Your Tarot Reading Guide
Tarot reading is a mystical and powerful art that has been practiced for thousands of years to tell fortunes, provide psychic readings, and to peer into the past, present, and future.
If you’ve ever been interested in learning more about the tarot and the art of tarot reading, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll take a look at the history of the tarot and help you understand how each of the cards are organized so that you can better interpret your next tarot reading.
A Brief History of The Tarot
No one knows for certain where or when the tarot was created; some say the practice goes all the way back to ancient Egypt. What we do know, though, is that tarot reading gained notoriety sometime around the 18th century. Tarot has remained a popular mystical practice to this day.
When to Do a Tarot Reading
The tarot can be used for many different purposes. The archetypal images on the cards reflect your story back to you, helping you to better understand a specific moment in time, and your greater journey through life. Those same images make good meditation companions or can provide you with a ‘thought for the day.’ There is no limit to how these images can be used.
Of course, before you can really immerse yourself in the tarot, you have to know a few basics.
The divisions within the tarot may seem complicated at first, especially because each card provides context for the others in a spread; but once you recognize the underlying organization of the cards, you too can master the mysteries of the tarot.
A Review of the TarotThe 78 tarot cards are divided into 2 main sections—the major arcana and minor arcana— and further into 4 suits:
Before a tarot reading, the cards are usually arranged in a spread. A tarot spread is the pattern in which the cards are placed to be interpreted by a tarot card reader. There are many different types of tarot spreads—entire books have even been written on the subject.
Spreads can be as simple as a 1-card draw or complex enough to require all 78 cards.
One of the most popular spreads is called the 3-card spread, which gives you answers to immediate questions about your relationships, career, and life in general. The cards represent a possible past, present, and future.
The Major Arcana (Tarot Trump Cards)
The major arcana (trump cards) represent your journey through life, starting out as the innocent and carefree card representing The Fool (at number 0), and going through all your stages of life until you get to The World (at number 21). Each of the trump cards represents an important issue in your life and asks that you pay particular attention to this situation.
As you get to know the Major Arcana, you’ll see that the first 11 cards represent your journey out into the world while the last 11 represent your journey into your own awareness.
The Minor Arcana
The minor arcana is a grouping of 56 tarot cards that acts as a support system for the major arcana. It's divided into 4 suits, much like playing cards, and each suit has 10 numbered cards and 4 court cards. Traditionally, these court cards are called page, knight, queen, and king.
Some decks may use different titles for these figures but their meanings and their positions in the hierarchy of the court cards remain the same. Each suit of the minor arcana corresponds with a specific area of life, and each card has a meaning within that area. The number 1 is the first in a sequence (representing beginnings).
The numbered minor cards may have images on them, or they may just have ‘pips’ on them like playing cards, depending on the deck you're using.
Meaning of the Tarot
The guidance provided by tarot readings has stood the test of time. As with any tool, the tarot needs to be used responsibly. The cards themselves are not good or evil—it’s how you use them that creates a positive or negative experience.
After all, the tarot is just a collection of images; they have no power on their own. It’s their mystery and ability to help you better understand yourself that allows them to endure.
Tarot Reading and the Zodiac
Both the tarot and the zodiac exist in the mystical realm, and while they are distinct art forms, they overlap. Tarot readings and the zodiac complement each other.
For example, each suit of the minor arcana is also associated with specific signs of the zodiac.
A tarot reading can help you better understand your daily horoscope and vice versa. Each offers more clarity and context to the insight offered by the other.