Updated: Jul 30, 2021
What is Tarot?
The earliest evidence of a tarot deck comes from an anonymous script dated around 1750, which documents rudimentary divinatory meanings related to the cards—used by many spiritual people to get both clarifications and insights into one's past, present or future.
Tarot cards consist of 78 cards; 22 major arcana and 56 minor arcana.
The 22 major arcana cards highlight important decisions and events in our life, while the 56 minor arcana cards focus on daily existence. The minor arcana is broken down into four suits - wands, cups, swords, and pentacles and numbered ace to ten, with each suite consisting of a page, knight, queen, and king, known as court cards. The four suits also consist of the four elements fire, water, air, and earth.
Element - Fire
Zodiac Signs: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Wands Meaning: Passion, Movement, Creativity
Element - Water
Zodiac Signs: Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio
Cups Meaning: Emotions & Relationships
Element - Air
Zodiac Signs: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Swords Meaning: Thoughts, Decisions, Conflict
Element - Earth
Zodiac Signs: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Card Meaning: Finances, Home, Security
Numbers the minor arcana represent:
Ace: New Beginnings, Two: Partnerships, Three: Activity, Four: Stillness, Five: Imbalance,
Six: Harmony, Seven: Potential, Eight: Change, Nine: Intensity, Ten: Completion & Endings.
If you are a beginner at tarot and would like to purchase a deck, I would advise sticking to a traditional deck such as the Waite deck, where the pictures are detailed and easier to read. The deck I shall be using is very similar, just a modern version. It is called The Modern Witch Tarot Deck by Lisa Sterle and is probably my favourite.
Tarot isn't just about remembering the cards off by heart; it is about tuning into the card and reading what you can see in the picture and what it means to you.
With so many cards to remember, it can be a little overwhelming and off-putting. However, I have devised a plan to make it a little less daunting. I shall be breaking down the process into six individual sections/blogs over the next few days. Starting with this one, the majors, followed by the minors in their individual suits (wands, cups, swords, pentacles), ending with how to prepare and lay your cards for readings.
Tarot isn't for everyone, but if you are interested in learning it, I hope these short blogs help. Also, if you know of anyone who may find this interesting, please share with the links below.
Below we start with the major arcana cards and what they represent:
Sending Love & Light
Zero: The Fool
The Fool is the dreamer—a positive sign of new opportunities on the horizon. The public image of The Fool is a person at the edge of a cliff. The picture here shows the woman ready for a journey, headphones in, and backpack on. The sun is shining; she is prepared to embrace what the universe has installed for her and willing to take that leap of faith to create a better life for herself. The unknown maybe a little scary; however, look before you leap, and if you are confident with what you see, go for it.
Keywords: new opportunities, discovery, starting again, risk, discovery, departure
One: The Magician
Time to believe in magic and turning dreams into reality. This beautiful lady has been gifted one object from each suit, one wand, one sword, one cup, and one pentacle, all she needs to manifest anything she wants. The infinity symbol above her head represents spirituality, love, beauty, and power. Believe in the magic!
Keywords: New enterprise, creativity, money, support, communication, energy, travel
Two: The High Priestess
The traditional cards show The High Priestess on a seat holding a scroll. With these cards representing modern-day life, this lady sits resting her laptop on her lap. The laptop containing all her secrets, knowledge, and wisdom learned throughout her life, suggesting now may be the time to teach this to others or the time to learn more, study, or re-educate. The card shows you have all the skills and abilities required to handle any task successfully.
Keywords: Wisdom, secrets, discretion, teaching, spiritual work, visions, and dreams
Three: The Empress
The Empress oozes confidence, love, compassion, and sexuality. Sitting on her throne outdoors, she is one with nature. The venus symbol on the heart resting against the throne represent sex, fertility, love, beauty, desire, and prosperity. She brings happiness to relationships and rewards to hard work—a positive card regarding relationships and growth. She is known as the mother of the deck.
Keywords: Nurturing, growth, home, love, fertility, generosity, comfort
Four: The Emperor
The picture shows the Emperor as confident, ambitious, and successful. Sitting on his throne, he exudes power. Wearing red and holding the ankh (the Egyptian symbol for life) indicates his passion and determination to take the lead and do what is right for himself and others. In traditional tarot, you will notice he wears armor underneath his robes, possibly indicating some vulnerability and the need to protect himself? Known as the father of the deck.
Keywords: Wisdom, authority, leadership, protection
Star sign: Aries
Five: The Hierophant
The Hierophant sits on her throne, a leader in her community. Usually dressed in religious attire in traditional decks, she is portrayed as a leader of her community. She informs her listeners now is the time to unlock (two keys placed by her feet) hidden potentials through diligent study. Learning new things can open your mind to new pathways and possibilities.
Keywords; education, traditional beliefs, ceremonies, unity, marriage, values, authority
Star sign: Taurus
Six: The Lovers
The lovers represent unconditional love and relationships. A positive card in tarot for those in relationships or if single may indicate a new romance on the way. The lovers use to be known as the choice, which may mean someone being stuck in a relationship and may need to choose whether to stay or go.
Keywords; love, commitment, planning for the future, emotions, choice
Star sign: Gemini
Seven: The Chariot
The chariot is the card representing travel, journeys, and victory. If you work hard, success can be achieved. The willpower and determination of the rider will propel them onward and keep them heading in the right direction. So don't give up, and don't let anyone run you off the road.
Keywords: determination, journey, willpower, guidance, progress
Star sign: Cancer
The strength card almost always shows a lady with a lion representing a pure expression of our feminine qualities. The lion, the king of the jungle and defined by the masculine energy, seems to be tamed by the feminine's inner strength, beliefs, and willpower. The strength card may also indicate present challenges that may need addressing. However, with a bit of strength and courage, one will push through any challenge.
Keywords: determination, willpower, progress, guidance, protection, journeys
Star sign: Leo
Nine: The Hermit
The hermit represents someone who has withdrawn from the outside world to take time to reflect and have some much-needed quiet time to contemplate life. Time to focus on oneself and find comfort and solitude in one's quest for inner knowledge.
Keywords: thoughts, retreat, inner journey, solitude, protection
Star sign: Virgo
Ten: Wheel of Fortune
Also known as the destiny card, this card may indicate a positive change of fortune. If life has been challenging, this card suggests a positive change of events; life is on the up. Like the wheel, this card indicates to keep moving forward; unexpected opportunities may arise that you may not want to miss.
Keywords: fate, luck, change, crossroads
The justice card indicates balance, or a decision may have to be made regarding work, family, relationships, or a legal matter. Something that may have been going on for some time may be coming to an end. With every decision comes responsibility; choose wisely.
Keywords: decision, calm, integrity, truth, support, legal issues
Star sign: Libra
Twelve: The Hanged Man / One (in modern decks)
The hanged one shows someone hanging upside down from a tree, indicating someone stuck in limbo, unable to move forward, making the person feel frustrated. The card means to remain calm, think things through before rushing in. A situation to the problem may have been in plain sight all along; having remained calm might have allowed it to be seen quicker.
Keywords: waiting, time, frustration, insight, purpose
The most unliked and feared card in the deck for the wrong reasons. The death card indicates the old, ending of old patterns, and phases allowing something new and wonderful to be rebirthed. The death card shows us being released from what no longer serves us—a cheerful card of new and exciting things to come.
Keywords: rebirth, endings, change, beginnings, release
Star sign: Scorpio
The temperance card is all about balance, feelings of being a little out of sorts, off-balanced, and feelings of life pulling you in several directions. Temperance encourages one to slow down, take a step back and refocus.
Keywords: balance, reconciliation, patience, flow, compassion, finance, angels
Star sign: Sagittarius
Fifteen: The Devil
The devil card may indicate feeling trapped, unable to see a way out of a dull, mundane life. It may also mean enslavement, addictions, or controlling behaviors or relationships. The vital lesson to learn from this card is that one can change what no longer serves one. The option to take back control is there; take it.
Keywords: choices, contracts, control, power, restrictions, addictions
Star sign: Capricorn
Sixteen: The Tower
The tower can look a little scary. It shows destruction and chaos. This may indicate someone's life at present. We have all experienced a tower moment and will no doubt continue to throughout our life. It may seem a little unfair but learn from the upheaval and chaos. Accept what is happening and deal with it calmly. What will be, will be. What is happening is happening for a reason. Valuable lessons will be learned with a new pathway on the horizon. The life being lead may have been built on an illusion or false beliefs, time for a new beginning.
Keywords: endings, chaos, surrender, enlightenment, beginnings
Seventeen: The Star
The card of hopes and dreams. Notice how big and bright that star is, and the seven smaller stars surrounding it indicate you are heavenly guided and protected. The two pitchers of water mark the conscious and subconscious. The woman brings renewal, healing, and truth (nudity). Feeling free, unburdened, and happily being herself. Stars indicate hope, peace, and faith—a positive card indicating faith and better times ahead.
Keywords: dreams, spiritual path, positivity, rebirth
Star sign: Aquarius
Eighteen: The Moon
The card shows a full moon in the night sky, creating illusions of shapes, shadows, situations, and feelings of uncertainty that are not what they seem. The moon can also show our dreams becoming vivid as the subconscious reveals itself to us.
Keywords: fear, dilemmas, doubt
Nineteen: The Sun
One of the most positive cards in tarot, the sun brings happiness, success, triumphs, prosperity, and good health. The grey wall behind may indicate the past but is now covered in cheerful flowers showing beauty and growth.
Keywords: holidays, growth, success, contentment
The judgment card indicates self-reflection to be able to move forward and come to terms with the past. There may be something left unfinished hindering your chances of moving forward in life, indicating this may need to be addressed. On the other hand, new beginnings are available once the past is let go.
Keywords: memories, spirituality, self-judgment, contemplation
Twenty-One: The World
The last major arcana card. The journey the fool started at the beginning allows the journey to end with the world card. Having learned valuable lessons throughout the eye-opening journey, we arrive at the world. The world brings assurance in success, victory, and triumph. Rewards are well deserved. The hard work has paid off, time to celebrate.
Keywords: success, completion, celebrations, beginnings, renewal
** Note: Reading reversed cards is a preference. To make it simple, if a card falls in the reversed position (upside down), it means the opposite of the upright position.
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