Tarot Basics


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Today, we're getting acquainted with the ancient art of taromancy, or divination through the use of tarot cards. Tarot is one of the most popular divination practices, and though occultists have been drawing the allegorical cards for centuries, illustrated decks are now popping up all over. The intrinsic aestheticism of this ancient art has revitalized interest in tarot, making it a social media favorite — there's now even such a thing as emoji tarot.

Despite its ubiquity, though, tarot can still seem elusive and confusing. What exactly is tarot? What do the cards mean and how are they used? Don't fret: The tarot fundamentals are easy to understand. Here's what every beginner should know about the history of tarot, as well as tips and tricks for kick-starting your unique practice.

Learn The Tarot Basics

Surprisingly, tarot is a relatively modern craft. Though tarot decks date back to the s, pictorial cards were originally used for games rather than prediction. Cartomancy, or fortune-telling through the use of playing cards, actually wasn't developed until , when French occultist Jean-Baptiste Alliette — known by his pseudonym, Etteilla, the inversion of his surname — created comprehensive links between illustrated cards, astrology, and ancient Egyptian lore. Over the next century, mystics and philosophers continued to expand the role of tarot.

Tarot basics | Little Red Tarot

In the late s, several London-based occultists formed the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, one of the groups responsible for the modern magical revival. Two of the group's founders, husband and wife MacGregor and Moina Maters, wrote a manual that detailed tarot's symbolic power, entitled Book T. This timeless deck is commonly known as the Rider-Waite deck and is still the most popular tarot variant for both beginner and professional card readers.

Their Thoth deck , named after the Egyptian god of alphabets, incorporates specific astrological symbolism into each card, linking the divination practice to the cosmos. There is no shortage of stunning, dynamic tarot decks. Since the mid-twentieth century, hundreds — if not thousands — of beautiful decks have been published. The Tarot de Marseille deck is an elegant reproduction of a classic French deck; the Motherpeace deck perfectly captures the ethereal spirit of the s; the Black Power deck spotlights famous black luminaries.

Some tarot readers believe that your first deck should be gifted to you. While everyone loves presents, there is nothing more valuable rewarding yourself with the magic of divination, so I say you should relish the opportunity to choose your first deck. With so many enchanting options available, the most important variable is your unique connection to the cards. Whether you are shopping online or in-person, observe your emotions as you browse different tarot decks.

Does the one you're considering make you feel excited?

Learning the Tarot - An On-line Course

Trust your intuition: Your careful consideration will ultimately guide your interpretation of the cards. Explore the imagery: Are you enchanted by classical or modern representations?

Note the symbols: Are they enticing? Pingback: Hello!

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An Introduction. Benebell Wen. Like Like.

You mention the year copyright, but there seems to be many different reprints out there. I am struck by the card images here. Benebell you are amazing.

I am new to tarot. I bought both your books and they are UN-freaking-believable! Thank you for your ongoing amazing and comprehensive contribution to so many metaphysical subjects. I was afraid of tarot at first because of the imagery on the cards. But I set that aside and opened my mind to really learning the whole system. I am very early in the process, just pulling 3 cards at a time, but I am blown away by the accuracy.

It is fascinating. Then I discovered your second book and it is amazing also.

What Is Tarot, Exactly?

So much to know and learn! Thank you so much, too, for all of the incredible material you have put on the web. Pentacles cards often indicate money matters, career and success, but they also can indicate levels of emotional and spiritual prosperity, too.

Wands -- Sometimes called "Staffs," the suit of Wands is more spiritual and is used to illustrate the energy of movement, growth and new beginnings. Wands represent ideas and innovation. They are often related to your career or your sense of purpose in the world, but they can deliver strong love messages, too.


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Cups -- The suit of Cups is connected to our emotions and to our relationships, and to matters of the soul. Cups cards can reveal how we truly feel -- and how others truly feel about us. They also speak of our emotional well-being. Swords -- The Swords cards are most associated with conflict and strife, which can refer to internal conflict, as well.

Swords cut to the heart of a matter, revealing our greatest challenges. They can tell of illness, heartbreak, war, loss and death, but they can also reveal truths we need to face in order to move forward, which ultimately is a positive thing. Tarot cards are shuffled and laid out in any number of Tarot spreads. The best known spread is the Celtic Cross, but there are countless other Tarot spreads you can choose depending on what type of question you want to ask and how many cards you wish to draw.

If you want to start out very simply, you can draw just one card about a specific person or situation. In fact, your question doesn't even need to be a question! It's called an "open reading" when you simply think about a person or situation instead of asking a direct question -- the cards will still provide insight.

Each position in a Tarot spread has its own significant meaning, just as every card has its own meaning.

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