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Tarot Basics

History

Research shows that Tarot cards were developed in the mid 15th century in Europe as a pack of playing cards. In the late 18th century people started using Tarot decks for divination and cartomancy (tarot readings). Many people believe Tarot goes as far back as ancient Egypt, although there is no scholarly research to show this.

Today, Tarot is used for self-development/healing, manifestation, meditation, journaling, etc. 


The Tarot Deck

Each Tarot card shows the energetic whereabouts of the question or situation at hand. They tell a story and hold a lesson, or confirmation that we need to reflect & move forward accordingly. It consists of the following:


22 Major Arcana Cards:


The Major Arcana begins with The Fool card (number 0) and ends with The World card (number 22).  Think of these as the representation of the BIG pivotal moments in your life or life lessons. These cards are often taught in story format called “The Fool's Journey.” 


56 Minor Arcana Cards: Think of the Minor Arcana as the representation of your emotions and daily life. Don’t see them as any less significant than Major Arcana though. The day to day is where we can make the most change.


Within the Minor Arcana, there are 4 Suites in which each suite card is numbered Ace-10 and also include 4 court cards.



The Suites: I love using the elements as a way to connect Tarot meanings, and it makes it a lot easier to remember the elements rather than 40 individual card meanings.  


Swords- (Air Element) Intellect, Communication, Thought

Wands- (Fire Element) Passion, Creativity, Movement

Cups- (Water Element) Emotion, Feelings, Love

Pentacles- (Earth Element) The Body, Physical Needs, Material Realm


The Numbers: There is a strong element of numerology in Tarot and again, it is super helpful to have a basic understanding of these numbers rather than remembering 40 individual meanings. 




Ace: Beginnings, Optimism, Potential

2: Choice, Duality. Partnership

3: Creativity, Collaboration, Growth

4: Structure, Stability, Foundation, Manifestation

5: Midpoint, Instability, Loss, Conflict

6: Integration, Choice, Harmony, Communication

7: Inspired Action, Refinement, Reflection, Knowledge

8: Infinity, Success, Power, Mastery

9: Influence, Independence, Attainment

10: Completion, End of a Cycle, Renewal


The Court: Within each Suite lies the Court which includes King, Queen, Knight and Page. I like to think of each one of the court cards as a member of the Suites Family: 



Kings: Adult/Caretaker


The Kings lead through action and creating structure for the family.


Queens: Adult/Caretaker


The Queens lead by example through intention and embodiment of the energy they wish to bring forth. 


Knights: The Older Sibling


The Knights are the motivated messengers. They are starting to understand and apply things they've learned (oftenttimes in imbalanced ways).


Pages: The Younger Sibling


The Pages are the carefree explorers, they're unbiased to the potential of situations due to inexperience. They are eager to learn.



Imagery: There are traditional meanings of the imagery in each card that you can look into when you get deeper into reading Tarot. When I think of the imagery in Tarot I always think of the saying “a picture's worth a thousand words.”  Take some time to look at each card and write down what comes to mind initially. 


It's good to learn the traditional meaning of the cards but the Universe/your higher self/God will always communicate with you in the way that you understand best. So if you feel like pulling The Sun card means you need to get back into your self care routine- that's how it's always going to show up. 



FAQ


Can you buy your first Tarot Deck? Absolutely, and it is not “bad luck” to do so- We went in depth on this topic in our post about choosing a Tarot deck that’s right for you.


Can only Psychics read Tarot?  A Tarot deck is a tool that assists in connecting with your intuition. The only thing Tarot requires is a desire to dive deep and connect. No special skills needed. Psychics sometimes use Tarot as a tool to confirm what they see energetically, but everyone can use them. 


Is Tarot the same thing as Fortune Telling? There are definitely gifted psychics and readers that have the ability to connect with your energy and make predictions with their Tarot cards. In my opinion however, the future is never set in stone. Predictions are simply guesstimates based on the trajectory of your current path. Tarot can be used as a tool for these predictions but they can also be used for so much more. 


Is Tarot Evil? Again, your Tarot Deck is just a tool, a highly effective tool that helps you to see and break patterns that are hindering your growth. A tool that helps you connect with your intuition and helps you to trust yourself and your judgment. There is nothing evil about that. 


Are there good and bad Tarot cards? There are some cards that scare people away from using tarot (Devil, Death & Tower I’m talking to you lol) but there are no good and bad cards. All of the cards just show the energetic whereabouts of the question or situation at hand. 


What's the difference between Tarot and Oracle Decks? Standard Tarot Decks have 78 Cards with 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana. Oracle Cards do not follow this system and do not have the same traditional meanings as Tarot Decks. Oracle Decks are whatever the Author/Artist wants them to be.


Resources


Here you will find a list of books we love to help you learn more about each Tarot card. Alot of resources you find about Tarot will be modeled after the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck as it is the most well known. For that reason, we always recommend it as a beginner deck.

WTF is Tarot & How do i do it? -Bakara Wintner

Finding the Fool - Meg Jones Wall


Queering the Tarot- Cassandra Snow

Madame Pamitas Magickal Tarot- Madame Pamita

Tarot No Questions Asked- Theresa Reed




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