Tarot 101


Throughout history people have consulted the oracle of the tarot for information and over time the energy of this use has infused the cards.  In the practice of these traditions, the cards have been assigned meaning patterns, which are conveyed through images in most modern decks.  In the Thoth tarot, Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris collaborated to research and create a comprehensive deck, incorporating elements of the Qabalah, numerology,  astrology, and mythology. By combining the energies of the card and its suit, image and placement in the layout, the reader can interpret a pattern of information and translate that to the querent.  Some readers use this data set to derive information, others intuitively perceive and even channel information from non-physical guides.  Most readers use a combination of both types of energy, intellectual and intuitive.

The tarot deck is made up of 78 cards, divided into Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana is the trump suit, called Atu in Crowley, and contains 22 cards. The Minor Arcana is divided into four suits with each suit having 10 numeric cards and four court cards.   Although tarot cards pre-date the Renaissance, and have been used much like modern playing cards for gaming, here we are dealing with the divinatory aspect of the cards.

About the cards:
The Major Arcana/Trump/Atu cards help us interpret experience through archetypes, identifying patterns and major life events. The Atu describe the archetypal Hero's journey, where Atu 0, the Fool, travels through the cycle of life.  Atu XIII is known in most decks as Death, and is the most misunderstood card of the deck.  Rarely does it indicate physical death, but rather an inevitable and unavoidable transformation, which despite our fears, is designed for our benefit.  The highest trump, XXI,  is known here as The Universe, but in other decks is often called The World and represents the culmination of the journey.   (Some additional discrepancies in the Crowley-Harris deck when compared to others:  trump VIII is Adjustment (the equivalent of Justice in others) and trump XI is Lust (corresponding with Strength).  Some decks use these numbers reversed.)

What Crowley called "small cards," generally known as the Minor Arcana, covers the basic concerns of daily life.  The four suits describe a life area, or type of energy to which the card is connected. Wands represent creative energy or the life force, Cups represent relationships and the realm of emotion, Swords refer to thoughts or the intellectual arena and Disks (known in some decks as Pentacles or Coins) covers the work world, the material and monetary aspects of life.  The Minor Arcana also contains four court cards, which in the Thoth deck are the Knight (aka King), the Queen, the Prince (in others, Knight) and Princess (or Page). These images often refer to people in the querent's life, or can refer to human qualities within the querent or others.

A word of caution:

While the tarot can be a useful and instructional tool, it is to be used with caution.  Advice from any oracle should not replace professional assistance, particularly with medical, psychological or legal issues.  What the tarot can do is to show influences on the situation, issue cautions in dealing with the world around us, or give a overview of the current landscape.  For me and so many others, it serves as a connecting point to the energies of spirit, and the pictorial and energetic impressions often trigger epiphanies from within, connecting me to my highest source of wisdom.  As I tell all my clients, what resonates within is where your higher self is touching your spirit to get your attention, and your own inner wisdom far surpasses that of any outside source.

It is in the spirit of education and enlightenment that I offer this information for your personal use.  Nothing stated or implied in this blog is intended to act as advice and neither the host site or the individuals who post or are quoted here are in any way liable for any consequences, intended or otherwise, resulting from use of  this blog, the information included here or the tarot in general.  I wish you all wellness and growth in your journey.

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