The Tarot is a deck of picture cards and has been used as a tool for divination for about 400 years. Tarot is a living system used by seers as a powerful aid to their intuition. There are many different styles of Tarot decks, but they all have more or less the same meanings. The symbols on the cards represent themes in human destiny that have been with us since the beginning of time. The powers do not lie in the cards themselves — although there is a special magic about one’s own Tarot deck. It is more that the inner eye of the person giving the tarot reading is opened by the Tarot, giving a vivid insight and helpful interpretation. When you call in for a Tarot reading you are setting up a subtle link between you, your reader and the Tarot symbols. This can bring enlightenment and wisdom.
The cards in the Tarot are divided into Major and Minor Arcanas. The Major Arcana is composed of 22 symbols that represent the bigger issues in life. The Minor Arcana is composed of 56 cards, divided into four suits: Wands, Pentacles, Swords and Cups. These relate to Fire, Earth, Air and Water respectively, and each have relevance to a specific area of life. Cups links with love and emotions, Wands with career and driving force, Pentacles to money and practical matters and Swords to intellectual matters (which includes the strife that may come from harsh words). The suits in the Minor Arcana include a King, Queen, Knight and Page, which often indicate an influential person in your life.
Dramatic issues are often shown by the cards in the Major Arcana, and even if you are new to Tarot some of these will probably be familiar to you. The cards have the following meanings:
CARD 0: (unmarked): The Fool. Unlimited possibilities and potential that may be taken for granted, or misused.
CARD I: The Magician. Will, initiative, creative thinking — nothing is 100% certain.
CARD II: The High Priestess. Wisdom and intuition — emotions may mislead you.
CARD III: The Empress. Joy and fulfilment.
CARD IV: The Emperor. Wisdom through experience, the need to live life in the present and overcome fears.
CARD V: The Heirophant. Being able to appreciate the wide variety of experience in life.
CARD VI: The Lovers. Love, closeness, choice.
CARD VII: The Chariot. Lessons from the forces of Nature deepening consciousness.
CARD VIII: Strength. Opposition uses up huge amounts of energy, going with the flow brings power.
CARD IX: Hermit. Being alone is productive, but humour and interaction enable you to lift others, and be lifted.
CARD X: Wheel of Fortune. Rebirth, and a possible new start.
CARD XI: Justice. Weighing up what is right for yourself and others.
CARD XII: Hanged man. Hesitation and resistance are a prelude to moving forwards, hopefully towards greater fulfilment.
CARD XIII: Death. The reality of life involves death, but this card means transformation — change is the only constant.
CARD XIV: Temperance. Let go of self-imposed limits and learn the lessons of life that lead to balance.
CARD XV: Devil. Materialism and glamour can enslave you. Fears are of your own making.
CARD XVI: The Tower. Upheaval, profound change, leading to revelation of inner truth.
CARD XVII: The Star. Spiritual blessings, fulfilment of goals, hope, wonder, inner power.
CARD XVIII: The Moon. Possible illusion, the subtle, the invisible, soul, imagination.
CARD XIX: The Sun. Vitality, success, achievement, mastery.
CARD XX: Judgement. The value of self-awareness, mindfulness, fairness, balance, detachment.
CARD XXI: The World. Achievement, a task well completed, greater vision, potential.
All of the cards are awesome, but there are three or four that can make you especially uneasy, unless you understand their meaning. The Hanged Man sounds grim, but this guy is actually hanging by one foot. He resembles the Norse god Odin, who hung from the World Tree to gain the secrets of the Runes in a shamanic revelation. So the Hanged Man can mean a hesitation before inspiration dawns.
Death looks worst of all, shown as a naked skeleton swinging a scythe, and it’s no accident this card is numbered 13. However, the physical death of any person is not by any means necessarily foreshadowed by this card. It is most likely to mean the ending of a phase, which is essential if you are to move forwards, and while this card may presage some loss or dark passage, rebirth is implied, so don’t despair! The Devil looks evil, but truly this symbol means caution — you need to examine your subconscious motives, so you don’t act as your own worst enemy, and be realistic, so you aren’t seduced by promises of goodies that will betray you.
The Tower is perhaps the most negative card in the pack. Struck by lightning, it seems to be crumbling to destruction. It can indicate disaster as a result of pride or wrong-doing, but it can also mean a bolt of inspiration which may bring some uncomfortable changes, but will open the way to fresh possibilities. With Tarot the only thing to fear is fear itself, so let your expert reader guide you into making wise choices, as the cards clarify your situation and throw light on your path.