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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!

  • What does the Eight of Swords mean?
    by jamesricklef on August 23, 2023 at 6:48 pm

    . Here is a pithy meaning for the Eight of Swords:Mind your own business . Note: Each of these pithy Tarot meanings is just one facet of its card. Find more of them on my Card Meanings page.  Also, get my Pithy Tarot Book and LIKE my Pithy Tarot Facebook page! The image on this post is a card from my

  • Recorded Online Tarot Workshops
    by jamesricklef on February 8, 2023 at 11:46 pm

    Did you miss my online workshops? No problem! You can get recorded versions of them!

  • Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques: Your Own Fool’s Journey
    by jamesricklef on August 29, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    Here is a Tarot technique that I call “Your Own Fool’s Journey.” With it, you can use the Major Arcana cards to explore and analyze the story of your life — past, present, and future.

  • Tarot Self-Empowerment Techniques: A Tarot Vacation
    by jamesricklef on August 16, 2022 at 11:33 pm

    Here is a visualization technique with which you can go on an imaginary vacation using your Tarot cards. Use this when you need a vacation but you don't have the time or finances to go on a real one.

From Mary K Greer’s Blog

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

  • Pamela Colman Smith photo by Alice Boughton
    by Mary K. Greer on October 9, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    I just discovered this previously unknown photo of PCS by her friend, the well-known photographer, Alice Boughton. The source is The Literary Digest, July 4, 1908. Enjoy.

  • The Moon Card: Between a Dog and a Wolf
    by Mary K. Greer on September 17, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    Do you know what the expression “entre chien et loup” or “between a dog and a wolf” means?  It is a French description for twilight – either dusk or dawn – when the half light turns everything monochromatic and you can’t tell the difference between the wild and the tame. I’ve always loved this as

  • The Truth Untold, Lenormand Cards, Ashbless, and the Smeraldo Flower
    by Mary K. Greer on June 17, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Recently, music producer for BigHit, PDogg, was asked what his favorite BTS song is and he answered “The Truth Untold,” sung by the four vocalists (live performance below). It seems there is a long, fascinating history behind it. I’ll try to make this short. (Check out these sites for details: The BTS Effect and the

  • Emperor/Death/Fool Birth Cards and Daechwita
    by Mary K. Greer on January 6, 2021 at 12:20 am

    Among the Tarot cards determined by adding the numbers in your birth date, I find most intriguing the Constellation of the Emperor, which consists of the Major Arcana cards whose numbers add up to four: the Emperor (4), Death (13 = 1+3=4), and the Fool (the un-numbered 22nd card of the Majors; 2+2=4). Many people

From Round the Cauldron’s Blog

‘Round the Cauldron Modern witchcraft and polytheism explained!

  • Praying Pagans || my tips and advice for pagan prayers [CC]
    by Megan Black on September 24, 2023 at 1:39 am

    Oh no! It looks like you landed on a post just for members! If you are a member, try signing in to your account. If you are not a member yet, why not join me? You can find more information about my membership program by clicking here!

  • Mythological Serpents & Snakes in Witchcraft [CC]
    by Megan Black on September 17, 2023 at 12:25 am

    Oh no! It looks like you landed on a post just for members! If you are a member, try signing in to your account. If you are not a member yet, why not join me? You can find more information about my membership program by clicking here!

  • Community Healing for the Autumn Equinox
    by Megan Black on September 13, 2023 at 1:20 am

    Next Autumn Equinox: September 23, 2023 at 06:50 UTC Autumn has always been one of my favorite times of the year. Where I grew up, we had four seasons. Autumn came in quietly, slowly cooling the world and bringing fog and fallen leaves with it. The crisp, cool air was a welcome break from the overbearing heat of summer. Even where I live right now in Florida, the Autumn season is preparing to descend. The weather is cooler in the morning, the monsoons are less frequent, and there are at least three potential hurricanes in the Atlantic at any given time. Though I enjoy the seasonal shift, the Equinox is not a celebration that I usually focus on. I am much more connected to the Celtic Fire Festivals than the Equinoxes or Solstices, but I can still recognize the honor of balance during this time of year. It is also the halfway point between the beginning of the harvest, Lughnasadh, and the beginning of the dark half of the year at Samhain. The Balance of the Equinox Day and night will be as close to equal length as they can get during the Equinox. The Sun and Earth do a delicate dance through space all year long, coming to the Equinox when Earth’s axis is perpendicular to the Sun’s rays. This happens twice a year – the Autumn Equinox and the Spring Equinox. Though the word Equinox translates to “equal night”, for the Latin word aequinoctium, the amount of day and night isn’t exactly equal. It gets fairly close, though, close enough to notice that day and night seem the same. One of my favorite things to do as the Equinox approaches is watch the times of Sunrise and Sunset get closer and closer to 12 hours apart. This is one of the easiest ways to get in touch with your local area during the change of seasons, especially if you are new to an area. The Magic of the Autumn Equinox I don’t have any personal or religious ties to the equinox. There are no deities I associate with the season and no spirits I call on during this time. Instead, I choose to honor the seasonal change in a different way. Besides being a time of balance, the Equinox also happens during a time of harvest. This makes the connection with local food, feasting, and family more prevalent. It’s also a great time to get out my ingredients and bake some delicious bread! The Equinox is a good time for magic, too. The theme of balance is prevalent, and the coming darkness is a time to prepare while the scales are still balanced. If you’re looking to cast spells this Equinox, consider spells for the following: An Equinox Spell for Community Health One of the major tenants of my practice is community service and hospitality. These can be difficult concepts to embody in our modern world when it’s rare to know your neighbors. However, your community can be your literal neighborhood, your friends, a group of coworkers, or something similar. Community doesn’t have to be your physical neighbors. To help embrace the aspects of community, hospitality, and harvest, I have created a spell for a charmed loaf of bread to be baked and shared with your community. With ingredients that promote healing and prosperity, this baked spell is one that I keep and use regularly. Anyone who eats this bread and is open to the healing magic imbued within will benefit from the spell. This loaf of bread can be baked as one loaf to be shared with dinner, or you can create several smaller loaves to give away. Either way, it will work exactly the same. If you have a favorite bread recipe, feel free to substitute with that instead. You will need the following: Before baking the bread, prepare your herbal mixture. These herbs are going to be added to the dough and baked together, so be sure the herbs are edible and taste good together. You may choose to create sacred space in your kitchen if you’d like. My process for creating sacred space while cooking is simple. I gather all my tools and ingredients together first. Then, I light a candle and take three slow, deep breaths. This allows me to focus and center myself, readying my mind and spirit for what I’m doing. I don’t do this every time I’m in the kitchen working magic, but it does happen when working very specific spells. Prepare your herbal mixture by placing all of the herbs and spices in a bowl, then set it to the side. It doesn’t take a lot of each herb, and I have no measurements to include. Use your best judgment and allow your intuition to guide you. You may choose to say a chant or prayer as you do this, asking for the help of the allies you have included. That choice is yours. Now, it’s time to prepare the bread. As you move through this recipe and bake your bread, allow your mind to fill with images of the community you are protecting and healing. You may choose to bring their images to mind encircled in a healing white light. Keep your focus on the intention behind your baking – healing for a community in need, symbolic sustenance for the dark half of the year, and community bonding over baked bread. *For the vegan version: Mix plant milk and vinegar together and set aside for 5-10 minutes until thick. *If you are making multiple smaller loaves, you will need to adjust the bake time. Cover and cook the bread until it is done in the middle. Then, remove the cover and bake until the crust is golden brown. Share the bread with your community over a meal, or give each member their own loaf!

  • My Inner World || Building my Inner Temple in The Sims 4 [CC]
    by Megan Black on September 8, 2023 at 12:23 am

    Oh no! It looks like you landed on a post just for members! If you are a member, try signing in to your account. If you are not a member yet, why not join me? You can find more information about my membership program by clicking here!

  • You NEED to Meditate! || How To Make Meditation A Daily Practice [CC]
    by Megan Black on September 2, 2023 at 2:45 pm

    Oh no! It looks like you landed on a post just for members! If you are a member, try signing in to your account. If you are not a member yet, why not join me? You can find more information about my membership program by clicking here!

From the Unified Esoteric Tarot

Esoteric and Divinatory Tarot by Attila Kárpáthy

  • Unified Esoteric Tarot III C spec 2023
    by Admin on September 21, 2023 at 4:37 am

    The Unified Esoteric Tarot is back! Another only 78 copies limited edition. Make sure you grab the opportunity and get your copy now. The Third and improved edition is available now for only 124.99 USD. DELUXE EDITION in custom rigid…Read more Unified Esoteric Tarot III C spec 2023 ›

  • Narrowing or widening
    by Admin on September 20, 2023 at 4:23 am

    In the heart of Bucharest is a small warehouse-like bookstore exclusively packed with books printed in English. Although the store is wildly unorganised, the prices are pretty decent, and it is worth spending some time digging for intellectual gold. I…Read more Narrowing or widening ›

  • Book of Thoth and English Method
    by Admin on September 11, 2023 at 10:08 am

    according to Grand Orient. Although Grand Orient is one of the pseudonyms used by Arthur Edward Waite, there could not have been a greater distinction between these two personas. If we drop politeness and respect-fuelled hypocrisy, the booklet provided by…Read more Book of Thoth and English Method ›

  • September’s report
    by Admin on September 4, 2023 at 8:44 am

    People dealing with esoteric matters, especially astrologers, should discuss Zodiac signs, not civil calendar months. What ordinary people call September is an artificial construction of the end of the first decan of Virgo, the second and third decan of Virgo…Read more September’s report ›

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

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

  • Full Moon in Aries 2023 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign
    by Theresa Reed on September 26, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    The Full Moon in Aries 2023 comes in hot on September 29th at 5:58 AM EDT. Full Moons occur when the Sun and Moon are opposite each other. It’s a time of completion, and in Aries, it signals a newfound or hard-won independence. This past year may have tested your resolve, but now you’re able The post Full Moon in Aries 2023 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – Crunch(ing) Time
    by Theresa Reed on September 23, 2023 at 1:42 pm

    Maybe it’s because I grew up with a Virgo father. Or perhaps it’s the three planets in Virgo sitting in my natal chart (we always blame the planets around here). It could just be how I’m wired, but no matter the cause, I seem to be living in perpetual crunch time. There is always something The post The Hit List – Crunch(ing) Time appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Stars Crossed – How to Get Along with Virgo
    by Theresa Reed on September 20, 2023 at 1:38 pm

    The Stars Crossed series focuses on astrological compatibility. While it’s way more complicated than just your Sun sign, we’re starting off with the Sun because it is an important part of your astrology profile. After all, it’s your core personality.  This month, we look at Virgo. Keep in mind this will be general info. As The post Stars Crossed – How to Get Along with Virgo appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – Retrogrades are like bad exes
    by Theresa Reed on September 16, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    Ah, Mercury is direct after three weeks of astrological tomfoolery. Only two weeks prior, Venus did the same. This duo has made summer a hot mess in so many ways. Celebrity breakups, travel grossness, and plenty of tech headaches kept a whole lot of folks on their toes and counting down the days. My final The post The Hit List – Retrogrades are like bad exes appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

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

  • #Decklust | Tarot for misty mornings, lunar planners, textural collage
    by Beth on September 5, 2023 at 4:01 pm

    September rolls in on misty mornings that give way to warm, bright days and evenings with a faint nip in the air. The Ancestral Healing Tarot is on its way, along with this year's Dreaming the World to Come. The post #Decklust | Tarot for misty mornings, lunar planners, textural collage appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • #Decklust | Late summer tarot, skeletons & pandas
    by Beth on August 2, 2023 at 7:40 am

    Last of the Dirt Gems, a new edition of the Way of the Panda Tarot, and the Marigold Tarot, a deck filled with skeletons and gold and Punjabi imagery. The post #Decklust | Late summer tarot, skeletons & pandas appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Hanging out in sci-fi worlds with Zeke’s Lunchbox
    by Beth on July 12, 2023 at 2:13 pm

    I started off my career by making alien animals and sci-fi worlds as an escape from everyday life and to heal from the brutality of the world. But now that I’m older, I feel brave enough to explore this in my work. Julia Rich When Zeke’s Arcana landed in my inbox, it blew my mind. … The post Hanging out in sci-fi worlds with Zeke’s Lunchbox appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • #Decklust | Tarot for high summer
    by Beth on July 12, 2023 at 7:17 am

    Thea's Tarot is here, a Mushroom Oracle hasd landed, Zeke's Arcana is back.... and meet the artist Julia Rich! Plus a gay Marseilles in the works, and allotment pics. The post #Decklust | Tarot for high summer appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth