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The study and use of Tarot cards goes all the way back to ancient times. Tarot cards were used to tell fortunes from the very beginning, but as times changed, the cards were reduced to a parlor game, used much like the regular playing cards we have today. Of course, for people who believed in the power of Tarot cards, they weren’t really just a game — but by “playing with” them, and not claiming to be really telling fortunes, fans could still work with the decks and no one was the wiser.

Tarot cards are a study of the archetypes we see and experience in life. The decks are divided into two types of cards — the Major Arcana (think of them like the Kings, Queens, and Jacks in a regular deck of cards) and the Minor Arcana, much like the cards from Ace through 10. Each of the Major Arcana represents another path on the tree of life. The Minor Arcana is used to describe situations and give the details. The cards themselves represent a visual image of a life experience or scenario. Through working with the cards, one can get a jump on what they are dealing with or what they’re about to have to deal with.

Tarot Articles:

The Major Arcana

  • The Fool
  • The Magician
  • The High Priestess
  • The Empress
  • The Emperor
  • The Hierophant
  • The Lovers
  • The Chariot
  • Strength
  • The Hermit
  • The Wheel of Fortune
  • Justice
  • The Hanged Man
  • Death
  • Temperance
  • The Devil
  • The Tower
  • The Star
  • The Moon
  • The Sun
  • Judgement
  • The World

The Rider-Waite deck is the best for starting out (and its cards are displayed in the Major Arcana articles listed above), and can be easily obtained — though you can start with any deck you like or that you feel drawn to. I tell my students to just make sure they are able to read the cards, or that they are able to understand the artwork used. One should not start off with a deck that is too interpretive in terms of its art content — much of the cards’ information is represented in symbols on the cards, and you want to be able to make easy use of them when you’re just starting out.

Each reader reads the cards differently. There are many different “spreads” (or ways of laying the cards out on the table), for everything from a yes/no answer to a specific question, to a more elaborate reading that covers the past, present, and immediate future for the client. My own personal experience is that the cards don’t tell us too much about things very far into the future. Instead, they give us a great, comprehensive look at what’s going through right then. When you consider that the course of life in the present pretty much sets you up for the next six months, this is often enough information to help people. Here again, a reader shouldn’t be telling a client anything they can’t already figure out for themselves. If the reading is done properly, there should be some degree of resonance for the client in what the reader sees and then relays from the cards.

If you’d like a reading for yourself or a group, see our the Tarot listings on our Services page.

© 2012 Colleen Schmidt/Divination Counseling Service

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