Tarot 101 Learn The Basics and Learn The Real Way

I know you probably don’t care but I need to flex my resume so here I go: last year 2019, I was really going through a lot and needed something more in my life. At the time, (even if it was only a year ago), all I would do is pray before I went to bed, say a little thank you when I woke up in the morning, and pray over my food occasionally. Other than that, that’s about all I did. Going to church when I was younger, then going to church camp (where I first heard about “witchcraft”), and then going to catholic school, I wasn’t really involved in the church or religion for that much; I just followed my family. So here I am, about 25 and literally just living life day by day. Around summertime of last year, when I was really questioning a lot, I came across a like page on Facebook, where they were talking about all things mystical and the occult. That same day, when I was saying my prayers, I asked God to allow me to explore this newfound interest I had formed. Next thing I know, on my 25th birthday I received tarot cards and my life has been amazing ever since.

Now that you know a little about me, here comes the fun part, how to firstly use your tarot cards and then how to understand them.

Basic overall information on tarot is (because you need to know the history before you start), a lot of people think tarot started in Europe but I honestly don’t think so. Tarot goes all the way back to the 14th century and it was known as a game, such as modern-day bridge, according to Collectors Weekly. Later down the line, a man named Stuart R. Kaplan who is the founder and chairman of U.S Games Systems, and a woman named Pamela Colman Smith invented what we know now as the original tarot cards. A lot of people think that tarot is to predict your future and in a way, it kind of is but it’s mainly a tool to communicate with your higher self and subconscious. I look at it as a friend, who knows my energy and can relay messages to me, that may not be easily seen by the naked eye; sometimes those messages can be future base, what you’re going through at this moment, situations that may be around you, or a solution to a problem. Using tarot irresponsibly is by looking for messages of death and pregnancies, that’s not the purpose of these cards. Tarot is about reading your energy and the energy of those around you, so sometimes when you do a reading, the cards may not always represent you at that moment.

A lot of people recommend doing daily pulls of just one card and then understanding that one card and writing down how it may make you feel, then the next day or later that day pull another card until you understand all 72 cards, blah, blah. That’s helpful and all but that didn’t work for me. Learning 72 very different cards is not only a long process but if your anything like me, once I move onto the next card, I already forgot the meaning of the previous card. My first suggestion is to look at YouTube videos of people who do collective readings, to not only visualize what different spreads look like but to also get brief explanations of each card and understand the purpose of reading cards. I recommend looking at Shonnetta’s Divine Tarot on Youtube. I really like the way she interprets cards because she gives a lot of in-depth details as well as explains how each card is relevant to the reading. She intuitively reads the cards and I always found that aspect very intriguing.

Most of the time, tarot readings involve questions like love life, what the week or month is going to look like for you, maybe you just need a sign to quit that job and start something you’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Tarot can help relay all types of mundane questions.

Next, I do recommend to buy a book which is The Ultimate Guide to The Rider-Waite Tarot. I remember hearing about this book when I first started by the Twitter account WitchdoctorAlix, and it’s a brilliant book because even though it’s a book, based on theory, it breaks down every little image that’s in the original tarot and gives further information on how to read the cards. The opening page addresses that it’s just interpretations and that there are various ways to decipher the meaning of the cards, and that this book is simply a tool to help you get started about the different ways to interpret the cards. Johannes Fiebig and Eveline Burger, who are the authors of this book did an amazing job with their explanations for images and maybe why it was used for all 72 cards; including major arcana and all of the other suits.

One example that I love to refer to is The Death Card, only because the death card doesn’t actually mean death. It means the ending of something but by the book’s definition is that death is not nothingness, but the reaper who rides the horse wishes to bring in the harvest. This essentially means that, even though something ends, something greater is to come. The black rider can represent, “…Not just a question of letting go but also actively bringing something to a conclusion,” (page 68). The white horse can stand for strength and what drives the subconscious, white stands for a fresh start so the contrast between the black rider and the white horse is a reminder that a conclusion is coming but a fresh start is on the horizon. I absolutely love this book because it’s helped me look at the cards rather than just a nice piece of art but to break down everything that the card represents. Another great point that the book brings up is imagery around the main focus of the message in the card. Using the same card for an example, there’s a tiny ship that the book refers to as a ship of souls. It’s said that it reflects many religions that the boat will bring souls from death to reincarnation, which stands for the changing phases of life. This book will change the way you think about each card and it’s definitely a long read, I’m actually still reading it myself but since I picked up this book, when I pull cards for myself, it’s been easier to understand.

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Photo was taken by me

I know some people say for your first deck, it’s better or recommended to be gifted tarot cards but there’s nothing wrong with buying your own; it’s 2021, the year of doing what you want (within good reason lol). As suggested before, I highly recommend purchasing The Rider-Waite-Smith deck because it’s the most basic and you can find a lot of information online about its meaning. There are some tarot decks that are the same but look different like The Modern Witch Tarot Deck but the images are a little different, more modern, and most of these tips will apply better to the original deck. For example, the four of cups in the modern witch tarot deck, has a cell phone in the image and she looks like she’s outside of her apartment. Vs the original deck that was produced in 1971 where the guy is sitting by a tree; there’s going to be some differences in the interpretations.

Another recommendation is to use apps to help you learn. I’m definitely an app person (thanks to my Aquarius moon), I highly recommend using Ladyrinthos. Ladyrinthos is a tarot learning app, where you can do daily pulls and it’ll store and record the cards you’ve pulled for each day, as well as give you more information about the card or cards that you’ve pulled. You can create your own spreads in the custom section or you can use any one of the preset spreads they offer such as general, past, present, future, spiritual progress, career question, and more. I’ve used this app off and on for about a year and their most recent update has improved the user experience by far!

My most favorite feature of this app is the ability to be able to quiz myself on each card to see how well I know the book definition. Even though you read the cards by intuition, it satisfies my Virgo sun to know the book definition. The app has all 72 cards and you can learn each suite by section as well as the Major Arcana based on their key terms. Each suite has an article that gives you a little bit more information, for example, the suit of wands is associated with fire and fire goes hand and hand with passion, inspiration, and willpower. The element fire is all about primal energy so typically the cycle of creation, action, and ambition describes the suit of wands perfectly. On the flip side though, fire can be kind of reckless and lack direction but that is based on the type of reading your doing. Aside from articles to give you more information, in the same section you can see they also have a reference side as well and that’s where you can find the card by itself and study its meaning upright and reversals.

Another feature that I like about the app is the mirror section where it tracks what type of cards you’ve been pulling over a course of a week, month, or year. When I started using the app again, it let me know that I was drawing a lot of major arcana cards, was pulling a lot of reversals, the common court cards I was pulling were knight cards, and it also broke down what all that means and basically, I was going (and still am going) through some major shifts in life.

Even with doing all of this, there are times where I’ll pull a card or cards and I have no idea what they’re referring to. An example of this is one day I was on Quora and I joined the group all about tarot, where people share their experiences. I came across a post where this person was expressing how they did a reading before their writing class; the devil card came out. They expressed that most of their readings are obvious and their intuition is able to pick up the message fast and other times the cards can reflect on situations around you or later down the line.

I personally love tarot and oracle cards because they bring certain elements from my subconscious that I may not realize at that moment. There are times where tarot is the answer and I understand completely what the message is and other times where I may have to meditate and probably just use my pendulum. At the end of the day, every aspect of spirituality is a practice, which means that you have to use this tool more than once and more often than a few weeks at a time. This is not a one thing fixes all and to always, always, always, do your own research. What works for one, may not work for another.

(Some of the links in this article have affiliate links)

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By 3occultis

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