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Below you will find the introduction to the manual for the correct use of the Tarot of the Orishas, a deck of cards specifically designed to promote self-knowledge and individual spiritual practice. You will discover that this deck is not just any tarot deck, and its use is not related to divination. Nonetheless, if you feel you have the skills needed to use it as a traditional deck, you are free to experiment with the archetypes each card represents. In this guide, however, you will not find information on how to read cards to others or how to predict future events. Instead, you will find a powerful tool for a better self-knowledge and a healthy psychomagic practice. I advise you to read the entire introductory text contained in the premise, to understand what this manual is about, what theoretical foundations it is based on, and what purpose it aims to achieve. Nonetheless, below you will find a menu divided by topic.


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In life, we often have the feeling we are observing repetitive patterns, be they behavioral models or natural forms. These models are defined as archetypes, and in analytical psychology, they are considered responsible for why the world is made the way it is and why man thinks the way he does. The famous Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, who devoted his entire life to the study of these “molds”, came to the conclusion that archetypes are the archaic forms of an innate human knowledge. We pass them on in a hereditary, almost biological way. A true ancestral psychic heritage.

Jung was much criticized because he was the first to create an interdisciplinary correlation between those branches of knowledge that “should” remain separate. On the one hand, sciences (such as psychology and psychiatry) on the other hand, pseudosciences (such as alchemy, astrology, numerology, and esotericism). The “Great Old Man” (as many call him) Jung, sewed all this knowledge together, using the golden thread, the Ariadne's thread, which helps us not to get lost in the labyrinths of the mind. Doing so, unifying all these disciplines, he managed to generate the comprehensive theory of Universal archetypes and collective subconscious.

His contribution was so important that it ended up changing the perception that man had always had towards some disciplines, such as astrology, which went from being a tool to predict the future to a tool to read the present. This revolution, again thanks to C.G. Jung also ended up changing the way Tarot is read today. Some of the tools Jung used to develop the study of the unconscious were: esoteric astrology and tarot cards. He established a transitory relationship between the individual psyche and a presumed transpersonal symbolic system: the archetypes. From this fusion derives, as a logical consequence, a “mysticization” of psychology and a psychologization of mysticism. This revolution blurred the boundary between the orthodox sciences and the unknown suburbs of knowledge that today we call pseudosciences. The archetypes of the Father, the Mother, the Young Man, the Old Man, the Hero… They are all personalities that belong to the collective psyche, since they are in our mythical and mystical narratives.  Same thing with the archetypal situations, such as Death, Birth, the Journey, the Initiation… These episodes, composed of typical characters and situations, are the episodes of human experience.

In the words of Jung, “a primordial image or archetype is a figure, be it a deity, a human being, or a process, that is constantly repeated throughout history, appearing wherever the creative imagination finds a place to express itself freely. In each of these characters lies a part of human destiny.”

Although the archetypes live in our daily lives, buried under a cloak of rational awareness, they can, through some practices, be recognized and reactivated, to allow us to find and express our true "I". But why we should do it? It's very simple: to build better relationships, to better understand our needs, develop self-awareness and improve as people. In short, to be happy.

Jung, unlike Freud, did not believe that human beings were born empty and then sculpted their psyche exclusively on the basis of experience accumulated over the course of life. Jung believed that every individual is born with a pre-installed symbolic inheritance, inherited just like we inherit our genes. He also thought that part of this heritage did not belong to society only, or to the individual's family lineage; he thought it was a collective heritage that we could define as “the mental genes of humanity”. These genes, just like the biological genes, regardless of being few, by recombining billions of times, they create the infinite nuances of the human psyche. They generate those characteristics that make my face different from yours, but that also create ethnic groups, lookalikes and identical twins. In this sense, we could consider the Orishas as ethnic groups of archetypal identity.

Therefore, in the archetypal theme of a person, there are multiple coexisting Orishas.  They can be very different, and we can cannot immediately recognize them as ours. The same thing that happen when we ask for a DNA test, and we realize what our true genetic heritage is.

Creating your own archetypal theme would, in a certain sense, be equivalent to doing a mental DNA test and perhaps discovering some ethnical belongings that you would never have suspected. Always remembering that we move in border territories, and this always requires a good dose of caution.

Archetypes in History

Science, philosophy and religion have been shaped by archetypes. They determine the form we use to decode the external world through the senses, but at the same time, they are the tool we use to project our internal images out. The Mona Lisa, for example. A mysterious woman, who looks at us and smiles at us, wrapped in the depths of dark earth tones. Stable. Triangular. Protagonist on a natural background that allows us to see rocks and water. This is not just a portrait. It is the archetypal evocation of the Great Mother. Of nature itself.

Beethoven's fifth symphony. The musical movement that is so universally famous and that, at the beginning, repeats itself three times before starting the evolution of the theme. Isn't it a universally shared rhythmic archetype that makes us start after three? One, two, three, go! Or the opposite.

Michelangelo's David. A gorgeous young, huge man looking to the left. Isn't the left, (giving our back to the hypothetical line of time) the place where the future resides? It is no coincidence that this statue has become the symbol of a historical period that aimed to abandon a dark past to reborn into a new future: the Renaissance.

Every work filled with universal archetypes is destined to strike us deeply. It resonates with what we already have inside. This encounter is normally expressed with a single simple phrase: “I like it”.

Whoever, in life, will best interpret his own archetype, or who will be able to create archetypal works, will be destined to rise from the crowd. He will be recognizable and therefore recognized. The marriage with our true self is the greatest gift we can give ourselves.


Jung believed that archetypes represent personalities and basic life circumstances. The Orishas tarot focuses primarily on personalities. Yemayá, Obbatalá, Oshumaré and the others, are images of archetypal prototypes, whose purpose is to help the “player” to identify himself in order to promote a better knowledge of oneself and of others, with all the advantages that this implies.

Understanding that our boss is a Shangó shadow, our mother is an Oyá light, and the person we have entrusted the care of our mind is an Obbatalá shadow, can help us to predict future problems, or to understand the reasons for certain behaviors that seem unusual to us. Understanding which is our dominant Orisha and which other Orishas populate our psyche activates a process of identification, that will make it easier to understand what we want in life. And then, after our personal identification, we can complete the process with psychomagic ritual actions, that will provide an “extra” help on the path to self-realization. ​

Even if a person is permeated by multiple archetypes, Jung noted that one tends to be predominant.

That will be our main Orisha, the one to whom we will dedicate a permanent altar. ​


States of consciousness and main archetypes identified by Jung






My Orisha

My Orishas

The Orishas

The Iceberg of the person. Submerged and emerged parts






THE PERSON according to Jung
The way we want others to see us. The social mask. The word persona derives from the Latin “persona” which in turn derives from the Etruscan “Phersu” and refers to the theatrical mask. According to Jung, the person serves to protect the Ego from what is negative. We are all good and bad. We all do things that we consider socially inappropriate or even repulsive, and this is why we never allow these aspects to emerge. Not only that, but we don't want others to notice. We hide all this baggage of censored desires and experiences in the shadows and delegate to the Person the task of going around the world to represent us and interact with others.

THE SHADOW according to Jung
In the shadow there are repressed ideas, unpleasant issues, weaknesses, flaws, instincts, desires, and traumatic experiences. In the shadows are all the things that we consider unacceptable, both for society and for ourselves: envy, hatred, etc. In every individual there is a shadow. Denying its presence only reinforces it, and in some cases, it can lead to the development of psychotic pathologies. In the Orishas Tarot Deck, each Orisha comes accompanied by its shadow twin, and it is necessary for the “player” to learn to recognize in which shadow his/her problems are hidden. Not recognizing ourselves in any shadow aspect of any character is a clear symptom of superficial self-analysis or a process of denial. Obviously, the shadow characters presented in the deck, represent the worst possible evolution of the shadow aspects. Our shadow can be milder than the one described, but sure we have one, and it's been given to us by some Orishas of our archetypal theme, not necessarily the one we have chosen as principal.

ANIMA o ANIMUS (SOUL) according to Jung
According to Jung, the anima was the feminine aspect of the male, while the animus was the masculine aspect of the female. The soul is what has the task of bringing us to the center of our being. Harmonizing these two aspects and listening to our heart is the path to being.

BEING according to Jung
Being is unification. Consciousness. The point at the center of being is the ego. The circle is consciousness. The process of individuation, it's about transforming our ego into a brilliant nucleus. An ego aware of what it is. A person who has found his identity and, thanks to this, could expand his awareness, ending up living a life bigger than his ego. Identification makes us great people, people capable of extending their sphere of action beyond the borders of our everyday lives, our problems, and our miseries. We become useful to others and aware of the world we live in. Our presence is recognized by the world exactly as we recognize the world's presence.

Jung recognized 12 main archetypes.
Numerology recognizes 9 main archetypes plus a few extras
The tarot of the Orishas recognizes 19 main archetypes.

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As you can see, the Orishas archetypes differ from the Jung ones. A Jung archetype can correspond to 2 or 3 Orishas which belong to that aspect for what concerns the meaning, but they differ in detail. There are also some Orishas that have no Jung correspondent.
The tarot of the Orishas is a new archetypal world to explore, that comes to us after a long journey lasted 2500 years, from the foundation of the mythical city of Ifá, in Nigeria, where the temples dedicated to the Orishas were built for the first time.

mio tema archetipico


This is the form you need to fill out to know your archetypal theme.

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The Archetypal Chart is under review. Come back in the future


To fill in the form, we will use the same correspondence principle that is used in numerology, which consists of converting an alphabetical code into a numerical code. Each letter corresponds to a number according to the standard numerological conversion table. Fill out the form with your details as specified, and then convert each letter into a number.

WHO: Your name. Maternal surname. Paternal surname.
WHERE: Name of the city where you were born.
WHEN: Complete date of birth.

Name: MARCELLA = 4+1+9+3+5+3+3+1 = 29 = 2+9 = 11 = 1+1 = 2.
Two will be the numerical value of the name Marcella. In this case, since 2 comes from 11, which is a master number, both values will be taken into consideration. Therefore, the numerical values of the name Marcella will be 2 and 11. Once your form is filled out, some key values will appear (blue squares, yellow squares and the green square). We will convert the numbers into Orishas using the table of correspondence between numbers and Orishas that you will find in the Guide.


Name+Maternal Past+Paternal Past

They can be one or more Orishas. They represent what we define as "I".
They are the way we feel, and this depends partly on who we are and partly on the family we come from. We all have received an education, and this has influenced, from an early age, the way we have constituted our values and beliefs. Our language, our sense of belonging and our ancestors, are all forces that shaped our identity long before our consciousness began to ask, “Who am I?” and they, therefore, are indivisible from our way of being. They are an archetypal presetting that only certain spiritual or ascetic practices can delete. If you don't do any psychological or spiritual process to eliminate your inherited pre-setting, you will live as we all live (included me) : coexisting with your Orishas. This is not a problem. I tell you more, it can be an advantage, if we get to know who they are and how we can use them to help us.

City of birth+Date of birth

They can be one or more Orishas. They represent the coordinates necessary to locate ourselves in space and time. The historical period and the part of the world where we were born are two other factors that have contributed to sculpting our person. It is very different to be a man from the 18th century or one from the 2000s, to be born in a cold region or in a hot one, in a rich city or in a small village, in a liberal or a repressive area of the world.
Attention: the CONTEXT can also represent distant family aspects, such as grandparents, great-grandparents, families who welcomed us even if they weren't our biological family, communities, orphanages, and, in general, all those contexts that shaped our childhood but that we havn't inherited directly from our biological parents.

Date of birth+ Orisha of the Being

They can be one or more Orishas. They represent the deep desire of our soul. They are the Orishas, the Forces, the Images, that will make us feel complete, fulfilled and satisfied in life. They represent what we really want, beyond the social mask (the person).
For example: an individual who has 8 in the person (SHANGÓ) and 2 in the soul (BOTOTONKI) is an individual who will try to establish himself as a leader, will seek social recognition and prestige. But even if all this will give him great satisfaction, deep inside him, he will not be truly happy untill he manages to have a strong relationship as a couple, or when he finally will resolve his dual conflict, as these are the two meanings of the BOTOTONKI card.


The blue squares are Orishas that belong to us, in one way or another. They can be active or live in us in potential form. They can be in the light or in the shadow. They can remain silent for years and then activate suddenly and with great force. They can get to become more important than the Orisha of the Person, causing great turning points and changes, that can make us lose track of the person we once were. They are Orishas that we must consider, even if apparently they do not seem very significant since they do not fall within the yellow and green squares.


Orisha of the Being+ Orisha of the Context+Orisha of the Soul

They can be one or more Orishas. They represent our Person, understood as a social mask. They are the sum of who we are, when we were born, where we were born, and to what family we belong. Our predestination is contained in this Orisha. Predestination must not be confused with destiny. We build our destiny with our will. But if we don't exercise our will, we will fulfill our predestination. The Orisha of the Person represents what we will become if we indulge and stay aligned with our predestination. If we recognize ourselves in this Orisha, it means that realizing ourselves will not be a difficult path. We will succeed with a certain ease, because everything in us pushes and supports our path. If we do not recognize ourselves in the Orisha of the person, it means that we should fight against our predestination, to forge, through will, our own destiny, rowing against family ancestors, the social context and our predestination.

Anyone who recognizes himself in the Orisha of the Person resulting from his archetypal theme can immediately sort out the ritual practice, following the instructions contained in the Orisha's card (if he decides to do so). The contact with his Orisha's force will be simple and intuitive, and the results that good spiritual practice provides will be fast.

Those who do not recognize themselves in the Orisha of the Person will instead have to look in their archetypal theme for the Orisha in which they recognize themselves the most. Then they can organize their ritual practice with it. Getting in tune with the chosen Orisha will be a slightly slower but no less effective path.

Those who do not recognize themselves in any of the Orishas resulting from their archetypal theme will have to completely self-determine. You walk this path only guided by your will, and a good ability for self-analysis and objectivity.
If you choose to be represented by some Orisha that doesn't actually represent you, and you create dissociation in your psyche, by believing you are what you are not, even a good and constant ritual practice will not help you, on the contrary, it could lead to great frustration.

Choose carefully which Orisha you dedicate your permanent altar to, because our mind is a very powerful, even if little known, tool.​

Consigli dal caos


You can use the Orishas Tarot deck however you like, for divination, for reading or use the icon cards for psychomagic practice. The method proposed on this site is the "oracular" one. Basically it involves shuffling the cards and picking up one at random. But let's see in detail:


The Advice from Chaos practice should be performed mainly (but not necessarily) in the morning and should only be done once a day. You shuffle the cards, trying to keep your mind blank. Mental silence is not easy to achieve, you can help yourself by observing the things around you, the landscape outside the window or by concentrating on an image that helps you obtain mental peace, such as a mandala. Now, when you no longer hear your voice in your head, pick up a card at random. A blank card is positive. A black card can also be positive, but usually indicates a point we need to pay attention to. 
At this point, you become the interpreters of the game. Based on the keywords of each card, you will have to try to understand what indication Chaos is sending you, to help you throughout the day. You can also give a personal interpretation of the card, following the key characteristic of each Orisha as it is described in the card explanation. 


The Ifá oracle is a divination system used by the priests of the African and African-American religions (Babalawos) which is based in the Yoruba tradition of the Orishas. It is a very complex system, in which the priest, throwing shells or seeds on a table, interprets the answers of the Orishas, on behalf of the consultant.
We won't do any of this, but we will use the deck as an oracular tool.

We shuffle the cards long enough to process a specific question. Once we have the question, we must pronounce it correctly and loudly. At this point we can randomly extract a card and proceed with its interpretation, following the instructions on the card once again. It is a very similar process to that of the Advice from Chaos , but with two differences:

1. Our mind, while we shuffle the cards, must not be silent but must focus carefully on a specific question.
2. Any time of day is fine, and we can repeat the consultation up to 3 times a day (indications are based on personal practice, and you must not necessarily follow them).

Don't ask questions about others: (Does he love me?)
Don't ask two or more option questions: (Should I go right or left?) Instead, ask: (Will I encounter problems going right? Will I be happy going right? Is going right the right choice?)
Don't ask questions about scenarios that don't involve you: (What will the world be like in 2340?)

The Oracle of the Orishas is nothing more than a door that opens up onto your deep mind and that, taking advantage of a temporary suspension of the rational approach, lets knowledge and intuitions that we already have inside emerge. Don't use it like if it was Google. It cannot give you answers that you don't already know (unless you are a psychic or a seer). Inside us, however, there are millions of pieces of knowledge, put there because they are considered unimportant or not very useful, or because they are inherited in a subliminal way, as Jung said. This practice can reactivate them, allowing you to find your answers.


Pratica rituale


As mentioned previously, there are some practices that can reactivate the strength of universal archetypes in us. One of these (the one that I practice and therefore propose to you) is psychomagic practice. But what is psychomagic? In reality, it is an ancestral and globally shared practice that has its roots in popular magic and shamanism and has come to involve, over time, psychoanalysis, alchemy, astrology, and tarot. When this set of knowledge is combined with art, what we get is psychomagic. This practice aims to establish a dialogue with the subconscious, to eliminate its blocks, awaken its potential or heal its traumas. To obtain this effect, the practitioners stage theatrical actions with high symbolic value. The father of this healing artistic technique is Alejandro Jodorowsky:

“…psychomagic proposes a reverse path to that of psychoanalysis. Instead of teaching the subconscious to speak the language of rationality, it teaches rationality to speak the language of the subconscious. The subconscious is made of sounds, smells, sensations, images, and tactile experiences…”

Therefore, from this consideration arises the need to stage a symbolic ritual every time we want to communicate with an Orisha, being the Orishas nothing more than a subconscious archetypal world waiting to be reactivated.
We will adopt some principles expressed by Jodorowsky in order to use the Orishas Tarot in our ritual practice. Here are some of the principles that we need to know in this context:

—  There is only one language that can increase our level of consciousness, and it is the language of art and poetry.
—  The unconscious understands the language of dreams better than rational language.
—  An instruction does not become truly operational, and cannot acquire its full transformative potential, unless it is applied. If an awareness is not followed by an action, it remains totally sterile. That is: an action is worth a thousand words.

This means that those who want to use the Orishas Tarot deck also for ritual practice will find in the data sheet of each Orisha some useful indications to organize their own altar and staging psychomagic representations. In the instructions, you will not find dogmas or rules. This world has nothing to do with religion. Instead, you will find advice that comes from my personal experience. You are free to follow it or not.


It is necessary to reiterate once again that, even if we are talking about divinities that belong to the Yoruba tradition (my paternal culture), the path I propose is in no way a religious path. This is not Santeria or any Afro-Cuban religion. I don't belong to any religion, and I'm not suggesting any religion to you. What I propose to you as an artist is an INDIVIDUAL path of experimentation that, through a conscious use of art, can help you grow as individuals in search of themselves and the expression of their hidden potential.

Thanks for your attention

In the online guide you will find:

To read the online guide, you need to register on the site. I know that many don't like this, but unfortunately, it is necessary to prevent the free circulation of artistic images on the web. There is an illegal market that sells counterfeit decks of cards, even on major platforms such as Amazon. This is great damage for us, the artists, both in terms of image (counterfeit decks never have the same quality as the originals) and economic (the real authors of the deck do not receive any compensation). To register, you only need an email address and a password. I do not ask you for any other personal data. Your emails will not be used for commercial purposes.

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