What is the Tarot?
The Tarot is a deck of 78 cards that answer your questions about life, love, work – or whatever is important to you right now. Its intricately detailed pictures represent our unconscious understanding of all the possible experiences of our lives – past, present and future; practical, tangible and emotional.
Each card carries its own set of meanings. Symbolism is very strong throughout the cards as they offer their predictions and pieces of advice. Various themes are incorporated into the Tarot; for example, the elements (earth, wind, water and fire) are represented along with astrological star signs, numerology and religion.
The 78 cards are divided into two groups, the Major and Minor Arcana. (Arcana means secrets.)
There are 22 ‘Major Arcana’ cards. These Trump cards include the main ones that you may have heard of, such as The Empress, The Lovers, The Hanged man and The Star. These cards represent our journey through life – sometimes known as The Fool’s Journey. Their ideas, concepts and principles represent strong energy or major events within your life.
There are 56 ‘Minor Arcana’ cards. These cards are divided into four suits: Cups, relating to love and emotion; Wands, which indicate work and social activities; Swords, which illustrate problems or worries; and Pentacles, showing money or health issues.
Like our modern playing cards, each suit has ‘court cards.’ These are a King and Queen, plus two cards that we combined to become our Jack: the Knight and the Page. These cards illustrate aspects of ourselves or people around us.
Each card takes on a different perspective depending on where it shows up within your ‘spread.’ This means the way the cards are laid out. Each position represents a different aspect of your life and emotions.
There are many different, wonderful designs of cards available, many dating back hundreds of years. The pack I prefer is the popular Rider-Waite design. You can read more about these cards on the History of the Tarot page. I keep my cards wrapped in black silk to protect them from outside energies, and tied with a pink ribbon that originally held a beautiful bouquet of flowers, given to me by someone I love.
What the Tarot is not
It’s not fairground fortune-telling. Neither is it a substitute for professional legal, health or career advice. It’s guidance from a higher plane. How wisely you choose to use that guidance is up to you.