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Tarot is a form of divination. Tarot decks come in a form of 78 cards. The Major Arcana is consisted of 22 cards. The other 55 cards are split into 4 suits (just like poker cards) of 14 cards in each suit. The suits are Wands or Staffs, Cups, Swords, Pentacles or Coins. There is controversy between whether some suits are really called wands/staffs and pentacles/coins. For the serious tarot reader, it may be a point of interest to research further.
Wheel of Fortune
Suits are as follows. Each suit will have 14 cards consisting of Kings, Queens, Knights, Pages (these are called Court Cards), and Ten through Aces.
Wands/Staffs:,Fire, South, Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
New beginnings. Divine spark within us which makes us more aware of our potential. Creative wisdom. Ambition, career, religion, teaching and leadership.
Cups: Water, West, Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Emotions. Love life. Poetry and music, psychic abilities.
Swords: Air, East, Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Science, knowledge. Quick witted. Pure mind, thinking, speaking. Think before you speak.
You will find many varying correspondences for tarot in regards to North, South, East, West and which they go hand in hand with (Earth, Air, Fire, Water). Through my studies I have chosen the directional correspondences in regards to the meanings of the suits and which element also has the same meaning. Some tarot readers change their correspondences depending on where they are living, for example the Northern or Southern hemisphere. Others use their correspondences based on Watchtower magic, Celtics, Chinese, Indian traditions and so forth. You get the picture; it all depends on your personal study of what is best for you.
Cleansing the Cards
Have you ever left something somewhere, and when you got it back it felt strange? Like a jacket or a book. You hadn’t seen it in so long and when you got it back it didn’t feel like yours anymore but couldn’t really explain that silly feeling? It’s because your energy was rubbed off of the item and whoever had it in their possession now has their daily energy on it. Just something sitting in the same room attracts energy. It is important to cleanse your cards when you first get them to make them yours. Your cards know you, know your energy and when doing readings you’ll be much more able-bodied to tap into the other realms, the Divine, your higher self and your guides (whom all of these different entities “pull” the cards for you).
You can cleanse your cards in any number of ways. You can do imagine white light flowing through them, place them under the full moon, use crystals etc. . . Whatever cleansing spells resonate best with you is what will work!
Myths of Tarot
Buying Your Own Cards ~There are many myths of tarot. The most prominent one is that you are not allowed to buy your own deck. Rubbish. There are MANY different types of tarot decks out there it’d blow your mind! They are vastly different as well. Jane Doe may resonate with more mystical looking decks while John Doe may resonate with more elemental magic incorporated into it. If you follow the myth that someone else has to buy/give your deck to you… you could be getting a deck that will not work for you because it’s not your type.
Other people touching them ~ Some Pagans feel that no one else should ever touch their cards except the querent (the person asking for a reading), and even that is a personal choice (having the querent handle the cards). The reason they do not like others to touch their cards is because their energy gets all over the cards and they have to re-cleanse them. It is ok to have the person who is getting the reading touch the cards though, because the cards read their energy for that reading. A cleansing will still need to be done.
Storing Them Properly ~ You may hear ten different ways of how you have to store your cards the correct way or it’s just wrong wrong wrong. Well, they’re wrong. You may store your cards however you wish. They don’t have to be wrapped in silk, they don’t have to be in a cedar box, they don’t have to be kept out of the light or whatever else demanding storage technique.
Reading For Yourself ~ Many tarot readers do not believe in reading for themselves just as many tarot reads think nothing of it. The reason there is controversy over this is some readers believe if you are too emotionally involved in a situation you cannot read the card meanings objectively. You may see and interpret them how you unconsciously want them to be read. I suggest that if you have a situation that is very distressing to yourself, give yourself a reading and ask another reader to do the same (usually a reading exchange is most ethical!). You can compare notes afterwards. I have done this multiple times with many of my tarot friends where we double check each other’s work.
Spreads & How to Read
A spread is a layout of cards. Say you want to do a career spread, you can google “tarot career spread” and you’ll come up with multiple different spreads. I personally (and this is just me) don’t place cards in a certain order. If I’m pulling 6 cards in a reading I’ll just lay them out in order, not any fancy footwork of putting them in a star or circle or whatever else shape. Granted, placing them in spreads can be really fun and creative, but not necessary unless you feel it is necessary. You can make your own spreads as well. Say you want to know about a current situation. Example:
Card 1 – Current situation
Card 2 – What is hurting me in this situation (what am I holding back, hindering the process etc..)
Card 3 – What is helping me in this situation (ditto above)
Card 4 – Advice card on how to handle situation
Card 5 – Outcome if I follow card number 4
Pretty clear cut and simple!
The best way to start reading Tarot is to get your deck, read through the packet, look at the cards and start doing a daily draw. Pull one card and read about it, research it online, take note of the symbolism in it (colors, moon/stars, plants, animals etc…) if you want to and look up the meanings of them. Doing this will familiarize yourself with your cards.
Every tarot card has a meaning and it also has a reverse meaning. Example from my deck Tarot of a Moon Garden:
Six of Staffs
Conquest. Triumph. Good news. Advancement. Expectation. Desires realized as a result of efforts.
(R) – Indefinite delay. Fear. Apprehension, disloyalty, superficial benefit, inconclusive gain.
So, how do you know if you need the card meaning or the reversal meaning? The way I do it is I shuffle my cards and as I’m cutting the deck I’ll take however many feels right and turn them upside down and keep shuffling until, again, the cards feel right. Then I’ll pull my cards and lay them out.
What is the difference between Tarot & Oracle Cards?
Tarot decks have a traditional 78 card structure where oracle decks can have any number of cards. Tarot is used more for divination while Oracle decks are more theme oriented and used for spiritual work, affirmations, meditations, healing, guidance.
Time: Spring, Day
Issues: Emotions & Love. Poetry and music, psychic abilities.
Correspondence: Water, West, Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
King, Queen, Knight and Page of Cups: represent a blonde, warm hearted person full of good intentions. May be a man or woman the inquirer loves.
Time: Summer, Months
Issues:Science, knowledge. Quick witted. Pure mind, thinking, speaking. Think before you speak. Illness and difficulties.
Correspondence: Air, East, Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
King, Queen, Knight and Page of Swords: A person with dark brown coloring, power over people, possibly a manipulator, not honest.
Time: Autumn, Weeks
Issues:New beginnings. Divine spark within us which makes us more aware of our potential. Creative wisdom. Ambition, career, religion, teaching and leadership. Family & business concerns.
Correspondence: Fire, South, Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
King, Queen, Knight and Page of Wands/Staffs: Signifies a fair-haired, friendly, sympathetic, family centered person who can help you.
Time: Winter, Years
Issues: Contemplate the material, wealth, grounding. Health, physical. Money & material matters.
Correspondence: Earth, North, Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
King, Queen, Knight and Page of Pentacles/Coins: Someone wealthy, dark hair and eyes, materially help inquirer.