Understanding Tarot – The Overall Basics

Understanding Tarot – The Overall Basics

You may have heard a lot about tarot. Maybe you heard that it was invented by the ancient Egyptians, or that it was developed by the Romany as they moved into northern Europe. In reality, Tarot dates back to 15th Century Italy where it was developed as a card game of entertainment for the nobility as they escaped the plague-ridden cities for summers in their country villas.

The deck for the card game, tarrochi, consisted of four suits – Wands, Pentacles, Cups, and Swords (which have fourteen cards each) and another grouping called the Major Arcana (which is composed of twenty-two cards). A full deck of tarot includes a total of 78 cards. The deck has been revamped and some cards renamed by different artisans through the years, but the basic deck of 78 cards remains the same today as it was when first created.

Each card in the tarot deck is assigned specific meanings or concepts. For example, the Cups are aligned with the element of water; the element responsible for emotions, especially love. The Ace of Cups speaks of new beginnings in love and the 10 of Cups indicates the joy of home, hearth and family; both aspects of the same ideal. From Ace to King, each of the cards in the four suits has a specific meaning and messages.

We cannot forget the Major Arcana, those 22 cards (Fool through to the World) which are named rather than numbered or a court card. These, too, have their own meanings. The cards of the Major Arcana carry more weight in a reading that the suited cards. If a reading includes a majority of Major Arcana the reading is believed to have a stronger message. Some readers will only use the Major Arcana in their readings, especially when the reading is on a matter of personal growth or self-introspection.

So, how do these cards with meanings answer your question when you have a reading done? It is a factor of: you, the querent; the reader; the cards; and the location of the cards in the spread. The spread is the specific way the tarot reader lays out the cards. For example, a simple spread used is the three-card spread. In this spread, you would have three cards laid out as follows:

By combining their knowledge of the tarot cards, the spread, your question, with their intuitive knowledge of the cards, a tarot reader is able to ascertain information that may not be available to you otherwise. Many readers, myself included, believe it is a bad idea to try to do a full reading for yourself. Why? Well, it is difficult to maintain the separation necessary to read what is truly in the cards instead of validating your own hopes and wishes.

There are other ways you can use tarot in your daily life. An easy way is to do the “card a day focus.” Draw a card from your deck in the morning. Look up its meaning and carry it with you, looking at it several times throughout the day. If you want to move your life forward, try starting with The Fool and go through the entire Major Arcana, spending a day focusing on each card’s meaning. This is a great meditation if you are wanting to effect change in your life.

From the detailed information found in a professional tarot reading to the simple pick a card focus, tarot is a powerful tool you can put at your disposal. As an oracle device that has been in use for nearly seven centuries, it is full of information that you can put to work for you. If you would like to learn more about the Tarot, I hope you will stop by my FREE CHAT at the best esoteric community on the web, Oranum.com.

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