The Tarot is a great introduction to learning to read. It is also a method which is very widely known about. Most people, including hardened sceptics know what a deck of Tarot cards looks like. For the non-sceptic who want to learn to read and develop their psychic skills, then the Tarot is the most versatile and helpful tool. There is a plethora of books and articles which analyse the meaning of the Tarot. So, in a sense, for a beginner, there is help available. Which does not rely on psychic skills to understand the meanings of the cards. So, in that way, it is like psychic training wheels, reading is made less difficult, and it is like the reading is a bike, and the books are the stabilisers, until the rider no longer needs them.
Choosing a Tarot Deck
There is a bewildering number of decks to choose from now, if you want to buy one. There tends to be a consensus, that the Rider-Waite deck is the most user friendly one for beginners. Because of the careful references which are all pictorially demonstrated, the learner reader is helped by the images. It is useful to start with something simple, and then expand as you become more proficient. Practise makes perfect as the saying goes, but so is variety the spice of life. I learned with several decks mainly because I liked the feel of them and the different images.
The Tarot Cards
The Tarot has 72 cards, usually, that is the traditional number divided into Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. Arcana is just how the two subdivisions are referred to. Then the cards are further subdivided into suits: Pentacles, Swords, Cups and Wands. In each of these suits there is hidden information, or occult, that is the word for hidden. Hidden is that the four suits also refer to elements: earth, air, water and fire respectively. They also refer to the four directions, so in that sense they call on much older sacred knowledge. The four seasons, the operations of the universe, the constellations, the stars and star signs. The cards are numbered, each number has its own world of meaning. Which a reader can use to help their sitter.
Indicator of Events
The minor arcana are cards which can be referred to as indicators of events. However, major arcana can too, the major arcana contains archetypes, and life lessons. Whereas the minor arcana contains archetypal stages on life. The major arcana contains universal themes and experiences. As well as the challenges of life which appear at different stages in a lifetime. The major arcana is a repository of wisdom and universality of experience.
As a body, the whole Tarot imparts wisdom and guidance. It asks us to reflect, and to make the journey within, to examine ourselves, to start with ourselves. Tarot encourages taking responsibility for and learning about ourselves. Acknowledging that we are all not perfect, and we all will grow and mature as we make our way through life.
Tarot offers us that it is not what happens to us, it is how we handle it that matters. And we can learn to handle just about anything as long as we accept responsibility. Tarot offers us the wisdom of those who have gone before us, mastered the lessons of the Tarot, and who can impart that wisdom and knowledge through the correct application of Tarot card readings.
Different Schools of Thought
The Tarot blends, without naming, a number of philosophical schools of thought. From all over the world illustrating the universality of human existence and the notion of universal truths. Being born, having parents, falling in love, confusing love with lust, learning new skills, getting very good at your chosen skills, believing in yourself, being flexible but simultaneously determined to overcome what life throws at you, understanding we are all connected, and having empathy for our fellow humans, as well as the folly of greed. That is not an exhaustive list, the whole list would not fit into one article!
Happiness is Perspective
The most important message is that happiness comes from within. Happiness is a perspective rather than a material reality. Placing happiness into the material world is not where it belongs. But therein lies a lot of personal, cultural and nations failure, the emphasis placed on the obtaining of material wealth over spiritual wealth leaves whole swathes of the population and the planet deprived, and it is not sustainable.
Responsibility not ownership is the message of the Tarot, and the final major arcana card refers to the stage in life where you fully understand this message. Attainment of transcendence of the physical world without the death of the physical body, spiritual enlightenment, a mastery of both worlds is the final lesson of the Tarot.
Reducing the Tarot to a simplistic predictions tool is missing out on such a lot, so most readers do not use the Tarot in that way. The Tarot is a highly personal tool, despite its universality, because the Tarot will come alive in the hands of the person who understands the meanings behind the cards in the simple form, but who can then work with a series, or spread of cards, as the meanings may change depending on surrounding cards and the spread used.
So, to begin, learning the book meaning of every card, then cross referencing it to any given situation or question, this is the best first step in making the cards your own tool. The next step is to subsequently make the cards your own. The only way to do this is to practice on any person willing to be your guinea pig.
The cards are just pictures and inert objects until the reader starts to work with them. A practiced reader knows the historic meanings of the cards, but because they have used them and in combinations, many times, the cards will tell the reader things that a less experienced person cannot see.
Reading psychically does require the development of the psychic ability, and we all have some, but reading cards requires a working knowledge of all of the above plus a personal relationship with the cards which interprets the cards for the sitter. I use Tarot sometimes for timing. It is a good tool for getting information very quickly, and getting an overview of what has been going on for a sitter, and what might be coming up for them.
Reading Tarot for Strangers
Tarot cannot teach you to be psychic or to read. Getting a set of cards, and a book or two, then starting to read, is the beginning. Reading for yourself is always a good place to start, but you will need to test it all on other people, preferably ones that you don’t know too well. The reason for this is that you gain confidence when you read for a stranger, that you cannot get from reading for people who are familiar to you. No harm in reading for friends and family, it’s all good practice, just that strangers, you can be sure it’s not your pre-knowledge that has informed your reading, but your reading skills.
Philosophy & Psychology
Lastly, learning Tarot should bring you pleasure. If you love philosophy and psychology and art, you will love Tarot because it combines all three. Feeling inspired by your favourite authors, or educated, is such an uplifting feeling. Learning to read, and giving readings that you get good feedback on is also uplifting.
Psychic reading is all about the readers ability to blend energies with the sitter, but it is also on the sitter to make themselves open and receptive to what the reader gives, them, and to generously work with the sitter in an energetic sense. It’s an art form not a science, and in that form, there is much beauty and healing to be imparted, once you start working with the Tarot, you will never stop, because you never stop learning!