Summum Bonum Tarot
Last week, we discussed the spiritual origins of the Tarot and how they are most likely linked to ancient Gnostic streams of thought. In today’s post, we are going to take a look at Summum Bonum Tarot. That’s another way of saying, ‘How to Use the Tarot for the Highest Good.’ Summum Bonum is Latin for ‘highest/ultimate good.’ This means delineating a system of actionable ethics — that, when used consistently pursued, will lead to the best outcomes for using the Tarot in terms of the impact it has on our lives.
Now, before we go on to talking about best practices, we should take an honest look around, as well as examine ourselves. How is the Tarot mostly used today? Is it in a way that honours our spirit or is it in a way that satisfies the ego’s need for reassurance and gratification? How do most professional Tarot readers sell their work? Do they address common ego-based fears? Or do they strive to help clients evolve spiritually to the point where the clients no longer have to depend on outside guidance for everyday matters? Do some psychic line readers even do all they can to keep the client hanging on the line for as long as possible to rack up more profits? And how spiritually evolved are most Tarot readers within easy reach?
Answering the final question gives is the key to understanding the dire straits the world of Tarot is in at the moment. The problem is that most people confuse ‘psychic’ with ‘spiritual.’ It is completely possible to be a gifted psychic without having any spiritual foundation whatsoever. This is because what is psychic belongs to the human soul and that which is spiritual belongs to the realm of Spirit. We all have a soul. Some of us just reach the astral realm and things that we cannot detect through our ordinary senses more easily. The astral realm is a realm of the soul/psyche and not of the spirit.
In the old days, before the New Age, there was more honesty about the mantic arts. Our ancestors did not easily confuse divination with spirituality. The boundaries started to become blurred toward the end of the 19th century due to the popularity of the spiritualist movement which revolved around mediumship. These days, you’ll struggle to find a young person who doesn’t equate crystals, ‘moonology’ and divination with spirituality.
That’s because New Age merchants sell these things under the label of spirituality. Spirituality brings hope so it sells. Unfortunately, without solid spiritual teaching to back it up, it sells false hope. You can play with your crystals and take the best pictures of them for your Instagram feed without having learned a single thing that will evolve your soul or embody more of your Higher Self.
Of course, not everyone using crystals or cards or paying homage to the phases of the moon claims to be spiritual. I have come across quite a few atheists engaging in these activities too. But on the whole, many people seem to define themselves as spiritual based on these rather superficial activities.
The True Meaning of Spirituality
Spirituality aims at embodying the Higher Self (the spirit part of the self) fully. This Higher Self goes by many names, including Christos and Holy Guardian Angel. The point is not what labels we apply but that we apply ourselves to the Great Work. We are all born ensouled but achieving full embodiment of our spirit takes work. This is precisely the kind of work the Gnostics applied themselves to. It is also the kind of work for which the Tarot Major Arcana lays out an accessible path to anyone who is willing and able to go within.
My preferred term for using the Tarot for the Summum Bonum is ChristoSophianic Tarot. This is because it is the type of Tarot work that focuses on embodying the Christed (Christos) Higher Self on a Path of Wisdom (Sophia).
I have been on my own evolutionary journey to reach this path of working with the Tarot for the Highest Good. Trust me, I know what it is like to frantically look to the Tarot to see if he is going to call back or if they are ‘the One.’ You can easily see this for yourself in many of my past posts from years ago. I’m saying this because we have to understand that every single one of us is in the process of raising our vibration and reaching higher levels of understanding. And each of us reaches that place of understanding in our own way and on our own timeline.
So is it ‘wrong’ to use the Tarot in these other (non-ChristoSophianic) ways? There is no right or wrong, there is only learning and experiencing. In the end, we will all arrive at the same destination. That is because nothing other than Spirit will ever satisfy the soul.
Setting the Intention for Summum Bonum Tarot
So how can we begin to shift gears and stop reading to satisfy the ego? The first step is to realise that you are on a hamster wheel with the cards when you read for ego-gratification. It’s not until you realise this that you will be ready to step off and take a new direction. The ego feeds off fear/excitement and it is never going to ask for a reading that brings you peace. The ego is either in a state of grasping (wanting something) or aversion (trying to ward something off). It doesn’t believe in peace because it cannot have agency when you are at peace.
Hence, one of the best ways to read for the Summum Bonum is to ask, ‘What do I need to know to have peace about ________?’ And it all begins with the intention of getting off that hamster wheel in the first instance so that you can even begin reading for the Highest Good.
Before starting a reading, check yourself to see if you are in a state of grasping or aversion. If you are, you are better off waiting until you feel ready for zero-point alignment guidance, i.e. neutral guidance that serves to bring you peace.
Time Is an Illusion
The other thing we need to get to terms with in order to be able to do Summum Bonum Tarot is that time is an illusion. The ego, however, is extremely concerned with time and timing. Controlling the timing of events is ultimate control and control is what the ego is always striving for. The spirit, on the other hand, is constantly in a state of surrender to the One (Source/God).
Using the Tarot as a Map
Finally, let’s talk about how to use the Tarot as a map. This is for when you feel divinely inspired to do or create something but you’re not sure how to begin or how to get from A to B. ‘But Lisa, isn’t this grasping for an outcome?’ Well, it depends on your internal state and not some outside factor. You can want something because you know it serves the Highest Good of All and not be in a state of emotional turbulence/grasping over it.
Using the Tarot as a map is my favourite use of the Tarot. I use it daily in this way to help me navigate the energies of the day for the Highest Good. On a larger scale, you can also use the Tarot as a map for actionable guidance regarding your mission blueprint (your purpose in this incarnation).
And let’s face it, nothing surpasses the Tarot when it comes to acting as a map of our psyche. In this map, we can see exactly how and where we got off course for perfect peace. This is also why the Tarot is known as ‘The Mirror of the Soul.’ With the Tarot, we need not fumble in the dark but can always find our way back Home.
You may also wish to check out my post about 5D Tarot.
Excellent blogpost!! I remember when I first started the tarot journey and I used it only as a divinatory tool.
As the years forged on and I learned more I realized it was much more than that.
Now I begin with my day with a 3 card draw and us a short spread .
Something like ” what is the issue my spirit guides/angels/higher self want me to work on”
” what is the message ” ” how can I best connect ”
I find when I read for others though, they all want the typical mundane answers .
I will say my spiritual practice has evolved but in a different way than I had anticipated years ago.
Thank you, Tara! I start my day with a 5-card Star spread and allow for guidance from the ancestors to come through in the North. I also take the quint. I do this reading while doing my morning pages so I don’t miss writing it all down. It’s great how we grow and evolve in ways we could never even dream of back when!
Yes, for sure!
What is the “quint”?
The quint is short for ‘Quintessence’ – the fifth element, or the overarching spiritual lesson for that pull. It’s derived by adding together the numbers of the cards and reducing the number to 1-22 for the corresponding Major Arcana card representing the quint. 22 is The Fool. Court cards are Page = 11, Knight = 12, Queen = 13 and King = 14.
Lisa, I love your insight & knowledge of the way you express the Tarot. How you explain the “do’s & dont’s” of using Tarot. Also, the knowledge you share of our true elements as divine beings in human form. How those of us that we’re blessed to receive a closer connection to our higher selves are responsible for using our gifts for the highest good of all of humanity. Thank you for sharing your knowledge of our Ancestors and the natural ancient practices that keep us balanced and whole. This article cleared up a lot of confusion for me about the stark differences between the divine and the spiritual. Many blessings for you & yours.
Thank you, Melissa. I appreciate your thoughts and feedback. I’m so glad this article brought you some clarity. Love and Blessings in Return, Lisa