What is Tarot & why do we use it?
“divination” div·i·na·tion (n) the practice of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means. “the Celtic art of divination” synonyms: fortune telling, divining, foretelling the future, forecasting the future, prophecy, prediction, soothsaying, augury;
There is a belief that when the Creator made the world, he/she created all living forms as a way to understand him/herself, to mirror back to him what he cannot see. We as souls experiencing a human life yearn for the same thing, to understand ourselves, and make sense of our lives and purpose. We long for connection, for knowledge and for growth.
Just as there are many aspects of the Creator that is essentially all part of one living web, so there are many different tools we can use to understand the language of the Creator to tell us our purpose and guide us on this adventure we call life. From Runes, to Tea Leaves, Palmistry, Astrology, Sacred Medicines and many more, the variety of ways in which we can access what is required of us to live to our highest potential and to understand how best to live this life is endless. The answers are deep within us, and all we need to do is reach inside and draw them out. Our subconscious mind controls at least 97% of our responses & behaviour, storing memories, experiences and lessons across the ages of all our lives. Our subconscious is a therefore a treasurehouse of solutions we should use to our advantage.
Tarot unlocks these treasures, through images, art, pictures & impressions. Think about when you were a child – your thinking mind had not matured yet, so much of the impressions you got were through what you saw, how you felt. Children have very permeable boundaries and these impressions stuck inside us, creating all the reactions we as adults don’t fully understand. Our adult minds have unfortunately sealed up this information, but Tarot is an amazing way to break in and bring forth stored wisdom. Another good example of how the Tarot works, is thinking about the symbolism of dreams – those crazy images you have no idea were even there – those are all rich in messages using symbolism, the way our subconscious mind interprets experiences.
Tarot also helps us to exercise our innate intuition. The “knowing”. Intuition can be likened to the heart, and the intellect, the mind. Intuition, when accessed properly, can be one of the greatest muscles you’ll ever use
And of course, Tarot is used to foretell the future. How much can we control, or change what is read for us? Well, think of the reading as a snapshot in time, frozen. The reading gives you an overview of what is going on in our lives right now, allowing you to make conscious and empowered choices for the future.
So whilst the present is the way it will be reflected, we have within ourselves the power to choose how we react to the events that happen around us and that we attract, whether within or without our control. The jury is still out on this, and it is up to you to decide how much you think is within your control and how much is not. In my opinion, we have the ability to make better choices only once we become aware of what we hold onto subconsciously and release that. Then, our lives shift for the better. A Karmic pattern is only broken once it is recognised.
Choosing & Caring for your Deck
There are many, many decks to choose from these days. From the old Golden Dawn deck, developed by a secret Occult society of the time of the same name, founded in 1888 (read more on Wikipedia about this very interested and influential group, to the Rider Waite Deck, first published in 1910 by Rider & Company, a London publisher. Arthur Edward Waite designed the Rider Waite deck in collaboration with Pamela Colman Smith, an American artist. Waite was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn. These are the most influential decks known, and arguably, the best to work with.
However, you can also get Angel Decks, Fairy Decks, Goddess decks, playful decks, Osho Decks and many many more that suit you and resonate with you. When buying a deck, let yourself be guided by your intuition – ground yourself and be still, wait for that little leap of knowing, and then go for it! Many people prefer the older tradition of being given your first deck, which is also of course a good option.
When you get your deck, make sure you dedicate it. Call upon whomever you believe in, be it your higher self or a God or Goddess, to consecrate it from the highest good of yourself and for others. You can do this by saying a prayer, doing a meditation, lighting a candle nearby, some incense, even dropping some essential oils on it, or burying it underground on a full Moon. Whichever tickles your fancy and feels right and sacred to you.
Try and keep it in something, a box or a scarf. Get some crystals to place around it, a Citrine is a lovely cleansing stone for when you work with them often. You can use more than one deck for different things – I use my Osho deck for general readings for myself, my Rider Waite for others and my Golden Dawn for spiritual guidance.
Always make sure your deck is safe and being handled by just you, so that it absorbs your own energy and gets used to you. Think of your deck as your new friend, and in the beginning carry it around with you everywhere.
Preparing yourself for Readings
First and foremost, to make sure you don’t project your own issues and energy onto a reading, and interrupt a reading for someone else, you need to make sure you are centred and contained. This of course also applies to doing a reading for yourself.
Spend at least 10 – 15 minutes a day in Meditation. Imagine yourself rooted & grounded, perhaps throw down some roots visually in your mind all the way below the earth and feel how strong the earth is beneath you. Connect to a higher source and welcome any insights and messages you need to have for the day. Sit quietly and focus on your breathing, watch the thoughts come and go. When you are done, imagine a cloak in a colour of your choice (perhaps corresponding to a Chakra) wrapping you up tightly and protecting you. Then imagine a huge golden ball of light surrounding you, protecting you from any unwanted energies.
This intention of grounding, centering and protection, if done daily, will ensure you give clear, insightful and correct readings.
When doing a reading, first pray or meditate upon whose help you are enlisting – from the God to the Goddess, or your higher self – make sure you are asking for assistance for the highest good of yourself and others. This is responsible work in which you are just a channel for the message you will be getting. Let their energy flow through you, emptying you to get the messages you need. You are a vessel.
When performing the reading, hold the cards in your hand and close your eyes. Let the energy flow through you and breathe deeply. Centre and ground, open your eyes, and begin, holding the intention or question in your mind.
When finishing a reading, you can feel a bit woozy – do the tree meditation and breath for a count of 40 breathes, and eat some nourishing food.
The Major Arcana
These consist of 22 Cards – archetypes of Universal Forces beyond our control, heavenly happenings, so to speak:
Major Arcana Keywords:
0 – The Fool: A Mother Card, new beginnings, actual foolishness, trust, a Journey to be taken
1 – The Magician: Ruled by Mercury, the heavenly masculine energy, mastering of the elements, a spiritual person / path, the rational mind, opportunity to manifest your will
2 – The High Priestess Ruled by the Moon, the heavenly feminine energy, deep intuition, secrets, the mysteries of life, the sub- conscious, the inner world
3 – The Empress Ruled by Venus, The earthly feminine, abundance, passion, fullness of life, richness and sexuality, pleas- ure, the Mother, earth, the King
4 – The Emperor Ruled by Aries – The earthly masculine, strength, firmness, the Father, Authority, the King, rigidity, the Law of the King, the Boss
5 – The Hierophant Ruled by Taurus – the Lawgiver or Priest, the middleman between the people and the King, ritual & ceremony, conformity
6 – The Lovers Ruled by Gemini – A big love relationship between two people, love on a higher level, ordained by the angels, choices, decisions, inner & outer life
7 – The Chariot Ruled by Cancer – control & direction of the will, balancing the male & female energies, victory & great- ness
8 – Strength (sometimes Justice in other packs) Ruled by Leo – as the card says, strength after overcoming of obstacles, grace, gentleness and nurturing, patience & spiritual power
9 – The Hermit Ruled by Virgo – The guide & teacher, solitude, studying, quietness, withdrawal
10 – The Wheel of Fortune Ruled by Jupiter – Change & shifts, cycles and fortunes changing, evolution
11 – Justice (sometimes Strength in other packs) Ruled by Libra – the law of Karma, what you get is what you give, the Law, Court, Rules
12 – The Hanged Man A Mother Card – Sacrifice, patience, mental enlightenment, quiet suffering, waiting, union
13 – Death Ruled by Scorpio – actual death, transformation, loss, endings, letting go
14 – Temperance Ruled by Sagittarius – balance of opposites, peace, calm, angels, maturity, harmony & teamwork
15 – The Devil Ruled by Capricorn – lust, bondage, obsession, desire, the ego, illusions & delusions, materialism, addiction
16 – The Tower Ruled by Mars – destruction & calamity, pain & the collapse, breakdowns, the ego & outworn structures
17 – The Star Ruled by Aquarius – Hope, positivity, optimism, opportunities, vulnerability, joy, peace, love
18 – The Moon Ruled by Pisces – fear of the unknown, things unseen, illusions and dreams, the unconscious mind & behaviours, addictions, nurturing, intuition & imagination, psychic
19 – The Sun Ruled by the Sun – joy, children, creativity, vitality, health, new beginnings, liberation & pleasure
20 – Judgement Ruled by Saturn – being called to something, actual judging or being judged for something, awakening, renewal
21 – The World A Mother Card – completion, fullness, balance, everything comes together, triump
The Minor Arcana
These consist of 56 minor cards – mundane, earthly experiences which are very much in our control –
The Elements :
Each of the Minor Arcana belong to a suit of Cups, Pentacles, Swords or Wands as follows:
- Water – Cups : emotions, relationships, feelings, creativity
- Earth – Pentacles : the home, money, food, material things
- Air – Swords : the intellect, lessons, sorrow, thoughts, logic, words
- Fire – Wands : work, new ventures, action & drive, direction
The Court Cards :
The Court Cards are your Kinds, Queens, Pages (or Princesses in some decks), and Knights. You can inter- pret them according to actual people in your life, or as energies.
You can further assign them sunsigns as follows : Cups – Cancer, Scorpio or Pisces Pentacles – Virgo, Taurus or Capricorn Swords – Aquarius, Gemini or Libra Fire – Leo, Aries or Sagittarius
- Kings : an older Male figure
- Queens : an older Female figure
- Pages (or Princesses in some decks) : a child or young person
- Knights – Young adults
The Numbers :
Each card is numbered from 2 – 10, representing basic energies of that number, and each suit has an Ace:
Aces – Aces always represent New Beginnings, the star of something, the birth of an idea, relationship, passion, project or investment, depending on which suit it is.
2 – Two is the collaboration of a pair, it represents decisions, choices, options and balance, it represents duality and the relationship of one thing to another.
3 – The Three always represents the fruition of the decision taken at the Two. It is the result, representing growth and expression. It is the fruit of our labour, and the number of creativity.
4 – the Four talks about the stability that comes from the effort of One, Two and Three. It is the reality of the material world, and is all about structure and solidity. If pushed too far, the four can be stagnation and inertia, being stuck or unable to grow.
5 – Five in the Tarot is usually a fairly difficult card – it represents the change and chaos that comes after the four, when we have become stuck. It is a number of instability and uncertainty as well as adversity and challenge. This number can talk about a crisis, regret and anxiety over the future. Once dealt with, it ca show the way to new possibilities.
6 – the Six shows moving on from the situation around the Five. There is victory here, more equilibrium, some harmony and a positive number. The challenges of Five are overcome by the Six and a new dawn begins.
7 – this number can also talk about change, like the Five, but there are more advantages with this number. It is a mystical, spiritual number, an imaginative number.
8 – Representing double Four, the Eight also speaks about stability and progress in the material world. It talks about new goals, career, order and balance, and making way for beginnings.
9 – This is a powerful number talking about uniting three important plane s- the physical, spiritual and the mental realms. There is a sense of completion associated with this number, and there are hints of a new beginnings. There can be clam here, but also some anxiety as one waits for the new beginning.
10 – Ten is the actual ending and the new beginnings becomes more and more clear. It can talk of a difficult time where there are big responsibilities as you bring things to close, and the period of transition might be a little stressful – but we have to persist.
How to Read
After making sure you are grounded, clear & centred, and have asked for assistance and guidance, sit with your cards a moment and breathe. Focus on the question, let it fill your heart & mind. Don’t allow opinions, judgements, thoughts or fear in at all, just focus on your Heart Area whilst breathing deeply. Open your eyes and do your chosen spread. Make sure you are doing this in a nice, quiet area.
If you are reading for someone else, just let it flow. Ask them questions and listen to the answers. Above all, don’t allow any of your own stuff into the reading – this is not for you, it is for them. If you can’t get any clear answer, you are not meant to know. Put away the cards and try again another time.
A tip? Think of it as a Story, with a beginning, a middle and an end.
Pros and Cons of a Tarot Reading
- You will learn how to work with your intuition and trust your own inner answers more and more as time goes on.
- You can help your loved ones when you become more confident with the Tarot.
- You will develop your creative side
- Learning Tarot can be confusing in the beginning, and it is all too easy to just give up when the cards overwhelm you.
- Unlike Oracle Cards, the Tarot is far deeper and more complicated which could make certain card combinations very hard.
- When doing readings for yourself, it can be hard to remain objective.
Where can I get an Accurate Tarot Reading Online?
Psychics these days are no longer viewed as people to be afraid of, but healers who can helps guide us on our path and illuminate the way ahead. Technology has made it that much easier to access these gifted individuals, and below we have a few, great recommended sites to explore.
Oranum offers 9.99 FREE credits when you register for the first time and they have a section especially dedicated to reading Tarot Cards, so if you need a bit of extra insight, on your own reading, then this is a great site to work through.
Keen has fabulous reviews in their site, and their statistics are very impressive indeed – they boast 100% satisfaction, and have a lovely “featured advisors” section to explore. They also have a list of categories, which include Tarot Readings, so if you nee that bit of extra clarity, get hold of them now – they offer ten minutes for just $1.99 to all newbies!
AskNow is now on your phone – they have a fantastic app which makes it that much easier to get some insight right at your very fingertips! All of their Psychics are screened, which lets them boast a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and if you are new, they give you five minutes free when you purchase a twenty or thirty-minute package with them.
Kasamba’s website has a fresh, young and easy feel to it. Their landing page has excellent FAQ’s which as how to find the right reader for you, if online readings are real, and what the most popular types of readings are. Their first three minutes are free, letting you get a feel for who they are and what they do.