The Tarot
Tarot 101

You can use the tarot in many different ways

     Copyright © 2006 Denise Zimmermann & Katherine A. Gleason
Tarot cards are a great divination tool that people have used for centuries. A few museums have decks (or partial decks) that date back to the fifteenth century.

A tarot deck consists of 78 cards—22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards. The cards of the Minor Arcana are much like regular playing cards in that they have suits and numbers or faces. The cards of the Major Arcana have pictures on them that represent the significant issues or phases in an individual’s spiritual development.

You can use the tarot in many different ways. One of the most common ways that people use it is to lay the cards out in a tarot spread. Spreads can involve lots of cards, or only a few. Usually you shuffle the deck and, as you do so, think of the question you would like to have answered. Then you, or the tarot card reader, lay the cards out in a spread. You can use a simple three-card spread, with three cards laid next to each other on the table, for a quick answer to a question. Or you can use a seven-card spread for a more in-depth answer. Some of the more complicated spreads involve more than 20 cards.

The Major Arcana: Archetypes for the Life Path

The images of the Major Arcana can be seen as representations of all the human archetypes. In addition, the cards of Major Arcana map out our path through life as we grow and develop. New souls start their journeys as Fools and mature in this life only to be reborn a bit further along the path. Because the cards allow us to see our archetypes, they can help us to receive psychic information.

Major Arcana Cards:

IMAGE

NUMBER

REPRESENTS

0
The Fool
Beginnings, innocence, an open mind
1
The Magickian
Creativity, manifestation, skill
2
The High Priestess
Intuition, psychic abilities
3
The Empress
Abundance, fertility, nurturing, wisdom
4
The Emperor
Authority, leadership, logic, planning
5
The Hierophant
Traditions, conformity, conventional wisdom
6
The Lovers
Romance, temptation, inspiration, choice.
7
The Chariot
Stamina, success, victory after struggle, health
8
Strength
Compassion, unconditional love, calmness
9
The Hermit
Truth, wisdom, silence, the inner voice
10
The Wheel of Fortune
Luck, fate, fortune
11
Justice
Fairness, pros and cons, judgment, balance
12
The Hanged Man
Prophecy, self-sacrifice, hanging by a thread, release
13
Death
Regeneration, rebirth, transformation, renewal
14
Temperance
Patience, adaptation, discipline, cooperation
15
The Devil
Materialism, temptation, addictions, obsessions
16
The Tower
The unexpected, surprises, sudden change
17
The Star
Hope, faith, wishes, prospects
18
The Moon
Imagination, psychic development, intuition, unforeseen events, revelation of the truth
19
The Sun
Contentment, peace, partnership, pleasure
20
Judgement
Awakening, clarity, change in consciousness
21
The World
Attainment, triumph, liberation, the end of karma

Cups, Wands, Swords, Pentacles

The suits of the 56 cards in the Minor Arcana represent the four elements. They also correspond to the suits of regular playing cards. 

MAJOR ARCANA SUIT

ELEMENT

DECK SUIT

Cups
Water
Hearts.
Wands
Fire
Clubs
Swords
Air
Spades
Pentacles
Earth
Diamonds



Using the Tarot in Wicca

Every witch needs a form of divination. Tarot is an excellent one because you can use it in many different ways—from a predictor of the future to a decision-making aid to a tool of spiritual growth.

Many witches use the tarot to help them predict what will happen in the future. One way to do this is to ask the cards, “What will happen if I remain on the same course?” Then lay the cards out in the spread of your choosing. The tarot can also be used to help you make decisions. Say, for instance, you have a ew boss and you don’t know how to deal with her. Separate out the 22 cards of the Major Arcana, and set the Minor Arcana cards aside. Ask the Major Arcana cards how you should behave. Then pick three Major Arcana cards.

Let’s say you drew The Fool, The High Priestess, and The Hermit. The Fool tells you that you may want to look at having a new boss as a new learning experience, that you need to approach the situation with innocence and an open mind. In your first meetings with this new boss, you should make sure that you don’t come off as a know-it-all. And you’ll want to make sure that you listen and learn from this new person in your life. The High Priestess tells you to take your intuition with you and listen to it. Allow your intuition to guide you to say the right thing and demonstrate your competence at your job. The Hermit also suggests that staying within yourself, listening and not talking a lot, is the best plan. If you were to bring a new member into your coven, you might want to use the cards in the same manner to determine how best to get to know the new member.

To use the tarot as a tool of spiritual growth, again you must separate out and use the 22 cards of the Major Arcana. Each card represents a step on the path toward spiritual enlightenment. You can choose a card at random and meditate on it. Examine the image on the card carefully and see what you can learn from it. You can also read all about the meaning of the card, but it is nice to really look at it first and see what the card means to you. If you prefer, you can start with The Fool card because we all start off as fools. Work with that card for a while, then when you feel you have learned the lesson of The Fool, move on to The magickian. You may get to a point where you feel that your growth has stopped. That is only natural. You can always repeat steps that you have gone through before. Few of us actually make it to the enlightenment of The World in this lifetime.

Another way that you can use the tarot as a witch is to develop spells around certain cards. For instance, you could build a spell around The Empress and use her wisdom and sense of control. Or you could pull on The Hermit if you want to develop your more reflective and inward nature.


This Magickal DIY, plus much more, can be found here: 


Complete idiots guide to Wicca and Witchcraft
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        by Denise Zimmermann and Katherine Gleason
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