Tarot Basics: A Practical Overview

Tarot cards are one of the oldest tools humans have used for divinatory purposes over the years. Originally, these cards started out as a card game and have transformed into a powerful tool to gain access to your intuition over the years. While the tarot is often portrayed as a psychic tool that only practitioners with special abilities can use, the truth is that anyone can read the tarot. The key is to learn the cards, get in touch with your intuition, and know how to ask the right questions. At first glance, learning tarot can be overwhelming. There are countless decks available for you, and each card comes with an intricate image and an even more in-depth meaning. This practice is meant to be a learning experience and takes time. In this article, you'll discover the true power within tarot, the basics, and how to learn this beautiful practice.

The Major and Minor Arcana

Tarot cards often come in a deck containing 78 cards. The deck is split between two sections, the major arcana and the minor arcana.

The major arcana are the different life themes or lessons that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. These lessons are also portrayed as archetypal energy and can be used to illuminate what changes or transformations you will experience on a deeply personal level. These cards tell the story of the traveler, the one whose journey starts at his realization of his spirituality and ceases to never end. These cards can be used outside of your tarot practice, and you can use them to tap into the energy that they represent.

Many of these cards teach you the importance of tapping into your empowerment, how to overcome the different internal struggles you may experience, and how to live your best life. They also portray the different challenges and obstacles that may be patterns within your life, such as unhealthy attachments, emotional instability, or the inability to be honest with yourself. The major arcana are powerful tools to help explain where you're at in life and the current cycles you are experiencing.

 The minor arcana's purpose is a bit different than the major cards. These cards are divided into four suits, wands, swords, cups, and pentacles. Each of these suits also represents a specific element. They are also associated with the different zodiac signs.

Wands – Fire, Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
 Swords – Air, Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
 Cups – Water, Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
        Pentacles – Earth, Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn


 Each of these elements correlates to different aspects of life. Earth is associated with financial matters and other earthly means. The cups are associated with our emotions. Swords dictate thought and ideas. Lastly, the wands are tied in with our expression, passion, and impulses. These cards are much more abundant in the tarot deck, compliment any of the major arcana that appear within a reading. If the major arcana express the life lesson that you are experiencing, the minor arcana highlight what areas of your life you will experience them.

For instance, if you were to draw two cards, the death card, and the three pentacles, you could interpret that you will undergo a transformation within the workplace. This is because the death card symbolizes transformation, changes, and metamorphosis. The three of pentacles is often associated with the workplace, collaboration, and community. In this example, you see how the major arcana's theme could be very general and hard to interpret without looking toward the minor arcana that is also within the reading.


What Deck is for You?

 There are so many tarot decks to choose from, and the key is to start with the one that is easy to learn from and also resonates with you. Take some time to look into specific decks, look at their imagery, and see how they make you feel. You'll also want to start with a deck that is familiar within the tarot community. Many decks are based on the famous Rider-Waite-Smith deck, which was one of the first decks to incorporate occult symbolism into the cards. Since its release, it's become a staple within the tarot community, and many decks, books, videos, and teachings are based on this deck's card symbolism and descriptions. Starting with the Rider-Waite-Smith deck or a deck that is similar may be helpful because it will be easier for you to find resources to learn from. After you've gained some experience, then you can look for decks that are a bit more abstract as they will be easier to incorporate into your practice that way.


Use Your Intuition Before Learning The Cards

 Upon receiving your tarot deck, use your intuition before learning the descriptions. Just because a card's description doesn't explain a certain feeling you have when you see it doesn't mean that feeling isn't valid. Spend time flipping through your tarot deck, examining the cards, and maybe even writing down your own interpretation for each before you begin to learn them. That way, you'll be able to know what your intuition teaches you, alongside the traditional descriptions. Everyone's tarot practice will be different, and one of the best elements of learning tarot is that it allows your intuition to send you messages through their symbolism and the responses you have to them.


Allow Your Practice to Unfold

Learning tarot is a beautiful process that unfolds with patience, divine timing, and skill. You can't rush the process; you have to allow yourself to understand the power that each card holds, what questions to ask, feel how your intuition guides you, and how to interpret a spread. These components all take time but are possible for anyone as long as they are willing to learn along the way. Tarot is great for helping uncover answers from the unknown, guiding you to understand what would have otherwise been unseen. These cards are a powerful way to connect with your intuitive powers, helping unlock your energetic abilities with each card that you learn. If you're being called to the tarot, listen to its call, find your first deck, and dive into the magical world of the major and minor arcana.

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