Posts Tagged With: Tarot Deck

Choosing Your Tarot Deck

Choosing Your Tarot Deck

For a beginning Tarot reader, few tasks are as daunting as actually choosing that first deck. There are hundreds of different Tarot decks available. Some are based upon famous artwork, movies, books, legends, mythology, and even movies. Others proudly declare on their sparkly boxes that they are not just Tarot cards — they are oracle cards, wisdom cards, healing cards, and all kinds of other things. Really, it can be a little overwhelming.

So how does a new person choose a deck? Well, it sounds very simplistic, but the best thing to do is choose a deck that feels right for you. Handle the boxes. Look at them. Ask the shop owner if they have any samples you can examine — most Pagan and Metaphysical shops will have plenty of loose cards lying around, although your local Big Chain Bookstore will not. Ask friends who read Tarot what decks they prefer, and why.

While you’re looking at the decks, see if there’s a particular one that keeps getting your attention. Do you keep finding yourself picking up that Baseball Tarot package, because it reminds you of your late Nana who pitched a no-hitter in the All American Girls League seven decades ago? Do you think the artwork on the Cat People deck is mystical and seductive? Perhaps the Egyptian Tarot brings to mind some dreams you’ve been having lately. If there’s a certain deck that calls to you, that might be the one you need to get.

Do keep in mind that if you’re new to Tarot, and you plan to learn Tarot in a class, from a book, or from a website like this one, most follow the traditional 78 card format. If you choose a deck that bills itself as an “oracle deck” or “wisdom cards”, the cards may not correspond with the information provided in Tarot teachings. In other words, if you want to learn Tarot, be sure the deck you choose has the standard 78 cards.

Finally, if you’re really stuck, and you just aren’t sure which deck is the best one for you, it’s not a bad idea to pick up the Rider Waite deck. Aesthetically speaking, the Rider Waite deck may be lacking a bit, but it’s the one used most often as illustration in Tarot instruction books, and it’s a fairly easy system to learn. Later on, as you come to understand the cards and their meanings on an intuitive level, you can always add new decks to your collection.

 

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Ever Wonder Where the Tarot Came From? A Brief History of Tarot

A Brief History of Tarot

The Tarot is probably one of the most popularly used tools of divination in the world today. While not as simple as some other methods, like pendulums or tea leaves, the Tarot has drawn people into its magic for centuries. Today, cards are available to purchase in hundreds of different designs. There is a Tarot deck for just about any practitioner, no matter where his or her interests may lie. Whether you’re a fan of Lord of the Rings or baseball, whether you love zombies or are interested in the writings of Jane Austen, you name it, there’s probably a deck out there for you to choose.

Although methods of reading the Tarot have changed over the years, and many readers adopt their own unique style to the traditional meanings of a layout, in general, the cards themselves haven’t changed much. Lets look at some of the early decks of Tarot cards, and the history of how these came to be used as more than just a parlor game.

French & Italian Tarot

The ancestors of what we today know as Tarot cards can be traced back to around the late fourteenth century. Artists in Europe created the first playing cards, which were used for games, and featured four different suits. These suits were similar to what we still use today – staves or wands, discs or coins, cups, and swords. After a decade or two of using these, in the mid-1400s, Italian artists began painting additional cards, heavily illustrated, to add into the existing suits.

These trump, or triumph, cards were often painted for wealthy families. Members of the nobility would commission artists to create for them their own set of cards, featuring family members and friends as the triumph cards. A number of sets, some of which still exist today, were created for the Visconti family of Milan, which counted several dukes and barons among its numbers.

Because not everyone could afford to hire a painter to create a set of cards for them, for a few centuries, customized cards were something only a privileged few could own. It wasn’t until the printing press came along that playing card decks could be mass-produced for the average game-player.

Tarot as Divination

In both France and Italy, the original purpose of Tarot was as a parlor game, not as a divinatory tool. It appears that divination with playing cards started to become popular in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, although at that time, it was far more simple than the way we use Tarot today.

By the eighteenth century, however, people were beginning to assign specific meanings to each card, and even offer suggestions as to how they could be laid out for divinatory purposes.

Tarot and the Kabbalah

In 1781, a French Freemason (and former Protestant minister) named Antoine Court de Gebelin published a complex analysis of the Tarot, in which he revealed that the symbolism in the Tarot was in fact derived from the esoteric secrets of Egyptian priests. De Gebelin went on to explain that this ancient occult knowledge had been carried to Rome and revealed to the Catholic Church and the popes, who desperately wanted to keep this arcane knowledge secret. In his essay, the chapter on Tarot meanings explains the detailed symbolism of Tarot artwork and connects it to the legends of Isis, Osiris and other Egyptian gods.

The biggest problem with de Gebelin’s work is that there was really no historical evidence to support it. However, that didn’t stop wealthy Europeans from jumping onto the esoteric knowledge bandwagon, and by the early nineteenth century, playing card decks like the Marseille Tarot were being produced with artwork specifically based on deGebelin’s analysis.

In 1791, Jean-Baptiste Alliette, a French occultist, released the first Tarot deck designed specifically for divinatory purposes, rather than as a parlor game or entertainment. A few years earlier, he had responded to de Gebelin’s work with a treatise of his own, a book explaining how one could use the Tarot for divination.

As occult interest in the Tarot expanded, it became more associated with the Kabbalah and the secrets of hermetic mysticism. By the end of the Victorian era, occultism and spiritualism had become popular pastimes for bored upper class families. It wasn’t uncommon to attend a house party and find a séance taking place, or someone reading palms or tea leaves in the corner.

The Origins of Rider-Waite

British occultist Arthur Waite was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn – and apparently a longtime nemesis of Aleister Crowley, who was also involved in the group and its various offshoots. Waite got together with artist Pamela Colman Smith, also a Golden Dawn member, and created the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, which was first published in 1909. The imagery is heavy on Kabbalistic symbolism, and because of this, is typically used as the default deck in nearly all instructional books on Tarot. Today, many people refer to this deck as the Waite-Smith deck, in acknowledgement of Smith’s iconic and enduring artwork.

Now, over a hundred years since the release of the Rider-Waite deck, Tarot cards are available in a practically endless selection of designs. In general, many of these follow the format and style of Rider-Waite, although each adapts the cards to suit their own motif. No longer just the domain of the wealthy and upper class, Tarot is available for anyone who wishes to take the time to learn it.

 

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How To Prepare for a Tarot Reading

How To Prepare for a Tarot Reading

By , About.com

 

So you’ve got your Tarot deck, you’ve figured out how to keep it safe from negativity, and now you’re ready to read for someone else. Perhaps it’s a friend who’s heard about your interest in Tarot. Maybe it’s a coven sister in need of guidance. Perhaps — and this happens a lot — it’s a friend of a friend, who has a problem and would like to see “what the future holds.” Regardless, there are a few things you should do before you take on the responsibility of reading cards for another person.

First, before you read for someone else, make sure you’ve brushed up on the basics of Tarot. It’s important that you study and learn the meanings of the 78 cards in the deck. Study the major arcana, as well as the four suits, so that you know what each card represents. Readers who are more intuitive may get slightly different meanings than the traditional “book taught” representations, and that’s okay. The point is, know what you’re doing before you do it for someone else. Meanings that are only partially learned will result in only a partial reading.

Decide whether you feel comfortable using “reversals” in your divination. Many people read a card the same way no matter how it turns up. Others follow the reversed meanings that are applied to each card. It’s up to you whether you use reversed meanings or not, but it’s a good idea to be consistent. In other words, if you use reversals, use them every time they appear, not just when it’s convenient. Remember, as the cards are shuffled they will become very well mixed.

In some traditions of Tarot, the reader will select a card to represent the Querent — the person for whom you are reading. This is sometimes referred to as a Significator card. In some traditions, the Significator is selected based on age and maturity level — a King would be a good choice for an older man, while a Page or Knight would do for a younger, less experienced male. Some readers select a card based on personality — your earth-mother best friend may be perfectly represented by the Empress, or your really devout uncle by the Hierophant. If you don’t want to assign a card to the Querent, you don’t have to.

It’s a good idea to have the Querent shuffle the deck so the cards can pick up on his or her energies. If you feel the Querent has some negativity attached to him, cleanse the deck after the reading. If you really don’t want the Querent to shuffle, at the very least you should allow him or her to cut the deck into three piles once you’ve completed the shuffling. As he does so, the Querent should silently ask a simple but important question on which the reading will focus. Ask the Querent not to share this question with you until you’ve completed the reading.

Decide which layout you want to use — some people prefer the Celtic Cross, others the Romany method, or you can make up your own. Start at the top of the deck, and place the cards in the order dictated by your spread. As you turn the cards over to be read, flip them from one side to the other, rather than vertically — if you turn them vertically, a reversed card will end up right-side up and vice versa. Place all the cards in the layout in front of you at once, before you begin reading any of them. Once all the cards are laid out, set the rest of the deck aside.

Give a quick glance over the spread, and look for any patterns. For example, is there more of one suit than others? Are there a lot of court cards, or an absence of the Major Arcana? Note the suits as well, because this will give you an idea of the possible direction of the reading.

  • Many Swords: conflict and strife
  • Many Wands: big changes
  • Many Pentacles/Coins: financial issues
  • Many Cups: love and relationship issues
  • Many major arcana: the Querent’s question could be controlled by other people, rather than himself
  • Many 8’s: change and forward movement in life
  • Many Aces: powerful energy of the suit’s element

Now that you’ve looked them over, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty, and do your reading!

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, The Tarot | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Choosing Your Tarot Deck

Choosing Your Tarot Deck

By , About.com

 

For a beginning Tarot reader, few tasks are as daunting as actually choosing that first deck. There are hundreds of different Tarot decks available. Some are based upon famous artwork, movies, books, legends, mythology, and even movies. Others proudly declare on their sparkly boxes that they are not just Tarot cards — they are oracle cards, wisdom cards, healing cards, and all kinds of other things. Really, it can be a little overwhelming.

So how does a new person choose a deck? Well, it sounds very simplistic, but the best thing to do is choose a deck that feels right for you. Handle the boxes. Look at them. Ask the shop owner if they have any samples you can examine — most Wiccan and Metaphysical shops will have plenty of loose cards lying around, although your local Big Chain Bookstore will not. Ask friends who read Tarot what decks they prefer, and why.

While you’re looking at the decks, see if there’s a particular one that keeps getting your attention. Do you keep finding yourself picking up that Baseball Tarot package, because it reminds you of your late Nana who pitched a no-hitter in the All American Girls League seven decades ago? Do you think the artwork on the Cat People deck is mystical and seductive? Perhaps the Egyptian Tarot brings to mind some dreams you’ve been having lately. If there’s a certain deck that calls to you, that might be the one you need to get.

Do keep in mind that if you’re new to Tarot, and you plan to learn Tarot in a class, from a book, or from a website like this one, most follow the traditional 78 card format. If you choose a deck that bills itself as an “oracle deck” or “wisdom cards”, the cards may not correspond with the information provided in Tarot teachings. In other words, if you want to learn Tarot, be sure the deck you choose has the standard 78 cards.

Finally, if you’re really stuck, and you just aren’t sure which deck is the best one for you, it’s not a bad idea to pick up the Rider Waite deck. Aesthetically speaking, the Rider Waite deck may be lacking a bit, but it’s the one used most often as illustration in Tarot instruction books, and it’s a fairly easy system to learn. Later on, as you come to understand the cards and their meanings on an intuitive level, you can always add new decks to your collection.

Categories: Articles, Daily Posts, The Tarot | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Daily Tarot Card for October 4 is The Moon

The Moon

This Tarot Deck: Royal Thai

General Meaning:  What has traditionally been known as the Moon card refers to a deep state of sensitivity and imaginative impressionability, developed within a womb of deep relaxation. Here we dream and go into trance, have visions and receive insights, wash in and out with the psychic tides, and experience deep mystical and/or terrifying realities beyond our ordinary senses. The full moon and/or eclipse cycle charted by the Magi (as in some of the earliest Moon card images) exemplify this as a mechanism that Nature uses to expand consciousness.

The variants of the courtly lovers (representing skillful use of the sex force) or the man sleeping it off under the tree (use of drugs to alter consciousness) are also traditional avenues for tapping this primal force. Human interest in higher states propels us to the frontiers of consciousness, where we cannot always control what happens. The Moon card represents the ultimate test of a soul’s integrity, where the membrane between self and the Unknown is removed, and the drop of individuality reenters the Ocean of Being. What transpires next is between a soul and its Maker.

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Today’s Tarot Card for October 3 is The Sun

The Sun

This Tarot Deck: Gummy Bear Tarot

 

General Meaning:  What has traditionally been known as the Sun card is about the self — who you are and how you cultivate your personality and character. The earth revolves around the sun to make up one year of a person’s life, a fact we celebrate on our birthday.

The Sun card could also be titled “Back to Eden.” The Sun’s radiance is where one’s original nature or unconditioned Being can be encountered in health and safety. The limitations of time and space are stripped away; the soul is refreshed and temporarily protected from the chaos outside the garden walls.

Under the light of the Sun, Life reclaims its primordial goodness, truth and beauty. If one person is shown on this card, it is usually signifying a human incarnation of the Divine. When two humans are shown, the image is portraying a resolution of the tension between opposites at all levels. It’s as if this card is saying “You can do no wrong — it’s all to the good!”

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Today’s Tarot Card for October 2 is The Star

The Star

 

This Tarot Deck: Celestial

 

General Meaning:  What has traditionally been known as the Star card is about reconnecting one’s Soul with the Divine — the transcending of personality, family, community and reputation. It has to do ultimately with the freedom to be one’s Self. The Soul is responding to celestial influences — forces that can provide the personality with a stronger sense of purpose. The Star card helps us to remember our exalted origins and our attraction to a Higher Union.

This card could also be called the “Celestial Mandate” — that which refers us back to our reason for being, our mission in this lifetime. The Star reminds us that, in a sense, we are agents of Divine Will in our day-to-day lives. If we let go of the idea that we are supposed to be in control, we can more easily notice and appreciate the synchronicities that are nudging us along. In this way, we become more conscious of the invisible Helping Hand, and we better understand our place within — and value to — the larger Cosmos.

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Your Tarot Card for October 1: The Devil

The Devil

This Tarot Deck: Folklore

General Meaning:  What has traditionally been known as the Devil card expresses the realm of the Taboo, the culturally rejected wildness and undigested shadow side that each of us carries in our subconscious. This shadow is actually at the core of our being, which we cannot get rid of and will never succeed in taming. From its earliest versions, which portrayed a vampire-demon, this card evoked the Church-fueled fear that a person could “lose their soul” to wild and passionate forces.

The image which emerged in the mid-1700’s gives us a more sophisticated rendition — that of the “scapegoated Goddess,” whose esoteric name is Baphomet. Volcanic reserves of passion and primal desire empower her efforts to overcome the pressure of stereotyped roles and experience true freedom of soul. Tavaglione’s highly evolved image (Stella deck) portrays the magical formula for harnessing and transmuting primal and obsessive emotions into transformative energies. As a part of the Gnostic message of Tarot, this fearsome passion and power must be reintegrated into the personality, to fuel the soul’s passage from mortal to immortal.

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