Tarot Card Reading
The art of tarot card reading has many influences and a variety of historical links to cultures throughout the world.
Two relevant facts are known that relate to the beginnings of the tarot. One is that card playing of various kinds is brought to Europe around the 14th century from Egypt. The other fact is that known tarot deck has been used in magical practices since the 18th century approximately, by occultists, mystics and gypsies throughout Europe. So for practical purposes it is safe to start from these dates to formulate the known history of the tarot.
Tarot Card Reading – The Tarot Card Deck
The tarot card deck is traditionally made with cards that are 78 in number. This 78 card deck is subdivided into two groupings called the Minor Arcana and the Major Arcana. You can also do tarot reading with playing cards.
Tarot Card Reading – The Minor Arcana
The Minor Arcana literally means the Lesser Secrets and consists of 56 cards, these are divided into four suited sets of 14 cards individually. The suits are swords, wands, disks and cups in most modern decks, although the older traditions use the terms swords, batons, coins and cups for their card decks. The four suits are representative of the four elemental powers of air, fire, earth and water, in that order. Like modern playing cards the suits have a single Ace card with four court cards called the King, Queen, Knight and Page of their respective suit. For more information on the meaning of cards go to Tarot meaning of cards.
There are then nine suited cards numbering two through ten. This is the complete listing of these 56 cards that the Minor Arcana includes.
Tarot Card Reading – Major Arcana
The Major Arcana literally means the Greater Secrets, or more commonly today it is called the Trump Cards and consists of 22 unsuited cards in numerical order. There are many ancient symbols incorporated into the 22 cards of the Major Arcana that serious tarot readers will want to explore in depth. For this introduction these are the symbols and in their numerological order, each would traditionally have astrological, philosophical, magical, linguistic and occult correspondences based on their combined symbolism. These symbolic and numerological factors are taken into account by the person doing a tarot reading. The Major Arcana cards appear in the following order for the modern tarot card deck – The Fool, the Magician, the High Priestess, the Empress, the Emperor, the Hierophant, the Lovers, the Chariot, Strength, the Hermit, the Wheel of Fortune, Justice, the Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, the Devil, the Tower, the Star, the Moon, the Sun, Judgment and the World.
The Art Of Tarot Card Reading
The essential art of tarot card reading entails the use of the cards in what is called a spread, which is an order the cards are laid out in to perform the tarot reading. Some tarot readers choose to use traditional spreads such as the Celtic cross or the Nine Card planetary spread. The cards are usually laid face down until they each are revealed in a proper order and when faced upward they are interpreted by the reader for the person whom is being given the reading. There are variations of how the cards maybe interpreted such as inversion of cards having a reversed meaning, but not all tarot readers agree to this particular tarot interpretation.
Tarot card reading style is somewhat subjective and dependent on the chosen method from tarot reader to tarot reader, much like artists are in choice of style or genre for creating art.
In a general sense most tarot readers have the best intentions for the people receiving the reading. Traditionally the tarot reader facilitates as psychic, medium, counselor and spiritual advisor. The role should not be taken to seriously or too lightly, but that goes without saying. The ideal situation is that the person being read is responsive enough to pick up both on them with your natural empathy, then try to let the images that correspond to the symbolism of each card come to you naturally. Do not try to over analyze the reading and do not try to over think everything. Absolutely do not make things up just because you do not understand the meaning of a symbol or feeling you get, just let the reading happen naturally. Remember that it is not your tarot reading, if it does not make clear sense to you is okay. It does not need to make sense to you. Again it is not your reading.
Popular Occult Tarot Decks
Many popular occult tarot decks have modified the original traditional tarot symbolism to reflect the esoteric belief systems of their creators. Although this could be a source of debate these are the most agreed upon modern tarot decks in use today.
The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot
The Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck is the creation of A.E. Waite and Pamela Coleman Smith is probably the most widely known deck used today. It has been adopted by tarot readers from Wicca to the New Age movement. Although not traditional in some of its design, it maybe the tarot used more than any other for readings in modern times.
Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot
Aleister Crowley‘s Thoth tarot deck was the creation of Crowley with artist Lady Frieda Harris. The Thoth deck is amazingly detailed in the paintings Harris was instructed to make by Crowley. with astrological, zodiacal, elemental and symbols from various occult sources, these are related to each card throughout the deck. It is a very popular tarot deck and a beautiful work of art for those less inclined to use it.
The Hermetic Tarot
The Hermetic Tarot is recreated from older decks by Leigh J. McCloskey. It uses imagery to explore the tarot as a tool for teaching the ideology of gnosis according to the symbolical language of alchemical mysticism. This deck has been the choice of readers in a variety of philosophies over the decades, but has been the choice for members of the Golden Dawn, Carl Jung and other interested parties that sought to understand the practice of tarot in the modern esoteric arts.
Other Modern Tarot Decks
There are other modern tarot decks available including the Golden Dawn Tarot, the Phoenix Cards, the Tarot of the Cat People, the Witches Tarot, the Alchemical Tarot and the Aquarian Tarot.
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