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An Introduction To Tarot Cards

Mar 17, 2008
Tarot cards are used in many European countries in card games but Westerners are more familiar with their usage in divination. A Tarot reader can look to the cards for insight into what is currently happening and what might happen in the future. Every card in the deck has its own symbolic meaning. There are traditional and themed decks available, so the symbolisms (and cards) can vary somewhat depending on what kind of card is being used. The most popular Tarot card deck used in the Western world is the Rider-Waite deck.

The Rider-Waite Tarot deck consists of seventy eight cards with a different image on the face of each one. Twenty two of the cards are the Major Arcana that are numbered from 0 to 21. In a Tarot reading, the Major Arcana cards relate to matters of great importance or significance. The images on these cards are very symbolic to that point that some of the images have entered the public consciousness. The image of The Fool standing on the edge of his summit and the dangling The Hanged Man are familiar images to many who have never had a Tarot reading.

The remaining fifty six cards in the Tarot deck are called the Minor Arcana. In a reading, these cards deal more with the day to day occurrences than the Major Arcana. There are four suits of Minor Arcana cards: Wands (fire), Coins (earth), Cups (water) and Swords (air). Each suit contains fourteen cards that start with Ace (example: Ace of Wands), then continue numerically the way a normal card deck would from two to ten. After the ten there are the Page, Knight, Queen and King. Other than the elements, the suits each also represent a faculty or theme. Wands deals with creativity or energy, Coins with the physical body or possessions, Cups with love or emotions and Swords with will or reason.

The way the cards are laid out (also called a "spread") has an impact on what the reader will be able to deduce about the problem or question at hand. The most common is the Celtic Cross, a pattern that involves ten cards total- five arranged in a cross, four forming a vertical line to the right of the cross and the last laying horizontally over the center card of the cross. The bottom center card represents what is at the core of the problem/question. The Tarot card on top of the center represents what is acting as an obstacle to satisfaction of the problem/question.

The horse shoe pattern has seven cards in a V shape. Reading from left to right, the Tarot cards represent past, present, influences, obstacles, expectations, best course of action and likely outcomes. A three card spread can provide a quick reading where the first Tarot card is the past, the next the present and the last the future. An Astrological pattern features twelve cards in a circle with an additional card in the center. In a Tetractys reading, ten cards are placed in a pyramid with four rows with each row representing an element.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for magic, art, and Tantra. You can find the best marketplace for magic, art, and Tantra at these 3 sites for Tarot, art, and Tantra.
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