Tarot reading is an ancient practice that has been used for centuries to gain insight into the past, present, and future. I wanted to use this blog post to cover the basics of tarot reading, including the history of tarot, the structure of a tarot deck, my how-to steps to prepare for a reading, and one optional way to interpret tarot cards.
The origins of tarot are shrouded in mystery, but most scholars agree that the first tarot decks were created in Italy during the Renaissance. These early decks were used primarily for playinga card game, but by the 18th century, they had become popular for divination and fortune-telling.
A standard tarot deck consists of 78 cards, divided into two main categories: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, each with a unique image and meaning that when placed in order, tell the story of the Fool’s journey amnd usually represent major shifts along your own path. The Minor Arcana, on the other hand, consists of 56 cards, divided into four suits: Swords, Cups, Wands, and Pentacles, and provide insight and day to day and smaller scale decisions in life.
Each suit of the Minor Arcana represents a different aspect of life: Swords represent thoughts and communication, Cups represent emotions and relationships, Wands represent action and creativity, and Pentacles represent material possessions and the physical world.
My How-To Steps to Prepare for a Tarot Reading
Before a tarot reading, whether reading for yourself or having a virtual reading done, it's important to create a calm and quiet environment. Find a quiet space where you can sit comfortably and focus your attention on the cards or reading. You may also want to light candles or incense, or play calming music to help create a relaxing atmosphere.
Once you've created your space, take a few deep breaths and clear your mind. Focus on your question or intention for the reading, and ask for guidance and clarity from the cards, your guides, and any higher power that you believe in. We are trusting your intuition while asking for ego to be set aside so your Diving self and step in and do the heavy lifting.
Interpreting tarot cards is a complex and nuanced process, but there are a few basic guidelines that can help you get started.
Shuffle the deck while keeping your question top of mind and when you feel done - checking intuitively before even drawing a card - set the deck down.
When you first draw a card, take a few moments to study the image and consider its meaning in the context of your question or intention. Your interpretation is valuable, so notice first impressions and thoughts.
Consider the suit and number on the card. Each suit has its own unique meaning, as we discussed earlier, and the number of the card can indicate its level of significance, intensity, or meaning (i.e. numerology).
Consider the card's position in the spread or the order in which you drew the cards (do they represent past, present, and future, for example). Different positions in the spread can represent different aspects of your question or intention, and can give you additional insight into the meaning of the card.
Tarot reading can be a powerful tool for gaining insight and clarity into our lives. By understanding the history of tarot, the structure of a tarot deck, and how to prepare for and interpret a reading, you can start to explore the wisdom and guidance of the cards for yourself. Remember that tarot reading is a practice that takes time and patience to master, so be gentle with yourself and enjoy the journey!
Tarot is not intended to predict the future or provide medical or health advice.