What Are Tarot Cards?
First let's talk about where did they originate from? How did tarot cards and tarot reading come into picture?
How Tarot cards really originated has been a Mystery, but the most accepted theory is::
The first Tarot deck was created around the fifteen century as a game. There were four suits with cards numbered one through ten and also court cards that included a queen, king, knight and page. The deck also included 22 symbolic picture cards. People began referring to this deck as tarocchi, which is an Italian version of the French word tarot.
Later in the eighteenth century, the cards were discovered by a number of influential scholars of the occult. These gentleman were fascinated by the tarot and recognized that the images on the cards were more powerful than a simple game would suggest. They revealed the "true" history of the tarot by connecting the cards to Egyptian mysteries, Hermetic philosophy, the Kabbalah, alchemy, and other mystical systems.
Now the most widely accepted Tarot deck is called Universal Rider-Waite Deck.
What Exactly is a Tarot Deck?
The standard tarot deck consists of 78 cards divided into two sections, the major and minor Arcana. The word Arcana is the plural of Arcanum which means "profound secret." To the alchemists of the Middle Ages, the Arcanum was the secret of nature. The tarot cards were therefore the collection of "secrets" that underlie and explain our universe.
The Major Arcana Tarot Cards
The Major Arcana Tarot cards form the foundation of the Tarot deck and consists of twenty-two cards in which 21 are numbered cards and one is an unnumbered card (the Fool).
The card meanings illustrate the structure of human consciousness. They represent the archetypes - consistent, directing patterns of influence that are an inherent part of human nature. The illustrations of the Major Arcana Tarot cards is filled with wisdom from multiple cultures and esoteric traditions, including the Egyptian, Buddhist, Hindu, Sufi, Hebrew and Christian religions. These cards are special because they draw out deep and complex reactions.
A Major Arcana card is always given extra weight in a reading. When one of these cards appears, you know the issues at stake are not mundane or temporary. They represent your most basic concerns - your major feelings and motivations. Also, they show a path to spiritual self-awareness and depict the various stages we encounter as we search for greater meaning and understanding.
Each Major Arcana card has a name and a number.
Some names convey a card's meaning directly, such as Strength, Justice and Temperance. Others are individuals who personify a particular approach to life, such as the Magician or the Hermit. There are also cards with astronomical names, such as the Star, Sun and Moon which represent the different forces associated with these heavenly bodies.
The 22 Major Arcana Tarot cards
This card is a symbol of new beginnings or possibilities, it also depicts adventures and opportunity.
Symbolizes creativity and self-confidence, Also if you look at the card image it reflects dexterity, sleight of hand, and skill
Symbolizes knowledge, wisdom and learning. If you look at the card image it reflects impatience, virtue, intuition, and purity.
Symbolizes beauty, nature and femininity. If you look at the card image it reflects accomplishment and evolution.
In most people's minds, "Tarot card reading" means a woman in flowing robes, leaning over a small table
A symbol of mercy, conformity, and forgiveness, it also depicts social approval, bonding and inspiration.
A symbol of harmony, trust, romance, and optimism, it also depicts union, honor, love, and harmony.
Symbol of perseverance, rushed decision, turmoil, vengeance and adversity. If you look at the card it shows control, will power, victory, determination.
As the name suggests, it stands for strength, courage, conviction and determination. The card shows action, heroism, compassion and virility.
Symbol of inner strength, prudence, and vigilance, if you look at the card it shows being alone, caution and inner strength.
A symbol of unexpected events, advancement, destiny, fortune and progress. If you look at the card it shows life cycle, good luck and a turning point.
Justice: This card is a symbol of equality, righteousness, virtue, honor, harmony and balance. If you look at the card it shows fairness, truth and effects of law.
THE HANGED MAN
Stands for change, reversal, boredom, improvement, rebirth, suspension, change. If you look at the card it shows restriction, letting go and sacrifice.
A symbol of reversal, boredom, improvement, change rebirth, and suspension. If you look at the card it shows restriction, letting go and sacrifice.
A symbol of temperance, patience, good influence, confidence, moderation. If you look at the card it shows balance, purpose, moderating and vision.
A symbol of downfall, unexpected failure, ravage, disaster, anger and controversy. The card shows addiction, bondage and materialism.
Stands for disruption, downfall, bankruptcy, end and unexpected events The card image shows disaster, change or revelations.
A symbol of balance, pleasure, optimism, insight, spiritual love, and faith. card image shows Serenity, hope and spirituality.
A symbol of double-dealing Deception, disillusionment, danger and disgrace. the card image shows trickery, fear, anxiety and insecurity.
A symbol of success, love, joy accomplishment, and satisfaction. The card image shows Warmth, success and positivity.
A symbol of awakening, renewal, rebirth, promotion, rejuvenation improvement, atonement, and judgment. The card image shows inner calling and absolution.
A symbol of perfection, recognition, success, fulfillment, eternal life. The card image shows completion, integration or travel.
The Minor Arcana Tarot cards
The Minor arcana cards are 56 cards that represent the concerns, activities and emotions that make up the dramas of our everyday lives. While the major arcana express universal themes, the minor arcana brings those themes down into the practical world to show how they work in our daily events.
There are divided into four suits - Each suit corresponds with a different element and is representative of different aspects of day-to-day life:
The Suit of Cups:
The Suit of Cups relates to the element of Water and is representative of emotions. They describe inner states, feelings and relationship patterns. The energy of this suit flows inward. The ability of water to flow and fill up spaces, to sustain and to reflect changing moods makes it the ideal symbol. Read More >>
The Suit of Pentacles:
The Suit of Pentacles related to the element of Earth and is representative of money, financial resources, material possessions, career, practicality, security and material concerns. In this suit, we celebrate the beauty of nature, our interactions with plants and animals and our physical experiences. Pentacles also represent prosperity and wealth. Sometimes this suit is called the Coins, an obvious symbol of the exchange of goods and services in the physical world. Read More >>
The Suit of Swords:
The Suit of Swords related to the element of Air and is representative of power, rationality, intellect, thought and reason. They are concerned with justice, truth and ethical principles. It depicts mental clarity. This suit is also associated with states that lead to disharmony and unhappiness. Our intellect is a valuable asset, but as an agent of ego, it can lead us astray if it is not infused with the wisdom of our Inner Guide. Read More >>
The Suit of Wands:
The Suit of Wands relates to the element of Fire and is representative of inspiration, spirituality, ideas, energy flow, creativity, action and movement. They are associated with such qualities as enthusiasm, adventure, risk-taking and confidence. Another aspects of Wands includes illusion, egotistical behavior, impulsiveness, a lack of direction or purpose, or feeling meaningless. Read More >>