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Tarot for Life
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 Tarot Articles by various authors 

The Tarot - An Introduction   by L. A. Knight

What is the Tarot?
The tarot is a deck of 78 cards, and each card features illustrations that are subject to various interpretations. The deck is divided into two sections, called the major arcana and the minor arcana. The major arcana features the 21 trump cards plus the fool card, and the minor arcana is divided into four suits (wands, pentacles, cups and swords) each with cards featuring the numbers 1-10, an ace and four court cards (the Page, Knight, Queen and King).

Origin of the Tarot
The oldest known tarot cards come from 15th century Italy. The tarot appears to have begun as a card game, and was at first used only by the wealthy upper classes, although the cards became more widely available after the invention of the printing press. Some writers have claimed that the imagery of the tarot cards suggests a more ancient origin, and have connected the tarot with such cultures and traditions as the ancient Egyptians and the mystical Hebrew Kabbalah, although there is no hard evidence to support these claims.

Later Developments
The cards are often linked with occult activities today, but they were not used in this way until the 18th century. This usage began in 1781, when the freemason Antoine Court de Gebelin made the claim in his work 'Le Monde Primatif' that tarot cards contained hidden meanings (which he associated with the ancient Egyptians) that could be used for divinatory purposes.
Since then other mystic and magical traditions, such as the Order of the Golden Dawn, have claimed that the tarot has ancient roots, and that it has hidden wisdom to impart to those seeking enlightenment.
The tarot became more widely popular with the publication of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot in 1910. Arthur Edwards Waite was a Golden Dawn member, and in this new deck, drawn by the artist Pamela Colman Smith, images with occult symbolism were included on the numeric cards, as well as the trump cards. This deck was very successful, and remains popular today. Since then, hundreds if not thousands of diverse new decks have been published, with many enthusiasts creating their own.

Uses of the Tarot
The tarot has several distinct uses, including:

1. Games
This was its original use, and it is still used for gaming purposes in some European countries.

2. Psychology
Carl jung was the first mainstream psychologist to attach meaning to the tarot cards, when he associated them with the fundamental archetypes that he believed to reside in the collective human unconscious. Several therapeutic techniques involving the tarot have developed from this insight.

3. Inspiration
Many artists and writers have produced works inspired by the tarot.

4. Divination
Fortune telling is perhaps the most common use associated with the tarot. The images on the cards may help the person seeking the reading to tap into their own subconscious knowledge. Others believe that the cards themselves hold some kind of inherent divinatory power, which may be read by a skilled person. For this reason, handling another person's cards is generally frowned upon in occult circles, as their energy could become contaminated.

Doing a Reading
There is no set method for performing a divinatory tarot reading. However there are several popular layouts or 'spreads', with perhaps the most well known being the Celtic Cross. This is usually the first method taught to beginners, although it is by no means the most simple. Experienced tarot readers will often invent their own spreads, with their own means of interpretation.
Once the cards are selected by the person receiving the reading, the reader lays them out in a spread and analyses them, taking into account their positions relative to each other, the symbolism of the individual cards, and their position (upright or reversed).

Meaning of the Cards
There is no generally agreed upon interpretation of the tarot cards. They all have imagery of varying degrees of complexity, and the wide range of decks available makes the situation even more difficult. Nevertheless there is a huge amount of writings available on the symbology of the tarot, and on the most basic level, the 22 major arcana cards are thought to represent the journey of the Fool from ignorance to enlightenment.
In addition, the minor arcana cards have their own symbolism. The numbers are most obviously associated with numerology, and the suits are linked to the four elements (Swords=Air; Cups=Water; Wands=Fire; Pentacles=Earth). The tarot has also been linked with other mystical and occult systems such as the I Ching, astrology, and the Kabbalah.

Choosing a Tarot Deck
There is a huge range of tarot decks to choose from. The symbolism-rich Rider-Waite deck remains extremely popular, as does Crowley's Thoth deck. The early Marseille deck (used by Gebelin to illustrate 'Le Monde Primitif') is another important deck also. There are also many less conventional decks to choose from, and people with just about any special interest can find a deck to match.
Feminists, for example, might like the Motherpeace Tarot with its round cards and exclusively female imagery, whereas some of those interested in Paganism might enjoy the Witches deck or the DruidCraft tarot. Tarot decks can be found representing animals too, as well as various sports, natural imagery and other common activities. In fact, there's a tarot pack available to suit every taste, and most can be found online as well as from bookstores, new age shops etc.

Where to Start?
If you're interested in learning more about the tarot, I recommend checking out some of the numerous excellent tarot-related sites on the net, as well as online and local book stores and new age stores. One thing's for sure - there's no shortage of information available!

About the Author

L. A. Knight is webmaster of QuantumBliss.com, a site that provides a wealth of resources for those looking to maximise their personal power and enjoyment of life.

To find out more about the tarot, check out http://www.quantumbliss.com/php/tarot1.php


Tarot Cards - 5 Myths   by Heather Haskins


Few things are as misunderstood as Tarot Cards. For all of the negative associations surrounding divination and Tarot Cards in particular, there is little direct connection between these negative ideas and the reality of working with the cards. Dispelling a few myths may prove useful to our examination of the validity of Tarot.

Myth #1 - Tarot Cards are "Evil"

The first, and biggest myth is that they are anti-Christian or "evil." People who believe this tend to believe the cards "work" because they are infused with some sort of dark power. This myth, like all myths, contains a tiny grain of what used to be truth that has been twisted beyond recognition. In reality, it was the Christian church that in the middle ages stamped out Paganism, its chief competitor, by demonizing it and all things associated with it. People were told that their old horned fertility god (think of Pan) was the most evil being in all of creation, and the Devil was invented. Christianity is certainly anti-Pagan, and to the extent that Tarot cards are perceived as Pagan, many Christians feel compelled to condemn or ostracize Tarot cards and Tarot card readers without really understanding why.

Tarot Card readers, on the other hand, have no such beef with Christianity. Most of us don't consider Tarot to be an element of our religion in the first place (though we may consider it of spiritual value) and can't understand what all the drama is about. Some confusion often arises due to the inclusion of a Death card and a Devil card, two hot button items when seen through a religious lens. For now, it is enough to note that the Tarot interpretations of these symbols are not the interpretations that many people are used to.

Myth #2 - Tarot is a Scam

Another powerful myth is that Tarot is some kind of shifty scam, a Three Card Monty of sorts that by definition is a con game designed to use fraud to get people's money. Sadly, there are dishonest hustlers in every profession; doctors, lawyers, contractors, florists, you name it, there are unqualified people posing as qualified professionals charging money for substandard service or services that are never delivered in every industry and field. Tarot is no different, but is no more susceptible to infiltration by dishonest individuals than any other profession or service area. The main argument, it appears, is that Tarot readers may present themselves as something they are not, "psychic," or "fortune tellers," that a skeptic may decide simply can not be "true." At the heart of this issue is the difference between what being psychic means to different people who either claim it or perceive the claims of others. It all depends on your answer to the question, "What does it mean to be psychic?"

Myth #3 - Tarot Cards are Magic

Virtually no one who has any knowledge or experience with Tarot Cards believes that the cards themselves are magic. There is a superstition out there that no one should touch your cards except for yourself, and naturally collectors who spend hundreds of dollars on individual decks are going to hesitate before allowing anyone to handle them (especially since people are inclined to begin shuffling cards once they hold them!). Some people believe that items can pick up and retain energy from different people or situations, and this applies to their Tarot decks as much as anything else. In my experience, most people who harbor any true anxiety about others touching their cards are new to the idea of Tarot, and haven't studied the cards or taken the time to understand what Tarot is about. The example of a person who knows nothing about cars, kicking the tires on the showroom floor comes to mind. Tarot cards aren't magic. They are cardboard.

Myth #4 - Tarot Readers are Witches

The truth is, some are. I've been surprised, however, by how many people still think that witches have some sort of religious connection to "Satan." That isn't true either. Regardless, there is no official religious affiliation for Tarot. Some Tarot readers are Jewish or Christian; others are something else, or nothing at all. In fact, there are many Tarot decks out there that are geared toward one religion or another, combining the symbolism and images of a particular religious tradition with the traditional meanings of Tarot to create something that illuminates both traditions.

Myth #5 - You have to be psychic to read Tarot Cards

Absolutely not! Anyone can read Tarot cards, it's just a matter of memorizing some basic meanings and getting used to the different cards in the deck. Of course, some of us believe that everyone is psychic, but to examine such a notion, we would have to decide what it actually means to be psychic. Suffice it to say, for now, that for some people, Tarot feels as though it serves as a psychic tool.

In conclusion, we can understand what Tarot Cards are much better if we first understand what they are not. They are neither evil nor a scam, they are not magic in and of themselves and you do not have to be a witch or a card carrying "psychic" to read them. If we can establish that much, we are free to examine the beauty and power of this amazing tool.

About the Author

Heather Haskins is a professional Tarot Card Reader and author. She is the founder Love and Life Tarot. Read more at http://loveandlifetarot.blogspot.com/



Understanding the Tarot Card Deck - Part 1
 by: Lisa Lamont

One of the first steps toward understanding the Tarot lies in appreciating the meaning of its two Arcana - the Major and the Minor. But even before that, the novice does well by committing to memory the meaning of "Arcana" - defined as "mysterious knowledge, language, or information accessible only by the initiate."

By its very definition, the word "Arcana" exudes secrecy and a certain esoteric eeriness - making it the perfect word for the two branches of the Tarot so important to believers, including new "initiates." To learn about Tarot is one thing; to truly learn the meaning of the Tarot's Arcana is quite another.

Because the Arcana are secret, and because their deeper meanings are closed to many, learning them takes time, determination, and perhaps even a gift. This gift belongs to those with a desire to learn the mysteries and knowledge of the Ancients, the special few, the Chosen. The Arcana, though seemingly somewhat simplistic at first glance, are in actuality the great secret to reading Tarot.

The first of the Arcana, termed the "Major Arcana," symbolically relate to our physical, as well as intellectual, emotional, and spiritual states of being. These 22 powerful cards illuminate our strengths, weaknesses, fears, wishes, and the light and dark portions of our souls. The Major Arcana in a commonly used Tarot deck include the fool, the magician, the high priestess, the empress, the emperor, the hierophant (wise man or teacher), the lovers, the chariot, strength, the hermit, the wheel of fortune, justice, the hanged man, death, temperance, the devil, the tower, the star, the sun, the moon, judgment, and the world.

A number of the Major Arcana cards serve as archetypal representatives of real people in our lives, either as a whole or in symbolic parts. Some archetypes, for instance, would be authority figures, mysterious or mystical people, or parental, sibling, or other familial figures.

The Major Arcana cards each represent, through their images, positive and negative forces. The interpretation of the meanings of the cards, however, relies on many factors. Some of these factors include how the cards are laid, which cards surround others, the information sought, the reader, and the person for whom the reading is being performed. So even though each individual Major Arcana symbol or card holds its own unique meanings, it must be taken as only one part of a whole with the above critical dynamics taken into account.

When dealing with the Major Arcana, one deals with some of the ancient, mystical, and hidden secrets of the universe - and should do so with the caution attributed to the wisest among us. But be cautious, not afraid! Some may say, "Curiosity killed the cat!" But we also know: "Satisfaction brought it back!" And even though cats do purportedly have nine lives, you'll have to consult the Major Arcana to even hazard a guess as to which life the cat in question is now living - once you've learned the Major Arcana's secrets, that is!

About The Author

Lisa Lamont

(c) All About Tarot

All About Tarot is an information packed website that features loads of useful links and articles! Visit now at: http://www.all-about-tarot.com

 

Understanding the Tarot Card Deck - Part 2
 by: Lisa Lamont

Tarot card reading delves into an individual's psyche and thus depends largely upon the energy that person generates, whether consciously or subconsciously. And because human beings are complex creatures with all kinds of major and minor issues - not only negative, but positive as well - the Tarot must duly address them all. So, although the Major Arcana bring to light the larger issues in life, there also exists the Minor Arcana - which serve the purpose of illuminating the "secret and closed" events, feelings, needs, and everyday details of our existence.

Fifty-six cards constitute the Minor Arcana within these suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. And just as with the Major Arcana, the interpretation of these cards lies not only the face-value meanings of the cards, but also in how they are laid (the "spread" - whether they are upside down, the positions they take in your chosen pattern, etc.), the mindset and emotions of the interpreter and of the person being "read," and the very questions themselves. Reading Tarot cards successfully takes time, and with that comes experience - the key to giving a good reading.

But one must start at the beginning, learning the meanings of each of the individual 56 Minor Arcana. As mentioned above, these are divided into the four suits of Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. And each suit encompasses the Ace, then 2-10 numeral cards, and finally the court cards: the Page, Knight, Queen, and King - very similar to an ordinary deck of playing cards in some ways, yet powerfully different in others!

Each suit in the Minor Arcana represents distinctive characteristics, and these combined qualities create an image of our day-to-day lives. The suits and a very abbreviated listing of some of their characteristics include:

  • Wands - ingenuity, accomplishment, change
  • Cups - feelings, spirituality
  • Swords - intelligence, contemplation, logic
  • Pentacles - pragmatism, safety, physical and material needs

Cards within suits correspond to the theme of the particular suit to which it belongs. An Ace declares the overall quality of whatever suit it is in. For instance, the Ace of Cups represents affections, feelings, intuitiveness, and personal familiarity - all the most positive aspects of the Cups' characteristics. A Ten of Cups may signify the fruition of those qualities with, for example, the peace and joy one finds within the atmosphere of a happy family. One by one, the meanings of each card must be committed to memory. When the Tarot novice becomes comfortably familiar with the 56 Minor Arcana representations, he or she should then be ready for the next steps toward understanding the subsequent - and deeper - aspects of the art of Tarot.

Learning the art of Tarot can be a challenging - and rewarding - endeavor. But the student must realize Tarot is not easy, and Tarot is not quick. As with all things in the secret and hidden arts such as Tarot, one must be willing to persevere, to continue resolutely down the path toward enlightenment - and rejoice as the mysteries of the journey unfold.

About The Author

Lisa Lamont

(c) All About Tarot

All About Tarot is an information packed website that features loads of useful links and articles! Visit now at: http://www.all-about-tarot.com/

 


Tarot Basics   by Lisa Lamont

A Tarot card deck typically consists of 78 colorful cards imprinted with what many deem fascinating and curious images. The cards, each filled with a particular meaning and portent, most often come somewhat larger than ordinary playing cards and make an impressive display when ritually laid out. This deck of special cards can be used by a trained "reader" for glimpsing into his or her own future or that of another person for whom the cards are read. The Tarot deck, divided into Major Arcana and Minor Arcana, contains 22 symbolic cards and 56 suit cards - wands, swords, cups, and pentacles - interestingly also called "pip" cards.

Many types and styles of Tarot cards exist, and a breakdown of even the more common Tarot card deck reads like a mysterious journey into the occult - and perhaps it is! The Major Arcana includes the magician, high priestess, empress, emperor, hierophant (a sage or wise man), lovers, chariot, strength, hermit, wheel, justice, hanged man, death, temperance, devil, tower, star, moon, sun, judgment, world. The Minor Arcana (the suits) consists of the aces, twos, threes, fours, fives, sixes, sevens, eights, nines, tens, court cards, pages, knights, queens, and kings - all in the above-mentioned suits.

The key to successfully reading the Tarot deck, however, does not lie only in what the cards mean, but in how to interpret them. A gifted Tarot reader can sometimes create a huge following by accurately predicting the futures of friends, family - even strangers who call on him or her for a reading.

"Tarot" comes from the Italian word "Tarocchi," a French card game originally termed "carte da trionfi" - "cards with trumps." It has been theorized that the name was shortened from "Tarocchi" to "Taro" and thus evolved over time into "Tarot" by the French. The definition of Tarot goes hand in hand with the origin of the name because Tarot is considered to be a tool of divination by believers, and the roots of the name explain, in part, how this came to be so, though we may never know the complete story, since its complete origins have been lost in the passage of time.

The origins of Tarot vary almost as widely as there are people exploiting the powers of these fascinating cards. Some maintain the cards have roots beginning in the ancient mysteries of Egypt, the mythical city of doomed Atlantis, or from the magic-filled background of the European gypsies. But etymologically speaking, that is, considering Tarot from the history of the word itself, this mysterious deck of future-foretelling cards probably came into being in the northern Italian courts of nobility during the mid-15th century.

Whatever and whenever the source of Tarot, this remarkable deck of cards remains an entertaining and intriguing journey into the unknown, the inexplicable, and the sometimes mystifying realms of life. Perhaps the roots of Tarot lie shrouded in doubt for a reason. Perhaps Tarot is meant to mystify as well as to reveal. Perhaps.only the Tarot cards know for sure!

(c) All About Tarot

All About Tarot is an information packed website that features loads of useful links and articles! Visit now at: http://www.all-about-tarot.com

 


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