Wondering where tarot cards came from, and why so many people believe that they can offer insights into our lives and futures?
The practice of trying to divine the future by using tarot cards — which involves laying down the cards of a tarot deck, one by one, and interpreting the results — is often thought of as a cliche of New Age culture, and a trapping of witch stories in general. Tarot reading might seem like something that is otherworldly and completely supernatural. To a certain extent, this is true. However, Tarot isn’t as scary or mystical as people assume. In their basic form, Tarot cards are a tool used for divination. Tarot card reading can be performed by anyone though you’ll receive better readings from people with strong intuition, clairvoyance, clairaudience, and clairsentience. These people may have one or any combination of these gifts and they will use them to channel the energy of the universe. This is how they use Tarot to provide answers and guidance for people.
Tarot cards have been around for several centuries, but they were originally an entertaining parlor game, rather than a tool of divination. To people unfamiliar with divination, it may seem that someone who reads Tarot cards is “predicting the future.” However, most Tarot card readers will tell you that the cards offer a guideline, and the reader is simply interpreting the probable outcome based upon the forces presently at work. Anyone can learn to read Tarot cards, but it does take some practice.
Like many forms of divination, Tarot cards are a tool to help you tap into your own intuition and the wisdom of the universal energy that guides your life. Tarot, which has origins in 14th century Europe, is not a form of fortune telling. It’s more like a mirror that reflects what is happening in your life at the moment. Tarot is able to tap into hidden thoughts, feelings and truths and bring them to the surface so you can use that information to make decisions about life, love, emotions, health, career and more.
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But tarot has a weirder — and much more benign — history than you might have thought. It’s not just for witches or the terminally spooky; it wasn’t always used to answer questions about life and the future; tarot cards are considered by many to be works of art; and the game of tarot has been played, in one form or another, for thousands of years.
Create a Personal Connection with the Tarot: I started learning the Tarot cards by reading dozens of Tarot books and trying to memorise the meanings. Not helpful! Not only did I forget all the meanings, I had no personal or intuitive connection with the cards. But when I started relating on a personal level to the Tarot cards, my intuitive insights took off! Look to your everyday life for personal examples of the Tarot cards. What card best describes your day today? What card represents your best friend? Make it personal.
Prepare Your Questions Well. Know What You Want Answers For!
Asking the right types of questions can make or break a good Tarot reading. The best questions are those that elicit information to empower you to make the best decisions for yourself or situation. They focus on what you can influence or change in a positive and constructive way. You can also include a timeframe in your request to increase the specificity of the question and the answer. For example, “What do I need to know about my finances in the next 6 months?” or “Will I meet a romantic partner in the next 3 months?” However, it is generally best not to set a timeframe that is beyond a year as a lot will have changed after this time.
Tarot brings out the answers to questions you actually already within you, by delivering information from your unconscious mind to your conscious awareness. When shopping for a tarot deck, it’s important to keep an eye out for the art that speaks to you directly. This will be important when pulling cards because the strength of your reactions to the artwork will influence both your connection to the cards and to your own intuition.
Tarot is a great tool for critical thinking and multifaceted contemplation. When you see the visuals on the cards, the stories they present relate to real-life situations, feelings, and possibilities. Looking at a card layout and comparing it to what is going on in your life can give greater understanding, and help you look at things in creative new ways your mind may not have been open to previously.
Many historians currently believe that tarot cards originated as a kind of storytelling game played by Italian noble families. The old Mamluk cards were co-opted for a game called “carte da trionfi” or cards of triumph, with new card decks commissioned by wealthy Italians for these games.
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Learning Tarot as an art form requires effort. It is not an analytical process where you simply memorize a bunch of definitions and then off you go. Tarot books are sold by the hundreds of thousands—each proclaiming the “fastest, easiest” way to learn to read cards etc. This is all marketing hype. If you truly want to learn to read Tarot then you have to teach yourself.
There are a combination of things that Tarot readers can do to provide more accurate Tarot readings. This includes selecting a deck that they personally connect with, practicing their skills, learning to frame questions correctly, and being receptive to client feedback. Although anyone can read Tarot, people with some innate psychic abilities have a stronger connection with the art. Having a heightened sense of intuition makes reading Tarot easier and more accurate.
Choose a system and stick with it long enough to get understanding and then branch out. You’ll only confuse yourself if you try to take in all the different ideas being thrown around. There are a variety of spreads, or layouts, that can be used in reading Tarot cards. Try one of these very basic ones – or try them all! – to see which method works the best for you. The more you practice, the more sense it will make, so play around with these different Tarot Card Layouts.
Pentacles – Also referred to as “Disks” or “Coins,” cards in the Pentacles suit pertain to things in the material and physical world. Pentacles cards often indicate money matters, career and success, but they also can indicate levels of emotional and spiritual prosperity, too.
Tarot cards are shuffled and laid out in any number of Tarot spreads. The best known spread is the 11-card Celtic Cross, but there are countless other Tarot spreads you can choose depending on what type of question you want to ask and how many cards you wish to draw. If you want to start out very simply, you can draw just one card about a specific person or situation. In fact, your question doesn’t even need to be a question! It’s called an “open reading” when you simply think about a person or situation instead of asking a direct question — the cards will still provide insight.
Asking the right question is vital if you are looking for an insightful and powerful Tarot reading. When you start asking the right types of questions, you’ll begin to see the true spirit of the Tarot coming through. Nearly every Tarot beginner book includes the Celtic Cross Tarot spread. It’s a beautiful spread, but at 10 cards, it’s not a great place to start for the Tarot beginner.
My advice? Put down the books, and simply take in the energy of the Tarot card in front of you. It doesn’t matter if you connect with a different meaning of the card from what the books say. What you are doing is connecting with your intuitive read of the card – which is often way more powerful than regurgitating book meanings!
Tarot is largely based on energies. Energies that flow through and out. So, many a times a situation may come that the reader will tell you things which you might have not asked for. So, don’t bother yourself with the extra information instead, be aware of it so that you know what is going for/against you. Does the card make your stomach turn, or give you butterflies? Do your hands tingle, or your knees start to feel like they’re weak? Just scan your body and notice what’s going on, without judging it or feeling the need to make anything up if nothing is going on.
No two people will see the same things in a work of art. If you and a friend look at a photograph or painting, you may share some obvious conclusions that are similar, but each of you will have slight variances in your interpretations. The image may invoke different thoughts, ideas, and feelings in each of you. That is as it should be, we are all individuals with different perceptions.
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A Tarot reader’s strongest skill is their ability to interpret the cards. Most Tarot decks do come with guidebooks that provide a general meaning for the cards, but ultimately it is up to the reader to their intuition to read the cards in a way that is appropriate for the situation. Tarot interpretations may vary wildly and this is welcomed and encouraged.
The Tarot is a great tool for guidance and advice, as well as solving problems. Each of the cards has a meaning of its own, and as you learn the cards and get to know them better, you’ll become a more effective reader. Anyone can learn to read Tarot cards, but it does take some practice. It’s a highly intuitive process, so while books and charts come in handy, the best way to actually learn is by doing.
The full moon is typically seen as a period of intuition and wisdom. In many magical traditions, the three days before or after the full moon are still considered “full,” but you’ll have to make your own call on that. Some people believe that any reading done during a full moon is going to have a lot more intuitive oomph to it, simply because the moon is full and our intuitive abilities are peaking during this time. If you want to focus on the purpose of your readings specifically, this is a good time to do readings related to matters of spirituality, personal development, and inner growth.
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Let’s take The Fool card, for example. This card features a happy young man gazing into the distance. He’s about to step off a cliff into the unknown as the Sun rises behind him, and he has a small knapsack of supplies. Now think about how this literal description of The Fool might be translated into an insightful message. The classic interpretation is that of a person at the beginning of something new — perhaps a new relationship or a life-changing adventure, and they should be feeling positive about it because they have everything they need to succeed.
What I love about Tarot is that each and every reader has a different perspective of the Tarot cards. So if you’re open to learning even more about the Tarot, find a study buddy and practice reading the cards together. You’ll be able to teach one another about the Tarot, share your diverse perspectives and support each other’s growth.
As I always say, tarot reading is not Astrology. It is not based on any formula or planetary alignments and their respective roles in our lives. Tarot is like art. With different faces, forms and meanings. So, in case you don’t come to know as to exactly which day you will get married, don’t lose hope!
In a three-card reading, the cards read from left to right, so the left card symbolizes the immediate past, the middle card is the present situation you are dealing with, and the future is an indication of what will occur should you take the advice given to you by the cards.
One of my favorite cards in a standard Waite deck is the Sun. I love the happy feeling and the symbolism. As you can see, in this card a brand new baby is riding on a horse beneath the blazing sun. The first thing I notice is the naked baby. Babies represent new potential, nothing tainted; this child has not been corrupted by things like doubt, anger, guilt, etc. The horse represents a journey, moving, and strength. The Sun itself is warmth, a source of energy and sustenance. It is deeply penetrating and is always there sustaining life even when we aren’t paying attention. When night falls, the sun is still there and will return again.
An interesting thing about Tarot is that it can be a tool for other kinds of supernatural activity. Not so surprisingly, Tarot cards are a common tool for Wiccans, Pagans, and Witches. Their simple designs combined with their intricate symbolism makes them the perfect tool for using in Tarot spellwork. Tarot cards are also inexpensive and widely accessible, so they are a staple in any modern witch’s arsenal.
During the waning moon, this is the period – as with many magical activities – for getting rid of stuff. Are you doing a reading because you’re thinking about eliminating certain things from your life? Are you questioning a toxic relationship, a bad job situation, or some other element of your world that leaves you unsatisfied and discontent? What about something unpleasant in your past? If it’s dragging you down, a reading during this moon phase could tell you it’s time to shed your baggage.
One of the easiest (and quickest) ways to learn Tarot is to learn the basic systems that underpin the cards. For example, if you learn what the numbers 1-9 symbolise and what the four elements represent, you’ve already got a good sense of the 40 Pip Cards (the numbered cards of the Minor Arcana).
Your interaction with your reader is very important. A tarot reading session shouldn’t just be a session to let you know what you ask for instead, take it as an opportunity to let yourself heal. And, in order to do that you must be absolutely honest while sharing your problems or feelings with your reader. It will not just help you get that excess load off your chest instead, it will help the reader to guide you better.
One of the biggest mistakes that Tarot beginners make when reading Tarot for themselves is that they ask the same question over and over, hoping to get a better answer each time. Or they do a reading when they’re highly emotional or shut down to receiving truthful insight. Instead, use the Tarot mindfully. Draw on the cards when you have an open mind and an open heart. Treat the cards (and yourself) with respect and give yourself enough time and space to truly accept the wisdom they have to offer you.
Although Tarot is traditionally conducted in a live face-to-face reading, the modern world has made it possible for anyone to receive a live Tarot reading at any time. There are people who offer readings through the telephone, over webcam, by email, or even through their own websites. No matter who you are or where you live, you can receive or give a Tarot reading right from your home.
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