The Tarot has been in existence for at least one thousand years, although no one is really sure who is responsible for making that first deck. The oldest surviving cards date back to a time when tarot was called Trionfi “triumphs” or trump cards, and were used for playing cards rather than a source of divination. The oldest description of Tarot cards is 1392, when three decks were brought to King Charles V1 of France. The early history of the cards may be shrouded in mystery, but their use has grown and evolved, and they have served scholars and seers for centuries to stimulate intuition and internal guidance. Today tarot cards are used by psychologists and therapists to glean insights and offer direction in client’s lives.
Although tarot cards are popular, there is often a negative connotation attached to them. Movies and media have led people to believe that tarot cards are scary, intimidating and used as a form of black magic. Anything in life can be used either by darkness or by light. An ethical tarot reader will use the cards in a constructive, inspiring and spiritual manner and there will be no fear involved in the reading. Tarot cards do not tell the future, because the future is not always carved in stone. With our God-given gift of free will we have the power to shape our future, by choosing from different paths of action. Tarot is a tool for inner wisdom and spiritual guidance, that may help a person understand what he or she needs to know about a particular situation, based on the person’s current path at the time of the reading.
There are 78 cards in a deck that are divided into five different sections:
1. Major Arcana of 22 cards represents the life lessons, karmic influences and the major archetypal themes influencing your life. They represent human consciousness and life lessons. When a tarot reading is made up of mostly Major Arcana cards you are experiencing life-changing events, resulting in long-term effects.
The Minor Arcana consist of 56 cards divided into four suits: cups, wands, pentacles and swords
2. The Suit of Cups represents your feelings, emotions, intuition and creativity. Cups often turn up in Tarot readings to give insight into your relationships and emotional connection with yourself and others. The cups are linked to water with its changing nature and depths. They give insights into our subconscious mind, instincts, and emotional development. Themes of love, fulfillment, joy and relationships are associated with the suit of cups. They are symbolized in most decks as chalices and thought to be associated with the Church and the Holy Grail, the legendary cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper. Despite their spiritual connotations, they often represent worldly happiness. Their meaning is usually positive since they deal with love, dreams and joyful emotions. Their counterpart in regular playing cards are Hearts.
3. The Suit of Wands also known as the staves or batons were depicted in early cards as thick, leafy branches of a tree, symbolizing renewal and growth. They represent energy, motivation, passion, achievement, drive, career, strength, endeavours, expansion (including travel) and enduring values. The ancients linked the wands to fire because if its ability to spark or light spontaneously, and transmute anything it touched. Strength in adversity is a key characteristic of the suit of wands. Wands show us that the results of our emotional and spiritual efforts are long lasting. Their counterpart in regular playing cards are Clubs.
4. The Suit of Pentacles are represented by a gold coin with the five-pointed star of Hermes, god of commerce, finance and alchemy. Pentacles represent the earth, finances, work, and material possessions. Pentacles symbolize the material world, its daily struggles, the value placed on a person’s work or achievements, losses and gains, and the risks associated with financial ventures. The suit of Pentacles also contains a warning that money can be the root of all evil, and too strong an attachment to it, or its misuse, can result in suffering and poverty of spirit. Their counterpart in playing cards are Diamonds equated with affluence and influence.
5. The Suit of Swords represents our thoughts, words and actions. They often appear in a reading when we are communicating ideas, making decisions, or asserting our power. The ancients linked swords to air, believed to be the breath of spirit that lay behind creation. They symbolize the mind and the abstract thought preceding a creative act. The suit of swords symbolizes mental and spiritual development; but since the sword can be a destructive weapon, it also represents power and aggression. The double edged sword represents this suits’ dual attributes—one edge representing the rational mind with a penetrating keenness that brings clarity, and the other a cruel cutting sword that wounds. The equivalent in a playing-deck are Spades.
Numbers in the Tarot Deck
If the same number appears repeatedly in your reading its meaning will be significant.
- (Aces) New beginnings, opportunity, potential
- Balance, partnership, duality, decisions
- Creativity, groups, growth
- Structure, stability, manifestation
- Change, instability, conflict
- Communication, co-operation, harmony
- Reflection, assessment, knowledge
- Mastery, action, accomplishment
- Fruition, attainment, fulfillment, birth
- Completion, end of cycle, renewal
- Pages or Knaves, Knights, Queens, Kings symbolize different stages in your life.
- Pages or Knaves (messengers, spreading news, imparting information relates to the child–curious, spontaneous, exploring new things, new beginnings.
- Knights (teenager) prone to excess, adventurous, on a mission, moving toward a goal, seeking independence
- Queens (feminine nature) draws energy inward or internalizes, nurturing, receptive, subtle control, grounded and stable, mature
- Kings (masculine energy) authority, control, domineering, decisive, mature, established
A typical tarot reading lasts one hour and the fee is $80. For questions or to book a reading e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org