Are you wanting to learn the Tarot but not sure it’s for you? Or have you come here because you already started your Tarot journey but you can’t make sense of the cards? Perhaps the Tarot makes you feel uncomfortable and you are questioning the ethics around it. Today, I aim to help you unlock the power of the Tarot. To do so, we must first understand what the Tarot is and isn’t.
Is the Tarot Spooky?
Want to hear something spooky? Jog on! I once was asked by a magazine editor of one of the UK’s largest spiritual magazines if I could contribute any ‘spooky’ magazine articles. We had already worked together on a project and she knew I was an established Tarot professional, so the term ‘spooky’ should never have entered into the equation for future work. I let them know exactly what I thought about using the term ‘spooky’ about anything Tarot-related. Needless to say, I never worked with them again.
Because these types of misconceptions about the Tarot prevail (even among those who should know better), I choose instead to focus my efforts on continuing to educate people about the true value of these 78 pieces of cardboard that are so much more.
What the Tarot Is
The Tarot is a deck of cards, loosely based on the regular playing card deck structure, with an additional four court cards and 22 trumps or Major Arcana cards. The number cards and court cards are known as the Minor Arcana (56 cards in total, compared to 52 in a deck of playing cards).
Historically speaking, the origins of the Tarot aren’t 100% clear. However, we know that decks surfaced in the Mediterranean region in the late Middle Ages/early Renaissance, thanks to commissioned decks like the Visconti-Sforza being preserved almost entirely. These cards were used to play a game called Tarock, which is still played in places like France and Italy today.
The 22 Trumps (Trionfi in Italian) represent ChristoPagan archetypal characters from Medieval Morality and Mystery plays. You can dig deeper into the History of the Tarot HERE. (My own theory is that the Tarot has angelic origins but I can’t prove it and don’t need you to believe me.)
The four suits corresponded with the four classes of people: Wands for peasants, Cups for clergy, Swords for nobility and Coins/Pentacles for the merchant class.
The Occultists Take Over
It is likely that people used the cards for divination from the very beginning, just like they did with the playing cards but we don’t know much about this until the 1700s when French occultists started making claims about Egyptian origins of the Tarot, complete with Astrological and Kabbalistic overlays on the Major Arcana in particular.
In the late 1800s, the English occultists of the Order of the Golden Dawn put their own spin on the Tarot, resulting in the most popular Tarot deck to date, the classic Waite Smith Tarot, created by A.E. Waite and Pamela Coleman Smith in 1910 for the Rider Publishing company. A.E. Waite was a devout Christian Hermeticist and his Marian devotion can be clearly seen in the beautiful Ace of Cups Tarot card.
Later, with the decline of Christianity and the rise of Neo-Paganism, many famous Tarotists sought to enforce the claims of Egyptian origins of the Tarot. However, there is precisely no hard evidence of this in the earliest decks and you don’t need to be Sherlock to look at the French Marseille Tarot, which was the first mass-produced Tarot deck, to realise that it was created with a Christian ethos. In fact, there is documented evidence that this ethos was used to justify playing the game of Tarock when the church wanted to label the use of playing cards as immoral.
How is the Tarot relevant to our lives today and what can we use it for?
The archetypes in the Tarot are as alive in our subconscious minds today as they were to the people of Medieval times. Proof of this lies in the fact that the cards show up in film, art and media. These images still speak to us all on a very deep level and help us tap our own intuitive knowledge.
Accessing our intuition is precisely how the Tarot is most commonly used but there are, of course, many other ways you can use the cards. However, for the purpose of getting the most out of this deck of 78 pieces of cardboard, let us focus on the intuitive side of things.
The controlling influence of religion
Exoteric Christianity has done untold damage when it comes to suppressing intuitive knowledge. The Church as an institution chose to marry the State for increased power, wealth and control of its flock, rather than to encourage and inspire direct access to the Divine. Christ himself had a much more empowering and inclusive message which is something Mystics on all Paths have always been aware of.
The Major Arcana can be used to look at all of life’s major spiritual lessons. The word ‘arcanum’ means secret or mystery. These mysteries are life lessons each of us must navigate but depending on what our soul contract looks like for this particular incarnation, certain lessons will be more emphasised than others. Some of our lessons will be karmic and hark back to past lives. Other lessons are those we ‘signed up for’ to promote the most opportunity for growth in this incarnation.
The Fool represents each and every one of us. He was ‘Everyman’ in Medieval morality plays. Along the way, he encounters all the Archetypes and the lessons they bring, though almost never in a linear fashion. Some of the spiritual lessons expressed in the Major Arcana are:
- Individuation (The Sun)
- Self-mastery (The Chariot)
- Creativity (The Empress)
- Organisation (The Emperor)
- Forgiveness and surrender (The Hanged Man)
- Mother/father issues (The Empress/Emperor)
- Shadow issues (The Devil)
- Conquering fear (The Moon)
- Oneness/transcending limitations (The World)
- Wisdom (The Hermit)
The Minor Arcana relates numerologically (CLICK HERE to learn more about Tarot Numerology) to the Majors, so that all the 1s, for instance, correspond with The Magician. Those who have chosen to embrace the Astrological overlays imposed by the occultists of the 17-1800s, will also find planetary and zodiacal resonance between the Majors and the Minors.
Each of the four suits in the Minor Arcana corresponds to one of the four Classical Elements talked about by Medieval Alchemists:
- Wands – Fire – South – Archangel Michael
- Cups – Water – West – Archangel Gabriel
- Swords – Air – East – Archangel Raphael
- Pentacles/Coins – Earth – North – Archangel Uriel
Working with the Elements for healing, well-being and self-awareness can be extremely rewarding. The Minor Arcana can also provide insights about day-to-day dealings and more mundane issues in readings. You will find a FREE four-week course that takes you through the Elements HERE.
- Wands – Drive/career/sexual energy
- Cups – Emotions/intuition/empathy
- Swords – Problems/communication/ideas
- Pentacles – Employment/physical health/money
The Court Cards can be seen as families for the purpose of getting to know them. The Kings are the fathers, the Queens are the mothers, the Knights are the teenage or young adult sons or daughters and the Pages are younger children or maidens. Although, as you will learn as you progress in your studies, the courtiers are gender fluid.
The Wands family members are all outgoing, visionary, and creative and don’t mind taking centre stage but can be aggressive. The Cups family members are intuitive, empathic and psychic but can also be emotionally manipulative or passive/aggressive if they don’t get their way. The Swords family members are great at problem resolution, and asking the right questions and all have the gift of gab but can be quarrelsome and emotionally aloof. The members of the Pentacles family are hard-working, good with money and grounded but can be stubborn and greedy.
Starting your own tarot journey
Sound interesting so far? The next thing you will want to consider is getting a Tarot deck for yourself so that you can begin your journey with the cards. CLICK HERE to find out which decks are ideal for beginners. (Oh, and by the way, forget the myth that someone else has to give you your first deck. It is totally fine to buy yourself a deck!)
Rather than jumping into reading the cards for others, many choose to work with the wisdom of the Tarot for self-development – at least initially. Self-awareness is the key to being a great reader in the first instance, so this is something I strongly recommend. Mary K. Greer has written a classic book called Tarot for Your Self which I highly recommend.
How the Tarot Works and Its Limitations
The Tarot works on the principle of synchronicity. This is the way our mind links seemingly acausal events or symbols to provide them with meaning. The images of the Tarot speak symbolese, the language of symbols. Symbolese is the language of both the subconscious mind and universal consciousness.
Hence the Tarot is capable of bridging our everyday awareness to the realm of our unconscious mind where we hide anything that is too cringe-worthy or traumatic to deal with in the light of reason. It can also help us access the lofty realms of universal consciousness beyond the time and space limitations normally imposed by 3D reality.
When this happens, we experience what some readers refer to as a ‘psychic hit.’ I don’t know anybody who has this ability on tap. However, regular usage of the Tarot (or any divinatory tool) will certainly strengthen your intuition and is likely to increase the frequency of psychic hits.
The Tarot can be used for predicting the future much in the same way that a weather forecast can be used to predict the weather days or even weeks from now. The principles are similar enough for the following comparison: When a weather system has been set in motion, it is relatively easy to predict what will happen. Because when events have been set in motion, the outcome can be placed somewhere along a trajectory.
Certain outcomes are actually relatively easy to predict. However, there needs to be a reasonable timeframe for the reading. I suggest sticking to around 6-8 weeks and never more than 12 months.
There are a few exceptions to the rule ‘spell long, divine short,’ related to fate and karma but that is for a later date…
Many Tarot readers stay away from predicting the timing for events but choose to set a reasonable time frame to see if certain events are likely to occur within that time frame. Those who excel at timing events with the Tarot usually do so in combination with the Tarot, combining their knowledge of astrological Tarot correspondences with looking at natal chart transits etc.
However, we do well to remind ourselves (and our clients) that the future is not set in stone. We are free to choose a different timeline if we do not like what we see!
Ways to Work with the Tarot
Below, you will find some ways to get started using the Tarot cards for psychospiritual development and doing readings for others. You will, of course, begin by getting to know the cards. But I promise you that it won’t be long before you start gaining valuable insights, especially if you stick with the practice of daily Tarot journalling. The Tarot can very rapidly transform your life for the better if you set a firm intention to use it for the Highest Good.
Establish the Intuitive Connection
When you have chosen the deck or decks that you want to start learning with, I recommend setting a few hours aside when you have a day off work or school. See it as scheduling to meet up with your future best friends. Then simply browse the images and write down the impressions you get from each card.
Don’t feel silly about talking to the cards. If you have ever talked to the mirror, it’s not too dissimilar. You are having a conversation with yourself through the lens of the Tarot. The Tarot acts as a mirror for your soul so pay attention to everything that surfaces. It all matters!
Always trust your intuition and please know that there is no need to put off psychic development until after you know all the card meanings. You are already psychic and daily usage of the Tarot can help you unlock that power within.
Next, you will want to learn more in-depth Tarot card meanings. I have a FREE Angelic Tarot resource for that HERE, with very in-depth tarot card meanings, keywords, and correspondences. Use this resource together with your daily draw and you will master the Tarot within a few short months.
The Daily Draw and Meditating with the Card
- 78 friends for your daily draw
- 7 ways doing a daily draw can improve your life
- Deepening your daily draw practice
- A daily devotional Christian tarot practice
- Chakra Healing with the Tarot
- Healing Tarot Meditation for the Chakras
- Chakras, Tarot and Meditation
Beginning to read for self and others
- Top 10 Tarot tips for the absolute beginner
- Learn how to read the Tarot in 5 easy steps
- 2 card spreads and starting to do readings
- Avoid these top 5 Tarot reading mistakes
I hope we can all agree that there is nothing ‘spooky’ about the Tarot. Rather, the Tarot is a good visual summary of life’s most important symbols and archetypes that we can all benefit from using to tap into our inner knowing.
May you unlock the full power of the Tarot and may it be a blessing to you!
CLICK HERE for even more free Tarot resources.