Infrequently Asked Questions About Tarot
What is tarot?
Tarot is the use of tarot cards to predict the future, examine the present, see into the past, or obtain information. Tarot can provide insight into your life, another person's life, an event, or a problem. Tarot decks are widely available, as well as Oracle cards, or regular playing cards. All of these different types of cards can be used to a similar effect. The major difference between tarot cards and Oracle cards are that Oracle cards are not divided into suits, and generally do not focus on the negative side of events or ideas. They are often themed and frequently depict faeries, angels, etc.
How do I know which deck to buy?
There are many different kinds of tarot decks to be purchased. The most commonly available decks are the Rider-Waite-Smith deck (RWS), the Llewellyn deck, and the Thoth deck. For the beginner to tarot I highly recommend the use or purchase of the RWS deck. Cards and their names vary by deck. For example, a traditional guide book will most likely display Strength depicting a woman and a lion. If you purchase the Thoth deck, which uses the title Lust instead of Strength, it can be confusing when consulting a how-to. Since the RWS is classic and really the standard of other decks, it is the most easily used and readily available among new practitioners of tarot. However, any deck will do and won't affect your success rate.
Decks generally run around 30 USD, but a regular deck of poker cards can be used if there is no substitute. Oracle cards have a slightly higher price range, averaging around 40 USD. Tarot books and guides are in the range of 8-10 USD for a paperback.
Do I have to practice psi or magick to read tarot?
You do not have to be a practitioner of magick or psionics to be able to successfully perform tarot readings. There are ways to incorporate tarot into both of the above fields, but it isn't necessary to have any knowledge of them in order to begin tarot. They will merely complement your existing abilities and make you a well-rounded practitioner. For example, knowing how to establish a psionic link and/or scan a person can come in handy when using tarot cards. Information obtained through psi or magick can confirm and clarify what has already been found in the cards. However, it is absolutely possible to become an adept reader without studying or honing skills in other areas.
What is the best kind of information to seek using tarot cards?
Tarot cards provide in depth and complex answers to many questions and problems people have. The cards will not provide a simple yes-or-no answer. They probe into the motives and causes of events as well as personal details of a subject. The cards do not respect privacy and are not limited to the person in possession of the cards. Questions about other people can be answered by tarot readings as well.
What is in a tarot deck?
A tarot deck consists of a major arcana (22 cards) and a minor arcana (56 cards). The minor arcane is divided classically into Wands, Cups, Pentacles, and Swords. (Hearts are sometimes substituted for Cups). Each class has cards labeled 1-10, a page, a knight, a Queen, and a King. (In many decks a prince and princess are used in place of a page or a knight). The major arcana has the trump cards. Examples of these cards are the Devil, The Magician, The Wheel of Fortune, Strength, The Hierophant, etc.
If you are using a regular deck of playing cards, you will not have a major arcana. While this will affect the outcome of the reading, it will not drastically hinder you in your practices.
How does a poker deck stack up against a tarot deck?
When using a poker deck the suits are obviously clubs, hearts, spades, and diamonds. The transition from a tarot deck to a poker deck is as follows.
Clubs = Wands
Hearts = Cups
Spades = Swords
Diamonds = Pentacles
If you have purchased a tarot guidebook it is important to know the relationship between the tarot and poker suits. A book will only list the Pentacles, Swords, Cups, and Wands used in a classic tarot deck.
What do the different suits in tarot mean?
Many spreads call for the use of a significator or a persona card. Sometimes this card is chosen from the deck beforehand and used to stand for the person having the reading. The significator is always chosen based on these suits and by appearance or personality.
Clubs – The clubs represent creativity and ingenuity. A person who is the King or Queen of Clubs is generally brown-haired and brown-eyed, quick and witty, and very social.
Hearts – Hearts represent love, emotion, compassion and kindness. A person is the King or Queen of Hearts if they are dark-haired, noble, and shy.
Spades – The spades stand for the thinker and the unfeeling. A King or Queen of Spades is typically defined as someone who is dark-haired and dark-eyed, somewhat malicious, cold, and apathetic about social events.
Diamonds – Diamonds stand for the scholar and materialism. Physically a person is the King or Queen of Clubs if they have blonde or fair hair, are temperamental, and judgmental.