Choosing Your Deck

Starting your Tarot journey is exciting since there’s so much to learn, experience, and share with others. Probably one of the most exciting aspects is the task of choosing a deck – but it can also be a little daunting if it’s your very first. The following are tips to help you select the cards that fit best with your personality and skill level.


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1. Start simply

Since there are thousands of decks, there are almost the same number or interpretations. Some artists stick to the more traditional Tarot interpretations while others take severe liberties that only they themselves can understand! I prefer Rider-Waite-Smith style decks (like the cards I feature in my entries prior) because most learning resources utilize them and their meanings are relatively easy to commit to memory. Once again, Aeclectic Tarot has fantastic list of RWS decks you can peruse as well as where to buy them.

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2. Keep it functional

Remember you’re going to be practicing with these cards quite often and if you end up reading with them on the regular there’s a chance others will want to handle them too (if you’re okay with it of course). Therefore, it’s important you get a deck that shuffles well and is durable. If it’s possible to touch the cards before purchasing them, I recommend doing so so you can get a feel for these qualities. Many times this isn’t feasible unless it’s a used deck, so in that case I suggest checking out reviews online – next best thing! I once purchased a deck that I found absolutely stunning in every way…but the finish on the cards was chalky and made them nearly impossible to shuffle. Not to mention the cards were huge and in my stubby little hands they were not very manageable. Most commercial sites or independent sellers will include the finish/cardstock of the cards in the item description and the dimensions of the cards range from teeny-tiny to ginormous (if you also have stubby hands or terrible vision).

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3. Make sure it’s pretty

Many times it isn’t okay just to base your decision on superficial criteria, but these are Tarot cards; beauty is big. Choose a deck that speaks to you, if you don’t like the artwork, don’t get them. People get insanely picky – borders or no borders, rounded corners, particular cardstock, size, etc. – and I’m no exception. Intuition is a major component to reading the cards, and this is heightened with aesthetics that “speak” to you.

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Tarot Card Spreads: The Very Basics

You’ve mastered the meaning of the cards (or at least you’ve become more familiar with them). Now it’s time to take the next step and put them into greater context. There are literally hundreds of different types of “spreads,” or ways the reader can lay out the cards to answer a query. Not only that, but in the Tarot community it is often completely acceptable to create one’s own spreads, adding to the already numerous possibilities! To keep it manageable, the following are the simplest and/or more common spreads used by many Tarotists.


1. The “Card A Day”

Alright, so maybe this doesn’t fully qualify as a spread since it only consists of one card, but it’s a great way to sharpen your skills with the card meanings and also get an idea of the tone your day can take. With this method the reader shuffles their deck, chooses a single card, and interprets it to see what they can expect from their day. Incredibly easy, and incredibly useful!

2. The “Three Card Spread”

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With this spread, the reader again shuffles the deck to their preference (over hand, riffling, mixing them all together into big pile, etc.) and selects three cards. These are laid out horizontally and represent the querent’s past, present, and future. You can lay out the three cards face-up, one at a time, or face-down, flipping them one by one (this latter method helps newbies stay focused on the card at hand and not become overwhelmed).

3. The Celtic Cross

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This spread isn’t exactly simple, but it’s extremely popular so I thought I’d give it a mention. To understand this one, it’s best to refer to the diagram I’ve provided above (thanks to LearnTarot.com for this!). Keep in mind, like everything else with the Tarot, there are a number of different ways Tarotists interpret the cross, this is just one way.

Cards 1 and 2 represent the central idea of your query.
Cards 3 and 5 determine what is occurring within the querent at multiple levels of themselves/their situation.
Cards 4 and 6 refer to the people/events in the querent’s life and the possible effects they are having on said individual.
Cards 7 and 8 concern the querent and their environment.
Card 9 can serve as a modifier – it can emphasize or mitigate the cross as a whole, depending on what it is.
Card 10 is the potential outcome.

The Minor Arcana: The Emotion of the Cups

Okay, folks, I’ve saved what I consider the best for last – the suit of cups. This suit is considered “feminine” in the traditional sense and its element is water. The cups are related to emotions in the realm of relationships, love, feelings, and personal connections. The heart always wins out over the head. With this being the case, it may come as no surprise to know that the suit is also connotative of intuition and imagination.


ACE OF CUPS

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Yada, yada, yada, you know the Ace by now! Opportunity, sudden and catching the individual off-guard. But in keeping with its genre, the chance reveals itself in the way of love or relationships.

TWO OF CUPS

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The Two is about a very deep and profound emotional connection to someone or something. Being a Two, this connection is a new discovery and it can be romantic, platonic, or even attached to a hobby.

THREE OF CUPS 

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This card represents those serendipitous moments when one experiences emotional harmony. It is often felt between two or more people, and while it may be fleeting, it is usually intense and uplifting.

FOUR OF CUPS 

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Looking at the card, it is easy to tell there is a lack of satisfaction occurring with the man in the image. This cup means just that, a discontentedness with the present situation. It may signify the individual needs to sit down and figure out what they can do to change this, or simply make them aware that it is happening and they have to wait it out. (I tend to lean towards the former because if one refers back to the image again, it looks as though the man is being offered a solution but refuses to acknowledge it.)

FIVE OF CUPS 

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Something has been lost, and it is very saddening indeed. But the Five of Cups gauges how a person reacts to this loss and adapts to it. Grief is inevitable here but it must not keep one down.

SIX OF CUPS 

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Our past experiences shape who we are and how we respond to future occurrences. The Six is about nostalgia, the remembrance of happy times. Like most cards, this one can be a double-edged sword because while it is important to hold onto pleasant memories, it is equally important to not get bogged down by them and forget to live in the present or prepare for the future.

SEVEN OF CUPS 

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There is a little bit of chaos occurring here. It is positive because the Seven shows an abundance of options for the individual, but also pressing because until a decision is made, there is not a clear direction. This card indicates that it is time to buckle down, focus, and choose.

EIGHT OF CUPS 

eight_cups

One of the bravest things we can do is leave behind the tried and true to walk into the unknown in an effort to find something greater. It is easy to look at this and think this is quite possibly greed motivating the person to stray from the familiar, but remember – these are cups, not pentacles. This journey is more to fulfill something internal and heartfelt.

NINE OF CUPS 

nine_cups

Also known as the “wish card,” the Nine of Cups suggests that the individual is experiencing (or about to experience) a wonderful time of emotional and material prosperity. It is also important to note that the balance between complete contentment and avarice is a delicate one.

TEN OF CUPS 

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I think of blissful domesticity when I see the Ten – there is a happy, loving family that is emotionally and financially secure. It is not what everyone dreams of (some may even abhor this), but it is overall an extremely positively charged card.

PAGE OF CUPS 

page_cups

As usual, the Page is a newbie encountering a very emotionally powerful situation for the first time, and examining it more thoroughly before deciding how he feels about it. This situation does not always pertain to relationships but may also involve creative endeavors as well.

KNIGHT OF CUPS 

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Ever the man of action, the Knight cannot be dissuaded from his pursuit in the arts, love, or creativity. A true romantic in every aspect of the word, his focus will not be broken until he obtains his target.

QUEEN OF CUPS 

queen_cups

I am reminded of the spiritualist, self-help guru when I  see the Queen of Cups. She is all about promoting and fostering relationships. She offers support and becomes personally invested in her projects. She always encourages the individual to listen to their intuition and heart.

KING OF CUPS 

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Heavily empathetic and compassionate, the King of Cups can often be found in the humanities or areas which revolve around helping others. He is very in touch with his emotions but is also able to assess situations with clarity and see what will benefit the majority.


Now that we’re through with the meanings, I’d love to hear from you guys. What are your experiences with the Minor Arcana? Have you noticed certain suits show up in the same areas of your life? Have your personal readings yielded information similar or dissimilar to what you learned about them?

Thanks for the input, and HAPPY TAROT’ING!

The Minor Arcana: The Materialism of the Pentacles

The Tarot of the Magical Forest deck.
The Tarot of the Magical Forest deck.

In my humble opinion, the pentacles are one of the duller suits since they center around the more tangible aspects of life: business, money, property, and other material items. But, boring though they may be to me, they do obviously represent a very vital part of our world. The element associated with the pentacles is earth.


ACE OF PENTACLES 

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Per usual, the Ace is a great opportunity, but of course in the realm of material possessions or business-related endeavors. (Other terms which correlate to this card include security, abundance, and health.)

                                                  TWO OF PENTACLES

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This card is about taking all of the craziness and responsibilities in our lives and balancing them effortlessly. It does not so much emphasize the quantity of things we get done but rather the quality.

THREE OF PENTACLES

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The Three of Pentacles represents the physical partial completion of a task at hand. It is still in its infancy but the individual is beginning to see progression. In this stage, there is a long way to go, but it is also good in that there is plenty of time for necessary adjustments.

                                                           FOUR OF PENTACLES

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The Four is all about gathering and conserving power. While it is easy to see this in derogative terms, this card is not so. Think more along the lines of saving money or steadily working towards a promotion.

FIVE OF PENTACLES 

five_pentacles

The Five of Pentacles is bleak looking for sure. It shows the individual in physical need of something, whether it be monetary, bodily, etc. However, this card also usually means that that help is coming soon, if the person is only willing to be aware and not too proud to accept it when it is offered.

                                                                                                             SIX OF PENTACLES 

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There is a steady stream of material energy flowing in this card. It is a combination of giving and receiving – the identities of who is behind this two-way exchange is not always clear.

SEVEN OF PENTACLES 

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The Seven is sort of like a checkpoint to the Three of Pentacles. It is taking a step back and assessing the results of our efforts so far. It is about the individual taking evaluation and determining what to do next.

                                               EIGHT OF PENTACLES

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The topper to the Seven, this card is about paying attention to the minutia of a task. Making sure the details are technically sound and as best as they can be. This guy is the perfectionist.

NINE OF PENTACLES 

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This is the culmination and achievement of a job well done. The individual can rest and look back at their work with a sense of fulfillment because they know they have put their all into it. With this card, there is no need for an outside source of praise because its quality was proven to oneself.

                                                            TEN OF PENTACLES 

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All of the individual’s efforts come to a head. There is a sense of not only accomplishment, but also security and a deeper sense of self and connection to one’s relationship with everything around them.

PAGE OF PENTACLES 

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The Page is a newbie who is looking at a financial venture or material item with hungry eyes. They see a great deal more potential in this thing than perhaps a layman because they are so inexperienced. It is up in the air as to whether or not their vision will come to fruition.

                                                       KNIGHT OF PENTACLES 

knight_pentacles

This Knight is a bit different from the rest, because he does not run full-force towards his goal. He understands that the realm of the Pentacles is one that requires good timing. He possesses excellent patience and is quite invaluable when taking part in a long-term project.

QUEEN OF PENTACLES 

queen_pentacles

This Queen is all about the details. She gets things done steadily and in her own way, but the result is always exceptional. She ensures that everything will be used to its greatest potential.

                                                           KING OF PENTACLES

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Like other Kings, this one is about practicality. He holds material items in high esteem and top-notch quality, and focuses on getting things done in an efficient manner.


There are some great videos on YouTube that offer multiple clever and creative ways to remember the cards and their meanings. One of my favorites can be viewed here, split into Part I and Part II. Whichever method works best for you – reading about the  Tarot or watching it be explained – there are so many resources available to the novice tarotist, so go explore them!




 



 

The Minor Arcana: The Creativity of the Wands

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The wands are one of my two favorite suits. They’re full of activity, adventure, and are representative of growth. These guys are all about movement – so it’s no surprise the element associated with them is fire. When a wand or wands show up in a reading, it denotes thought, ambition, and the beginning of something. These cards also signify the more spiritual aspects of a person – intuition and energy. With that little overview, let’s get into some more details…


ACE OF WANDS

ace_wandsAs is characteristic of all Aces, the Ace of Wands is connotative of an opportunity. It gives the individual the go-ahead to pursue something in all of its wandly glory (passion, creativity, ambition, optimism), particularly in the area of work. But be careful, it’s like an infomercial; you must act quickly because it’s a limited time offer.

TWO OF WANDS

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This card is about cohesion of a well-thought out concept and the energy needed to achieve it. The Two of Wands is a sort of honing of one’s skills – storing your energy while you prepare a great plan.

THREE OF WANDS

three_wandsThe Three of Wands is similar to meditating. The individual is not acting outwardly, rather reflecting and waiting patiently to fully realize his/her goal in an endeavor. It is about being receptive to your own thoughts and ideas and listening carefully. Notice the imagery in the card – the man featured appears to be waiting calmly, effortlessly, for something on the horizon.

FOUR OF WANDS 

four_wandsThis is the third and final act to the Two and Three of Wands. The Four is the fruition of the plan that has been envisioned and meditated upon. A hardworking group has paid their dues and can now celebrate.

FIVE OF WANDS

five_wandsWell, the happiness was fun while it lasted. The Five of Wands clearly depicts rivalry or strife. However, which it is can really determine the mood of a situation and this card doesn’t emphasize which. Rivalry can be healthy and motivational, while strife can be UNhealthy and quite discouraging. At its core though, the Five shows discord which can be dangerous in its destructive nature.

SIX OF WANDS

six_wandsThis is similar to the Four of Wands, but it is only the extolling of an individual rather than a group. Think graduation, winning a race, getting a promotion, etc.

SEVEN OF WANDS

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In the Seven of Wands, a boy is shown to be protecting something fiercely. This card is about playing defense, though sometimes it doesn’t really seem like “playing.” In this scenario defensiveness can bring negative anxiety or positive excitement.

EIGHT OF WANDS

eight_wandsThe Eight of Wands can be thought of as a big ol’ bump in the road. You can be speeding along the highway with no trouble as far as you can see when all of a sudden the Eight comes out of nowhere. It depicts extremely fast-moving events, but that’s about all. There is a kind of lack of control with this card, the only thing that is for sure is speed of occurrence.

NINE OF WANDS

nine_wandsThis card is noble and humbling at the same time. It shows that the individual has been through many trials but come out alive and is a better person for it. There is also a strong possibility that the man featured in the image is bracing himself for another challenge. Think, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

 

TEN OF WANDS

ten_wandsA big burden. That sums up the Ten of Wands – it is not evident what kind of burden this is or what the individual should do about it, only that it is very real and very staggering.

PAGE OF WANDS 


page_wands
A very happy, inspired fellow indeed. The Page of Wands has realized what fuels his passion in life. But this energy is very raw and developmental so the full effect is NOT realized just yet. He’s putting a toe in, testing the waters, but soon he will have to jump right in and find out what is in store.

KNIGHT OF WANDS

knight_wandsThe Knight is all about strength of will. He is bold, he is brash, and his fiery intensity may greatly help or greatly hinder the individual. At this point, there is no thinking, only doing.

QUEEN OF WANDS

queen_wandsShe is a powerful influence who wants to assist by means of willpower and inspiration. She is subtler than the Knight, but in this manner more persuasive. As with the Queen of Swords, the individual must be careful when regarding her motivations because her assistance also serves her own desires.

KING OF WANDS

king_wands
The opposition to the King of Swords, the Kind of Wands is very receptive to ideas and passion. But similar to the Swords, he does not favor high emotion. To influence such an important figure, the individual should integrate his wants and passions with his/her own so he knows what he will be getting out of the deal.


There you have the Wands in a nutshell! If you find yourself growing rather fond of the Tarot at this point (I say who wouldn’t, but I’m also incredibly biased), you may want to check out Aeclectic Tarot. They have everything from discussion forums to HUNDREDS of decks to peruse and I’ve spent more time on there than I’d like to admit… Additionally, if you’re looking for something with a more personal touch, Samhain Moon has wonderful reviews of decks and readings conducted by its multi-talented author Monica Laura. Happy Tarot’ing everyone, ’til next time!

The Minor Arcana: The Intellect of the Swords

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Now that you’ve got the Major Arcana under your belt, it’s time for the Minor Arcana (sometimes referred to as ‘pips’). These are broken up into four suits – swords, cups, wands, and pentacles – and comprise most of the Tarot deck with 56 cards. As opposed to the Major Arcana, which are representative of the milestones in our lives, the Minor Arcana deal with the smaller, everyday events. Included in this category are the Court Cards, which consist of the page, knight, queen, and king. I’ll be honest, a lot of people hate these guys because they can be difficult to interpret. They signify people that influence our lives, and just as rank determines an individual’s achievements and degree of importance, so too can it determine how heavily their actions influence our lives in the Tarot (and how easily we in turn can influence them back).

Depending on the deck, these suits can have alternate classifications: for instance, wands are sometimes known as staffs, and pentacles deemed coins. Keep in mind that this is just the preference of the creator of the deck, and doesn’t change core qualities of the suits themselves.

First on the list of the Minor Arcana is the suit of swords. Swords are associated with the element air and can be tied to the following: action, intellect, change, power, ambition, and sometimes conflict. Because the swords exemplify such active and strong attributes, it is important to find balance with this suit.



ACE OF SWORDS

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As it shows in the image, the Ace of Swords is a gift or opportunity that appears seemingly out of nowhere (this quality is typical of all the Aces as well). It signifies that now is the time to take action, and quickly, because the moment is fleeting. It favors any situation which deals with logic or problem solving.

 

 

 

 

 

 TWO OF SWORDS 

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This card represents a stalemate between the individual’s head and heart. Until one side breaks, the only option is to maintain the status quo. Though the Two of Swords cannot say which side will triumph nor how long the stalemate will endure, you can note that as the sword suit embodies intellect, the head is the favorite in this stand-off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THREE OF SWORDS 

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Well, it’s often said that the truth can set you free. But it can also be extremely painful and difficult to accept. The Three of Swords signifies that an exceedingly hurtful truth has been revealed (many times betrayal) and now the individual is dealing with the aftermath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 FOUR OF SWORDS 

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The Four of Swords is a logical card to succeed the Three because it is about hitting pause on a difficult situation and taking time for yourself. When a tough problem calls for action, sometimes it’s best to take a step back and collect yourself. Many times it is through this way we arrive at solutions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIVE OF SWORDS 

five_swordsThe Five of Swords is demonstrative of a victory won, but at such a great cost, it is sometimes still considered defeat. The individual may or may not be immediately aware of the loss endured, but when it is realized, it is felt deeply.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 SIX OF SWORDS 

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The Six of Swords is indicative of leaving behind a difficult situation. It may be saddening and seem like giving up, but if it is a toxic scenario the choice to leave it behind is actually the strongest one. When faced with such a decision, most people seek out counsel from loved ones, and this card also includes that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEVEN OF SWORDS 

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STOP, THIEF! As clearly depicted, the Seven shows something being stolen. This burglar may see justice, but it may be more in the way of spiritual vindication (i.e. Karma), not literal punishment. Rarely does this card point to something physical being taken, moreso the intangibles – ideas, concepts, self-worth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 EIGHT OF SWORDS 

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The Eight of Swords shows a precarious situation. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, the individual can feel as though any choice they make will lead to something just as bad or worse. In addition to this, you may feel as if you cannot perceive the situation in its entirety to make the best decision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NINE OF SWORDS

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Though the Nine of Swords looks particularly dark, it actually carries a positive message. The majority of people have a lot on their plates – maybe more than they can deal with – and it’s easy to let stress, doubt, and worry cloud your mind. However, if you let these thoughts become obsessive it is just creating more of a toxic atmosphere. This card may show that the individual is allowing the negative thoughts to get the best of them and they should go easier on themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 TEN OF SWORDS 

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It can be hard to accept and the natural instinct is to rail against a conflict or problem that is beating you down, but sometimes it is what it is. This card is about the decision to stop all efforts and accept the unfortunate occurrences. While this is very sad in obvious ways, it is also indicative of a sense of relief and peace that goes along with letting go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PAGE OF SWORDS

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The Page of Swords has stumbled across a new way of thinking and is exploring all of its possibilities before accepting or rejecting it. In true sword character, he first weighs its efficacy, practicality, and usefulness before choosing what to ultimately do. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 KNIGHT OF SWORDS 

knight_swords

The evolution of the Page, the Knight has accepted an idea and is now using as his mantra. He’s now utilizing his strengths in communication and rationality to carry his beliefs to others. He is sometimes brash and reckless, but his determination and focus make him extremely powerful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

QUEEN OF SWORDS 

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The Queen of Swords brings to mind the Greek goddess Athena. She is brilliant at strategizing, forming plans, and communicating with great clarity. She has seen it all and is therefore an invaluable resource to reference when working towards a particular goal. However, she can also surreptitiously include advice to further her own agenda and it is important when dealing with someone of this nature to use your own logic as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 KING OF SWORDS 

king_swordsThis card has very similar features to the Queen, only even more exemplified. The King of Swords revels in reason and logic and can be manifested in the form of a savvy businessman. His key word is ‘conviction’ and it drives him to great accomplishments. He appreciates calm, collected logic and is in no way moved by poignant emotional tales or appeals to his heart.

 

TA-DA! The swords. As always, there is an abundance of information both in the literary and online community to reference if you’d like more detail/interpretations. The swords overall seem very gloomy and ominous, but given that they represent the more cerebral aspect of the Tarot it makes sense. There will always be negative and positive aspects to a situation. The beauty the Tarot offers is the gift of noticing these things ahead of time or putting them into perspective so you can see what you need to do to change them.

Learning the Cards: The Major Arcana (AKA, the Heavy Stuff)

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My personal deck, Daniloff Tarot

So now that we’ve got a few of the dryer aspects of the Tarot knocked out, here comes one of the more fun parts: learning the card meanings! Like the history of the cards themselves, their full meanings can vary with a number of factors such as, 1) the type of deck being used, 2) the kind of reading that is being done, and 3) how well versed you are in the Tarot. I myself try to reference several different sources to be sure that I’m aware of the numerous interpretations. This ends up making a reading more accurate because I can be confident I have all of the information presented, not just one or two scenarios.

You may be thinking this sounds way too complicated and overwhelming, that you want something clear-cut and definitive. Well unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way, and the Tarot (which is intended to mimic life) doesn’t either – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile! For the sake of clarity and learning, I’ve elected to just include the most basic definitions of the Major Arcana. The Major Arcana comprises 22 cards of the standard 78 card Tarot deck. ‘Arcana’ means mystery, so this group represents the larger and more complex occurrences of life. They can alternately be known as keys or trump cards.

Without further ado, let’s get started on learning the Major Arcana…


0 – THE FOOL

lefouThe number ‘0’ is representative of both infinity and origin. The Fool signifies beginnings, a major crossroads, naivety, and potential. He is more intuitive than rational, but he is well-meaning and has the Universe on his side.


I – THE MAGICIAN

themagician

The Magician shows power over the material and immaterial. His greater understanding over the “higher” planes of being  and spiritual nature makes him capable of achieving great feats. The card signifies that the individual has the resources and information needed to complete their goal.

II – THE HIGH PRIESTESS

thehpThe High Priestess represents hidden knowledge and wisdom. Her femininity is tied to the element water, because of its free-flowing and ever-changing nature. This card shows that a concrete outcome cannot be determined yet, and the individual’s response to upcoming events may alter it – experience must first
occur.

III – THE EMPRESS

theempress

Also known as Mother Nature. The Empress is symbolic of all growth, life, and fertility. She shows abundance and represents enjoying the beauty to be found in everyday nature; relishing the good things in life. More associations: creation, birth, nourishment.

IV – THE EMPEROR

emperorThis is the archetypal King – the man’s man. He stands for order, stability, security, and prosperity. He is a leader that often times comes across as cold when really he is just focused. This card signifies authority and responsibility. It is about practicality and making decisions that are beneficial to all, not based upon
emotion.

V – THE HIEROPHANT

hierophantSometimes known as The Pope. Do not be offset by the name, at his core The Hierophant represents tradition, teaching, and living by one’s beliefs (whether they be Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan, or just based upon our individual morals). This card signifies bringing our personal principles into realization – essentially living what
you believe.

VI – THE LOVERS

loversSymbolic of the union of opposites, and completion. The Lovers are about choosing what fulfills you and makes you happy. It is not always the easy choice, but it is the one that will most benefit you emotionally and spiritually in the future.


VII – THE CHARIOT

chariot
The Chariot, as shown in the card’s image, represents the need for
movement which may be hindered in some way. This hindrance may be outward or inward. However, strength of will helps the individual overcome any such obstacles.

VIII – STRENGTH

strengthThis card symbolizes a balance of our higher-thinking selves and our more animalistic, brute strength. As shown in the image, the female figure is soothing the wild nature of the lion. She is creating harmony with a subtler but more powerful strength. She calms thoughts and guides the situation to a place of peace. It is
important to note that in certain decks, key VIII and XI (Justice) are reversed.

IX – THE HERMIT

hermitAs the name would suggest, this card shows a need for the individual to separate themselves from the influence of others and perhaps spend some time alone, cultivating their own thoughts. The Hermit is symbolic of self-discovery and finding truth by ourselves. Where The Hierophant served as a teacher, The Hermit serves as more of an example.

X – THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE

wheelofThe Wheel is about life’s cyclical nature – what goes up must come down. But when this happens is unpredictable. This card signifies that a radical change is about to occur.

XI – JUSTICE

justiceJustice is about reaping what you have sown – Karma. It also offers the individual a higher or even alternate arena of understanding, elevates them to have a greater concept of how the world around them works.

XII – THE HANGED MAN

hangedmanThis represents a willingness of vulnerability. The Hanged Man is peacefully submitting to inaction – and by doing so acting through observation, reflection, and acceptance. The card symbolizes a conscious waiting game.

                                                                                                                                                                               XIII – DEATH

deathNot surprisingly, this card tends to terrify people. But it is typically never
associated with actual death, rather a signification of “out with the old, in with the new,” and transformation. Everyone fears change and the end of something they’re used to, but with this end comes the promise of new hope and a fresh start.

XIV – TEMPERANCE  

temperanceTemperance is about the right pieces of the puzzle falling into place in the right time. It can mean moderation and balance, but it can also stand for taking the extreme route if the situation calls for it; reacting (or not reacting) appropriately in the given circumstance.

XV – THE DEVIL

devilThis card sits in opposition to The Hierophant. Where key V is supposed to be setting the individual on the path to their beliefs and what makes them happy, The Devil represents addiction, over-indulgence, and/or bondage. He leads the individual astray from more enlightened ideals.

XVI – THE TOWER

towerThe Tower is the destruction of something very familiar and comfortable to the individual. While frightening, this destruction serves the purpose of shaking you out of your complacency and giving you the basic materials to create anew – usually something better. What The Tower represents differs for each person, but its downfall is because it no longer stands for their best interests.

                                                                                                                                                  XVII – THE STAR

starThis card is the perfect complement to The Tower because it represents refreshment and hope. It is about accepting guidance from the Divine (which is interpreted in different ways to everyone: God, the Universe, a higher being, or just our “higher selves”).

XVIII – THE MOON

moonAs evident in its phases, the moon signifies change. It is also symbolic of the feminine and the unknown. While it strengthens intuition and creativity, it also plays tricks on the mind with its shadows. This may signify a time of volatility and a degree of uncertainty.

                                                                                                       XIX – THE SUN

sun

Of course, the antithesis of The Moon – everything is lit up so there is no mystery. Like sunshine, the situation is filled with happiness and optimism. All is right in the individual’s world at this time and it is joyous.

XX – JUDGEMENT

judgementThis card is about answering a calling. It shows people who were immobile and inactive responding to a state of action and purpose. It is the individual’s choice of answering or disregarding this call that determines their fate.

                                                                                                   XXI – THE WORLD

worldThis is the pinnacle, a great achievement. It not only signifies the completion of something magnificent, but also the culmination and cohesion of the understanding of ourselves within the Universe.

And, well, that’s the Major Arcana! Again, this is a very brief and very succinct rundown of the trump cards. If you’re interested in the finer details, I recommend checking out Biddy Tarot’s blog. I also recommend reading Barbara Moore’s Tarot for Beginners.