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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!

  • New Tarot de Marseilles — Update
    by jamesricklef on April 14, 2021 at 12:35 am

    As I mentioned in a recent post here, I am working on a new “21st Century Tarot de Marseilles” deck. At that time, I’d only completed the Fool card in order to get some feedback on the whole idea. The response was positive, so I have continued work on this new deck, and I thought

  • What does the Moon card mean?
    by jamesricklef on February 14, 2021 at 1:58 am

    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 Moon card.

  • New Tarot de Marseilles deck?
    by jamesricklef on January 30, 2021 at 3:37 am

    I plan to do a new coloring of the Tarot de Marseilles deck and would like some feedback on the idea. See sample Fool card.

  • RWS 2.0 deck comparison
    by jamesricklef on January 10, 2021 at 3:00 am

    I was recently asked by someone if I could show her a comparison of some cards from my RWS 2.0 deck to the traditional RWS deck. Of course, I took that as a message from the Universe to show everyone a few such card comparisons

From Mary K Greer’s Blog

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

  • 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

  • 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.

From Round the Cauldron’s Blog

Round the Cauldron Everyday life as a modern witch!

  • Magickal Magnolias
    by Megan Black on April 21, 2021 at 5:48 pm

    I have several Magnolia trees around my home. In the spirit of using what you have around you and knowing your natural landscape, I wanted to look into the properties of Magnolia trees, their folklore, and any correspondences I could find online (plus come up with some of my own). The post Magickal Magnolias appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Book of Shadows || Tips and Tricks!
    by Megan Black on April 3, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    Today we’re going to talk about what’s in my Grimoire and how I view magical books in general. As always, topics like this are very personal and so what I say isn’t going to be the same as everyone else. You might view a Grimoire, a Book of Shadows, or Book of Mirrors in a completely different manner than I do. That’s okay! I’m just here to give a different perspective and give you my thoughts and how I do things. The post Book of Shadows || Tips and Tricks! appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Dressing Candles || Candle Magick Tips and Tricks
    by Megan Black on March 30, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    To dress a candle basically means to add extra stuff to your candle. You can add different ingredients. You can add oils and herbs and stones. Basically, it’s a way of dressing it up for a specific purpose. Think of it like you would when you dress up to go on a date. Your normal clothes typically will work fine depending on what you’re doing, but you can change the way that you dress to tailor your outfit to the specific event that you’re going to. The post Dressing Candles || Candle Magick Tips and Tricks appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Self-Love Tarot Spread || FREE PRINTABLE
    by Megan Black on February 12, 2021 at 2:37 am

    This self-love tarot spread uses five cards laid out in the shape of an upward-pointing arrow. This shape is specific because you want your self-love to grow! As you shuffle your deck, really focus on what you want to achieve and how you feel about yourself. Be honest. That’s very important. You can’t expect to grow and get honest answers from your cards if you aren’t honest with yourself. The post Self-Love Tarot Spread || FREE PRINTABLE appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • I am a Gatekeeper
    by Megan Black on January 14, 2021 at 10:08 pm

    This topic has been on my mind for at least a week now and I have honestly hesitated in writing this post. I know some people are going to be upset. Some people are going to scream but you have to be inclusive to EVERYONE and honestly, I’m just not here for it anymore. To be fair, this idea didn’t just pop into my head. It was sparked by a tweet I saw from Oregon Wood Witch and from there it just spiraled into a mess of thoughts that I haven’t quite been able to wrap my head around. The post I am a Gatekeeper appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

From the Unified Esoteric Tarot

Esoteric and Divinatory Tarot by Attila Kárpáthy

  • The extra mile
    by Admin on May 14, 2021 at 9:06 am

    The difference between the ordinary and extraordinary is going that legendary extra mile. Going the extra mile means that one is willing to make a special effort to achieve something. It also reveals the difference between what is considered “exoteric”,…Read more The extra mile ›

  • Breaking the patterns
    by Admin on May 11, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    William G. Gray said that “We live in patterns because we have to. They are inescapable. The Cosmos is a pattern. So are we. There are patterns of Spirit, Soul, Mind, and Body extending through all states of existence. (…)…Read more Breaking the patterns ›

  • Twelve card relationship spread
    by Admin on May 9, 2021 at 8:33 am

    When it comes to Tarot readings, the vast majority of the questions refer to relationship issues. We should keep in mind that the Tarot is not an occult spying tool, and scanning our partners’ feelings, thoughts, desires, fears, hopes, or…Read more Twelve card relationship spread ›

  • Mystics and Mistakes
    by Admin on May 5, 2021 at 7:35 am

    “There are only two types of people, Mystics and Mistakes,” says Sadhguru. In my experience, most Mystics are making mistakes, and mistakes result from ignorance and laziness. Sadhguru also stated that “one little step existentially is worth more than all…Read more Mystics and Mistakes ›

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

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

  • New Moon in Taurus 2021 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign
    by Theresa Reed on May 10, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    The New Moon in Taurus 2021 occurs on Tuesday, May 11th at 3:00 PM EDT and this may be one of the most magical lunations of the year. Here’s why: New Moons are fantastic for setting intentions and the Moon is exalted in Taurus. This particular Moon is supported by favorable angles with Neptune and The post New Moon in Taurus 2021 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – Spring beauty
    by Theresa Reed on May 8, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    A few pics from recent walks starting with the inside of a red tulip. Isn’t that stunning? I guess this spring beauty is called “Young Dryad’s Saddle.” This dandelion was doing its own thing. Spring always brings out the bluebells. They make me happy. Caught this little guy resting up on our porch. Other stuff: The post The Hit List – Spring beauty appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Astrology Bytes Episode 133 – Jupiter Through the Houses in the Natal Chart
    by Theresa Reed on May 7, 2021 at 1:49 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 133 – Jupiter Through The post Astrology Bytes Episode 133 – Jupiter Through the Houses in the Natal Chart appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Talkin’ Tarot with Chris Onareo
    by Theresa Reed on May 5, 2021 at 1:43 pm

    Talkin’ Tarot With is a monthly feature designed to introduce my readers to different tarot readers from our wonderfully diverse community!  Each month, I’ll be asking various tarot readers three questions about their tarot philosophy and style, plus pointing you to their websites and blogs so that you can learn more about them!  I like The post Talkin’ Tarot with Chris Onareo appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

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

  • Charlie Claire Burgess: Art, gender, & creating the Fifth Spirit Tarot
    by Beth on April 27, 2021 at 10:57 am

    Charlie is a non-binary spirit in a human home who's gay for other queers! Based in Portland, Oregon, Charlie is the artist and author behind the Fifth Spirit Tarot. The post Charlie Claire Burgess: Art, gender, & creating the Fifth Spirit Tarot appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Casey Rocheteau on surviving 2020 & embracing queer monsters
    by Beth on April 16, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    "I imagine the Shrine of the Black Medusa as a space where you can be your full self, with all of your trauma, faults, charms, and questions" The post Casey Rocheteau on surviving 2020 & embracing queer monsters appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Open letter re my recent curatorial decisions
    by Beth on April 14, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    I received an email from a customer who was alarmed by my decision to centre LGBTQ+ and BIPOC+ creators in this shop. I wanted to publish my response. The post Open letter re my recent curatorial decisions appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • What’s changing from spring 2021
    by Beth on April 6, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    A summary of the changes I'm making at Little Red Tarot following a two-month sabbatical. The post What’s changing from spring 2021 appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth