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The Four Aces of RWS

Learn Tarot – Introduction

On the many Facebook groups and forums you’ll regularly see people recommending the study of each individual card, using a mix of artwork interpretation and other references, over many, many months.  With 78 cards this is a considerable challenge;  if others learnt the hard way then you should too!  Right?

Wrong!  Let us show you not only the easy way – but the best way to learn the underlying associations.

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The Purpose of a Tarot Atmosphere

When learning how to read tarot, it is important to have the right mindset. You should be focused and relaxed, and building a good tarot atmosphere during your reading can help you achieve the mindset necessary to get the most out of your reading. This means choosing to include things like candles, incense, and dim lights in your atmosphere if you find it helpful. All of these things can serve as a reminder to your brain and subconscious that you are getting ready to do something important.

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tarot cards

Buying your first deck – Which deck should you chose?

One of the most glorious things about tarot, is the huge number of beautiful decks available and the wonderful artists that create them. If you’re not careful, you could spend an awful lot of money collecting all the ones you love best!

However, when you’ve just decided to learn tarot and your browsing for your first deck, the choice can seem truly overwhelming. It’s not unusual for people get analysis paralysis and put off buying a deck because they just don’t know which to choose. For some people, this means they never buy one at all.
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Learn Tarot – The Hermetic Qabalah (Tree of Life)

This is a difficult topic to cover as the terminology used can be unfamiliar and discouraging to newcomers. However, here I try to present this in an accessible form. If like me you struggle with the terminology, ignore the unfamiliar names and instead view the tree, numbers, associations and card positions. This will enable anyone to start drawing on the Hermetic Qabalah to deepen their understanding of Tarot.

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The Best Tarot Podcasts

Podcasts are incredibly popular nowadays. The ability to be heard has never been so accessible; anyone can become podcast star with little more than a mobile phone and an internet connection.

As a podcaster this accessibility is very welcome. However, as a listener it can be difficult to know where to begin and a challenge to find the gems amongst the sea of mediocrity.

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To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse

A question commonly asked online:-

“My tarot cards are no longer working.  I’ve been told I need to cleanse them – how do I do this?”

Answers typically range from smudging, to bathing in moonlight, covering in salt, covering in crystals, tapping (typically 3 times), ‘resetting’ (placing the cards back in original order) and even burying in the garden for several days.

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Tarot and the Planets

When Arthur Waite and Pamela Coleman-Smith designed the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) deck, between them they managed to include symbology from pretty much every esoteric system available. Therefore it should come as no surprise that astrology and the planets play a large part in the design of the RWS deck.

If you’ve been reading the other posts on this page, you should know by now that the minor arcana cards represent the astrological elements of air (Swords), Earth (Pentacles), fire (Wands) and water (Cups). The major arcana also has specific cards for each astrological sign and therefore, that signs ruling planet as well.

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Learn Tarot – Example Reading

I considered constructing a spread with chosen cards to demonstrate how a reading may work in practice.  However, I then had a question of my own and the resultant cards seem so perfect I thought it a great opportunity to not only perform a simple reading but relate the cards to the querent/question.

Ready?  First some personal background…

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Learn Tarot – Reversals

Reading reversals (when cards are drawn from the deck inverted) can be traced back as far as the earliest days of Tarot’s use as a divinatory system.  The earliest reference to reversals I can find is from Antoine Court de Gebelin in 1781.  Antoine’s writings formed the basis of Eliphas Levi’s system, later adopted with modification by the Golden Dawn which ultimately led to Waite’s re-interpretation with Pamela Coleman-Smith (the RWS deck).

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Learn Tarot – The Numbers (Revisited)

In a previous article we listed the basic number associations of the minor arcana.

To keep things simple we used the traditional RWS associations as reference.  It’s important to note that this is not the only system in use and it can be useful to cross reference the RWS and Tarot De Marseilles in order to gain further insight.   Additionally, the associated card from the major arcana is also worthy of study in reference to the minors.

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What the F*** is a Thoth Deck?

I have to admit to being a bit conflicted about writing this post. On the one hand, the idea was immensely exciting and I was really looking forward to writing this piece. On the other hand, I knew that I would only be able to scratch the surface of what is a very deep and convoluted rabbit hole. The more I read, the less I know, the less I know, the more there is to research and the bigger and windier the road becomes. Therefore, this is designed as an introduction to what I have learned so far. There are undoubtedly many people who know much more about this that I do and I’m sure as time goes on, there will be other posts from this blogging collective around the subject and the key concepts behind the creation of the tarot.
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My Experience of Learning Tarot

It’s funny how different people come to tarot. For some people it’s been something their family has always done, others are simply drawn to it, but for people like me who grew up in very ‘no nonsense’ households where anything esoteric was poo-pooed, it is something odd and mysterious that requires a ‘happening’ to be brought into your life.

Tarot was something I was aware of but never paid much attention to. After all, it was just a load of nonsense and woo wasn’t it? Just a bunch of generalisations that could be applied to any situation, a bit like cold reading. Until I learned that my good friend, Steve, reads the cards.

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From James Ricklef’s Blog

James Ricklef's Tarot Blog Explore and learn about the Tarot ... and yourself!

  • A Prayer to Lift Your Life (Inspired by the Tarot)
    by jamesricklef on July 4, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    Here is a prayer to lift your life based on the fundamental messages of the four Tarot suits and the Major Arcana.

  • What does the Nine of Wands mean?
    by jamesricklef on June 30, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    Pithy Tarot card meanings are short, easy to remember meanings that may stimulate further insights when called to mind during a reading. They also make great "Card of the Day" messages. Here’s one for the Nine of Wands.

  • What does the Ten of Pentacles mean?
    by jamesricklef on June 24, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    Pithy Tarot card meanings are short, easy to remember meanings that may stimulate further insights when called to mind during a reading. They also make great "Card of the Day" messages. Here’s one for the Ten of Pentacles.

  • The benefits of gratitude
    by jamesricklef on June 20, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    This article is “dedicated” to the Six of Pentacles, which I associate with gratitude

From Mary K Greer’s Blog

Mary K. Greer's Tarot Blog "Tarot helps you meet whatever comes in the best possible way."

  • Flying Ambulances for the Navajo Nation
    by Mary K. Greer on June 1, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    My friend, John Irving, is currently flying medical planes within the Navajo Nation that’s being devastated by COVID-19. I asked him to send me his story that I could post here to let people know what is actually going on. It’s just one story from the midst of this crisis. I want to add that

  • Write from your Heart with Tarot
    by Mary K. Greer on January 13, 2020 at 1:30 am

    How to write from your heart with tarot: – Breathe (ground/center if applicable). – Connect with your future reader (including if you will be your only reader). Try to get a specific image in mind and open your heart to that person(s)—real or imaginary. – Begin your writing with where you are right now at

  • Tarot Tour of Italy 2019
    by Mary K. Greer on December 4, 2019 at 1:22 am

    The best way to understand the historical roots of the tarot is to visit Northern Italy and see the actual sources for the imagery. There is no way I can duplicate the wonderful job Katrina Wynne did of telling the story of our Italy Tarot Trip this October so I’m sending you to her page.

  • An Analysis of BTS’s “Lights” as Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
    by Mary K. Greer on August 6, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    “Lights” is the newest music video from the phenomenally popular South Korean K-pop group, BTS. Its main theme is the question “What is love?” to which there is a response: “your Light lights the way for me . . . no matter how far apart we are.” If you haven’t heard of BTS you are probably

From Round the Cauldron’s Blog

Round the Cauldron Everyday life as a modern witch!

  • Mini-Update || Some things are changing!
    by Megan Black on July 6, 2020 at 4:53 am

    What’s up witches?! I am back behind a camera – even though I don’t have my full setup yet – but I am ready to go! In case you don’t want to watch the full video, here are the things that are changing…   1. Podcasts will now be recorded LIVE on YouTube every (?) The post Mini-Update || Some things are changing! appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Judgment || Learn Tarot || Talk Tarot with Me Ep. 27
    by Megan Black on July 2, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Judgment is not always wanted, but it is a fact that we will all be judged at least once in our lifetime. The post Judgment || Learn Tarot || Talk Tarot with Me Ep. 27 appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 73: Witchcraft Bandwagon – Why, What, and How to Prevent It
    by Megan Black on June 29, 2020 at 7:53 am

    Jumping on the witchcraft bandwagon is not what you may think. Today, I wanted to discuss how the witchcraft bandwagon might be affecting you, how you can recognize it, and what you can do to push past it.    Cultural Appropriation: https://youtu.be/LyRnlG4Geg4 Witchcraft Resources: https://youtu.be/7gRa5Pz1BvQ Irish Magic & Spirituality: https://www.facebook.com/groups/IrishMagic/   I don’t mean that The post Episode 73: Witchcraft Bandwagon – Why, What, and How to Prevent It appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Moon Phase Calendar || Free Grimoire Page Tutorial
    by Megan Black on June 25, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    This moon phase calendar has been helpful for me as someone who doesn’t always want to rely on an app for the moon phase. Make it along with me! This moon phase calendar is super easy to make and you only need a few things. Make it for yourself. Make it with your kids. Make it just because you want to! The post Moon Phase Calendar || Free Grimoire Page Tutorial appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 72: Moon Phases in Magick || Correspondences in Witchcraft
    by Megan Black on June 22, 2020 at 7:54 am

    Working with the phases of the moon in your magick can give you a powerful boost to your spells and intentions. From the full moon to the dark moon, come see what my thoughts are on moon magick and correspondences.    Using Non-Pagan Resources: https://youtu.be/7gRa5Pz1BvQ Farmer’s Almanac: https://www.farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-dates-and-times Institute of Physics – How the Moon The post Episode 72: Moon Phases in Magick || Correspondences in Witchcraft appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

From the Unified Esoteric Tarot

Esoteric and Divinatory Tarot Tarot: theory and practice

  • Studying the Three of Swords
    by Admin on June 18, 2020 at 4:32 am

    Three of Swords Etteilla’s interpretation of the card. Upright: Distance, departure, absence, difference, deviation, dispersion, distant, faraway, remote, delay. Disdain, repugnance, aversion, hatred, disgust, horror. Incompatibility, vexation, clash, opposition, unsociability, misanthropy, discourteousness. Separation, division, rupture, antipathy, section, cut, cutting. Reversed: … Continue reading →

  • Monkey business
    by Admin on June 16, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary means ‘illegal or improper activity or behaviour’. I am – among many other things – a self-publishing Tarot creator. I generally create ‘odd’, uncommercial decks. It is my opinion that the Tarot primordially is … Continue reading →

  • Sacred mathematics
    by Admin on June 12, 2020 at 11:15 am

    “An exploration of the arcana of the Tarot requires an understanding of sacred mathematics, which considers Number as a pure link between the World and its manifestation. The ‘World’ understood as Divine Breath initiating everything existing and therefore manifesting the … Continue reading →

  • New ITF Numerology course
    by Admin on June 5, 2020 at 6:43 am

    The new, certified ITF (International Tarot Foundation) Numerology course starts on the 20th of June at a promotional price of only 45 USD. Three weeks, three sessions a week. The course includes a 60 paged pdf structured in 10 chapters: … Continue reading →

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

The Tarot Lady The tarot cards tell a story...but you write the ending.

  • Tarot Bytes Episode 177 – What to do when a Tarot reading doesn’t feel “clear.”
    by Theresa Reed on July 5, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Tarot Bytes: The Podcast Bite-sized lessons for Tarot beginners Created by Theresa Reed, The Tarot Lady Welcome to Tarot Bytes – the tarot podcast for people who want to learn tarot…but don’t have all day. Short, bite-sized tarot lessons. Episode 177 – What to do when a Tarot reading doesn’t feel “clear.” I’m going to The post Tarot Bytes Episode 177 – What to do when a Tarot reading doesn’t feel “clear.” appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn 2020 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign
    by Theresa Reed on July 4, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    The Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn 2020 will be here on Sunday, July 5th at 12:44 AM EDT. Which means it’s arriving on the 4th depending on your time zone. This is the last one of the summer and the final Capricorn eclipse for a long time. Because it’s a Full Moon, this feels like a The post Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn 2020 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Astrology Bytes Episode 113: Neptune Aspects
    by Theresa Reed on July 3, 2020 at 1:52 pm

    ASTROLOGY BYTES: THE PODCAST Bite-sized astrology lessons for total astrology newbies. Created by Theresa Reed, The Tarot Lady (psst…I am known for tarot but I’m also an astrology geek!). Welcome to Astrology Bytes, the astrology podcast for people who want to learn astrology… but don’t have all day! Short, bite-sized astrology lessons. Episode 113: Neptune Aspects An The post Astrology Bytes Episode 113: Neptune Aspects appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Tarot Bytes Episode 176: Reading Tarot for The Public with Jenna Matlin
    by Theresa Reed on June 28, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    Tarot Bytes: The Podcast Bite-sized lessons for Tarot beginners Created by Theresa Reed, The Tarot Lady Welcome to Tarot Bytes – the tarot podcast for people who want to learn tarot…but don’t have all day. Short, bite-sized tarot lessons. Episode 176: Reading Tarot for The Public with Jenna Matlin If you’ve been reading for yourself The post Tarot Bytes Episode 176: Reading Tarot for The Public with Jenna Matlin appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

Little Red Tarot Alternative approaches to tarot, ritual, magic & more

  • #Decklust | Black Art Matters
    by Beth on June 29, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    There is no going back. The conversation about racism, about white supremacy, about our deeply, deeply broken unjust systems, is too loud to ignore and those with power are having to listen. Here's what we're doing in the shop. The post #Decklust | Black Art Matters appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Share your views: An invitation to our Black & POC customers
    by Beth on June 26, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    If you're a Little Red Tarot visitor and a person of colour, I would love to invite you to take part in our POC customer survey. The post Share your views: An invitation to our Black & POC customers appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Why so many decks are out of stock right now
    by Beth on June 18, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    A quick note to answer customers wondering when this or that deck will be back on the shelves. The post Why so many decks are out of stock right now appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Reviewing Q/T/POC and Black representation in this shop
    by Beth on June 12, 2020 at 8:18 am

    I have just taken inventory of every deck we currently stock, so I can look at the state of representation in my purportedly 'diverse' shop. The post Reviewing Q/T/POC and Black representation in this shop appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth