I thought I would start a new series, whereby once a week I will post a lesson up on how to read tarot. I will be using the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck (published by U.S. Games Systems Inc. as I feel this is the mother to most modern tarot decks. Once you understand how to read this deck, different decks will be easier to read.
However before we start talking about what various cards, numbers etc. mean, a basic understand of what Tarot is should be the first step.
How does tarot work and what influence does it have on your life?
I believe that the Tarot works in a way that connects to our energy and becomes a tool that enables contact with our higher self. We then become enlightened about the choices we have and the possibilities that may be available, but remembers that we also have free will so those possibilities are changeable and depend on the choices we make.
When you have a reading the influence it may have on your life is that it can cause you to look where you have not thought to look before. By exploring beyond normal perception you can gain a more positive outlook, facilitate a greater understanding of yourself and your situation and in turn, empower you to make a better choice for yourself.
The Tarot Cards
A tarot deck consists of 78 cards and is divided into two parts. The first, consisting of 22 cards, is called the Major Arcana. The second, consisting of 56 cards, is called the Minor Arcana (or Pip cards).
The Major Arcana cards are thought to refer to the spiritual / psychological part of life’s journey and relate to the more important of life's issues. This is often called “The Fool’s Journey” as he travels by through the three stages of life from 0-21. Briefly, these stages are represented by:
The Fool (0) - The Chariot (7) is when the Fool starts to develop self awareness and discovers the importance of choice and how it impacts on life - in short, this is the education stage.
Strength (8) - Temperance (14) is the time when the Fool faces the physical / material trials of adulthood - this is the stage where the moral lessons of life are learnt.
Devil (15) - World (21) is the final stage and where the Fool develops an understanding that one must look inwards to work through fundamental thoughts and behaviours in order to rebuild - this is the stage concerning the search for real meaning.
The Minor Arcana (Pips) consists of four suits - Wands, Cups. Swords and Pentacles. Each suit has 14 cards numbered Ace to Ten plus four court cards - Page, Knight, Queen and King.
The four suits relate to the four elements (fire, water, air and earth) and are concerned with the day-to-day issues of life.
Wands energy comes from the Fire element and is expressed through action, creativity and intuition.
Cups energy comes from the Water element and is expressed through emotion, feelings, imagination and inspiration.
Swords energy comes form the Air element and is expressed through clarity of thought, mental activity and logic.
Pentacles energy comes from the Earth element and is expressed through those things which are tangible - money, practical security, material wealth, physical needs.
As an example of how these energies can work together, consider the creative conception of an idea (Wands); the emotions that support it (Cups); the mental activity that forms it (Swords) and the manifestation of it into reality (Earth).
Court cards can be interpreted as facets of your own personality, or as other people in your life, coming into your life or as a situation. Pages are considered to be the messengers of the suits and are immature. Knights deliver the message and are the teenagers. Queens assimilate the message. The King has mastered the message.
This is a basic understanding of how tarot works. Next week I'll be looking at the cards themselves.
Credit for cards shown:
Tarot Bella unfinished deck by Helen