Tarot & Astrology - Interview With Per Henrik Gullfoss
by Bonnie Cehovet
I have had the very great fortune to be afforded the opportunity to interview Per Henrik Gullfoss, Master Astrologer and Master Tarotist. Per lives and works in Norway, but will be doing a U.S. tour promoting his work this spring.
Per's body of work includes being Headmaster of Norway's only School of Astrology, publication throughout Scandinavia of over 25 books on Tarot, Astrology, and Life, including the highly acclaimed "Your Star Sign", and serving as editor for several different astrological and alternative magazines.
On the Ides of March (March 15 - but Shakespeare said it better!), Per will be running a full evening workshop, under the auspices of the Rhinebeckian Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. He will be covering the Major and Minor Arcana, as well as the Court Cards and the Theatre of Life. I love that title - the "Theatre of Life"! What a marvelous venue for the people cards of the Tarot!
Here is a chance for the worlds of Tarot and Astrology to see how they reflect each other, and how as individuals we can take the wisdom of each of these systems and place them into the "theatre" that is our life!
I am going to step aside and let Per have the podium!
BC: Per, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. How did you originally become involved in the fields of Astrology and Tarot?
PHG: Bonnie, that is a long story. It started in 1980 on a spiritual journey to the old Maya temples. In short, I left Norway as an atheistic anarchist, and came back with absolute surety of the existence of a spiritual reality. I knew nothing about either Tarot or Astrology, but knew that I should read about it. My first astrological book was a gift from a Canadian friend. It was called "Astrology, Karma & Transformation", by Stephen Arroyo, and I still think it is one of the finest astrology books ever written. As for Tarot - I went to Seattle to visit a beautiful girl I had met in Mexico, and she just asked me if I wanted a deck of Tarot cards she had bought but had never used.
BC: How do you see Tarot and Astrology fitting together?
PHG: As a hand and a glove. Seriously, I have always thought that Astrology and Tarot are like prose and poetry. Astrology is the cosmic language, and if we are going to learn to think cosmically, we need a cosmic language. Tarot is the best tool I know for connecting the right and left hand sides of the brain, and helping us develop intuition. Together they are two of the finest tools existing for developing clarity, consciousness and awareness.
BC: Can you tell us a bit about what you term the duality of the Sun signs? Will this help people see themselves in a little different way through the lens of their Sun sign?
PHG: There are many different layers in each Sun sign. One of them goes into a duality that best can be seen as a need to stretch and move in two directions at once. To see this clearly will help people to get a better understanding of them selves, and how they can use the energy at their core to create flow and abundance in their lives.
BC: Can you explain what the Shadow implicit in our Sun sign is, and why we need to be aware of it?
PHG: The shadow in our Sun signs is as most shadows, a part of ourselves of which we may be unaware, and have a tendency to project onto others. As we integrate the shadow into our conscious being, we do get a lot of energy, that before was wasted in these projections, and we gain the ability to create a richer and more joyful life.
BC: How is the cycle of numbers in the Minor Arcana mirrored in both the human consciousness and in our solar system?
PHG: As the old alchemical saying goes: "As Above, So Below". The way we grow in consciousness, is the same way that the rays from the sun stretch from its core and out to the galaxy. You see, Darwinists do think that the survival of the fittest is the driving force behind evolution. I do believe that the longing to become more and more conscious is the driving force behind evolution.
BC: How are the planetary energies reflected in the cards of the Minor Arcana?
PHG: Again we have this connection between the human growth, as it is seen in the arrangement of our solar system, and reflected in the Tarot cards. You see, as humans we are bound to grow through the outlay of our solar system, since this is the energy field we are growing within. As a result of this, there is a relationship between the numbers, the planets, and the process of human growth.
BC: Now we get to the Court Cards, and the Theatre of Life! How do you see the Court Cards as a tool for mastering and presenting ourselves?
PHG: Tarot in itself is a masterpiece of creation. Many tarotists see the court cards as a division of humans into 16 categories. I see them as a theatre staff, available for us to use in the play of our life theatre. The Tarot not only helps us to see clearly the different roles we can play, but it can also help us to see what kind of role we need to go into at any given moment.
BC: In your work, you see the Court Cards as representing 16 main roles that we are offered in life, and that we need to master. Can you describe one or two of these roles for us?
PHG: Well, sometimes we have to play the master. When I have a group of students, I need to have some authority, and it is good for them to believe that I know what I am doing. So a King is good here, which King to use may be dependent on which kind of group we are having.
But it can be dangerous to be stuck in the role of a King. Too many grown ups have forgotten how to play the Page and Knight cards, and take themselves far too seriously. So once in a while it can be good to open the eyes, and just ask questions and look around with big eyes, and then I do need to be able to play the Page part.
BC: How can we best place the energies of Tarot and Astrology in our lives?
PHG: Whooaw….big question. I guess each of you knows that answer better than I. But for me, Astrology and Tarot are some of the prime tools in humanity's working case for development of consciousness. But againÂ….. every tool can be used for healing or destroying. A car can be used as an ambulance, but it can also be used as a weapon to kill people. To have a great respect for these tools is good. In my opinion one should not underestimate the power that an Astrologer or Tarot-reader wields. And be as conscious as possible around what one tells others, and what kind of advice one gives.
BC: Per, this is your time. What words would you like to leave our readers with?
PHG: I greatly look forward to visiting America and meeting as many people as possible. And I hope that together we can work to develop the consciousness that the world so sorely needs at this time. We are in for the ride together, and whooaw what a great ride I believe it can be. Through developing our intuition and connecting with our souls and our hearts, we can create a richer, better and more loving worldÂ…..
Great joy to all of you who have taken the time to read this.
I want to thank Per again for taking the time to do this interview. I find great worth in those who take their work to the human level - away from intellectualizing, and into actually placing knowledge to work in life, so that it can become personal wisdom.
Something to watch for: the publication of Per's upcoming book, "The Complete Book of Spiritual Astrology", through Llewellyn Worldwide, coming out in January of 2008.
Bio: Per Henrik Gullfoss
Per Henrik Gullfoss is a Master Astrologer and Tarotist with over twenty years experience as a teacher, author, and lecturer in the Scandanavian countries. He majored in the science of theatre at the University of Oslo, minoring in the history of religion, sociology and social pedagogy.
He is the founder of The Nordic School of Astrology (in Norway), and has been Headmaster there for the past fifteen years. He has been a speaker, lecturer and consultant in the field of Astrology and Tarot in Norway, Denmark and Sweden for over twenty years, as well as serving as editor and co-editor of several different Norwegian magazines. He has authored over twenty-five books, including the highly acclaimed "Your Star Sign". He has also authored two books on the Tarot: "How To Learn Tarot" (published by Orion in Norway and Zosma in Denmark), and "Tarit and Intentions of the Soul" (published by Zosma in Denmark).
© Bonnie Cehovet
Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.