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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 Ace of Swords mean?
    by jamesricklef on December 5, 2021 at 3:51 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 Ace of Swords.

  • What does the Devil card mean?
    by jamesricklef on November 22, 2021 at 10:26 pm

    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 the Devil card.

  • What does the Two of Swords mean?
    by jamesricklef on November 18, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    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 Two of Swords.

  • 21st Century Tarot de Marseilles — Ace of Wands
    by jamesricklef on November 11, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    See the Ace of Wands in my work-in-progress 21st Century Tarot de Marseilles deck.

From Mary K Greer’s Blog

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

  • Pamela Colman Smith photo by Alice Boughton
    by Mary K. Greer on October 9, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    I just discovered this previously unknown photo of PCS by her friend, the well-known photographer, Alice Boughton. The source is The Literary Digest, July 4, 1908. Enjoy.

  • The Moon Card: Between a Dog and a Wolf
    by Mary K. Greer on September 17, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    Do you know what the expression “entre chien et loup” or “between a dog and a wolf” means?  It is a French description for twilight – either dusk or dawn – when the half light turns everything monochromatic and you can’t tell the difference between the wild and the tame. I’ve always loved this as

  • 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

From Round the Cauldron’s Blog

Round the Cauldron Everyday life as a modern witch!

  • Interfaith Work and Witchcraft
    by Megan Black on October 28, 2021 at 2:57 pm

    There’s a video that’s making its way around TikTok right now that’s irritating me so of course, I’m going to talk about it. I’m not going to link the video or the reactions to it because if I’m being honest, it’s the reactions that are irritating me. I haven’t seen the original video in its entirety because the reactions have just been sharing clips and not linking the original video. The clips of the original video that they’re sharing, though, is of a person talking about how people need to be careful about the Halloween candy their children get because witches will curse the candy. Besides the fact that that’s not true, the reactions to it are making things worse, in my opinion. One person told the original person something along the lines of, “Why would we curse the candy if we’re going to eat the children?” Others have been making similar videos and mocking the original poster. Look, I get it. It sucks that the general population has a negative association with witches, that they think we’re all evil and out to get their children. But you know what? Saying things like “we’re gonna eat your kids” isn’t helping matters. Mocking people for their genuine belief or fear isn’t helping matters. Are they wrong? Of course, they are! Witches (at least in my experience) have no interest in cursing children. We have no interest in cursing candy. We are not the proverbial boogeyman that goes bump in the night. Now, most of these fears that I see are being perpetuated by Christianity and that makes sense. They often quote the verses in the Bible about sorcery and not suffering a witch to live. I won’t pretend to know the context of those quotes nor the original meaning of the Bible as it was written hundreds of years ago. I can tell you, though, that those people who hold this genuine fear of witches and the occult aren’t going to suddenly stop being afraid because they’re being mocked. They’re not going to suddenly stop spreading fear and their ill-informed beliefs because people are making fun of them. You know what can help, though? Conversation. I wonder if anyone had reached out to the original poster, in good faith, to have a conversation and put their fears to rest. At the very least, did someone try to answer any questions they may have had? In my experience, a lot of misinformation and fears can be abated by simple, open, and honest communication. If we don’t talk to each other, if we don’t listen to each other, nothing will change. I find that many people in Witchcraft communities, or even polytheist communities, are so opposed to interfaith work. Maybe they have a good reason. Maybe they have a lot of religious trauma to work through, and that’s valid! I don’t expect everyone to find it easy to reach out and talk to someone about faith, witchcraft, and misinformation that’s being spread around. But what about those of us that don’t have a problem with it? I’ll admit, I’m hardly ever the first person to reach out and extend a hand in conversation with someone that could potentially be very confrontational and aggressive. But you know what? I think that needs to change. I wonder what our communities would look like if we had more interfaith work and conversations and less standing opposite of each other yelling about how terrible the other group is. The post Interfaith Work and Witchcraft appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Is your Ego blocking your growth? [Video]
    by Megan Black on October 24, 2021 at 5:57 am

    Being confronted with ego in witchcraft is interesting and you know what? The idea for me to talk about this actually comes from one of the first exercises in the first chapter of The Witch’s Path by Thorn Mooney. She talks about how when we are in our practice or we’ve been doing it for a while, we kind of get in a groove. Even if we end up in a rut or our practice kind of stagnates, we don’t tend to explore other options. The post Is your Ego blocking your growth? [Video] appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • What’s in the Darkness? || Shadow Work Tarot Spread + Free Printable!
    by Megan Black on October 17, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    We’re getting into the deeper part of the darkness in the northern hemisphere. It’s October, the start of spooky season for some and the darkest parts of the year for others. This is a great time to begin working with the Shadow Self. The Shadow part of you that is hidden away and runs (or at least tries to run) the conscious mind. Since we’re coming into that darkness, I created a simple tarot spread to help connect to your Shadow. This spread uses four cards laid out in the shape of stairs, symbolic of the descent into your own darkness. The post What’s in the Darkness? || Shadow Work Tarot Spread + Free Printable! appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Ramblings on Neurodivergency and Online Relationships
    by Megan Black on October 5, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    As a neurodivergent person, I feel like there are things that I’m acutely aware of. I don’t know if these things also hold true for neurotypical people. I’m acutely aware of parasocial relationships and friendships in general. The post Ramblings on Neurodivergency and Online Relationships appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Pagan Portals: Lugh || Book Review
    by Megan Black on August 9, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    For such a short book, Lugh is jam-packed with information any new seeker of Lugh would need. Morgan Daimler does a wonderful job sharing important information about the history of Lugh, His stories across different Celtic regions, and ways we as modern polytheists may connect with Him. I wanted to point out something I find very important. In the Author’s Note, Morgan Daimler makes it clear that she uses the Irish spelling whenever possible but that there was no standardized Irish spelling before the 20th century. This can make some names and words hard for an English speaker to grasp, but there is a pronunciation guide at the end of the book. The post Pagan Portals: Lugh || Book Review appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

From the Unified Esoteric Tarot

Esoteric and Divinatory Tarot by Attila Kárpáthy

  • HOLIDAYS 2021 Special offer
    by Admin on December 6, 2021 at 6:59 am

    Special holidays sales offer from 6th December 2021 to 6th January 2022. Two decks of your choice for only 158 USD (about 30 USD discount!), free shipping worldwide8.99 USD extra fee for registered mail outside the USA, Canada and Australia.…Read more HOLIDAYS 2021 Special offer ›

  • Esoteric Tarot – The Fool (book)
    by Admin on November 7, 2021 at 4:51 am

    I am happy to announce that my new book is published and available! You can get your copy exclusively from: LULU.com My name is Attila Kárpáthy, and I’m a tarotolog, mystic, occultist and mixed esoteric artist, writer, poet, painter, photographer,…Read more Esoteric Tarot – The Fool (book) ›

  • The Sidewayz Tarot by Roxi Sim-Hermsen and Jade Storm
    by Admin on September 21, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Each Tarot deck has its own body, soul and spirit. While one may choose to purchase a particular deck instinctively, love at first sight, it takes time and patience to learn a deck and get into its groove. The body…Read more The Sidewayz Tarot by Roxi Sim-Hermsen and Jade Storm ›

  • The Moonatic series
    by Admin on September 5, 2021 at 9:54 am

    Now there are four similar but not identical versions of the Moonatic available: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/karpathy I made the dots smaller, the colour is lighter, and they are denser as in the original edition. If you want to keep a diary or…Read more The Moonatic series ›

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

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

  • Tarot Bytes Episode 219: Tarot and the Hero’s Journey with Maisy Bristol
    by Theresa Reed on December 6, 2021 at 2:29 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 219 – Tarot and the Hero’s Journey with Maisy Bristol The Major Arcana is associated The post Tarot Bytes Episode 219: Tarot and the Hero’s Journey with Maisy Bristol appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – This old house
    by Theresa Reed on December 4, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    When my husband decides a project needs to be done, it always seems to lead to another project or a renovation that never seems to end. For example, a few years ago he wanted to install some granite on the kitchen counters. My kitchen was torn apart for over a month. For a cook, this The post The Hit List – This old house appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Astrology Bytes Episode 148: Sexual Compatibility + Astrology with Kirah Tabourn
    by Theresa Reed on December 3, 2021 at 2:24 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 148: Sexual Compatibility + The post Astrology Bytes Episode 148: Sexual Compatibility + Astrology with Kirah Tabourn appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius 2021 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign
    by Theresa Reed on December 1, 2021 at 2:52 pm

    The New Moon Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius 2021 will appear on December 4th at 2:43 AM EST. This is the last eclipse in the Gemini/Sagittarius axis that started on June 5, 2020. Gemini and Sagittarius are associated with thinking, truth, and beliefs. Over the past two years, you’ve had to face the facts, even if you The post Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius 2021 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

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

  • Closed in protest of “Black Friday”
    by Beth on November 26, 2021 at 8:17 am

    Escape the shopocalypse! We're closed this weekend in protest of capitalism's most sacred festival. The post Closed in protest of “Black Friday” appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Music as transformative self care: Alexa Dexa’s Sacrosanct Oracle//Composition Deck
    by Alexa Dexa on November 15, 2021 at 11:52 am

    "I love the way sound can transport us, a portal into our inner landscapes and wisdom, an opportunity to learn to listen more deeply to ourselves." The post Music as transformative self care: Alexa Dexa’s Sacrosanct Oracle//Composition Deck appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Alexa Dexa

  • A mirror and a map: Finding myself in the Living Altar
    by Beth on September 7, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    These collaged, many-layered cards are a map, a tool, a living work of femme devotion that turns a square into a circle, reveals intersections, fill in gaps with ever-shifting nuances and possibilities of being. The post A mirror and a map: Finding myself in the Living Altar appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Oli Starfrosting’s Talisman Tarot: A monoprint tarot inspired by magic, cartomancy, & the Marseille
    by Oli Starfrosting on September 6, 2021 at 7:22 am

    Following up on the success of their Jewitchy deck the Hidden Light Tarot, Oli Starfrosting's new Talisman Tarot is a queer descendant of the Tarot de Marseilles. The post Oli Starfrosting’s Talisman Tarot: A monoprint tarot inspired by magic, cartomancy, & the Marseille appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Oli Starfrosting