WHAT IS TAROT READING AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Tarot decks are decks of cards that have been used for centuries to foresee the future. Using a tarot spread for divination purposes is called a Tarot Card Reading. There are many different decks, so many that you can choose one that will suit your personal taste. Some of the most popular ones are the Rider-Waite-Smith, the Marseille, and the Angel Tarot. You will discover that Tarot Decks are not simply used to read the future, but are also wonderful tools to better know yourself and discover your yet untapped abilities, skills, and extra sensory perceptions. You don’t need a special gift to use a Tarot deck, you just need serious training.
The first tarot decks appeared in the West around the 15th century in several European countries, but mainly in Italy with the tarocchini, and in France with the tarot. Since then, each Tarot deck has its own specificity. The actual number of cards in each deck can vary, but what separates oracle decks from tarot decks is that a tarot has 78 cards. Tarot decks are designed with cards that have various symbolical representations, specific ways to use them and deck-specific spreads with specific number of cards drawn, and matching interpretation.
The common point between all these tarot decks is that they are mainly used as a support for divination, to read the future. Anyone can use a tarot deck without necessarily having any parapsychic gift or extrasensory perceptions. You can also draw tarot cards quite seriously if you know the meaning of the various cards, also called “arcana”. Sometimes you use all the cards in the deck, and sometimes you can work with a smaller selection, like the Marseille deck that usually only focuses on 22 major arcana.
But there is more to Tarot decks than merely reading the future. They can also provide essential information about the user’s personality (should they draw cards for themselves) or the consultant’s if he called on a tarot card reader. Indeed, if you want your predictions – or that of the tarot card reader – to come true, you will need to follow the advice provided in your reading.
How can tarot card readings help you?
A prediction should not be mistaken for a statement. The future unveiled in the tarot cards is one of the possibilities of what might happen to you if you change your behavior and follow any provided recommendation!
So if you have faced failure in the past and use the same kind of solutions that led you to that failure, you will get the same result again… a failure. You this need to change the way you think, talk, and act next time you face this problem.
Tarot as a reliable advisor
A Tarot card reading can thus tell you what you should do next time you have a problem to solve, an obstacle to overcome, or a desire to fulfill. Likewise, if you perform a reading or consult a tarot card reader and then passively wait for things to change for you on their own, then nothing will happen! Any change requires some action or effort from you, in tarot just like in life!
The secret of a Tarot deck is that its arcana (78 for genuine tarot decks that provide the most accurate predictions, like the RWS or the Marseille) describe every situation or case study that a human being can encounter in their existence. If you have a chance to consult a guide listing the explanations given for every card in a Tarot deck, you will notice that there is no question that cannot be answered through the tarot: from the most spiritual to the most materialistic ones. Tarot will let you find an answer to ALL your questions!
How do they actually work?
Whether you are performing your own Tarot Reading or are asking someone else to do it for you, it is important for you to have a specific question in your mind, rather than broad and imprecise requests like: wanting to get rich, finding a way to be happy, finding true love, drawing luck to you, being in good health, or any other desire you might wish to see fulfilled.
Tarot decks are a fascinating tool to better know yourself and find solutions to build the kind of future you want for yourself, in every aspect of your life. It gets harder when you need to make a choice about it because there are so many different Tarot decks. In order to familiarize yourself with one of the main and most serious ones, you will find a list of the main Tarot decks you can acquire below. You can find them in a store or buy them online. The main advantage of using the Internet is that you can learn how to better use them from the comfort of your own home, and often for free.
An overabundance of decks
If you start focusing on too many different decks, you will spread yourself thin and it will be harder for you to be fully dedicated and get more than superficial knowledge of the deck you are using. This is a real danger if you get interested in too many different decks at the same time! There are dozens, and even hundreds of different tarot decks… with more being produced all the time since Tarot decks are an increasingly popular tool to understand your personality.
All the serious tarot decks presented here do not require any kind of extrasensory perception to be used, but you need to be trained in their meaning and to invest a lot of time and energy. This is the effort you need to make if you want to learn how to use the tarot to better know yourself, and know what you need to change within yourself in order to experience the kind of life that you want. This is why this article will focus on some of the most popular ones on top of the two main ones, the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot and the Tarot of Marseille.
1- The Smith Waite Centennial Tarot Deck
The Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot Deck is a recent reprint of the famous Rider-Waite-Smith deck (sometimes only called the Rider-Waite, just Rider, or RWS) that first appeared in 1909. It is quite easy to learn and assimilate. The meanings of the 78 cards are quite easy to grasp, and to interpret. In addition, the recommendations you can get from it can easily be adapted to your everyday life.The RWS is a good support for self-awareness and to learn what the future has in store according to the behavior you will adopt to make its predictions come true. The Rider-Waite-Smith is one of the most widespread and used tarot decks all over the world, though the Marseille might be just as common in some parts of Europe and especially in France. It was one of the first fully illustrated decks, including scenes and drawings even on the minor arcana that usually only depicted the repetition of their suit symbol. This is why it is so accessible for newcomers to the art of tarot reading.
In France and other parts of Europe this deck is probably just as popular as the Rider-Waite-Smith. There are also 78 cards with 22 major and 56 minor arcana. Traditionally, however, only the major arcana are used when performing a reading with the Marseille deck, even when looking for someone’s personality or for recommendations to achieve the life of their dreams.
The 22 major arcana are used in priority because they provide the most important advice to change your life in the right direction, both spiritually and personally, but also in any aspect related to the attraction of luck, love, or money…
Minor arcana in the Marseille deck
Just like their name implies, the 56 minor arcana provide more… minor advice, those meant to solve smaller issues in your everyday life, rather than existential questions and essential questions in a person’s life. The arcana are beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, but they can be enigmatic. The meaning of these minor arcana is less obvious than those from the Rider-Waite, but the user guide that comes with it lets them solve this apparent hardship.
Once you have assimilated the symbolism and meaning of the 78 arcana – or at the very least the 22 major ones – you will be able to perform extremely precise readings with advanced recommendations about the way to shake things up in your favor, or for anyone you will help using the Marseille deck.
The first thing that should be mentioned is that there are several different angel-based tarot decks, thought the most successful one was designed by the famous Doreen Virtue. She has a PhD in psychology and is an expert in spirituality, particularly contact with the angels and ascended masters, and she wrote many books about it, including one about her Tarot of the Angels.
The point here is not to specifically talk about her tarot, but rather about the main differences and common points between the various angelic tarot decks. Let’s focus on the differences first: the various angelic tarot decks have different representations for the angels and higher beings, some can be quite personal.
The main common point, however, is that angelic tarot decks all stem from contacts between human beings and angels, archangels, or beings of light. The authors all claim that they received teachings of a high spiritual depth from these higher beings, and transcribed them or wrote books about them. Several of those contacted by the angels have also designed tarot decks to guide other people to the existence that they truly want to live, but mainly to further their spiritual life.
Usually, Angelic Tarot decks are designed with very basic drawings depicting angels, beings of light, but also fairies or extraordinary creatures like dragons or unicorns. There might be a sentence written on every card, meant to teach a lesson or inspire the person that drew the card. The deck also usually comes with a user guide that provides a deeper explanation about the quotes written on the cards. These angelic teachings are, most of the time, meant to guide the person for a day, a week, a month… or for their entire existence.
Angelic tarot decks are easier to use than Marseille or Rider-Waite decks, but can also provide teachings of a higher spiritual scope that are more accessible to the general public, and have more reach than the Marseille or RWS. These teachings are simple, but most of the time quite enlightening, deep, and can be a source of great inspiration and motivation. The angelic tarots are perfect for beginners, and ideal for quick readings when you are short on time, because they are easier to interpret and draw inspiration from.
4- The Wild Unknown Tarot
This mysterious name depicts a rather enigmatic tarot deck. This is a fairly decent deck that became quite popular in a short amount of time. It is called the Wild Unknown because there are no human beings depicted on the arcana, but rather wonderful animal drawings. This is what made it popular, because it is in sync with the rising eco-conscious trend focused on the preservation of the earth and all living beings. It is easy to familiarize yourself with the animal figures and each of their meaning. The Wild Unknown Tarot is very useful and attractive for people interested in the energy of the earth, for nature lovers, and people close to the secular traditions connected to the use of earthly powers, most notably power animals, their symbolism, and the use of each animal quality in your everyday life.
This deck also shares a deep connection with all the traditions connected to the worship of forces of nature, like shamanism, druidism, animism, etc. It seems we all have a totem animal, in other words: an animal you are spiritually connected to, and whose qualities you may use in your everyday life. Using the Wild Unknown Tarot is also a way for someone to discover their totem animal and tap into these qualities.
The Wild Unknown Tarot has 78 cards like a regular deck. It was drawn by an American artist that has long been interested in the tarot: Kim Krans. She published her deck for the first time in 2007. She hand-drew all the figures herself. She wanted to break the usual mold of the classic tarot decks and provide a modern Tarot more suited to our times. It is meant to help you better know yourself, and prepare a better future for yourself, but it can also help you to unveil the mysteries of nature and its wonders hidden all around you.
5- The Medieval Scapini Tarot
Contrary to what you might think due to the name, the Medieval Scapini Tarot does not come from Medieval times. Even though the imagery and style – typical of 15th century art – provide a medieval atmostphere, the Medieval Scapini deck was designed by an Italian artist, Luigi Scapini, who was born… in 1946! He designed his Tarot deck using inspiration from 15th century artists, one of the most prosperous artistic periods in Italy, when the country was at the forefront of the artistic world. While it is an original designed made by the artist, the Medieval Scapini Tarot nonetheless heavily draws from the symbolism of the Visconti-Sforza medieval tarot, which is probably one of the oldest tarot decks in existence.
Like all regular tarot decks, the Medieval Scapini Tarot includes 78 cards – 22 major arcana and 56 minor arcana. Each card is a work of art. The major arcana and the court cards all have golden backgrounds, like card games in the 15th century. Most likely, when you see the aesthetic sense of the cards, the artist is gifted with deep art history knowledge, and a perfect mastery over 15th century pictorial techniques. Likewise, the symbolism of the arcana hints that their author, Luigi Scapini, was most likely an initiate of mystery schools or secret initiations! There are also representations of historical figures. The meaning of the cards is quite hard to grasp, so this deck will be better suited for experienced people who have enough time for a long and thorough reading! Indeed, the meaning of the major and minor arcana cards are quite occult and require the detailed explanations provided with the deck.
In spite of its global popularity, this is probably one of the hardest decks to handle and use for a reading. This deck was designed in the 20th century by the infamous Aleister Crowley, a rather ambiguous occultist who was prone to be the source or topic of various scandals.
It was designed according to several occult principles, symbols, and theories, and making the most of this deck can be challenging, even with the enclosed booklet, unless you possess advanced occult knowledge that lets you connect the dots and link various interpretations and concepts together with that occult aspect in mind.
Tarot decks for everyone!
In spite of these six extremely popular tarot decks, there are litterally hundreds more you can choose from. May the users of the Greenwood, Willwood, Druid Craft, Cat People, or any other Tarot be kind even though they did not make the cut. There was not enough room to talk about them in detail.