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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 Five of Cups mean?
    by jamesricklef on October 25, 2020 at 3:33 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 Five of Cups.

  • What does the Moon card mean?
    by jamesricklef on October 17, 2020 at 12:20 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.

  • What does the Ace of Cups mean?
    by jamesricklef on October 12, 2020 at 10:59 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 Ace of Cups.

  • What does the Ten of Wands mean?
    by jamesricklef on October 2, 2020 at 11:09 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 Ten 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."

  • 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

  • Tarot Tour of Italy 2019
    by Mary K. Greer on December 4, 2019 at 1:22 am

    The best way to understand the historical roots of the tarot is to visit Northern Italy and see the actual sources for the imagery. There is no way I can duplicate the wonderful job Katrina Wynne did of telling the story of our Italy Tarot Trip this October so I’m sending you to her page.

  • An Analysis of BTS’s “Lights” as Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
    by Mary K. Greer on August 6, 2019 at 9:59 pm

    “Lights” is the newest music video from the phenomenally popular South Korean K-pop group, BTS. Its main theme is the question “What is love?” to which there is a response: “your Light lights the way for me . . . no matter how far apart we are.” If you haven’t heard of BTS you are probably

From Round the Cauldron’s Blog

Round the Cauldron Everyday life as a modern witch!

  • Episode 87: Samhain 2020 || Information and Practices as an Irish Pagan
    by Megan Black on October 26, 2020 at 4:54 am

    Samhain is a time of new beginnings in my path as an Irish pagan for many reasons. Working in darkness can be daunting for some people, but darkness is a necessary part of growth. The post Episode 87: Samhain 2020 || Information and Practices as an Irish Pagan appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • How to Learn Tarot by Jess Carlson || Book Review
    by Megan Black on October 20, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    This book was refreshing to see because of the way it approaches learning tarot. This is not a book that you pick up to learn the meanings of the cards. The post How to Learn Tarot by Jess Carlson || Book Review appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 86: Protection Magick – Basics, Tips, and Tricks
    by Megan Black on October 19, 2020 at 4:54 am

    It is my belief that as a witch, protection magick should be some of the first types of magick you master – or at least get comfortable with – before moving on to anything else. Protection magick includes charms, shields, wards, and so much more. Do you have a favorite method of protection? The post Episode 86: Protection Magick – Basics, Tips, and Tricks appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Journaling – Benefits both Magickal and Mundane
    by Megan Black on October 14, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Journaling is a staple in my everyday life. It wasn’t always like that but over the years I have come to realize the many benefits journaling has to offer. These benefits go beyond just helping you remember your day or keeping your thoughts straight. I wanted to share them with you because lately, journaling has taken up a large significance in my life. The post Journaling – Benefits both Magickal and Mundane appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Children’s Ancestor Candle || Free Printable
    by Megan Black on October 13, 2020 at 6:40 pm

    Samhain is approaching and sometimes the kiddos like to get involved in the celebrations. Instead of letting the children walk around the home carrying an open flame, why not do arts and crafts instead? The post Children’s Ancestor Candle || Free Printable appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

From the Unified Esoteric Tarot

Esoteric and Divinatory Tarot by Attila Kárpáthy

  • Etteilla’s Book of Thoth
    by Admin on October 22, 2020 at 8:10 am

    According to Etteilla, the Tarot was created by a group of seventeen Magi under the direct guidance of Hermes Trismegistus. He wrote in 1783, that he calculated that the Tarot was 3,953 years old. Originally called ‘The Book of Thoth’, … Continue reading →

  • The Banned Tarot
    by Admin on October 18, 2020 at 2:51 pm

    Depictions of a sexual nature have existed since the dawn of times. From rock art, the so-called Venus figures and ancient Mesopotamian artefacts depicting explicit sex, humans were drawn to sex and driven by sex. The Egyptian Turin Erotic Papyrus, … Continue reading →

  • Specitime and the definition of God
    by Admin on October 14, 2020 at 10:06 am

    These sacred texts are always subject of interpretations. ‘Three Mothers: Alef Mem Shin He engraved them, He carved them, He permuted them, He weighed them, And with them He depicted Three Mothers AMSh in the Universe, Three Mothers AMSh in … Continue reading →

  • The Sepher Yetzirah and the Tarot
    by Admin on October 9, 2020 at 5:12 am

    The Golden Dawn system is built upon the esoteric correspondences of the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet outlined in the kabbalistic text called Sepher Yetzirah, meaning Book of Formation, which sometimes, arguably, was also translated as Book of Creation. … Continue reading →

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

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

  • Full Moon in Taurus 2020 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign
    by Theresa Reed on October 29, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    The Full Moon in Taurus 2020 will be here on Halloween at 10:49 AM EDT. Will it bring tricks or treats? Maybe both. There are plenty of reasons why. Let’s start by talking about the Full Moon in Taurus first. Taurus is a fixed sign and is associated with love, beauty, sensuality, and money. Full The post Full Moon in Taurus 2020 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Talking Shop: Keep it Separated: Saturn Transits for Business
    by Theresa Reed on October 28, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    When it comes to astrology, Saturn gets a bad rap.  Why? Because it’s associated with structures, boundaries, and discipline. That may sound like a drag but those are the foundational building blocks for a successful business. Saturn is actually a friend to entrepreneurs! Once you lean into its hard-working vibe, you can move mountains and The post Talking Shop: Keep it Separated: Saturn Transits for Business appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Tarot Bytes Episode 192 – Intuitive Tarot with Mat Auryn
    by Theresa Reed on October 25, 2020 at 1:53 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 192 – Intuitive Tarot with Mat Auryn What’s intuition all about – and what role The post Tarot Bytes Episode 192 – Intuitive Tarot with Mat Auryn appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – On Mercury retrograde and grace
    by Theresa Reed on October 24, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    So we’re in the middle of another Mercury retrograde. I kinda slid through the past few with a bit of grace. This one….not so much. Although I hate to blame the planets for mishaps, sometimes it feels good to do that.  I wrote about my poor cat last week. Sadly, I don’t have good news to The post The Hit List – On Mercury retrograde and grace appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

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