12 Oct The Ultimate Introduction To Tarot Reading
The last couple of years have seen a spiking interest in all things mystical, tarot reading being one of them.
For some individuals, this discipline is an impressive party trick and a way to wow friends while hanging out. For others, however, tarot reading is a sacred and powerful tool that one can use to predict and direct someone’s life.
What’s more? Even though tarot reading has taken on a witchy meaning in the present cultural imagination, the practice was actually originally intended as something akin to a parlor game – back all the way in the mid-15th century, with the earliest recorded tarot decks originating from different areas of Italy.
It was not until the early 18th century that the practice was used for occult (or divination) purposes we know it best for today, thanks to Jean Baptiste Alliette and Antoine Court popularizing it in the 1780s in Paris.
What’s more? In my experience, between those who think tarot reading is a joke and those who take them too seriously as actual magic lies another vast group of individuals who find them fun and insightful (if not particularly supernatural.) So whether you decide to take the practice as a full-time job or a hobby, you can rest assured that tarot reading will be an enlightening way to pass your time.
That said, to ensure we’re on the same page before I skip to the main section of the post, I feel like I need to explain the main difference between Tarot reading and Astrology (for the sake of those who’re getting introduced to the two practices.)
The difference between astrology and tarot readings
Tarot reading is a form of divination that individuals around the world use to gain insight into anyone’s future, present, and past. Astrology has a similar use to that. However, after further studies, you will instantly learn that there are discrete differences between the two.
What are Tarot readings?
To better understand the difference between astrology readings and tarot readings, we’ll look at the principles behind the two in detail.
Tarot reading is used by spiritual mediums and psychics as a tool to help you map out your future. A psychic can be simply defined as “A person with a special mental ability that allows them to foresee, foretell, and discover hidden knowledge.” This knowledge includes what will happen in the future as well as what someone might be thinking and planning.
If you’ve ever interacted with Psychic, then you know that most (if not all) of them have a natural ability to decipher human psychology. They can quickly analyze your behavioral traits, which means that a great psychic can even accurately judge your character without taking a lot of time to interact with you.
I describe them as “Masters at understanding and observing the subtle actions of those around them.”
Note though, not all psychics are the same and most of them possess different sets of skills. Some psychic mediums even possess the ability to receive information from the spirit realm. That’s why you’ll also hear some people refer to them as mediums – because a message will pass through them from the spirit world to the message receiver.
Having said that, I know that you may now be wondering where tarot cards fit into all of this. Well, this is where another difference between astrology and tarot reading comes into play. Unlike astrology that totally depends on an astrologer’s knowledge and connection with the universe, tarot readings use a card deck (we’ll look at this deck in more detail in the next section.)
The deck is usually made up of 78 cards and each card boasts a vivid image that is extremely symbolic. As a matter of fact, these tarot cards retail in a wide array of themes that complement the personalities of tarot readers.
Better yet, the different, symbolic images on each card will help stimulate a tarot reader’s intuition and imagination while at the same time helping him/her structure the reading. As you may have seen in some of your favorite movies, after laying out the tarot cards, the reader will gain additional insight from the cards to answer the specific question that the client might have. The question from a tarot reader’s client could be something like, “will I be able to change my career this year?”
What are Astrology Readings?
Astrology readings are famous in magazines and newspapers. I’m confident you’ve come across or even read prospects for your specific star sign in one of these publications.
The discipline of astrology also describes a person’s personality. But this leads to another hurdle that most beginners in the realm of astrology come across. Somewhere along the way you may have wondered (or heard someone ask) “why doesn’t every single person’s personality match their zodiac sign description?”
This is a question that has made a lot of people skeptical of astrologers, but kindly allow me to explain.
In the realm of astrology, there are 12 different zodiac sun signs, also known as constellations. If you’re into astronomy, then you know that constellation are simply partners of stars in the night sky.
Anyway, the Sun goes through all the 12 zodiac sun signs in one seasonal year, and whichever sign the sun was at-at the time you were born is your sun sign. With that in mind, the reason the description of these star signs will not be perfect for every single person is that the description has been generalized for all individuals born under the specific sun sign.
But if you visit a professional astrologer for a natal chart reading, they’ll also take into account the ruling planet at the time you were born, the position of the moon, as well as the specific time you were born (to the second.)
Check out my post on how to read a natal chart for more info on why this is necessary.
Anyway, once the astrologer knows all these details, they can go ahead and carry out a reading and an interpretation.
If you haven’t noticed, all the details above will more than likely be unique to everyone, which in turn implies that every single person in the world has been born with a unique planets’ configuration in the sky. This results in unique birth chart interpretations.
A conclusion of the differences between the two
If you’re new to the discipline of astrology and tarot reading, then the main difference you should note between the two is this:
While psychics and tarot readers rely 100% on their power and intuition when carrying out their readings, astrologers use data to forecast or interpret their clients’ situations. The data collected includes the exact positions of planetary bodies relative to someone here on earth.
In addition to that, astrologers will follow strict procedures that will help them decipher the positions of the Moon, Sun, and Planets – as well as what all of it means.
That said, I’ll be lying if I said that astrologers don’t use some of their intuition as well. It’s just that technology has greatly advanced over the last couple of decades, which has in turn improved astrologers’ techniques of data collection.
I like using the analogy of weather forecasts. A long time ago, people depended on the color of the clouds, the behavior of animals, and the movement of the birds to predict how the weather would be in the near future.
As you can already guess, this wasn’t that reliable in the long run, and today, thanks to technological advancements, weather patterns can be easily monitored accurately thanks to the vast amounts of data that’s getting collected.
How does this apply to astrology? Well, today, the exact position of the planets, sun, and moon can be calculated to the nearest second. This includes their positions in the future as well.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the difference between the two, we can skip to the main and fun section of the post where we learn more about tarot reading.
What do you need for a tarot reading?
First and foremost, you will need a tarot deck. The most famous and well-known tarot deck is the Rider-Waite deck, published in 1910 and drawn by an illustrator by the name Pamela Colman Smith.
These tarot cards are loved for their simple color scheme (it features lots of gray, sky blue, and yellow), symbolism, and their straightforward imagery. Other people also recommend these Rider-Waite tarot decks to beginners because the meanings of the cards are often intuitive (and even when they are not, you will find hundreds of interpretation guides both online and in books)
Most importantly, most tarot cards, including the Rider-Waite (of course), retail with a small sheet of paper containing the most common interpretations of the cards inside.
That said, even though it is the most famous tarot deck, the Rider-Waite is far from the only option beginning readers have. The Wild Unknown tarot deck is particularly pretty as well. However, (fair warning) it can be a bit less intuitive particularly if you’re just introducing yourself to tarot reading.
Another option is the Morgan Greer Tarot deck. This one is quite a bit like the Rider-Waite but on steroids. All the symbols are similar. The faces, however, are bolder and bigger and the colors are more varied and vivid. If these different arrays sound appealing to you, then I’m confident you’ll be pleased to know that there are also more modernized decks, including a Game of Thrones-themed deck.
What is most important, however, is that you pick a tarot deck with images that appeal to you, and with symbolisms you’re confident you can interpret. You are the individual who will be using them, so it is up to you to ensure that they fit your style and personality.
Let’s look at the cards we’ve been talking about in more detail.
The basics of tarot cards
A tarot deck includes 78 cards that have been divided into two different groups:
- The Minor Arcana
- The Major Arcana
The Minor Arcana has been further divided into four different suits, namely pentacles (home life and careers), swords (truth and reason), cups (feelings, relationships, and emotions), and wands (goals, creativity, and inspiration.) As you can see, these cards mostly focus on our day to day occurrences.
Also, as well as being divided into four different suits, the Minor Arcana cards also include a categorization of kings, queens, knights, pages, and Roman numerals (1-10). Every card will contain a distinct meaning that will go along with whatever suit it (the specific card) is in.
The Major Arcana, on the other hand, is made up of tarot cards that stand for MAJOR things that are going to happen in your life in the future. So, unlike a Minor Arcana, if a Major Arcana tarot card is drawn by the psychic during your tarot reading, then it is a sign that something significant will change your character or life.
What’s more? These cards further suggest major lessons and themes that are about to unfold, but the cards, more often than not, do not have a specific time period when the themes or lessons are going to happen.
As you can see, depending on a tarot deck, the tarot cards in both the Minor Arcana and Major Arcana can mean totally different things.
How to prepare the deck
The truth is, much of this will be up to you and what feels right to you.
Having said that, there are one or two practices that are common to most tarot readers. For instance, if you are reading tarot cards for a new client, you will want to ask them to present a question or ask what they would like to know.
Consequently, hold the question in your mind while you shuffle the deck – also known as “clearing your deck” from prior readings and inquiries. An example of questions your client should ask you include “How do I get through my writer’s block?” “Am I on the ideal career path?” or even “When will I find love?”
You may also ask the querent (the person you are reading for) to cut the deck, while again focusing on the question they asked you. I love this practice because it permits the querent to instantly feel connected with the tarot deck just as much as you are. Some reader’s however, will choose to cut the deck on behalf of the querent.
Either way, you will then pull out as many cards as required for your spread and arrange them in front of you – or in between you and the querent.
I hope this beginners’ guide to tarot reading has allowed you to smoothly transition into the discipline. Also, if you loved the content, I’m confident you’ll like the article I worked on recently regarding 10 signs of a great astrologer.