are regularly bathing in success, let’s find out why and make it a consistent and conscious process!

In my book The Masks of Tarot, an entire chapter is devoted to Dr. Abraham Maslow’s then-groundbreaking research on human motivation. His exploration became classically known as the Hierarchy of Needs, and it eventually contained eight structured essentials:

1.  Physiological Needs

2.  Safety Needs

3.  Belonging, Love, and Affection Needs

4.  Esteem Needs

5.  Need to Know and Understand

6.  Aesthetic Needs

7.   Self-Actualization

8.  Transcendence

Dr. Maslow’s concept is usually depicted as a triangle, with physiological needs (the bare minimum you need to survive) serving as the base, and transcendence (helping others to achieve self-actualization or that state of being above or beyond the human experience) being the apex :

Dr. Sigmund Freud believed that the fundamental needs of a person were simply to avoid pain and seek pleasure. I agree. However, it soon became abundantly clear that, other than the gut-reactions of warding off trouble and questing for joy, our human conditions and mental energy constantly evolve, cycle, and shift.

From this realization and coalescing of ideas, I created The Alchemy of Human Needs; an expanded concept that allows me to demonstrate how a person’s various eight needs (pain/pleasure, control, self, giving, esteem, belonging/love, adventure, and divine selfishness) relate to and mix with each other. Again, The Alchemy of Human Needs is constructed around the belief that our needs, wants, and desires are subject to constant change, and transfer from one need to another happens as easily as a person’s role in life shifts, bends, and deepens. As you can easily see, this is a very alchemical approach to things.

For me, human motivations (our needs) are not stagnate (something that is presumed and naturally happens with the traditional pyramid structure, or, at the very least, the pyramidal structure pre-determines a set order of things), but that they literally orbit around, and so encompass an individual’s desire to gain pleasure and avoid pain (the one constant); each rotating need being present within a person, but one finally taking priority over another depending on the particular mask that is donned at the given time or task that is being accomplished.

The Alchemy of Human Needs model can be visualized like this:]


So how can you put The Alchemy of Human Needs to immediate and compelling use right now?

Take a piece of paper and find something to write with. Then, find some quiet time to really contemplate the eight items from The Alchemy of Human Needs, and place them in order from your most driving or compelling need (listed as number one) to your least motivating need (listed as number eight).

In my book, I recommend thinking of your number one need, and asking yourself, for example, “what is driving, inspiring and causing me to act right now? Is it a need for control? A need for esteem?”

After you come up with need number one, keep going through the list of remaining needs until you have your own personal ranking of essential wants.

1. ___________________________________

2. ___________________________________

3. ___________________________________

4. ___________________________________

5. ___________________________________

6. ___________________________________

7. ___________________________________

8. ___________________________________

Only after you are done filling out your list, take some additional time and think back throughout your life. See if your needs have modified as you have matured. Look at your needs “at home” compared against your needs “at work.” Are they different? Likely so.

This entire exercise is designed to focus your reflection and appreciation of the way you make life decisions. It will also help you see the decision patterns in your life and, with that awakening, give you the power to make new choices or bolster old, robust courses of action. Once you discover what motivates your choices and decision, you will become conscious of the success patterns that should be fostered. Likewise, once your uncover what truly drives your life selections, you can determine whether those motivating forces need to be changed.

Just some thoughts. Enjoy.

Make sure to sign up for my blog mailing list so you get all future postings delivered directly to your inbox.

© 2011 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.

The Masks of Tarot | The Palace of Wisdom (Part 2)

Last week, I started a discussion about “The Palace of Wisdom” and gave you some general thoughts on what this means. This week, I conclude with a method for incorporating The Palace into your work with others.

As a quick reminder, here is a visualization of The Palace of Wisdom in relation to the elements of The Mask, The Beast, The Light, and The Shadows (as I discuss in my book ” The Masks of Tarot):

The Palace – poised as it is amidst the Mask, Beast, Light, and Shadow – is the necessary and desired culmination of a collection of extremes. It is, in the final analysis, a Castle of Transformation, Sanctuary, and Certainty. It is a place within each of us that celebrates and prizes the fact that, as Blake stated, “Without Contraries [there] is no progression. Attraction and Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary to Human existence.”

The beauty of including the Palace in your readings and analyses with people is that you can readily give and draw them to true choices, show them an objective vantage point, and leave them with a safe haven all at the same time. They no longer have to feel relegated to reacting to their Mask, Beast, Light, or Shadow. No longer do they have to ride the waves of emotion that arise from the stressors of the day. Rather, they can be given a Zen-like oasis and can choose their life path, their disguises, and their goals by making a conscious decision to seek wisdom and enlightenment rather than continuing to focus on the competition of life; a personal gaining of knowledge underscored by spontaneous, subjective, and objective understanding.

How do you impart any of this to others? Once you determine a person’s Mask, Beast, Light, and Shadow, you can lead the people for whom you are reading to the path of the Palace by very simply asking them for a shift in their focus. Once a reading is given using the Masks of Tarot tools, you can then guide the people you are reading into a tranquil setting. Rather than being concerned whether a particular Mask is on too tight or even the right outward semblance, or whether the Beast is too dramatic or angry or disingenuous, you can now ask your Querents a simple question: “Where would you go where you feel the most harmony in and around you?” Once the person you are reading provides that answer, ask them to just close their eyes and relive that real or imagined place. It is the “feeling” that the place invokes that you want to capture during your time together and anchor to your reading.

Once the person you are reading captures the harmonious feeling, you then reinforce the concept that your Querent can remove himself or herself at any time back to this place of serenity. You can call this a sort of mental/spiritual/soul-mending vacation, if you’d like.

From this new place of peacefulness, you then remind the person you are reading that the Mask, Beast, Light, and Shadow you previously discussed are not to be rejected or judged – but to be accepted, as a whole.  Again, this is not the same thing as ignoring any of these aspects. On the contrary, the person you are reading should be gently prompted to accept all aspects of himself or herself as collective expressions of their true, undefended self.

By taking your readings into the realms of these personal places of tranquility, you are not doing the same thing as providing the balance for a person’s Mask (e.g., the Light). The Light is a counterbalance to your Querents’ Masks and serves to provide equilibrium. The Palace is not designed to provide stability – it is a different vantage point. When you are centered in your Palace you can view how you are being a slave or a master, and you can clearly see the dynamic relationships between the various aspects that make up the Mask, Beast, Light, and Shadow.

The Palace, then, is a place of experience – not knowledge alone; a place of acceptance as much as one of enlightenment. It is a place where the “doors of perception” have been cleansed and reality is seen as a synthesis of everything – our extremes are included and there is no real division that exists.

Learn to play with the “Palace of Wisdom” concept and you will find how dynamic, forceful,and radically active your readings become.

Finally, if you’d like to receive these magical thoughts in your email, you can sign up  on the right hand side of this blog.

Just some thoughts. Have a magical day.

The Masks of Tarot | The Palace of Wisdom (Part 1)

In my book, The Masks of Tarot, I reference The Palace of Wisdom. Here is a diagram from the book showing the “Palace” properly situated in the midst of the Mask, Beast, Light, and Shadow attributes.

I have gotten a number of questions about the “Palace,” so I thought this would be a good time to briefly explore the concept. By including the “Palace” in your reading, you can provide even greater breadth, depth, and meaning. In order to do that, you must experience the concept, itself.

First, imagine a place where your heart and your soul are at peace. Imagine a place where everything is just right. No one thing is true . . .  here, in your special place, it is all true. It may be the beach for you. It may be a secluded mountain spot.  Or a forest clearing. It may be a lake. It may be nothing at all but . . . nothingness. Whichever place comes to your mind is your own, personal “Palace of Wisdom.” There is no right or wrong locale. Rather, we are interested in capturing the feelings you are now experiencing, not the actual physical spot. Simply, it will feel like coming home.

It is also important to remember that you have not left your Mask, Beast, Light, or Shadow behind – they still exist, but they do not intrude into this sacred place. They orbit just outside of reach and are always at the ready to capture your attention and your energies. The delight of your “Palace” is the fact that it is a place that is not as much a refuge from the world around you as it is a conscious choice to have serenity and acceptance in your life. It is not as much a place you retreat into as it is a centered state of being you select to embrace.

For the people you read, discovering the “Palace” will be a truly magical experience. They will find a personal and private place of equilibrium – borne from the melding together of various extremes (e.g., your Querents’ Mask, Beast, Light, and Shadow aspects) – and you will help guide them there. It is from this vantage point that the people listening will learn that, if they focus on nothing, they can see everything. In other words, the people receiving your readings will learn that, in the “Palace,” they are no longer emotionally invested, for example, in what their Masks might be. Rather, they will be occupied, fascinated, and serene with how those Masks fit into the bigger picture of completing them as illumined souls. At the “Palace,” a person’s Mask still exists – it is, however, no longer a destination or tool for obtaining anything. This is true for all the Beast, Light, and Shadow characteristics described by The Masks of Tarot system, as well.

Poet and mystic, William Blake (1757-1827) traced out the “Palace” in his great work, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.” In his writings, Blake noted that without opposition, adversity, and diversity, there is no advancement of the human spirit. Very similar to the philosophical construct of pluralism (or, perhaps, an expanded idea of dualism) and the Chinese concept of Yin and Yang, the “Palace” relies upon a fundamental rule; namely, that contradictory forces are, in reality, actively united, twined, and reciprocally connected to form a balanced whole. Simply, the people for whom you read need their excesses, not as achievements in and of themselves, but in order to attain the ability to see, feel, touch, understand, and experience one harmonious core. These excesses provide them with perspective!’

Part 2 will be posted next week. Until then, if you are interested in more information on The Masks of Tarot, you can order the book from Barnes & Noble or from Amazon:

The Masks of Tarot – Amazon

The Masks of Tarot – Barnes & Noble

Just some thoughts. Stay magical.