What are Tarot Cards?
The Tarot is a deck of 78 cards, following a set structure. These cards hold up a mirror to your soul. They help you access your higher consciousness by laying bare your subconscious thoughts. They decipher patterns in one’s life and can be used for deeper insight and to effect change so that one can live in alignment with one’s life path, and achieve happiness and contentment.
The origin of this Oracle is shrouded in mystery and there are all kinds of theories about the origin of Cards. Some say that they originated in India and were carried to the west by the gypsies. Some say that the cards were in use in ancient China. The Tarot has also been linked to Ancient Egypt. What is undeniable is that the Tarot is an amazingly rich tapestry that covers so many disciplines and ties in various esoteric threads. The cards carry information from, Mythology, Sacred Geometry, Numerology, Kaballah, Hebrew Alphabet, Ancient Cultures, Philosophies, Literature and Astrology to name a few.
Structure of the Tarot
The Tarot is divided into two sections. 22 cards form the Major Arcana. Arcana means secrets, and it is an apt description. These cards carry the secrets of the soul, the life path and what you are meant to achieve, what are the major currents in your life, the Karmic forces at play and what one’s overall destiny is steering them towards.
In the Book, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, Rachel Pollack, mentions that the Cards numbered 1 to 21 can be divided into 3 sections and that the card numbered 0, The Fool, can jump into any section. The significance of the numbers is also essential. 21 is the product of 7 and 3. and it is 3 sets of 7 cards with the Fool being a free spirit that jumps in anywhere.
The remaining 56 cards form the Minor Arcana or the Lesser Mysteries. These cards are a slice of daily practical life. They are further divided into Four Suits each consisting of 10 numbered cards and 4 court cards. Thus we have a total of Four Suits having 10 numbered cards amounting to 40 cards and Four Court cards namely the Page, Knight, Queen and King totaling 16 cards. The Four Suits correspond to Four Elements and Four Seasons. By this division, the major Arcana thus becomes the Fifth Element or the soul.
Which Tarot deck should I choose?
I am a purist, and I wholeheartedly believe that choosing one of the older decks namely the Thoth, Rider Waite Smith, or Tarot-de-Marseille is a good idea. This is because a lot of consideration went into creating the deck, such as Astrology, Numerology, Kabbalah, which open the doorway to other esoteric disciplines and stretch the mind. A lot of the Modern deck creators do bring in this imagery through instinct but the classic decks were tailored to contain this information. The Modern Decks are a testimony to the fact that the Tarot is a living art form. The Star Spinners has four cards for the Lovers so that they can cover all forms of Homo and Heterogenus love.
It is essential that you choose a deck that calls to you, and there are lots of decks in the market. There are decks based on Mythology such as – Ancient Egyptian decks, Greek Mythology based Decks, decks based on Indian Mythology, decks on Norse, Pagan, Irish, Celtic, Elvin & fairy Myth. There are decks that are based on Children’s folk tales like Fairy Tale Decks, Inner Child Tarot, and even based on Children’s books, such as The Tarot Of The Little Prince. I have a couple of themed decks for children that I use to work with my kids. There are decks based on movies and Television Series such as the Game of Thrones Deck, Lord of the Rings deck, William Blake, Charles Dickens Tarot, and so on. You are only limited by your imagination since in the modern world there are decks based on Cats, on Zombies, if you can think of it, you just may find it! If the traditional decks do not call to you, do go through the choices and choose a deck that calls to you.
Where Can I Buy Cards In Singapore?
Kinokuniya & New Age Stores stock Tarot Cards.
Where Can I Buy Cards?
I am a Bibliophile. I love buying books and I am guilty of collecting decks!! I love Book Depository as they have excellent competitive prices and free delivery all over the world.
Myths About The Tarot
MYTH 1: You cannot buy your own Tarot Deck. Your First Deck has to be a gift!!
REALITY: The Call to read the Tarot, or know what lies beyond the rational world is the gift! You can and should buy a deck that calls to you.
MYTH 2: You have to be Psychic to read Cards.
REALITY: You do not need to be psychic to read cards. We are all born with an evolved subconscious. The Tarot is more like a gym to jog that intuition. Rather than being a Psychic to be able to read Cards, you will hone your intuition by reading the Tarot.
MYTH 3: The Tarot is the Devil’s Picture Book. Oooh!! I love this one. I’ve had a few friends tell me -“At the end of your life if you keep reading these cards, you will find out that you’ve been serving the Devil!!”
REALITY: The Tarot has been maligned with negative connotations of being associated with the occult. The Cards help you forge your personal relationship with God, or Divinity, or Pure Consciousness or the Universe.
MYTH 4: What the cards predict will come to pass.
REALITY: Nothing could be further than the truth. The above statement completely negates the use of free will. The Tarot calculates the trajectory of where one will land if they continue on the same path as they are.
MYTH 5: Tarot Cards are Magic. Tarot Cards are dangerous.
REALITY: The magic is in you. Tarot is a tool to unlock the subconscious. It is neither good nor evil. The intentions are the user’s own intentions.
MYTH 6: The Tarot is a Fortune Telling Gimmick.
REALITY: The Tarot is a powerful psychological tool for self-assessment and evaluation. Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and founder of analytical psychology, was a student of the Tarot. His theory of archetypes is based on the Major Arcana of the Tarot.
MYTH 7: Your Tarot Cards should never be touched by Others.
REALITY: Different Strokes for Different Folks. I have decks that I use just for myself and some for my children. I have decks that I use with Clients, and they pull out the cards. This is a case of what works for you.
MYTH 8: Death predicts an actual Death.
REALITY: This is also completely False. Death is the process of transformation and in the Tarot it is more a case of one moment dying to bring in the next. Death is but a transformation from one state of being to another, like leaving behind the joys of single life to get married. That was the essence of Hen and Bachelor parties. A baby shower celebrates the fact that soon you will no longer be in the state that you are and will be a mother of one, or a mother or one more.
MYTH 9: The Devil means a great Evil is out to get you.
REALITY: This one is a joke in the Community. For those with a spunky streak, well every once in a while it isn’t so bad to see the “muggles” scared and confused. There is no truth to this fact, however.
Tarot cards versus Oracle cards
1. Tradition and Structure: The Tarot follows a set pattern and structure. It will always have 22 cards, though every now and then a deck creator may add another card, like THE ALL GIFTED in the Tarot Apokalypsis. Some Deck creators add more than one Lovers card to have a well-rounded inclusive viewpoint. The Tarot has 56 cards divided into 4 suits. The Oracle deck may have 20 cards or 42 or 56. There is no set or expected number of cards.
2. Larger Picture versus the Little Details. While the Oracle cards paint broad strokes with statements like “Bring Abundance”, the Tarot Rolls up its hands and comes up with-“Eight of Wands” or Network.
3. Gentle versus Stark. Oracle cards have a gentle mode of guiding the seeker. The Tarot can very well plant a kick in the read if that is the need of the hour.
Caring For Your Cards
There are many myths about the care of Tarot cards. Some say that the cards should be wrapped in silk, for others Tarot Cards should be kept in natural boxes. What do I think? I think that the tarot is one of the best friends, consultant, therapist, champion and guide you will have since it connects you to your higher self. Isn’t it fitting then to give it the respect it deserves? I like to keep my cards wrapped in a black scarf safely in a pouch so that they can be accessed anywhere.
The Magic is in you!! It is up to you how you keep the tools that help you access it. For me, I am in my fourth decade and I still have a couple of books gifted to me when I was nine years old in impeccable condition, that I read to my kids!! A little respect goes a long way… Keep your cards with respect and they will show you such an amazing bond of friendship that you will be glad you did.
I do sleep with my cards under my pillow when I get a new deck so that we may be more in alignment. Likewise, I also cleanse my cards with incense and moonlight every now and then.
Can I read the Cards for myself?
This is the loaded question, isn’t it?? After going through the pains of beginning to learn to read the Tarot this is possibly one question that lingers in the mind. The whole point of having an oracle and learning how to use it, is to be able to seek guidance and better one’s life isn’t it? The answer to this is YES!! Of Course. Herein lies the catch. If you have to read for yourself, however, it would need to be an objective read. Each card functions at so many levels that whilst reading for ourselves we may focus on that what we want to hear.
The practice of the Tarot, changes as you know the cards better and like any spiritual practice you change when you work with your trusty cards. When we let go of attachment to the outcome, reading for the self becomes easier. For example, one may read whether the outcome of the coveted job will be favorable or not and realize that the outcome needs to be a yes or no. Then if one draws the Four of Wands it could either be read as “Yes!! You will get the job, and build a foundation here!” or “No!! You won’t get the job since you will stay close to home!” If you are very attached to what the outcome is, then it is easier to have someone else read for you. Over time, one gets to realize that this too shall pass and reading for oneself becomes easier.
Tips for Reading for oneself:
- Choose the questions.
- Pull out the cards.
- Write down and record your reading.
- Over the next few days, go over as many meanings for the cards and have all possible levels the card works on.
- Always update your journal so that you have feedback on your readings.
Images Used on The Site. Illustrations from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, known also as the Rider Tarot and the Waite Tarot, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. 1971 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. The Rider-Waite Tarot deck is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems, Inc
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