Tarot cards are a common sight among psychics, fairs, and books on the occult. They litter pop culture, especially horror movies, and getting your cards read is often a fun activity whenever people spot the booth. There are many different artwork styles and spreads for different purposes, all of which can be confusing to someone unfamiliar with the practice. Reading tarot cards can be as simple as asking a question and drawing a single card, or as complicated as a spread with 21 cards. Cards can be identified in two categories: the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana includes cards like The Hanged Man, The Fool, and Death. The Minor Arcana are numbered and split into suits, which are the cups, pentacles, swords, and wands. Though using tarot cards is relatively easy to do, tarot history is long and colorful. Here are five interesting things you might not know about this mystical art.
Tarot cards have a long history of use in psychic interpretations. While many will argue that tarot is an ancient game possibly originating in Turkey or Egypt, in truth, there are many cards recorded throughout history that could be mistakenly identified as tarot. While playing cards may have originated in these areas of the world, the complex history of tarot cards is more likely to have begun in Italy sometime around 1440. However, the cards at this time were used for a card game, not unlike bridge. While these and other playing cards may have been occasionally used for divination games, it wasn’t until 1781 that tarot cards were fully recognized and used by occult followers. Many of these individuals assigned meanings to the cards and thus used decks solely as divination tools. Tarot may have some history within the occult, but plenty of card readers would argue that the two do not have to be related.
Don’t Fear Death
There’s no need to clutch your pearls if someone flips over the death card in a reading. In fact, none of the cards are inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ There are upright and reversed meanings depending on the card’s position, but it’s also important to consider the card meaning in relation to the individual. For example, for one person the death card could mean they need to let one relationship go in order to let another one flourish. Another person could be on the verge of a personal transformation in which they release something from their past.
One of the first bits of advice new tarot readers come across is to find a deck that speaks to them. This could mean many different things. If you’re looking for a deck, see which ones feel good in your hands. Cards that are too big, too small, or have a strange texture might be frustrating to deal with. Sometimes it’s the artwork that draws the eye. Some people have tarot cards just because of the art. To begin, some people draw a card every day, and later choose one that represents them best. You may develop your own feelings and interpretations of the cards, which is fine, since reading is about relating the cards to the individual, through the lens of the reader.
The Names Have Changed
As tarot became more popular, some of the images and names have changed slightly over time. For example, The Hierophant was originally The Pope, and The High Priestess was originally The Popess. There are numerous nods to Roman history, like the eagle symbols on The Empress and The Emperor, or how The Fool is associated with those who have fallen into divine madness. Some cards represent desirable attributes, and the design of The Chariot could be a nod to certain philosophical concepts.
Religion and Spiritual Practices
You don’t have to be religious to practice tarot cards, though tarot can be used as a tool on a spiritual journey. There are several different ways using the cards can be of assistance. Intuition is a delicate instinct, and there are times when rational thinking can stifle that voice. When you practice reading, you should be relaxed and let ideas flow freely. You may find that you make connections between the cards and people’s lives you hadn’t noticed before. Reading tarot gives you the chance to exercise your intuition so that you hear and trust it more readily.
Practicing tarot is also a great step for those who want to become more spiritual, even if they don’t intend to use the cards for anything else. By conducting a morning reading, you can form a daily habit devoted to spirituality. You may gradually add things like yoga, meditation, or writing. In fact, you could even use your tarot practice as a form of meditation. The process of shuffling and drawing cards can quickly become a calming ritual. If you’d like, you could draw a card and use that image to prompt some introspection you haven’t considered before. There are plenty of ways tarot can encourage you to become more familiar with the different aspects of your personality.
As you learn more and more about tarot, you could use those skills with others, thereby helping them on their own spiritual journey. You could also use tarot in various areas of your everyday life. If you’re blocked on an important creative project, draw a card and see what comes to mind. The colors and images might bring about the spark of inspiration you’ve been looking for. If you deal with clients that consider themselves spiritual, they may appreciate your interest.
The history of tarot cards is long and full of mystery, but there is still an element of light-hearted whimsy and spirituality. One of the most beautiful aspects of tarot is the personal connections the readers make with themselves as well as those they read for. While many images and card meanings are useful, especially for beginners, those new revelations that come when reading can bring richness and insight to difficult situations. If you are seeking a new avenue for spirituality, tarot cards can add an element of fun and mysticism to your daily life.