For thousands of years, people all over the world have been visiting tarot reading specialists to learn of their fortunes and fates. As a mystical art, it allows an exploration of the future as well as the past and present.
Where did tarot reading begin? How does it work? What are the four suits? Today, we’re going to be answering all of these questions (and more!). After this simple guide, you should be in a better position to interpret your next tarot reading a little better!
History of Tarot Reading
Much like the art itself being surrounding in mystery, the history is too because different stories exist. For example, one popular theory is that it was created in ancient Egypt. While we can’t be sure of its beginnings, we do know that the 18th century was an important period for the tarot. During this period, tarot reading became extremely popular and it has continued its rise ever since.
What’s a Tarot Reading?
If you’ve seen the phrase ‘the tarot’, this refers to the set of cards that are central to this powerful art. These days, they have many different uses. For example, the archetypal images reflect your own story and allow you to better understand past moments and whatever else may be going on in your life.
Depending on your focus, the images can be used in any number of ways after the reading. While some people like to take a ‘thought for the day’ from the reading, others like to use the images as meditation companions.
If you’ve never encountered the tarot before, don’t panic because we’re going to introduce the basics today. Rather than each card and image having a message, tarot reading is all about the interaction of the cards and how they all provide context. For this reason, it’s easy to get confused when first learning but you’ll soon pick up the underlying themes and organization. With some practice (and determination), you’ll soon master the mysteries that lie within each tarot.
In the tarot, there are 78 cards in total and there are two main sections and four suits. While the sections are called minor arcana and major arcana, the four suits can be found below;
Each suit represents a different reflection including thoughts (Swords), actions (Wands), material success (Pentacles), and feelings (Cups).
To start the reading, the cards will be arranged into a ‘spread’ and this is the pattern the reader uses to interpret your story. While some are more common than others, you could lose a whole day researching the different types of spread and this is what makes each tarot reading so unique. In fact, one search online and you’ll find whole books dedicated to the topic.
While some spreads will involve all 78 cards, others will stick with a one-card draw system. Of all the available spreads, the ‘three-card spread’ is perhaps the most popular of them all. For those who want answers to the important questions in life – including subjects like your career, general life, and relationships – this is a great spread to choose. Within the cards, you’ll find a potential meaning and understanding to the past, present, and future.
Remember the two sections? Well, the major arcana is the first and they can also be called the tarot ‘trump cards’. With these cards, all the different stages of life are mapped out from 0 to 21. At one end, we have The Fool while The World represents the number ‘21’. With each trump card, one of your life’s important issues will be highlighted and the card suggests that you pay attention to this issue in the time ahead.
Over time, you’ll come to learn more about the major arcana and that the first eleven and second eleven represent different things. For example, the first eleven cards follow your journey into the world and the second eleven are more about your own awareness.
As a much larger selection of cards, there are 56 in the minor arcana and it’s considered a support system for the trump cards. When shuffling through the cards, you’ll notice some similarities with a traditional set of cards. For example, there are four suits (which we discovered above!), 10 numbered cards in each, as well as court cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King).
Interestingly, these figures may have different names or titles in other decks, but they represent the same meanings and they keep the same position in the hierarchy. With a specific area of life represented in each suit, the number cards then have a specific meaning which correlates to that area. For example, the number ‘1’ represents beginnings.
Depending on the tarot, the numbered cards can have very different appearances. Despite some having pips and others having full images, they retain the same meaning.
The Magic of the Experience
At this point, we should note that no cards in a tarot reading are inherently evil (or even good!). From a material perspective, they’re simply cards with printed images. However, the positive or negative experience is generated in the way the cards are used.
Why has tarot reading passed the test of time? It’s not because the cards contain power. It’s because of the mystical experience and the way the cards can allow us to understand not only the past but our position in life too.
Relationship with the Zodiac
Despite many misconceptions, the zodiac and tarot readings actually complement one another. Although they’re both distinct art forms in the same mystical realm, they overlap somewhat. As an example, zodiac signs have been attributed to the four minor arcana suits.
- Swords – Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
- Pentacles – Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
- Wands – Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
- Cups – Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
If you like reading horoscopes, tarot reading may just allow for a better understanding. Furthermore, your horoscopes can complement the tarot reading. The deeper you go into each, the more understanding you’ll have for the insights you receive. Over time, this can create a level of clarity that otherwise wouldn’t have existed.
Thank you for reading this guide, hopefully, you’ve learned more about this mystical art. With both horoscopes and a tarot reading, you’ll learn more about your life and reveal something you might not be expecting. Why not get started today?