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The Four Aces of RWS

Learn Tarot – Introduction

On the many Facebook groups and forums you’ll regularly see people recommending the study of each individual card, using a mix of artwork interpretation and other references, over many, many months.  With 78 cards this is a considerable challenge;  if others learnt the hard way then you should too!  Right?

Wrong!  Let us show you not only the easy way – but the best way to learn the underlying associations.

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The Purpose of a Tarot Atmosphere

When learning how to read tarot, it is important to have the right mindset. You should be focused and relaxed, and building a good tarot atmosphere during your reading can help you achieve the mindset necessary to get the most out of your reading. This means choosing to include things like candles, incense, and dim lights in your atmosphere if you find it helpful. All of these things can serve as a reminder to your brain and subconscious that you are getting ready to do something important.

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tarot cards

Buying your first deck – Which deck should you chose?

One of the most glorious things about tarot, is the huge number of beautiful decks available and the wonderful artists that create them. If you’re not careful, you could spend an awful lot of money collecting all the ones you love best!

However, when you’ve just decided to learn tarot and your browsing for your first deck, the choice can seem truly overwhelming. It’s not unusual for people get analysis paralysis and put off buying a deck because they just don’t know which to choose. For some people, this means they never buy one at all.
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Learn Tarot – The Hermetic Qabalah (Tree of Life)

This is a difficult topic to cover as the terminology used can be unfamiliar and discouraging to newcomers. However, here I try to present this in an accessible form. If like me you struggle with the terminology, ignore the unfamiliar names and instead view the tree, numbers, associations and card positions. This will enable anyone to start drawing on the Hermetic Qabalah to deepen their understanding of Tarot.

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The Best Tarot Podcasts

Podcasts are incredibly popular nowadays. The ability to be heard has never been so accessible; anyone can become podcast star with little more than a mobile phone and an internet connection.

As a podcaster this accessibility is very welcome. However, as a listener it can be difficult to know where to begin and a challenge to find the gems amongst the sea of mediocrity.

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To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse

A question commonly asked online:-

“My tarot cards are no longer working.  I’ve been told I need to cleanse them – how do I do this?”

Answers typically range from smudging, to bathing in moonlight, covering in salt, covering in crystals, tapping (typically 3 times), ‘resetting’ (placing the cards back in original order) and even burying in the garden for several days.

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Tarot and the Planets

When Arthur Waite and Pamela Coleman-Smith designed the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) deck, between them they managed to include symbology from pretty much every esoteric system available. Therefore it should come as no surprise that astrology and the planets play a large part in the design of the RWS deck.

If you’ve been reading the other posts on this page, you should know by now that the minor arcana cards represent the astrological elements of air (Swords), Earth (Pentacles), fire (Wands) and water (Cups). The major arcana also has specific cards for each astrological sign and therefore, that signs ruling planet as well.

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Learn Tarot – Example Reading

I considered constructing a spread with chosen cards to demonstrate how a reading may work in practice.  However, I then had a question of my own and the resultant cards seem so perfect I thought it a great opportunity to not only perform a simple reading but relate the cards to the querent/question.

Ready?  First some personal background…

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Learn Tarot – Reversals

Reading reversals (when cards are drawn from the deck inverted) can be traced back as far as the earliest days of Tarot’s use as a divinatory system.  The earliest reference to reversals I can find is from Antoine Court de Gebelin in 1781.  Antoine’s writings formed the basis of Eliphas Levi’s system, later adopted with modification by the Golden Dawn which ultimately led to Waite’s re-interpretation with Pamela Coleman-Smith (the RWS deck).

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Learn Tarot – The Numbers (Revisited)

In a previous article we listed the basic number associations of the minor arcana.

To keep things simple we used the traditional RWS associations as reference.  It’s important to note that this is not the only system in use and it can be useful to cross reference the RWS and Tarot De Marseilles in order to gain further insight.   Additionally, the associated card from the major arcana is also worthy of study in reference to the minors.

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What the F*** is a Thoth Deck?

I have to admit to being a bit conflicted about writing this post. On the one hand, the idea was immensely exciting and I was really looking forward to writing this piece. On the other hand, I knew that I would only be able to scratch the surface of what is a very deep and convoluted rabbit hole. The more I read, the less I know, the less I know, the more there is to research and the bigger and windier the road becomes. Therefore, this is designed as an introduction to what I have learned so far. There are undoubtedly many people who know much more about this that I do and I’m sure as time goes on, there will be other posts from this blogging collective around the subject and the key concepts behind the creation of the tarot.
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My Experience of Learning Tarot

It’s funny how different people come to tarot. For some people it’s been something their family has always done, others are simply drawn to it, but for people like me who grew up in very ‘no nonsense’ households where anything esoteric was poo-pooed, it is something odd and mysterious that requires a ‘happening’ to be brought into your life.

Tarot was something I was aware of but never paid much attention to. After all, it was just a load of nonsense and woo wasn’t it? Just a bunch of generalisations that could be applied to any situation, a bit like cold reading. Until I learned that my good friend, Steve, reads the cards.

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From James Ricklef’s Blog

James Ricklef's Tarot Blog Explore and learn about the Tarot ... and yourself!

  • What does the Six of Swords mean?
    by jamesricklef on May 29, 2021 at 3:00 am

    Pithy Tarot card meanings are short, easy to remember meanings that may stimulate further insights when called to mind during a reading. They also make great "Card of the Day" messages. Here’s one for the Six of Swords.

  • New Tarot de Marseilles — Another Update
    by jamesricklef on May 22, 2021 at 7:55 pm

    I am continuing to work on a new “21st Century Tarot de Marseilles” deck, and I would now like to share with you my new versions of Major Arcana cards VII to XII

  • New Tarot de Marseilles — Update
    by jamesricklef on April 14, 2021 at 12:35 am

    As I mentioned in a recent post here, I am working on a new “21st Century Tarot de Marseilles” deck. At that time, I’d only completed the Fool card in order to get some feedback on the whole idea. The response was positive, so I have continued work on this new deck, and I thought

  • What does the Moon card mean?
    by jamesricklef on February 14, 2021 at 1:58 am

    Pithy Tarot card meanings are short, easy to remember meanings that may stimulate further insights when called to mind during a reading. They also make great "Card of the Day" messages. Here’s one for the Moon card.

From Mary K Greer’s Blog

Mary K. Greer's Tarot Blog "Tarot helps you meet whatever comes in the best possible way."

  • The Truth Untold, Lenormand Cards, Ashbless, and the Smeraldo Flower
    by Mary K. Greer on June 17, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Recently, music producer for BigHit, PDogg, was asked what his favorite BTS song is and he answered “The Truth Untold,” sung by the four vocalists (live performance below). It seems there is a long, fascinating history behind it. I’ll try to make this short. (Check out these sites for details: The BTS Effect and the

  • Emperor/Death/Fool Birth Cards and Daechwita
    by Mary K. Greer on January 6, 2021 at 12:20 am

    Among the Tarot cards determined by adding the numbers in your birth date, I find most intriguing the Constellation of the Emperor, which consists of the Major Arcana cards whose numbers add up to four: the Emperor (4), Death (13 = 1+3=4), and the Fool (the un-numbered 22nd card of the Majors; 2+2=4). Many people

  • Flying Ambulances for the Navajo Nation
    by Mary K. Greer on June 1, 2020 at 10:47 pm

    My friend, John Irving, is currently flying medical planes within the Navajo Nation that’s being devastated by COVID-19. I asked him to send me his story that I could post here to let people know what is actually going on. It’s just one story from the midst of this crisis. I want to add that

  • Write from your Heart with Tarot
    by Mary K. Greer on January 13, 2020 at 1:30 am

    How to write from your heart with tarot: – Breathe (ground/center if applicable). – Connect with your future reader (including if you will be your only reader). Try to get a specific image in mind and open your heart to that person(s)—real or imaginary. – Begin your writing with where you are right now at

From Round the Cauldron’s Blog

Round the Cauldron Everyday life as a modern witch!

  • Natural Magic by Doreen Valiente || Book Review
    by Megan Black on June 16, 2021 at 7:06 pm

    Doreen Valiente covers a lot of ground in one little book, giving us a brief explanation of more than 10 different subjects we might encounter in modern witchcraft. The post Natural Magic by Doreen Valiente || Book Review appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • To be like children…
    by Megan Black on June 2, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    I watch my daughter in any social setting and am immediately amazed. In no less than 5 minutes she has five new friends and they play like they’ve known each other for years. It makes me wonder why we as adults may have a hard time making friends, fitting in, or feeling seen. The post To be like children… appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Magickal Magnolias
    by Megan Black on April 21, 2021 at 5:48 pm

    I have several Magnolia trees around my home. In the spirit of using what you have around you and knowing your natural landscape, I wanted to look into the properties of Magnolia trees, their folklore, and any correspondences I could find online (plus come up with some of my own). The post Magickal Magnolias appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Book of Shadows || Tips and Tricks!
    by Megan Black on April 3, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    Today we’re going to talk about what’s in my Grimoire and how I view magical books in general. As always, topics like this are very personal and so what I say isn’t going to be the same as everyone else. You might view a Grimoire, a Book of Shadows, or Book of Mirrors in a completely different manner than I do. That’s okay! I’m just here to give a different perspective and give you my thoughts and how I do things. The post Book of Shadows || Tips and Tricks! appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Dressing Candles || Candle Magick Tips and Tricks
    by Megan Black on March 30, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    To dress a candle basically means to add extra stuff to your candle. You can add different ingredients. You can add oils and herbs and stones. Basically, it’s a way of dressing it up for a specific purpose. Think of it like you would when you dress up to go on a date. Your normal clothes typically will work fine depending on what you’re doing, but you can change the way that you dress to tailor your outfit to the specific event that you’re going to. The post Dressing Candles || Candle Magick Tips and Tricks appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

From the Unified Esoteric Tarot

Esoteric and Divinatory Tarot by Attila Kárpáthy

  • Tarot reader
    by Admin on June 8, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    “Tarot reader” is someone who knows to read, and while intuition and inspiration might be part of the equation, knowledge is fundamental. Pictures are subjective, ant they can be deceitful, but one can look beyond the surface when one has…Read more Tarot reader ›

  • Malchut – The Tens
    by Admin on June 7, 2021 at 4:04 am

    The Tens are attributed to Malchut, meaning Kingship, and signifying fulfilment, materialisation. In Malchut, the activity of the nine preceding Sefirot takes shape, and creation is seen to be manifest. The Kárpáthy-Smith Tarot deck is available exclusively HERE. #Kabbalah #Malchut…Read more Malchut – The Tens ›

  • Don’t be dumb
    by Admin on June 6, 2021 at 6:24 am

    Call me retrograde, but I still prefer the “old ways”. I write down my thoughts on paper with a crayon. It is a spiritual process that cannot be replaced nor improved with technology and digitalisation. It is important as tying…Read more Don’t be dumb ›

  • Yesod – The Nines
    by Admin on June 5, 2021 at 3:53 am

    The Nines are attributed to Yesod, meaning Foundation, and signifying connecting, collecting, storing, distributing. Yesod plays the role of collecting and balancing the different and opposing energies, storing and distributing them throughout the world. The Kárpáthy-Smith Tarot deck is available…Read more Yesod – The Nines ›

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

The Tarot Lady The tarot cards tell a story...but you write the ending.

  • The Hit List – The tooth and nothing but the tooth
    by Theresa Reed on June 19, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    A few weeks ago, I was dealing with an infected tooth – and a whole lotta anxiety about it. Between poor childhood dental care and not-so-great oral genetics, this mouth needs more TLC than the average one. After a visit with the dentist and a periodontist, I’ve got an action plan. The tooth may be The post The Hit List – The tooth and nothing but the tooth appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Astrology Bytes Episode 137 – The Soul Codes in Your Natal Chart with Debbie Frank
    by Theresa Reed on June 18, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    ASTROLOGY BYTES: THE PODCAST Bite-sized astrology lessons for total astrology newbies. Created by Theresa Reed, The Tarot Lady (psst…I am known for tarot but I’m also an astrology geek!). Welcome to Astrology Bytes, the astrology podcast for people who want to learn astrology… but don’t have all day! Short, bite-sized astrology lessons. Episode 137 – The Soul The post Astrology Bytes Episode 137 – The Soul Codes in Your Natal Chart with Debbie Frank appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Tarot Bytes Episode 206 – Tarot and Reiki with Debra Lugo Pasquale
    by Theresa Reed on June 13, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    Tarot Bytes: The Podcast Bite-sized lessons for Tarot beginners Created by Theresa Reed, The Tarot Lady Welcome to Tarot Bytes – the tarot podcast for people who want to learn tarot…but don’t have all day. Short, bite-sized tarot lessons. Episode 206 – Tarot and Reiki with Debra Lugo Pasquale You might have heard of Reiki The post Tarot Bytes Episode 206 – Tarot and Reiki with Debra Lugo Pasquale appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – The Eclipse Reset
    by Theresa Reed on June 12, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    I was looking forward to my next birthday – and dreading it at the same time. It’s not that I mind getting older. I don’t. There are certain benefits to aging (I’ll take those senior discounts even if I’m not quite there yet! Haha!) However, after a rough year and astrological aspects from hell quickly The post The Hit List – The Eclipse Reset appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

Little Red Tarot Alternative approaches to tarot, ritual, magic & more

  • #Decklust | Meet our wonderful creators!
    by Beth on May 14, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    Absolutely we sell a gorgeous selection of indie tarot decks - and the humans that designed them are a magical bunch of people. I hope you'll enjoy getting to know everyone 🙂 The post #Decklust | Meet our wonderful creators! appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Charlie Claire Burgess: Art, gender, & creating the Fifth Spirit Tarot
    by Beth on April 27, 2021 at 10:57 am

    Charlie is a non-binary spirit in a human home who's gay for other queers! Based in Portland, Oregon, Charlie is the artist and author behind the Fifth Spirit Tarot. The post Charlie Claire Burgess: Art, gender, & creating the Fifth Spirit Tarot appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Casey Rocheteau on surviving 2020 & embracing queer monsters
    by Beth on April 16, 2021 at 1:11 pm

    "I imagine the Shrine of the Black Medusa as a space where you can be your full self, with all of your trauma, faults, charms, and questions" The post Casey Rocheteau on surviving 2020 & embracing queer monsters appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Open letter re my recent curatorial decisions
    by Beth on April 14, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    I received an email from a customer who was alarmed by my decision to centre LGBTQ+ and BIPOC+ creators in this shop. I wanted to publish my response. The post Open letter re my recent curatorial decisions appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth