Part I The Basics

As I stated in my introduction the Tarot cards are divided into two sections and the first one is called The Major Arcana that starts from number 0 – The Fool to 21 – The World. The Minor Arcana is further divided into four categories namely – Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles. They each start with the Ace ending with the number ten.

Again what the minor cards have in common are the court cards. That is every Minor card contains the King, Queen, Page and Knight. Hence to be more specific, the Minor Arcana begins with the Ace and finishes with the Court cards.

Now, the Court Cards are the most difficult to interpret. Whereas the previous ten cards represent day-to-day affairs of Life, the Court cards are more specific to people. They can be anybody. But it helps to give them an identity based on your life. For example, The king can be an authority figure or father. The queen can be a mother or a woman who is in control of your life. The page can be yourself, a novice, someone young and the Knight can be a new stranger in your life, someone who is related more to the action than words.

Each of these Court cards can be interpreted based on their signs. For example, The Queen of Swords is someone who is a risk taker, her element been air she can be adept at communications. She is someone who can help you decide using her wit and logic. She can see both the pros and cons of a situation. And you can expect her to be straight forward about it.

Before I go onto explain the cards in detail let us cover some basics about Tarot. As such a Tarot card is used for readings which mean they are used for interpreting the cards in a spread which can be of any type. The most famous spread is the Celtic cross spread.

You can use the cards for any reasons; to ‘predict’ the future, to solve a problem or to know more about yourself or for any number of reasons.

The person who does the reading is called the Reader. The one who asks the questions is called a Querent and the question will be interpreted according to the spread using a deck of your choice. The most famous deck used in a tarot reading is the Rider-Waite-Smith(RWS) Tarot – used for its simplicity and easiness to understand the message. It’s popular among beginners as well as professionals.

There are a wide variety of decks available today and we all will have one that we like more than the other. For example, I find using the Wizards Tarot more personal to understand while I use RWS to read for others. It helps create a detachment when I use different tarot cards for different purposes.

One of the common methods of drawing a card is through Shuffling. If you, like me have read books on Tarot you will know there are many methods of drawing a card, including using crystals. Either the reader or the querent can shuffle the cards and then cut the cards into three parts and use their non-dominant hand to put them back together before drawing the cards. This can be done by fanning the cards too.

While you are shuffling the querent must think of his/her question so that there is a clarity while interpreting the cards. Though some readers do believe it not necessary to think of the question and expect the cards to reveal what the querent needs to know.

Now there are many spreads that help interpret the cards and the simplest one includes the three card spread which denotes:

 1. The past  2. The present  3. The future.

Many readers use certain rituals before reading the cards such as using incense or candles or keeping the Tarot card in their correct order, or certain breathing technique before shuffling. All this helps in creating a sense of calm, centeredness, and connection with the situation at hand though none are really necessary. Or one can use whatever rituals one finds comfortable with. Even cutting the cards is part of a ritual. Suffice to say as long as you use the same method for every reading it becomes a part of your ritual.

Finally Journaling the Tarot readings are one of the most useful ways of learning the Tarot including the idea of blogging the same. This way one can learn from others input too. One can use notebooks or any other means for journaling. Some common practice includes reading a card a day that helps familiarize with the cards.

Continue with more in the next post…



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