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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!

  • Mary K. Greer tells us about the Moon card
    by jamesricklef on September 17, 2021 at 10:22 pm

    Mary Greer has posted a wonderful discussion about a way to interpret the Moon card.

  • What does the Seven of Wands mean?
    by jamesricklef on September 14, 2021 at 7:23 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 Seven of Wands.

  • New Tarot de Marseilles — Update (19 – 21)
    by jamesricklef on September 11, 2021 at 1:39 am

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

  • What does the Queen of Wands mean?
    by jamesricklef on September 7, 2021 at 2:12 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 Queen of Wands.

From Mary K Greer’s Blog

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

  • 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

  • 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

From Round the Cauldron’s Blog

Round the Cauldron Everyday life as a modern witch!

  • 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.

  • The Dabbler’s Guide to Witchcraft || Book Review
    by Megan Black on August 2, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    Fire Lyte’s new book, The Dabbler’s Guide to Witchcraft published by Simon and Schuster, is one of the better books on witchcraft that I have read in a very long time. In his book, Fire Lyte promises to deliver practical knowledge to help you build a better foundation in witchcraft whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been doing it for a while. In a book targeted at the average person with an interest in witchcraft, Fire Lyte manages to dispel many myths and misconceptions about witchcraft while offering different perspectives and food for thought. The post The Dabbler’s Guide to Witchcraft || Book Review appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Smokeless Cleansing for your Home
    by Megan Black on July 6, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Smoke is one of the easiest methods of cleansing a space. It’s also the method that is recommended most often. There’s something otherworldly about the curl of smoke from burning herbs in a cauldron or incense burner. But sometimes using smoke to cleanse a space isn’t the best method to use. That’s where these tips for smokeless cleansing will come in handy! When you can’t use smoke… In my house, there are people that have allergies, reactive airway issues, and other concerns that make smoke cleansing hazardous or impossible. Certain smokes, herbs, and fragrances can trigger respiratory issues but we also have several animals. I have a dog, a cat, two ferrets, and a snake. Sometimes smoke isn’t a good cleansing technique to use depending on the room that I’m in. I definitely don’t want to use smoke or any heavy fragrance in a space with animals or allergies. I don’t want to make anyone sick and I also don’t want to trigger the flight or fight response of the animals I have. If you don’t live at home (or even if you do), there may also be rules against using smoke and burning different objects, herbs, or even candles. It’s a good idea to have smokeless cleansing techniques and methods as a backup for those times when you just can’t use smoke or an open flame. Sound Cleansing Cleansing a space with sound is one of the easiest smokeless cleansing methods you can use. It requires nothing except for yourself, though you can add other elements into the ritual if you choose. You can use any method of creating sound, though the easiest is clapping. In my practice, if I’m going to cleanse a space with sound, I like to clap loudly in every corner of the room, moving from the entrance to the exit. Usually, this is from the door to the window, but feel free to change that up to suit your specific situation. Clapping helps to loosen up any stuck energy in those spaces, even ones that would be more difficult to get to. For example, clapping in a closet space or around a bookshelf can get those vibrations into spaces that smoke or other methods might have trouble with. The vibration from clapping, the movement through the air, and the sound itself help to loosen up that energy so that it makes it easier to get rid of it. So with cleansing a space with sound, you can add different elements of sound to this in order to make it more effective. If you did the clapping in the corners then you can turn around and start from the door or the corner of the room. You can also use different musical instruments like bells, triangles, or drums. I have even used my flute to play different songs or notes that I felt vibrated well to cleanse a space. If you don’t have a musical instrument and you don’t have a bell, bang on some pots and pans. Room Sprays Another smokeless cleansing method is using a room spray. A room spray is essentially a charged spray usually made with alcohol, water, and some type of herb or essential oil and it works in the same way that smoke cleansing would. You spray it around your room starting from top to bottom and as it goes down, it really captures and dissipates or transforms the energy that has been left in that room into a neutral energy. It really helps to dissipate and clear the area. Now you can make a room spray on your own if you choose to do so. The method is very simple but it’s going to depend on the ingredients that you are using. If you’re going to use essential oils, you want to have an emulsifier. This is usually going to be some type of alcohol, though many people have said using witch hazel is effective. In this instance, it is not. Please do your research and make sure that you’re creating your room spray safely. Some essential oils can’t be emulsified and mixed together like that and they should be used sparingly, especially if you have pets. If you’re going to use herbs, I definitely recommend using a dry herb instead of a fresh one unless you have some sort of preservative that you can add to your spray to keep it from molding and going rancid. If you want to make your own room spray, I definitely recommend giving it a go. You can find a lot of different room spray recipes online if you just Google “cleansing room spray”. For ethical reasons I cannot recommend that you use white sage. I’ve talked about white sage before and how its use can be problematic in the witchcraft and occult community. Use an herb that youcorrespond with cleansing if that’s your purpose. Juniper and rosemary are two of my go-to cleansing herbs. Room sprays are great for cleansing a space and they’re a good alternative if you still want that fragrance without having the smoke. Again just be mindful of other people or creatures in your home. Some essential oils and fragrancesare harmful to different animals and we don’t want to harm our furry or scaly friends just for the sake of cleansing a space when there are other options available to us. Just clean your house! Now the last one I want to mention here is by far the easiest and the most mundane. Just clean your house! Or your room or whatever the space is. Too often I see people jumping to the conclusion of “I need to cleanse the space! Let’s get out my herb bundles and my room sprays and my incense,” when they neglect the fact that maybe their desk is super cluttered or they have dishes and junk mail scattered all over their kitchen and they haven’t swept or mopped in months. You can combine witchcraft and magic with the mundane action of actually cleaning your space. I find this to be especially true for me. I do most of the cooking in my home and the kitchen really holds a lot of energy. If I go downstairs into my kitchen and the kitchen is a mess, I cannot cook anything without cleaning the kitchen first. When I wake up in the morning and I’m getting up and I’m getting ready and I get ready to tidy up my house, the kitchen is the first thing that I clean. It’s one of the places that I spend the most time. It’s one of the places that other people spend a lot of time in my house and it’s one of the places that, when people come home from work, they pass right through that space or they hang out there first. I can combine the act of wiping down the cabinets and the countertops with cleaning away anything that has been left there unbeknownst to other people. There are floor washes and window washes and door washes that are created for the specific purpose of cleansing spaces. It’s definitely okay to do these in the same vein as mopping your floor. I think it’s really important that we can effectively combine these two different processes. Clean your house but cleanse it too. Never forget that witchcraft is an intuitive practice and there is almost always more than one way of doing something. Cleansing a space is no different. Just because you can’t use smoke doesn’t mean you can’t cleanse a space. Smokeless cleansing is a simple and effective alternative when you can’t burn anything. What are your favorite smokeless cleansing methods? Let me know below! The post Smokeless Cleansing for your Home appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Social Media Detox || I’m Struggling
    by Megan Black on July 5, 2021 at 1:32 pm

    Social media used to be for community, to bring people together. Now it’s full of influencers and marketers. It’s more difficult than ever to create a community around common interests. The post Social Media Detox || I’m Struggling appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • 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.

From the Unified Esoteric Tarot

Esoteric and Divinatory Tarot by Attila Kárpáthy

  • 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: 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 ›

  • Esoteric Tarot a series of 29 books
    by Admin on August 16, 2021 at 4:18 am

    I have this insanely ambitious project to write and publish a series of 29 books about the Esoteric Tarot. After serious consideration, I concluded that the best size for these books is the standard US Trade, 6×9 inches, respectively 152×229…Read more Esoteric Tarot a series of 29 books ›

  • The good, the bad and the ugly
    by Admin on August 2, 2021 at 7:50 am

    Speaking about the “wickedness in the world”, Genesis 6 relates that “the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.” As a result of this unnatural union of angels…Read more The good, the bad and the ugly ›

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

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

  • Is Tarot appropriate for kids?
    by Theresa Reed on September 22, 2021 at 2:38 pm

    Tarot has been around for more than 500 years.  Some call it a “card game.” Others call it an “intuitive art.” Many folks (like myself) love Tarot because it’s a wonderful way to explore options, listen to your instincts, and make confident decisions.  But is it appropriate for kids?  As a professional Tarot reader who The post Is Tarot appropriate for kids? appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – My ultimate guide to relaxing and letting that sh*t go.
    by Theresa Reed on September 18, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    Stressed? Tense? Your shoulders have so many knots it’s practically a knitting convention up in there? You can’t remember the last time you laughed out loud (and no, texting “LOL” while grimacing at your phone does not count!) Sounds like you need The Tarot Lady’s Ultimate Guide to Relaxing, De-Stressing, and Letting All the Bullsh*t The post The Hit List – My ultimate guide to relaxing and letting that sh*t go. appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Astrology Bytes Episode 143: Astrology for Writers with Jeanna Kadlec
    by Theresa Reed on September 17, 2021 at 1:56 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 143 – Astrology For The post Astrology Bytes Episode 143: Astrology for Writers with Jeanna Kadlec appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Full Moon in Pisces 2021 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign
    by Theresa Reed on September 16, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    Get ready for magic when the Full Moon in Pisces 2021 illuminates the sky on Monday, September 20th at 7:55 PM EDT. This particular lunation happens shortly after Mercury trines Jupiter, a lucky aspect that casts an optimistic glow over the evening. When you mingle this energy with the intuitive power of the Pisces Full The post Full Moon in Pisces 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