The Ultimate Tarot Card Guide
Tarot cards are a powerful spiritual tool that have been used by people all over the world for centuries to provide deep insights into everything in our lives. From the small, everyday situations and challenges that we face, to the much larger, life-changing decisions we must make, the 78 cards of the Tarot deck hold the answers.
The standard Tarot deck is made up of 78 cards. The 22 cards of the Major Arcana focus on the bigger events and challenges we face in life. The Minor Arcana is split into four suits, similar to a deck of playing cards; the Wands, Pentacles, Swords, and Cups. These cards revolve around the smaller - but no less important - situations we find ourselves in and make up the majority of our daily lives.
Many members of our community have natural psychic and spiritual gifts they are keen to explore and develop. They are keen to learn more about the Tarot so they can practice themselves. To help you find out more about the Tarot, we have provided in-depth descriptions and meanings for every card in the deck for you to read. Select a card below to learn more about it. If you're interested, you can read more about the history of tarot or learn more about tarot cards and how they're used in a reading.
The 22 cards of the Major Arcana are considered by many the most important in the deck, as they revolve around the large-scale, life-altering situations we face. The cards tell the story of The Fool, the first and only unnumbered card in the deck, and follow him as he goes on his journey through life, hitting milestones and overcoming obstacles. Many of the cards in the Major Arcana represent famous, symbolic figures, and can also signify people in your life who will have a big impact on the situation being discussed in your reading.
The 56 cards of the Minor Arcana are split into four suits: Wands, Swords, Pentacles, and Cups. Each of the suits have a specific theme and all of the cards within the suit focus on this theme and the situations and challenges we face in our lives in relation to it. In each suit there are 10 numbered cards, and four court cards. There are many patterns within the Tarot deck, linking all of the cards together. All of the Aces, for example, are the first card in each deck, and so naturally all focus on beginnings of some sort. Every Five in the Tarot features a different kind of conflict or challenge you must overcome, and each Ten signifies the end of a cycle.
The Suit of Wands focuses on career and enterprise. Each of the cards in the deck focus on some element of work and business prospects. If you have a question about your professional life, it is likely that you will find several cards from the suit of Wands in your reading.
The Cups in the Tarot deck correspond to the Hearts in a deck of playing cards. Unsurprisingly, this suit focuses on love, romance, and relationships. It's not surprising to draw many cards from this deck if you are having a relationship reading. If you are having a general reading with no specific question and draw several Cups cards, it is likely that there is a lot of excitement in your romantic life right now.
The Suit of Swords is associated with mental activity and energy, spirituality, and creativity. This deck is associated with Fire, which burns brightly and passionately. If you draw one or more cards from this deck during your reading, it suggests that you have a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and now is the time to chase your goals.
The Pentacles are seen as the 'practical' cards of the Tarot deck, and deal with health and finances. Though perhaps not the most exciting subjects to discuss in a reading, these themes are incredibly important in our daily lives, so it’s important to pay attention if you draw several Pentacles cards.
History of Tarot
As far back as the 15th century (the first known records of tarot appeared then, but had been in use for many years before ) tarot cards were widely used across Europe as parlor games by the upper echelon. Some families even having their own personal cards designed for them. Each set was unique to the families who created them.
By the middle of the 15th century, the suit symbols of Italian cards were Cups, Swords, Batons, and Coins, and they remain so to this day. In tarot cards, however, 21 trump cards, or tarocchi, were added, and these were figural with the fool at the bottom leading up to the emperor and pope at the top.
The earliest references to tarot all date to the 1440s and 1450s in cities such as Venice, Milan, Florence, and Urbino. The game by that point is likely to have begun evolving earlier in the century. Tarot cards employed the standard Italian suits, with values from 10 to 1 and with four face cards, king, queen, knight, and knave, with a total of 56 cards. Alongside them were a fool (matto), which was a wild card, and the 21 trump cards.
Tarot was a game of taking tricks. The rules of the game have not changed significantly since the 15th century. The present-day association of tarot with fortune-telling and the occult gained popularity only in the 19th century and has nothing to do with the medieval tarot cards.
These days, the Rider-Waite tarot deck (originally published 1910) is one of the most popular tarot decks in use for divination today. The cards were drawn by illustrator Pamela Colman Smith from the instructions of academic and mystic A. E. Waite, and published by the Rider Company.
Most of our contemporary tarot cards take their lead from the Rider Waite deck which in turn uses imagery from from a mixture of centuries. Greek toga like robes, medieval knights and the naked Adam and Eve biblical figures on the Lovers card. These cards have evolved over the last century or so to become the many and varied decks we find today.
Today, tarot can be a great source of knowledge. It enables the reader to go beyond the veil of mystery and tap into the energy of the Universe. The client is given a "map" of potential destinations on their lifes journey.