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A Beginner's Guide to Tarot: Understanding the Basics

Tarot cards have been used for centuries as a tool for divination and self-discovery. If you're new to Tarot, this beginner's guide will introduce you to some of the very basics of Tarot cards, their meanings, and how to read them. Whether you're looking to explore your spirituality or just curious about what they are, I hope here is the start of your journey with tarot.

What is Tarot?

Tarot is a deck of 78 cards that are used for divination, self-discovery, healing and so much more. Each card has a unique image and meaning, and can be interpreted in different ways depending on the context of the reading. Tarot readings can provide insight into the past, present, and future, and can help individuals gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their life path. I personally do not believe tarot predicts the future but I find that it helps me be more intentional and aware of myself and the world around me. It has helped me to connect to my intuition, make mindful choices every day and has taken me farther on my healing journey than I would gotten without them. You don't have to be a witch or any certain person to use tarot, it's available to anyone and how you use your cards is your journey.


Understanding the Major and Minor Arcana.

A Tarot deck is divided into two main sections: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, each with a unique name and image that represents a major life lesson or theme. These cards are often seen as the most important in a Tarot reading as they are the bigger picture moments. The majors are often refered to as the Fool's Journey which brings a storytelling aspect to this set of the cards. The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards, divided into four suits (Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles) and numbered from Ace to 10, with four court cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King) in each suit. The Minor Arcana cards represent everyday events and experiences, and can provide more specific details in a reading.
This is the structure of the Tarot and often you will find renaming of cards or suits and sometimes even extra cards but the biggest difference between Tarot and other divination cards (like Oracle cards), is this structure. There are so many resources to dive deeper into this and I will soon have a blog post about my favorite ones! This is just a very basic place to start so you can have words for the things you are looking to learn more about!

The meanings of Tarot cards.

Each Tarot card has a unique meaning and interpretation, which can vary depending on so many things like the context of the reading and the individual reader's interpretation. The Major Arcana cards often represent major life lessons or themes, such as the Fool representing new beginnings and the World representing completion and fulfillment. The Minor Arcana cards, on the other hand, represent everyday events and experiences, with each suit having its own unique meaning based off of the elements. For example, the Cups suit being water often represents emotions and relationships, while the Swords suit being air represents mind and conflicts. I find that each deck reads a little different, though there is a "set" meaning to each card you can also read intuitively based off of images, feelings and so much more. I like to remind everyone that this is your practice and finding what feels best to you is important. You can learn the meanings of cards which you can find in guidebooks, larger books written about tarot, free online resources from blog posts to youtube videos and even paid courses by tarot readers. Google is your friend here and a even a quick search of "favorite free tarot resources" or something like that will get you started. Again I will be soon linking my favorite tarot resources in my next blog post!


How to shuffle and draw Tarot cards.

Before beginning a Tarot reading, it's important to shuffle the deck thoroughly to ensure that the cards are randomized and any previous energy or influence is cleared. There are many ways to shuffle Tarot cards, including the traditional overhand shuffle, the riffle shuffle, and more. You can find YouTube videos of how to's and that's how I learned. Once the deck is shuffled, the reader can draw cards from the top of the deck, fan them out or even take a card that jumps out to you. It's important to focus on the question or intention for the reading while shuffling and drawing cards and having a good question and intention is key. A lot of my daily card pulls are just me asking for a focus for my day but also if I'm stuck on a decision or finding myself in need of guidance asking for the answer that has my best intention in mind.


Interpreting Tarot readings and spreads.

Interpreting Tarot readings and spreads can be a complex process, but it's important to remember that the cards are simply a tool for accessing your own intuition and inner wisdom. Each card has its own unique meaning and symbolism, but the way that these meanings interact with each other in a spread can create a more nuanced and personalized message. It's important to approach Tarot readings with an open mind and a willingness to explore different interpretations and perspectives. With practice and patience, anyone can learn to read Tarot cards and unlock their hidden insights and wisdom. It takes time to be able to read the cards with ease and I still have times where I need clarification. It's okay to use your resources and to check the guidebook as long as you need. At some point I do encourage you to use your intuition and work that muscle. I find that it's easy to use our resources as a crutch and if working on your connection to your intuition is a priority, practice without your resources. I also suggest starting small when pulling cards and not using multiples and spreads until you're feeling confident and comfortable with one card. They can tell a story together but also can be overwhelming if you're not ready. I remind myself often that there is no right way to experience my life and that is included in tarot. Many people have strong opinions on how you should do things but remember as long as it's not hurting someone else there is no harm in finding your own way.

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