What is the Tarot?
Good Question. First, lemme Tell you what it AIN’T!:
- TELLING you your FATE (that’s kinda up to you)
- Hacking into other peoples lives (NO Peeping Toms!)
- Placing or Lifting “curses”, or any of that stuff.
To put it simply, the tarot is basically a compilation of 78 cards, and on each of them are images of transpersonal triumphs, failures, fears, loves, and pretty much all the issues and tribulations that all humans go through on our time here on this planet.
You found a new love? That’s the “Ace of Cups” bubbling in your heart. Feeling burdened, and overworked? you’re having a “10 of Wands” experience. Are you ending a long-stagnant friendship, FOR GOOD this time? You are learning the lesson of the tarot’s most (unjustifiably) feared, “Death” Card. All in all, the images of the Tarot are a big key to manifesting the future, examining the present, and learning from the past.
The tarot is separated into 2 parts: the 22 Card MAJOR ARCANA ( or Big secrets), and the 56 Card MINOR ARCANA (small secrets).
- The first 22 correspond to major life lessons we learn, situations we go through, and crossroads we face (i.e. Death and ending issues, Judgement [rebirth], Sacrifice for the greater good, Creation and Birth, Tradition and Society).
- The other 56 are on a smaller more everyday scale (meeting new work partners, the feeling of being trapped in a certain emotional situation, inspiration for a new creative project, etc.)
- The Minor Arcana is also separated into 4 suits, like a deck of playing cards. Each suit (Pentacles, Swords, Wands, Cups) corresponds to an Element (Earth, Air, Fire, Water), that categorize the 4 major arenas of life. More on that here.
All together, they tell you the story of your current situation and the enegries surrounding it, with accuracy. And after reading and understanding the advice given, you feel directed, collected, and ready.
Well, at least you ‘sposed to.
OK, So How Does the Tarot Tell You Stuff?
Well, for me, the tarot is just a mirror to reflect our intuition back upon us. In each of us, there is an all-knowing God energy (God/Goddess/Great-Spirit/Qi/Source Energy, this could go on and on..), ready to give you whatever wisdom and guidance you need to successfully carry on with life on this planet. Sometimes we get so caught up with the shit we gotta do everyday, and our worldly demands, we forget to take a step back and listen to the still, small, peaceful voice inside of us. This inner voice is called intuition. For me the tarot is a tool to help me visually evoke that guidance within, to a form a more concrete answer that I can SEE (sometimes that voice can be too quiet to HEAR). The images on the cards help us relate them to our daily demands and physical lives.
Where Did Tarot Come From?
It originated in Europe for sure. But there’s hella squabble about when/why the tarot originated. Some people believe it started as a card game, and eventually became a tool for fortune telling and guidance once some 18th Century scholars recognized the importance and universalness of their occult meanings. Some believe that the tarot started off as a fortune telling tool, and playing card makers copied the format (with the 4 suits). Either way, the tarot contains universal symbols and experiences that connect humans from multiple eras, generations, and cultures.
Can The Tarot Tell Me When I’m Gonna Die and Stuff?
In my opinion (and everyone’s got one), the tarot is for guidance and clarity in any situation. Not a doomsday prediction. But then again, there may be people who do that typa stuff.. It ain’t for me.
What the tarot is probably more equipped to tell you/help you with are issues of Love, Work, Money, School, Spirituality and Ascension, finding yourself; or even more mundane things like how you should approach going vegan, if you should get that new puppy, or how to dress for success at an upcoming party. You should never feel dis-empowered. It is spiritual insight through godly intuition, by the way.
Is it Satanic? I heard it was.
It’s no more satanic than the bible.
It’s just paper, for bob sakes.
I do not “conjure up the spirits of the DEVILLLLLL” or anything like that.
In fact, I call upon God’s peace to help me help myself and others while reading.
I don’t think ANY God would have an issue with someone using their God given gifts to help uplift themselves and other people. Does your God? Why?
Speaking of, what about the “Devil” and “Death” Cards?
In the major arcana are two cards, one called “The Devil” and one called “Death”.
Those tend to be the 2 cards that freak people out the most.
If the “Devil” card comes up in a reading, it is not because Lucifer is after your soul or is trying to curse you. Never give the “devil” that much power. Nor is the “Death” card an omen of your impending sick sad death.
The Devil card can refer to the energy of feeling hopeless and falling victim to the lower aspects of life on earth: greed, bondage by negativity, obsession, narrow-mindedness, forgetting your spiritual/God/Goddess nature, negative thinking, and other “D’ Evils“. It may mean that you yourself are engaging in this soul-killing behavior. It may explain that the environment you’re living in is this way. It might explain your partner or a person around you who is acting in such a way. Either one, the card itself should not invoke “fear“. It should let you know what might need to change, so that you can free yourself from this bondage. Sure, it might alarm you. That’s what any truthful message will do. But do you see how the pulling of this card is not a curse, but a reminder or a call to get back with your spirit?
The Death card? Let me let tarot reader and author Joan Bunning of LearnTarot.com explain it to you
It is a truism in tarot work that Card 13 rarely has anything to do with physical death. A responsible card reader never interprets Card 13 in this way because this view is too limiting. Death is not something that happens once to our bodies. It happens continually, at many levels and not just in the physical. Each moment we die to the present so the future can unfold.
In readings, Death often represents an important ending that will initiate great change. It signals the end of an era; a moment when a door is closing. At such times, there may be sadness and reluctance, but also relief and a sense of completion. Death also suggests getting down to basics. Dying has a way of making you concentrate on what’s important. This card reminds you to cut out the unnecessary. Death can also mean you will experience an inexorable force. Death is inevitable, and sometimes there are events that are inescapable as well. When these moments occur, the best approach is to ride your fate and see where it takes you.
SEE! The Death card can symbolize endings and transitions into the bold new unknown territories that lie ahead. To some, stepping into the complete unknown feels like absolute death. But to those that know, endings are an indication of a new beginning; and you have the consciousness power to look at it either way: as a bitter end, or a beckoning beginning to a new expansion of consciousness.
What about those Psychic Scammers?
There are some people out there who will exploit peoples’ fear and reverence of the tarot by using it as a weapon to extort money from them. Some scam readers will tell clients that they see “a curse” that has been put upon them, and that they need to pay ungodly amounts of money to lift the curse (there are no such thing as curses!).
There are some readers who, after you pay, tell you everything they think you want to hear so that you’ll keep coming back. The latter tends to be more common.
There are a few common-sense tips to pay attention to when picking a reader. I’ll make a post on it soon, but first and foremost, use your intuition. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. Also, if you’re being asked for money to relinquish a curse that has been placed on you, fuhgeddabout it. Also, if you leave the room less empowered than when you came in, more than likely you shouldn’t be consorting with the reader; we should never feel worse or afraid after a reading.
The tarot is a valuable tool for reflection. Hopefully this post will be able to help lighten up the general perception of Tarot in society, and clear up some fear-mongering myths and misinformation.
If you’re looking for more information about Tarot, here’s a nicely put together list of books, blogs, sites, forums, decks, and FREE reading sites, for delving more into the subject thanks to BiddyTarot.com. I personally suggest Joan Bunning’s book “Learning the Tarot”. It covers everything you need to know to start your journey.
Get informed! Stay connected! What’re your experiences with tarot?