Tarot Card Reading: 101
Have you ever wanted to learn tarot but weren’t sure where to start? Maybe you’ve been thinking of getting a reading, but you want to know how it works beforehand. For many, the skill of tarot card reading seems like something only accessible to those born with psychic ability, but in truth, tarot is just that - a skill.
Like any skill, tarot can be learned and the reading skill developed by anyone who is interested. All you need is intuition, practice and of course, a deck of cards. With our Tarot Card Reading 101, you will find a beginner’s guide to the background and basics for understanding the art of tarot reading.
Why Get a Tarot Reading?
There has been a huge boost in the popularity of tarot in recent years, but it has been one of the most popular means for divination for centuries. Divination is the art of interpreting signs and omens to discover or “divine” hidden knowledge, usually about the future.
We find that often those who want a tarot reading come for two reasons - out of a sense of curiosity, or because they are undergoing troubling or confusing changes in their lives. They want to know the future holds for them.
Psychics and mediums will use tarot as a way of mediating issues and conflicts in their clients' lives - the cards will guide them through their past, present and future to understand the roots of their problems and the ways to resolve them.
What You Need to Know
Here, we will go through the elementary tools your psychic will use to find the answers you seek.
The Tarot Deck
The first to step to understanding tarot is understanding the deck and how it is used.
The number of cards may vary depending on who designed them and when they were made, but the standard deck usually consists of 78 cards. Each one comes with its own name, pictorial symbol, and specific meaning.
Every card in the deck falls under two categories - the Major and Minor Arcana (adopted from the Latin Arcanum, meaning “hidden secret, or mystery”). The Major Arcana represent the greater secrets of the universe, and the Minor Arcana the lesser secrets of the universe.
In tarot, the Universe is reflected in the inner workings of every individual person and each card is used to tap into their life and psychic energy. Using variations of both these cards will help the tarot reader to guide their subject, by answering questions they have of the unknown.
The Major Arcana
In every deck, the Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, each representing a universal aspect of the human experience. These cards are the most important figures in the deck. They reflect the life lessons and themes that influence every individual's journey through life.
Each card is numbered from 1 to 21, except for The Fool (card 0). The Fool is the character in the deck that takes the place of the subject, which interacts with each card that is drawn. The fool’s journey through the spread (the set of cards drawn at the beginning of the reading) represents the journey to enlightenment.
The Major Arcana allows readers to show people the themes and lessons that they are experiencing in the present and have experienced in the past. In this way, they may reflect and use them to face whatever lies in their future.
The Major Arcana consists of such cards as The Lovers (concerning our loves and relationships), The Magician (our ability to communicate and manifest our desires), The Star (joy, optimism, and guidance), and many more.
The Minor Arcana
The Minor Arcana makes up the remaining 56 cards in the deck. These cards represent the activities and occurrences one might experience on a daily basis and how they affect their life. They are called minor in that they are considered to have a more temporary influence than the Major Arcana, as they are circumstances that can be changed depending on a person's actions.
Nonetheless, they can still carry a significant meaning, as they can provide deep insight into present situations and thus are helpful in divining the path to persons desired goal or destination.
There are four suits in the Minor Arcana, representing different elements and thus different areas of life:
- The Suit of Pentacles (Earth): represents the material world, often depicting finances and career.
- The Suit of Cups (Water): represents the emotional and creative world, often depicting relationships and emotional connections.
- The Suit of Wands (Fire): represents passion and inspiration, often depicting life purposes and spirituality.
- The Suit of Swords (Air): represents words, thoughts, and ideas, often depicting communication and decision making.
Choosing a Spread
Once you have found a deck that resonates with you it’s time to choose a spread or layout. The spread is the number of cards you draw from the deck and the order and positions that you place them in in order to divine a certain kind of reading.
There are many spreads that vary in complexity, from the simple three-card layout to the far more intricate Celtic Cross. It’s best to get yourself familiar with different types. With practice, you will find the spread that garners best results for the readings you want to give.
Interpreting the Cards
Intuition is one of the most important aspects of tarot reading, but it might take some time before you feel signs and meanings being communicated through the cards you draw. In the beginning, you will have to get familiar with every card and its place in the deck, so you may want to keep a book at hand or even draw a diagram while you perform readings.
Try to register any emotional responses you have to cards that are drawn, as your emotions will strengthen your symbolic memory. Soon enough you will develop your own systems and associations that can be weaved into the fabric of the reading.