What is Tarot?
Tarot reading is the practice of divining wisdom and guidance through a specific spread (or layout) of tarot cards. However, contrary to popular belief, the cards do not tell your fortune, and one does not have to be a psychic to give tarot readings. The cards are meant to provide insight into the innermost truths of your Higher Self. In other words, the cards provide an evolved awareness of what you already know deep within.
History of the Tarot
In 1791, Jean-Baptiste Alliette designed the first tarot deck created for occult practices and divination. Until that point, tarot decks were used as playing cards for entertainment throughout regions of Italy and France.
Jean-Baptiste Alliette recognised the correspondences tarot shared with astrology, the four elements, and the four humors. He proceeded to revise the cards strictly for esoteric use, popularising tarot prophecy. His magical pseudonym, Etteilla (his surname inverted), is the name by which he is most commonly known in tarot lore. Etteilla believed that tarot was divinely inspired by the Book of Thoth, thus his deck was heavily influenced by these ancient Egyptian texts. He was the first to divide the 78-card occult deck into its two distinct categories, which came to be called the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana.
There are 22 cards of the Major Arcana, which divulge greater secrets, and 56 cards of the Minor Arcana, which divulge lesser secrets and are further divided into four suits. These suits of the Minor Arcana include Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles. The 14 cards in each suit are numbered Ace through Ten, then the face cards, Page, Knight, Queen, and King. The Minor Arcana of the tarot symbolise daily aspects of life, giving insight into trivial ups and downs. Each suit represents an attitude, temperament, or even a physical attribute.
The Major Arcana are numbered 0 through 21, starting with The Fool, and ending with The World. These cards align with the milestones of Story, or The Hero’s Journey, which one could ascertain from Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero With a Thousand Faces.” In this sense, the cards of the Major Arcana represent the 22 inevitable phases or passages of every journey, which we will all encounter during our lives, but not necessarily in this order. It is also possible for these phases to repeat themselves, and recur multiple times throughout one’s life, creating a cyclical nature in which there is no true beginning or end.
There are many ways in which the Tarot can be used to help inspire inner-healing and positive manifestation. Through the process of looking deeper into certain situations or in recognising our own thought patterns, we can meditate on and visualise positive outcomes, feelings and dreams. In doing this, we can create new opportunities for growth in raising our consciousness and allowing ourselves to change our lives.
The overall reading is a collective energy derived from each individual card. The energies can shift at any given time, as processed through the act of shuffling. There are so many ways the cards can be interpreted to gain wisdom and understanding of your life. When you receive this wisdom from the cards, you are invited to use them as visual bridges into an infinite scope of realities or as mirrors of your own consciousness.
A Tarot reading offers council and clarity, offering spiritual keys for growth and meditation.