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Learning About Tarot Cards
Tarot cards are a set of special cards used for fortune telling, divination, and solving problems, in addition to just plain playing. Although thought to have originated, either in China, Egypt, or in India, its true origins are lost in the mists of time. It is, however, well known that the Tarot cards, in their modern avatar, first appeared in the late 14th century, or early 15th century Italy.

The Mystery Of Tarot

Many mystics are of the view that symbols represented by Tarot emerged from the ‘Akashic’ records, a vast astral repository of universal knowledge that has the past, present, and future memories and wisdom of the entire human race. The basic figures and symbols found in all religions, myths, legends, are found within this collective pool of astral knowledge.

The Two Categories

In the early days, there were various types of Tarot cards, each deck having a varying number of cards. Today, the Tarot cards consist of a 78-card deck that is divided into two categories. These two categories of Tarot cards are the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana has 22 cards, whereas the Minor Arcana consist of 56 cards.
The Major Arcana cards, which are also known as the ‘trumps’ have their own pictures, and symbolisms that are interpreted by the reader of Tarot cards. The 22 cards are numbered 0 to 21, in the Roman numerals, and are named: The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, The Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgment, and The World.

The Minor Arcana cards of the Tarot deck are divided into 4 suits, each suit having 14 cards each. The suits are called:

Wands – or batons, rods, clubs, staffs, or staves
Pentacles – or coins, disks, or diamonds
Cups – or hearts
Swords – or spades

Each of these suits has 10 numbered cards and 4 court cards. The cards are numbered through to 10, with the ‘one’ card known as the Ace, and the court cards called the King, Queen, Knight, and Page, or Prince and Princess instead of Knight and Page. The assigned value of these cards progress from Ace to 10, and then Page, Knight, Queen, and King. The Ace, sometimes, is assigned the highest value, as is done in the modern playing cards.

The Interpretation

In the earlier days, Tarot cards were probably used for playing games, and the Gypsies may have used them for fortune telling. In the European context, the Tarot cards are thought to have been used for mysticism, divination, alchemy, and ritual magic, in the 18th century, and though they still retain these associations with the occult, they are widely used today for fortune telling.

For fortune telling, each of the 78 cards of the Tarot deck has an assigned meaning. The querent shuffles the tarot deck, and the reader ‘spreads’ a few cards out in a special pattern. The position of the card in the spread, and whether it is upright or not, is significant. The interpretation of the cards is also dependent on the meaning of the adjacent cards.

The reading of the Tarot cards is like reading of a story. The images of the various cards in a spread blend into a pattern that is meaningful to the reader and clarifies the problems confronted by the querent.

The cards of the Major Arcana are used to describe the spiritual matters, and larger issues of the querent’s life. The Minor Arcana cards deal with how the querent will react to the given circumstances.

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