The Basics of Tarot Reading
The Composition of a Tarot Deck
A typical Tarot Desk is divided up into two parts: The Major Arcana representing the Soul's journey and the Minor Arcana representing how the forces of the world affect us.
The Major Arcana is made up of 22 cards and is sometimes known as the Hero's Journey. This Hero's Journey starts with card zero (0) "The Fool" representing how we all start the journey into Spirit - knowing nothing but being bold enough to play and have fun, to try out new things even if we can't see the dangers ahead of us as we trust that we will be guided to the right path. The next 21 cards tell a story of successes and failures, or incredible power and incredible loss before ending with "The World" card which represents the completion of this epic quest - a time to have a breath before the next quest begins.
The Minor Arcana is made up of four suits: Pentacles, Swords, Wands and Cups which can represent many things such as:
The Pentacles Suit represents being grounded, stable, safe and connected to our bodies. Readings involving Pentacles can be about:
The Swords Suit represents the mind, wisdom, knowledge, perception but can also represent too much going on in the mind leading to anxiety, depression and worry. Readings involving Swords can be about:
The Wands Suit represents power and creativity, movement, passion, initiating things, getting the ball rolling and can also represent volatile emotions, fury, anger, resentment, jealousy. Readings involving Wands can be about:
The Cups Suit represents the emotions, relationships, love. Cups is about the fluidity of water about the ebb and flow of emotions. Cups is about thinking with your heart instead of thinking with your head. Readings involving Cups can be about:
The Pip Cards
Each suit in the Minor Arcana has cards ranging from 1 to 10 known as the pip cards. Each number in a tarot deck is linked to it's numerological meaning. 1 for instance represents the potential of a single seed to grow an entire tree which in turn will have seeds which will grow more trees. So 1 typically is all about potential and starting something new.
The Court Cards
Each tarot deck has 16 Court cards which can represent active and passive attributes, various experiences, qualities, abilities and actual people in the lives of the person you are reading for. For more information see the Court Card section.
Tarot cards are read by placing them in a spread. A spread is a layout of cards where each position represents something. The tarot card in the position of a particular topic is there to give you deeper insight into that topic. Often tarot readers will start with single cards spreads where one card is drawn as the answer to a question. Another great starter spread is the Past / Present / Future spread where the cards will show you the forces that were active in someone's past, what forces are active now and which ones are active in the future.
Cards are chosen by the Universe. To do this we introduce the element of randomness and choose based on instinct. There are many methods we can employ to introduce this randomness so that we can let go and feel the leading of the Universe while choosing cards. There is no right way to choose cards and possibly you will find yourself employing different methods at different times as you read for different people. Some methods for choosing cards for your spread may be:
The Difference between Tarot and Oracle Cards
Tarot cards have a Major Arcana (of 22 cards) and a Minor Arcana broken up into four suits of 14 cards each.
An Oracle deck doesn't have these restrictions and is free to be created any way the designer wishes. They are typically a set of cards where each card represents a certain attribute or quality.
Because Tarot cards are quite rigid in their structure - once you learn how to read - you can read any tarot deck - it will just be a matter of getting to know the particular feel of the new deck. Each deck of Oracle cards though are completely different from one another as there is no set structure. So Each deck of Oracle cards need to be learnt from scratch each time. Oracle cards are normally a much easier way for readers to get started as the meaning of the card is literally written on each card. Tarot has many many different elements on each card and the more of these elements the read understands when reading the deeper and more subtle the reading can be as we allow ourselves to see the interplay of forces between cards in a spread.
In general Oracle readings are more gentle and easier. Tarot readings tell a much deeper story on many levels and can be brutally accurate.
Changes to a Tarot Deck
Often designers will modify certain numerological meanings or replace Major Arcana cards to bring their deck into alignment with a particular energy they are wanting for the deck. The Tarot is open to modification. It just means the reader will need to spend time with this deck and learn and understand the story behind what this particular deck's journey is all about.
Choosing a Tarot Deck
There is a myth that a Tarot deck must be gifted to you. While you may choose this method to obtain your first deck, in my experience I've found i haven't connected to decks that have been given to me as well as decks I have been drawn to myself. Some things to consider when choosing a deck:
Love & Light, Power & Mastery.