Tarot, Astrology, Enneagram, and Personality Tests: Exploring Different Ways to Understand the Self - Humantold

Tarot, Astrology, Enneagram, and Personality Tests: Exploring Different Ways to Understand the Self

Rita Aliperti, MHC-LP March 22, 2023

All of these things can be tools for self-exploration, guiding us along our quest to understand who we are and how we fit into this world.

Self-exploration is an ongoing process that often lasts an entire lifetime. Getting acquainted with your authentic self builds confidence and resilience in a world that favors conformity. It consists of observings your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and influences. Being intentional about self-exploration offers a nuanced understanding of ourselves and others as multifaceted individuals. Think of how many ways you can answer the simple question, “Who are you?” By asking yourself this question periodically, you may uncover different aspects of yourself. Your responses may change based on what is at the forefront of your mind or your current circumstances. Self-exploration calls us to embrace the ebbs and flows of who we are.

Why is self-exploration so important?

Self-exploration has many benefits when practiced consistently and intentionally. Becoming acquainted with the self creates space for more self-compassion and acceptance toward the many parts of your inner workings. Developing more self-awareness leads to a greater understanding of your triggers, sensitivities, and needs. This often results in stronger emotional regulation and enhanced self-care. Self-exploration may also deepen your relationships by improving your ability to articulate your feelings, needs, and boundaries. It can further increase your empathy for others and provide more insight into effectively supporting your loved ones. Self-exploration is an effective means to achieving emotional growth.  

What makes self-exploration difficult?

Self-exploration can be difficult and therefore avoided. It is easy to get caught up in our day-to-day responsibilities, which leaves little room for introspection. Exploring your inner world takes considerable time and consistency and deters those looking for quick fixes to their problems. Turning inward can be an exhausting process that can potentially resurface suppressed wounds and traumas. While this self-exploration work is necessary for growth and healing, it is not always appealing to do.

How do we make self-exploration fun?

Some traditional ways to practice self-exploration are journaling, meditation, and therapy, to name a few. While these methods are tried and true, it is good practice to break out of the box from time to time. Non-traditional forms of self-exploration, including tarot, astrology, the Enneagram, and other personality tests, can also be effective ways to learn about ourselves. Engaging in these self-exploration methods can spice things up and help us tap into our creativity as we learn more about ourselves. Let’s take a closer look at how we can intentionally practice these techniques.

  1. Tarot

Despite their centuries of existence, tarot card readings have gained popularity in America over these last few years. Tarot cards were invented in the 15th century in Northern Italy for entertainment purposes. What started as a card game later transitioned to its uses for occult practices and fortune telling. By the late 1700s, new tarot card decks were introduced for supernatural use. These are the tarot decks that you will often find today consisting of 78 cards divided into the major arcana and the minor arcana. The major arcana contains 22 cards illustrating spiritual figures that are said to hold the big secrets of spiritual self-awareness. The minor arcana is divided into four suits each containing 14 cards. The suits (Cups, Pentacles, Wands, Swords) are numbered 1-10 and contain four court cards: The King, The Queen, The Knight, and The Jack. The minor arcana is rumored to hold the little secrets of daily life. 

A tarot reading begins by choosing a “spread” or card layout. Each spread offers different card positioning with each card placement holding its own meaning/representation. A common tarot spread is a three-card spread in which the cards are placed in a row with the first placement representing the past, the center placement representing the present, and the third placement representing the future. Before choosing the cards, one is to shuffle the cards while meditating on an intention or question. The cards are blindly chosen based on intuition and then placed in their respective positions based on the order they were chosen. Then comes the interpretation based on the meaning of each card within the context of its placement and integrating this information to extract the cards’ messages.  

While many practitioners still use tarot for divination, tarot is also a tool for self-discovery and reflection. The cards, based on their meanings, call us inward to evaluate for points of resonation and inconsistencies. 

How to use tarot cards for self-reflection:

  • Daily tarot card pull - Create a ritual in which you pull one card from your deck each morning. Reflect on the meaning of the card and use this to set an intention or goal for the day.

  • Tarot journaling - Pull a card from your deck at random and set a timer for five minutes. Write out any points of resonation with the card's meaning. 

  • Meditating on a card - Pull a card at random and meditate on its symbolic meaning.

  • Tarot spreads based on specific life circumstances/questions - Choose a spread that answers a question or provides clarity on a specific aspect of your life.

Remember that an important component of tarot readings is developing and utilizing intuition. Embrace your creativity and tailor the ways you use your tarot cards to fit your unique needs.

  1. Astrology

Astrology is the study of star and planet positioning and their impact on our lives – and it’s very popular. Astrology helps provide explanations for how our surroundings influence our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and relationships. 

Modern astrology has roots in Greece dating back to 280 BC with Chinese, Indian, and Egyptian influences. This form of astrology introduces the concept of astrological “signs.” The signs are named after constellations that represent various characteristics. These signs have different planetary placements which represent aspects of our identities. These placements vary based on your birth time and location. Your natal chart maps out the many sign placements and provides some insight into who you are. You may already be familiar with your sun sign, which is determined by your birth date.

 The astrology signs are: 

  • Aries (March 21-April 19)
  • Taurus (April 20-May 20)
  • Gemini (May 21-June 20)
  • Cancer (June 21-July 22)
  • Leo (July 23-August 22)
  • Virgo (August 23-September 22)
  • Libra (September 23-October 22)
  • Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
  • Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
  • Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
  • Aquarius (January 20-February 18)
  • Pisces (February 19-March 20)

How to use astrology for self-reflection:

While astrology is considered pseudoscience and often written off as a fallacy, it can be a tool for self-reflection. 

  • Reading about your natal chart can spark a deep examination of the way you interact with the world. It can further provide a sense of control, validation, and clarity around aspects of your personality. 

  • Reading your daily, weekly, or monthly horoscope can become a ritual dedicated to self-exploration. This is a great way to check in with yourself, set intentions, and identify your strengths and growing edges.

  1. Enneagram 

The Enneagram is a 105-question personality test that results in an assigned personality type representing your thought, emotional, and behavioral patterns. 

There are nine Enneagram types:

  • Type One - The Reformer
  • Type Two - The Helper
  • Type Three - The Achiever
  • Type Four - The Individualist
  • Type Five - The Investigator
  • Type Six - The Loyalist
  • Type Seven - The Enthusiast
  • Type Eight - The Challenger
  • Type Nine - The Peacemaker

How to use Enneagram for self-reflection:

  • Each personality type provides insight into your strengths and growing edges. It can further help you identify points of integration and stressors within your life. 
  • The Enneagram is an excellent tool for understanding the environments and relationships that help you grow and thrive. This form of self-exploration prompts awareness of your maladaptive patterns of thinking and behaving and ways to challenge them. 

  • It also provides insight to further develop and utilize your strengths. Learning about how you interact with the world in depth can increase your self-compassion and empathy for others through gaining an understanding of the nuances of our personalities.

  1. Personality tests

There are many other personality tests that you may choose to use on your self-exploration journey. Two of the most popular ones are the Big Five Inventory-2 (BFI-2) and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The BF-2 assesses our five main personality traits:

  • Extroversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Negative emotionality
  • Open-mindedness

Similarly, the MBTI assigns our psychological type based on four categories:

  • Extroversion/Introversion
  • Sensing/Intuiting
  • Thinking/Feeling
  • Judging/Perceiving

How to use personality assessments for self-reflection:

Both of these personality assessments were created using psychological research and can help you dissect and understand the multiple facets of your personality and strive toward personal development. 

Personality as a spectrum

By using these non-traditional forms of self-exploration you can begin to understand your personality as a spectrum rather than viewing your characteristics as black and white. These tools offer nuanced perspectives and insights into ourselves and those around us. It is important to be intentional about using these tools for growth rather than using them to bypass accountability. Approach these methods with an open mind and curiosity. Finally, remember to maximize your benefits by integrating your new knowledge about yourself into your daily life. 

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