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To answer the question, what is tarot reading, we have to learn first its origins so that you can have a context. Tarot’s origin is also a mystery in itself because there are no proofs of where it originally came from, how it was invented and for what purpose. Many historians believed that it came from Italy around the 15th century and were only used as a simple cards game. Wealthy people who patronize the game commissioned artful decks that some of which have survived to this day. One example of an early what is tarot reading is the version of a Visconti – Sforza deck which was created around 1450. In this article, you’ll learn more about what is tarot reading and the most common tarot cards that appear during readings.

What is Tarot Reading?: Origins

Around the 18th century, it was believed that scholars discovered the tarot decks and became fascinated by the cards’ imagery. These people realized that the images depicted on the card could mean something ‘powerful’ and it’s not an ordinary deck. These scholars possibly created the art of the tarot card reading because they’re the ones who connected the cards to various fields including Hermetic philosophy, alchemy, Egyptian mysteries, the Kabbalah and other mystical systems.

What is tarot card reading became more than just a game during the turn of the 20th century, at one point it even became a practice in secret societies one of which is the Order of the Golden Dawn. As time goes by, tarot eventually became known worldwide and many types of decks as well as layouts were created and developed.

Tarot is a Tool

What is tarot reading today is used as a tool to connect to oneself, the world and the divine. The art of tarot reading has three elements – the seekers, the readers and the tarot cards. Once it is shuffled and drawn, the chosen cards will be laid out in a pattern called the spread wherein the positions have meaning as well. The tarot reader will then combine both the card’s meaning and the patterns to hopefully shed light or give some answers to the seeker’s queries.

We may never know the true origin of the tarot cards, how the scholars drew meaning from it or how people over the years have developed a system for reading but just like any other types of techniques developed that concerns our unconscious minds such as meditation, psychotherapy, and visualizations, tarot is just another tool to explore one’s mindset.

What is Tarot Reading?: The Tarot Deck

Part of what is tarot reading is called the tarot deck. It is made up of 78 cards that are divided into two sections – the major arcana and the minor. Arcana or Arcanum means “profound secrets” according to the alchemists from the Middle Ages. They believe that the tarot cards are a collection of these ‘secrets’ that explains the nature, life, unconscious mind and the universe.

Heart of the Deck

The Major Arcana consist of 22 cards and they are considered as the “heart of the deck.” These cards also represent sort of the ‘bigger picture’ during reading. It mostly symbolizes some kind of inherent aspect of human experience or patterns that influences human nature. The major arcana is given utmost importance during a tarot reading since these cards represent a person’s most basic concerns and often times involves the spiritual aspect and inner self. It starts from the card of beginnings called The Fool (0) and ends in a card called The World (22).

The numbers also correspond and are correlated with the numbers of the cards in the minor arcana. The Minor Arcana is composed of 56 cards which are divided into four suits – the Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. Each of the suits also has Court Cards (The Page, The Knight, The Queen and The King) and Pip Cards that are numbered from 1 to 10. The minor arcana deals with a more universal and practical theme, its concern about the emotions, struggles and events of the day to day life of an individual. In the next section, you’ll see the meanings, words, and interpretations of each card in the major and minor arcana as well as the general meaning of each suits and court cards.

What is Tarot Reading?: Common Tarot Cards

Below are some of the most common tarot cards found during tarot reading.

  • The Fool: This usually means a new phase of life begins; the discovery of talents; new experiences; a risk must be taken; there’s a need to abandon the old and start something; personal growth; new development.
  • The Magician: This usually indicates possibilities in a person; new skills are available; potential are growing; opportunities and adventures unfolding; success in everything if a person utilizes his/her skills and talents.
  • The Empress: This card signifies as the mother of fertility and growth which means that new things about to enter a situation; there may be a birth coming or a new path in life and also focuses on marriage, relationship, pregnancy, patience and motherhood.
  • The Emperor: This indicates that there’s a need to make something solid or to solidify something; focuses on building an idea or something with a firm structure; have values of authority, control and dominance.
  • The High Priestess: It indicates a time for reflection; allows secrets to be revealed; shows potential abundance; urges people to pay attention to your dreams and intuition. This card is all about truly understanding life’s possibilities.
  • The Hierophant: There’s a need for spiritual purpose; talks about the search for a personal philosophy; encourages a person to increase studying and learning; focuses on humility and teachings; makes a person get through deeply frightening and hard situations. This card can sometimes suggest marriage or a serious turn towards religion.
  • The Lovers: A love affair with a trial or choice attached. This card indicates that these decisions or choices are incredibly important and significant; one must choose the right path; a sign of true partnership; it focuses in choosing intuitively rather than by the use of intellect.
  • The Chariot: It usually means there’s a conflict within; struggles and battles; potential for victory; resolution of fights; moving forward; overcoming opposition through confidence; control and determination. It can also mean a journey or change of location
  • Justice: It usually means a need for clarity of mind; impartial judgment; requires a balanced intellect; legal matters needing attention; calls for the fairest decision. A person is also being called to account for one’s actions and will be judged accordingly.
  • The Wheel of Fortune: Change in fortune; new beginnings; suggests new chapter in life; the wheel makes a new turn; remain optimistic; someone who have faith that the Universe will take care of the situation.
  • The Hanged Man: It indicates that a sacrifice must be made to gain something of greater value; talks about waiting in order to allow new possibilities to arise; vulnerability; selflessness; new perspectives; suggests a willingness to adapt in changing circumstances.

We hope you learn what is tarot reading in this article. Make sure to check out the blog section of this website for more information!

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