The other 56 cards make up the Minor Arcana. They form four suits of cards, just
like you would have in an ordinary deck of cards but the Clubs, Hearts, Spades
and Diamonds are replaced with Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles (sometimes
called Coins). Each suit consists of cards numbered 1 (Ace) to 10, and then four
court cards, Page, Knight, Queen and King. The Minor Arcana represents human
conditions and situation.
Tarot cards have been linked to ancient Egypt, the wisdom of the Kabala, the
French court, Roma, and many other places and people. There is evidence that
Tarot cards were used in 14th century Italy, but most likely not as a divination
tool. Most recently Tarot has become very
popular due to the New Age movement.
Each of the
four suits has its own characteristics,
are influenced by Astrology and the four
elements - Earth, Air, Fire and Water as set out
Many people these days seem to want to become involved with Tarot either by
learning to read the cards themselves or by receiving readings. Lessons on how
to read Tarot cards are even being given in night school classes. I have a
friend who learned in this way himself. It is no longer thought to be 'the work
of the devil' but is becoming highly respected.
Although some people believe Tarot has nothing to do with God, or spirits, they
are wrong. It is spirit which plants the messages into the mind of the reader.
Many people who start off by reading Tarot cards find that after a while they no
longer need to look at the cards to 'see' what the message is...spirit gives
them the message and they are able to relay this to the sitter. This is not to
say that the reader does not get anything from the cards her/himself...they do.
The reader learns what the colours on the cards mean, what different symbols
mean...they DO learn to 'read' the cards...but spirit gives them the true
meaning for each particular sitter.
Get out your deck and give it a good shuffle while concentrating on the cards.
Once you feel the deck is well shuffled, it's time to ask it some
questions. First, ask the deck what its personality is, and then draw a card out
of the deck. Note down which card it is in a book. Next, ask it what it will
teach you. Again, note the card and look up the meaning. Finally, ask it what
your relationship will be, again noting down the card.
If any card happens to pop out while you are shuffling, that card will give you
a good indication of what your deck's personality is. You can then skip over the
first question and ask the other two.
Explore your cards. Take a good look at all the pictures. Make notes on any
symbolism you don't understand. Make notes if any cards seem to speak to you.
Take any of the cards you are particularly drawn to, and examine it very well.
Think about the emotions present, its mood, what you think the card might mean.
You could even try making up a story about it. When you are done, look up the
meaning and see how close you were. This is a useful exercise to help you get
comfortable with all the cards, and is especially useful with cards that you
might not like at first sight.
When you decide to buy yourself a Tarot deck, it is best to go to a store with a
very large selection of Tarot decks. There are online stores selling Tarot cards
but unless you actually know what these cards are like then it's best not to buy
them. When you want to buy a deck you do not choose it...the deck chooses you!
There are many different decks, all different colours and with different themes
to them, Native American, Faeries, Dragons, Mystic...but it is the wrong thing
to do to decide you want a certain deck and buy it. When you are in the shop run
your eyes over the many different decks and 'feel' which one is reaching out to
you...which one is calling you....you will be surprised to find that one will! That deck is the one you
There are many different people producing Tarot cards and they are not all good
cards. The ones to look out for are ones that feature the Rider-Waite-Smith
(RWS) symbolism. Some good choices for beginners are:
Original Rider-Waite Pack
Universal Waite Tarot
and any of the Doreen Virtue decks available.
Be aware that there are a few other systems of Tarot symbolism that are
available. These include the Thoth Tarot of Alistair Crowley and the decks based
on it, the Tarot de Marseilles, the Grand Etteilla Tarot, and the Visconti
Sforza Tarot. Most have Major Arcana cards similar to the RWS system (which is
only natural, since the RWS system grew out of most of these decks), but they
generally have non-pictorial Minor Arcana, different numbering of the Major
Arcana, and have acquired slightly or significantly different meanings for many
of the cards. When starting out with the Tarot I would suggest avoiding these
systems, at least for now. However they are all very interesting, especially to
students of magick or Thelema in the case of the Thoth and Etteilla decks, and
students of history in the case of the other decks.
There are also RWS-inspired decks which diverge to some extent from traditional
symbolism or meanings. These include feminist decks like Daughters of the Moon
Tarot, Mother peace Tarot, and the Barbara Walker Tarot; as well as theme decks,
like the Arthurian decks Hallow quest Tarot (also known as Arthurian Tarot) and
The Legend Tarot, or the Ancient Egyptian inspired decks like The Ancient
Egyptian Tarot and the shiny Nefertari's Tarots. These are all wonderful decks,
but because of the changes in symbolism they can be more difficult to learn
All Tarot cards come with a booklet inside the box which gives the basic meaning
for all the cards. It is a good idea, in the beginning, to look through the
booklet and to get a basic idea as to what the cards mean, but then the booklet
should be thrown away! Yes, that's right...throw it away! A booklet, or a book
on Tarot reading cannot tell you what to
say in a reading...only by looking at the cards
themselves can you know what the cards are
The best Tarot readers I have come across have
NEVER used the booklet which has
come with their cards or any other book! Intuition as well as the help of spirit
guides is all you need to give somebody a good Tarot reading.
Just for the
record...lol lol...the cards I use are The
Mythic Tarot. Sometimes when I am doing a
reading I will pull an Angel card and add this
at the end of the reading. The Angel cards which
I use are Doreen Virtue's Messages from your