For me Tarot cards have a mystical power. The awareness of tarot cards dates back to Europe and Italy in the 1440’s. Although initially, the tarots were just playing cards, since then, millions of people around the world have looked to them for answers.
Whether it be about love or money, every single day questions are put forth to the cards. But where does the mystical power of the tarot cards come from?
There is some debate, but below are some sources where tarot cards get their power.
- The order
- All of Us
Tarot cards are a tool that draws out power and energy. But they are more than a group of playing cards. They act as a window or guide through time.
Many people, including psychologists believe that tarot cards can be used to improve our connection to our intuition.
Before we get into more detail, I wanted to point out the Related Articles section at the end of this post. There you will find other articles of interest. Check them out.
Table of Contents
Where Do Tarot Cards Get Their Power?
The querent is the person who asks the question. The querent gives the tarot some power. For example, when you see a woman holding a lion with strength written on it, it’s up to the person with the question to attribute that image to their life.
The querent takes what they need or want away from the reading.
Knowing how to interpret the cards is important. The reader understands the meaning of each card and can put perspective on them. The reader doesn’t just tell you what the cards stand for. They use the cards, their imagery and their own intuition to formulate a story.
Reaching out to the divine is attributed to tarot cards. The answers to questions or general knowledge come from the universe. By shuffling the cards and laying them out on a surface, you are reaching out to the beyond.
Each card has a picture. The pictures with the words on them, the Major Arana cards, are a force that should be taken seriously. When they appear in a reading, they usually have a statement to make.
Here are a couple of articles about the Major and Minor Arcana:
- What’s the difference between the Major and Minor Arcana?
- How to use the Major Arcana tarot cards
- How to read the Minor Arcana Tarot Cards
The order in which the cards appear affects the reading. Cards out of context don’t mean anything. But as part of the big picture, they are given substance.
6.All of us
The power comes from all of us. Asking a question and then shuffling the deck allows us to enter the cosmic consciousness. This encompasses all tarot readers everywhere. We are one entity, and the power exudes from within all of us.
The more I meditate the more I feel connected to everyone and everything around me. I feel that the cards can draw upon this connection that we all have to each other.
I’ve recently started working with an online psychic reading company and I’ve received some great feedback. I’d love it if you could try them out and let me know your experience.Click Here for a FREE 5 Minute Tarot Reading!
What are Tarot Cards Used For?
Tarot is a tool used for guidance. There are several types of guidance. These include:
- Spiritual—connect to your inner wisdom
- Guided meditation—focus only on one card and let it take you where it needs
- Divination—a way to communicate with a higher power
- Spellwork—Wiccans sometimes use these cards the same way they would use a candle, crystal or herb
They can also be a gateway to ancestors.
I’ve also written an article that provides a method to use tarot cards for manifestation! Check it out here… How to use tarot cards for manifestation
Choosing a Tarot Deck
A lot of people think a tarot deck must be a gift. This limits you. You’re now waiting around for someone to give it to you. It really doesn’t matter how you get the deck.
Just purchase one that meets your needs. There are many decks to choose from. If you’re a beginner, there are three basic decks you should choose from to get started.
- Rider-Waite clone (this is a beautiful version of the Rider-Waite Deck)
- A unique deck (go to Etsy for some beautiful decks)
Below are details for each type of deck.
The Rider-Waite deck (find current pricing on Amazon) was designed in 1909 by mystic Dr. Arthur Edward Waite. Under his direction, artist Pamela Coleman Smith created a tarot deck that was recognized as revolutionary.
It became the standard. It contains all 78 major and minor arcana cards. The images are simple. However, the background has a lot of symbolism. A lot of the Christian imagery that was in previous decks was changed.
For example, the “Pope” card in previous decks was changed to the “Hierophant.”
The Rider-Waite deck is such a standard that it is used by present-day creators for new decks. It’s a great deck to start with.
The Rider-Waite Clone isn’t a cheap copy, as the name implies. The original Rider-Waite drawings were lovely but not vibrant. The Rider-Waite Clone has taken the original deck to the next level. It uses the same symbols as the original with a different twist on the art.
The unique deck has been revamped by the creator to have:
- New symbolism
- New meanings
- New artwork
The downside to the unique deck is you won’t be able to discuss traditional themes and interpretations with other tarot users. Most tarot readers use a version of the Rider-Waite deck.
What are the Parts of a Tarot Deck?
A standard tarot deck has 78 cards. They are made up of 22 major Arcana cards and 56 minor (or lesser) Arcana cards. They usually have roman numerals on them.
Listed in order, the Major Arcana consists of:
- The Fool
- The Magician
- The High Priestess
- The Empress
- The Emperor
- The Hierophant
- The Lovers
- The Chariot
- The Hermit
- Wheel of Fortune
- The Hanged Man
- The Devil
- The Tower
- The Star
- The Moon
- The Sun
- The World
The Major Arcana are trump cards. They are numbered from “0” to “21,” and they outrank the minor cards. Major Arcana indicate a significant change or event in a person’s life.
Here’s an article that about the Major Arcana: How to use the Major Arcana tarot cards
Because they are outnumbered by the Minor Arcana, it’s a big deal when a Major Arcana is turned over. Something on a large scale is going to happen in your life. A meaningful influence is about to take place.
Each Major Arcana card symbolizes a different aspect. They also have different meanings depending on if they are upright or upside down. For instance, when the sun is upright it means joy celebration, positivity.
When the sun is upside down it means depression, sadness, and negativity. Interesting enough the devil means addiction, materialism, and playfulness when upright. But if it’s upside down it means freedom, release, and restoring control. There are no negative cards, just interpretations.
The Minor Arcana is made up of 56 cards, and they are comprised of 4 suites. A minor arcana suite consists of 14 cards, and each symbolizes something different. These suites include and symbolize:
- Wands—situations you are passionate about
- Swords—intellect, rationality
- Pentacles—material concerns
As opposed to the Major Arcana that affect life on a larger scale, the minor arcana are not so impactful. However, they are important cards.
The Minor Arcana usually uncover small happenings and changes in your life. They reveal problems, people, and events. They represent thoughts, actions, and experiences you go through when you’re going about your life.
Although the Major Arcana will tell you or reveal a major life lesson you’re about to have or had, a Minor Arcana will go into the current situation you are dealing with.
Minor Arcana are usually more practical. The current situation is usually temporary. The cards let you know that there is potential to change based on the actions you take.
There are times a reading will mostly be Minor Arcana. This just means you are handling day-to-day situations, which will probably not have a lasting impact on your life.
Here’s an article that discusses the Minor Arcana in more detail: How to read the Minor Arcana Tarot Cards
Since most versions of the tarot are so old, they are in the public domain. They can be bought just about anywhere. To purchase a set either go to a local store so that you can see and feel the cards to choose a deck you like, or check Amazon which offer a wide variety of different tarot card decks… including:
How to Use Your First Tarot Deck
Ok, so you bought your first deck, and you’re sitting there looking at it. You think there’s a lot to remember when it comes to identifying the cards.
Besides knowing what they mean upright, you think you have to know what they mean reversed. It can be a little overwhelming. But in the beginning, you really don’t need to be concerned with all of this. It’s time to get to know the tarot. And that doesn’t mean definitions.
I’ve written a couple of articles that go into detail about giving a reading:
- What are the best questions to ask in a tarot reading?
- How do I read tarot cards, a complete guide
- How to do a tarot reading on yourself
- Can you share your Tarot reading?
You need to get your heart around the deck. Reading tarot is about intuition. Make sure you’re open. A very important thing you should do when you first get a deck is to connect with it physically. This includes:
- Feel the deck
- Look at what cards are pretty
- Make sure you like the deck
1.Feel the deck
Look through the deck. Just get a feel for what the deck is about. How does it feel in your hands? What is its weight? What is its size? Know how it feels in your hands.
2.Look at the imagery of the cards
Some tarot cards are quite lovely. Look at each individual card. The imagery of the card is key to reading the card… study each card, and think of what comes to mind when you look at the card.
Make sure you examine each card closely. By familiarizing yourself with their beauty or ugliness, you are really getting to know your deck.
3.Make sure you like the deck
This may seem odd, but you will either like the deck or not. Each tarot deck has different illustrations and colors. Make sure your deck goes along with your likes and dislikes.
Once you have physically connected with the deck, it’s time to spiritually connect with your deck. These steps include:
- Focus on feelings
- Keep a diary
- Play with cards
- Keep reading simple
Now it’s time to start getting your heart and soul around it. You need to establish a bond with the deck. Pick out cards and relate them to your life. It doesn’t mean you need to know their meaning. It’s like feeling out someone you’re meeting for the first time. You want to feel out your tarot.
2. Focus on feelings
What do different cards make you feel? Allow an openness of both your heart and mind. Don’t put pressure on yourself. You don’t have to be an expert. Go with your first feeling. That’s probably the correct one for you.
3. Keep a diary
Diary about what your feelings for each card are. Were there any strong feelings that confused you? Once you’ve repeated this a few times, go back and see if there is a progression of feelings or possibly a change of feelings.
4.Play with Cards
Shuffle the cards. Deal them out and see how they turn up. Don’t worry about what turns up. Gather them up and do it again. The point is just to get familiar with them.
5.Keep reading simple
For your first self-reading, start with a single card. Be willing to receive different information. Don’t worry if it’s upside down or what the symbols mean. And don’t be concerned what the textbook says.
Allow an openness of heart and mind. Don’t put any pressure on yourself. You don’t have to be an expert. In fact, you’ll never have to be an expert.
I’ve recently started working with an online psychic reading company and I’ve received some great feedback. I’d love it if you could try them out and let me know your experience.Click here for a FREE 5-minute Tarot Reading!
What Types of Readings are There?
There are two types of readings:
- Question—asking for guidance on a specific question
- General—just a vague reading
However, sometimes, a general reading will turn into a question reading.
Here a list of tarot spreads that you can use for various types of readings:
- Best Tarot Spread Layouts
- Best Spreads for Beginners
- When to use the Celtic Cross spread
- How to do the Celtic Cross Spread
- Past life tarot spread
- Best tarot spread for love
- Best tarot spreads for relationships
- Best Tarot Spread for Guidance
- How to us Tarot for Yes or No Answers
How to Shuffle the Cards for a Reading
Before you start to shuffle, you must be in a calm and collected state of mind. You have to be calm, so you don’t overlook meanings. If you are not calm, it may alter the way you read the messages. You must focus all your intent on the cards. In order to shuffle, you must:
- Place non-dominant hand beneath the deck
- Place dominant hand on top of the deck
- Shuffle as long as you feel is necessary
- Split deck into three piles
- Intuition will tell you which pile to place on top
- Spread cards out face down in a fan shape
Here’s an article that I wrote about shuffling tarot cards:
Different Configurations of Cards for a Reading
Once you have shuffled the cards, it’s time to spread the cards out. The spread is the order the reader lays the cards. It helps in interpreting the meaning. None of the spreads below follow a standardized layout.
For instance, a Celtic Cross spread will have a cross and column diagram, but it will deviate according to the style of the reader. Some different types of spreads include:
- Celtic Cross (more details here)
- Astrological (discover how astrology and tarot are related)
- Cross and Triangle
- Past life
These are just a few spreads used and are all relatively complicated. For the beginner, you’ll probably want to start with the 3 card formation. It’s the simplest and easiest. Once you have the hang of it, you can move on to the more complicated formations.
With the 3 card spread, you will be pulling out 3 cards from the fan. They have a certain order and meaning. The order and meanings are:
- The first card drawn is guidance on past—this is context
- Second card is present—this is focus
- Third card is future—this is outcome
The 3 card spread can actually act as a building block to other configurations. This spread suggests a linear path of getting from point “A” to point “B.” For a beginner who is just learning the symbolism and meanings, this is a clean way to perform and understand a reading.
The 3 cards can spread in several ways. Each configuration has a different meaning, but the basics are the same. They can be placed in:
- A straight line (takes you directly through the past-present-future)
- 3rd one drawn placed on top and 1st and 2nd draw placed on the bottom like a pyramid (this layout gives guidance on choices)
- 1st and 2nd drawn crossed over each other and 3rd one laid straight underneath (this spread considers barriers in the way of a goal)
The Celtic Cross spread is the most popular formation. It’s generally what most readers use. The Celtic Cross will give you a detailed reading. It is used for question readings as opposed to a general reading.
When posing a question, be very clear as to what you are asking. If you can, write it down. The more succinct you are, the better the reading will be. And accordingly, you’ll understand the answer much better.
The cards’ meaning in the order they are drawn include:
- Current situation
- Desired goal
- Your power
- Hopes and fears
1. Current situation
This is where you ask the question. The card will show you how your current situation relates to the question. It explains how your current situation affects you.
This will show you what is troubling you. It is related to your question. What obstacle do you face?
3. Desired Goal
What is your desired outcome in relation to your challenge?
The situation obviously has a cause. The card will go back to the beginning and show you what caused your challenge.
What series of sequences added to the obstacle you now face? How does it relate to the present
No matter what you do, this gives you an indication as to what to expect. It really depends on your question, how far in the future the card will take you.
7. Your Power
It all comes down to who you are. How does your spiritual self, relate to the question?
The card enlightens on how the environment, family, and friends impact your question and situation.
9. Hopes and Fears
What you want and fear can correspond. They can be the same.
How does it all end? The conclusion.
This is not the exact meaning of the Celtic Cross for everyone. In fact, there isn’t an exact meaning. The full meaning of the Celtic Cross depends on the reader.
Different readers take liberties or have created their own cards. The above is generally used as a guide to interpreting the cards in the order they appear.
Learn to Read with Tarot Apps
If you’re confused but want to learn to read tarot, there are several apps available. Below are some iOS followed by some Android apps you can download.
I wrote this article specifically about using tarot online: Do online Tarot cards work?
Available in the App Store, Learn Tarot, has a 4.6 rating. It’s an interactive guide that gives you everything you need to learn the tarot. Some of its features include:
- Meaning of the 78 cards
- 300+ pages of explanation
- Most popular spreads
- Learn a card a day
The learn a card a day feature helps for long term learning. The app costs $3.99, and you must provide your own tarot deck.
TarotPac Free Tarot Cards
Available in the App Store, this free app has a 4.1 rating. This interactive app features:
- Eight card spreads
- Ability to save reading for later
- Card descriptions and common meanings
This app is a deck and provides you with a reading.
TarotPac Tarot Cards
This is the paid version of TarotPac Free. And it’s on steroids. It costs $4.99 and has a 4.8 review. Features include:
- Nine card spreads
- Share your reading via Facebook, Twitter and more
- Options for shuffling and reading the spread
- Reverse card tolerance
You can also change the screen background to your own images. There’s no need for a deck; the app is your deck.
At the cost of $3.99, you can find this 4.9 rated app in the App store. In Real Tarot you choose your fate. It’s interactive, so you can choose which cards select. Some of its features are:
- Forty-three spreads
- Step by step tutorial
- High Def
- Cards index. Can browse the meaning of all cards
This app says it’s been designed by professional readers around the world.
This App store tarot costs $3.99 and is rated 4.8. With each card vibrant and pristine, the creator encourages you to zoom in on each card to see every nuance of the deck.
This app includes 3 unabridged books. This includes a modern guide and two occultism written at the time of the deck’s release in 1910. The options include:
- options to use Major Arcana only
- Adjustable voice prompts
- Includes 3 complete books, including, The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by A.E. Waite and others
- Allow reversible cards or not
The reviews claim it’s “crazy accurate,” so you decide.
Tarot Card Meanings
For the price, but not free, this is a good app to start with. It’s$1.99 at the App store and has a 3.9 rating. This is a tarot reference app, so you will need your own deck. You simply access a tarot card’s meaning; you choose your card then tap the meaning to see it.
You can rotate the card with your finger to see the reverse or upside-down meaning. Some of its features the app gives you access to are:
- A brief meaning of each card
- An in-depth meaning of each card
- The ability to choose background image
This app’s purpose is to educate you on the meaning of the cards.
Tarot Card Readings – Astrospeak
Available on Play Store, this app has a 4.5 rating and is free. This one does the reading for you. You don’t need a deck. It allows you to choose the tarot card spread for your reading. Its features include:
- Four card spreads
- 100% ad-free
With a 4.7 rating, this Play Store app is at no charge. This app provides the reading and doesn’t require a deck. Some of its highlights include:
- Free Celtic Cross
- Everyday reading
- Free premium reading every three days
The downside to this app is that it really doesn’t teach; it just reads for you.
This Play Store app comes at no charge. It has a 4.7 rating and provides a free tarot reading and card encyclopedia. They consider themselves to be a divine map of your spirit. Features are:
- Images based on A.E. Waite and Smith look
- Five spreads with option to purchase more
- Resizable card of the day widget and optional card of the day notification
- Choose whether you want to shuffle the cards, cut the deck or go straight to the tarot reading
This is a reading, so you will not need a deck of cards
This is a $4.49 app on the Play Store. It has a 4.5 rating. This is both a tarot reading and tarot learning app. It is great for both the beginner and the more advanced reader.
It was voted Tarot Deck of the year & Tarot Art of the year (for the high Priestess) by the Tarosophist Awards 2013. This is an award given by tarot professionals.
Some of its features include:
- Easy to use interface. Do your own tarot readings or learn about the cards in-depth?
- Guide for beginners
- Sixteen ready to use spreads
- Card interpretations
This one is a little more advanced. It’s available in the Play Store and has a 4.6 rating. It’s a free app and has basically a cornucopia of tarot. You don’t need a deck for this. It will give you a reading. Some of its options are:
- Intuitive, elegant interface easy for beginners and experts
- Nineteen built-in card layouts
- Freeform spread options
- Sophisticated journal
- Customize with your own card meanings & reading cloths
With the Tarot Sampler, you can easily interpret your meanings. All you need to do is tap on the card to see the meaning.
Offered by the Play Store, this app has a 3.8 rating. It’s basically a reference guide. It has a detailed explanation of every single tarot card in the deck with pictures from the Raider-Waite tarot deck. Some of its features include:
- Generates tarot readings
- Ten different spreads
- Can save readings or email them for future reference
In conclusion, the oracle of the tarot speaks eloquently through the deck. Ask about tomorrow today.
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I’d love to hear about your experience. Please connect with me, after you’ve had a reading…
- Do all Tarot cards mean the same?
- Why are all your tarot cards reversed?
- Tarot readings for pets. Is it really a thing?
- How to choose your first tarot deck, complete guide
- How is astrology and tarot related?
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