Ok, you have opened the deck and what do you find? A ton of beautiful,
but otherwise confusing cards! Well let's begin with the very basics
here. If you all ready know them, then it is your choice as to whether
or not you read this section. Me? I can never get enough
There are 78 cards total in the Tarot deck, and these are broken down
into two main categories - the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The
Major Arcana consists of 22 cards numbered from zero to twenty-one, and these
are the cards that deal with karmic issues. In layman terms, Karmas
issues are the archetypal passages in life's journey. The Minor Arcana
consists of 56 cards that deal the things that happen to us on a day to day
basis. At first glimpse, the Major Arcana imagery seems to be taken straight
from mythology. People usually have very strong reactions to these
cards, whether it be like or dislike. I encourage you to begin
familiarizing yourselves with these cards first. Look at the imagery
in each card, let it "speak" to you. Meditate on that card and see
what meanings you get from it intuitively. THEN, go and look at the
book or books you may have to see how someone else interpreted it. I
am not saying that these books are "bad" or "wrong"; quite on the contrary
they are wonderful resources. Notice I said resources, and not crutches.
Sometimes we can be so hung up on finding the "right" meaning, that
we tend to ignore the one that is smacking us right in the gut. Take
time to notice not only the central figures in each card, but the colors
and surroundings depicted. There are some wonderful "get to know your
cards" exercises in "Tarot and Fortune-Telling for Dummies" by Arlene Tognetti
and Lisa Lenard, and I highly recommend it as a general resource too (notice
"resource :-p ).
The Minor Arcana themselves are no less beautiful or striking, but
a lot of people I have spoken
with tell me that they tend to relate to these cards better. I would
suppose this is because the cards deal with the every day issues, but again
it is an individual thing. These cards are broken down even further
into 4 suits: Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. These suits correspond
to clubs, hearts, spades and diamonds in a deck of regular playing cards.
These suits also correspond to the four elements, and also to the 12
astrological signs in the Zodiac.
Tarot Suits, Elements and Astrological elements
||Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
||Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
||Communication, mental activities
||Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
||Possessions, the physical
||Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Sometimes when you are doing a reading you will notice a card in a
particular position. This may indicate a person with that astrological
sign who is involved in that area of your life, but I digress! I promise
to discuss this a little more later on, once we have covered the basics.
Now I am sure that somewhere along the line you might want to tell
your friends and family that you have a Tarot deck. Be prepared for
them to ask you if they can have a reading. What's a reading you say?
Well it is what a reader does when they lay the cards out in a spread
(a formation of cards). You can read for yourself, it is a matter of
preference. Some only like to have readings done by others; they
don't trust themselves to be honest about what the cards say. Others
are just the opposite; they don't want anyone else "knowing their business".
Still others couldn't care less - they will have it done both ways.
In any case, it is extremely important to remember not to let anyone
touch your cards expect for the individuals you are doing readings for, and
only when you are actually doing readings for them. Otherwise, you
have too much "psychic mish-mash" attaching themselves to your cards and
will cause your readings to not be as forthright as you would
Also I would like to let you know that what comes out in a reading
does NOT seal your fate. You are in charge of your destiny and what
path your life takes. The cards can tell you about what is happening
now or what can happen in the near future, should you continue in the "mode"
you are in. Nothing about it (the Tarot) is inexorable or inevitable,
and the fears of having your life laid out like a road map are largely