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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 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.

  • New Tarot de Marseilles deck?
    by jamesricklef on January 30, 2021 at 3:37 am

    I plan to do a new coloring of the Tarot de Marseilles deck and would like some feedback on the idea. See sample Fool card.

  • RWS 2.0 deck comparison
    by jamesricklef on January 10, 2021 at 3:00 am

    I was recently asked by someone if I could show her a comparison of some cards from my RWS 2.0 deck to the traditional RWS deck. Of course, I took that as a message from the Universe to show everyone a few such card comparisons

  • What does the Three of Swords mean?
    by jamesricklef on December 28, 2020 at 2:36 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 Three of Swords.

From Mary K Greer’s Blog

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

  • 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 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), and the Fool (0-22). Many people don’t include the Fool in this set. I made the decision to do

  • 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.

From Round the Cauldron’s Blog

Round the Cauldron Everyday life as a modern witch!

  • Self-Love Tarot Spread || FREE PRINTABLE
    by Megan Black on February 12, 2021 at 2:37 am

    Today we are continuing with our theme through the month of February with love magic and self-love, and I have created a self-love tarot spread for you to use when you’re feeling maybe a little lost and you don’t know how to proceed with self-care and how to go about moving forward on your self-love journey. This self-love tarot spread uses five cards laid out in the shape of an upward-pointing arrow. This shape is specific because you want your self-love to grow! As you shuffle your deck, really focus on what you want to achieve and how you feel about yourself. Be honest. That’s very important. You can’t expect to grow and get honest answers from your cards if you aren’t honest with yourself. I would really focus on self-love and how you can continue the journey of loving yourself because self-love is really a journey. It’s not something that isgoing to have a destination, and you’re going to have ups and downs. This tarot spread isn’t designed to give you a quick fix or tell you exactly what you need to do for everything to be all better. This is a way for you to ponder your path through self-love. Card One: How am I really? How are you really doing? Sometimes it can be difficult for us to be honest with ourselves, so this first card asks you to look at how you’re really doing. Through the process of self-love, we often forget the things that we’re good at and we get stuck in this negative thought cycle of, “man I’m really not good at this” or you know “I’m no good. Nobody loves me. Nobody cares about me.” Things like that. Card Two: What am I amazing at? I often find that it’s helpful for us to remember the things that we’re good at as we’re going through the process of either learning how to love ourselves or coming back to our self-love. Card Three: What is my purpose right now? When we get lost in the sea of otherness and nothingness around us, we can lose sight of our focus. Without focus, we don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing! Card Four: What is getting in my way? Are you getting in your own way? Are you self-sabotaging? Or maybe you have someone in your life that’s holding you back? Take an objective look with this card and see if there is anything you can cut out or stop doing. Roadblocks are normal, but they’re hurdles we have to cross. Card Five: How can I best love myself right now? What is one thing that you can do to continue on the path of self-love for yourself? Self-love is a journey for no one else. It is for you and you alone and it’s going to look different for everyone. I hope you enjoy using this tarot spread. Please let me know if you have any questions! Don’t forget to check out my social media and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Check it out below to get a free printable version of this tarot spread to add to your grimoire. All content is subject to copyright. It may not be distributed as your own in any way. To share this, please link to my website. Don’t forget to follow me on social media and subscribe to my newsletter. Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Patreon The post Self-Love Tarot Spread || FREE PRINTABLE appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • I am a Gatekeeper
    by Megan Black on January 14, 2021 at 10:08 pm

    This topic has been on my mind for at least a week now and I have honestly hesitated in writing this post. I know some people are going to be upset. Some people are going to scream but you have to be inclusive to EVERYONE and honestly, I’m just not here for it anymore. To be fair, this idea didn’t just pop into my head. It was sparked by a tweet I saw from Oregon Wood Witch and from there it just spiraled into a mess of thoughts that I haven’t quite been able to wrap my head around. The post I am a Gatekeeper 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.

  • 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

  • KS Knight of Swords
    by Admin on March 7, 2021 at 5:44 am

    The greatest challenge for the Knight of Swords is to make a definitive decision. They tend to jump into the fire without thinking, but they already regret it before landing there. Read more exclusively at Support my work and…Read more KS Knight of Swords ›

  • KS Six of Swords
    by Admin on March 5, 2021 at 7:53 am

    The Six of Swords is not that much about leaving but the baggage we take with us. It is what we choose to keep carrying and what we decide to leave behind. Read more exclusively at Support my work…Read more KS Six of Swords ›

  • KS Ace of Wands
    by Admin on March 4, 2021 at 7:38 am

    The Ace of Wands is one of the most important cards of the Tarot deck. While the Fool is the central hero, the traveller, the Ace of Wands represents the ‘creatio ex nihilo’ and set the stage for the whole…Read more KS Ace of Wands ›

  • KS Empress
    by Admin on March 3, 2021 at 5:56 am

    The Tarot deck has not three but four female archetypes. Instead of the maiden, mother and crone triplicity, there is a quartette that includes the pregnant woman and the whore. Strength embodies the maiden, Death the whore. The Stars symbolise…Read more KS Empress ›

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

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

  • The Hit List – The (grown) kids are alright
    by Theresa Reed on March 6, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    Yesterday, I took a walk with my children. The weather still had a nip to it but it was sunny enough for us. We’re hardy like that. We talked about my daughter’s upcoming nuptials, my son’s love life, and politics. You know…the usual things you talk about with grown kids. While this may not seem The post The Hit List – The (grown) kids are alright appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Astrology Bytes Episode 127 – Lunar Cycles for Business with Leslie Tagorda
    by Theresa Reed on March 5, 2021 at 2:25 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 127 – Lunar Cycles The post Astrology Bytes Episode 127 – Lunar Cycles for Business with Leslie Tagorda appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Talkin’ Tarot with Shelley Hughes
    by Theresa Reed on March 3, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    Talkin’ Tarot With is a monthly feature designed to introduce my readers to different tarot readers from our wonderfully diverse community!  Each month, I’ll be asking various tarot readers three questions about their tarot philosophy and style, plus pointing you to their websites and blogs so that you can learn more about them!  I like The post Talkin’ Tarot with Shelley Hughes appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – Cat Assumptions
    by Theresa Reed on February 27, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    The other night, Monkey curled up on my lap for his nightly purr and petting session. Occasionally, we’ll have a brushing extravaganza, which he adores. But this time, there would be none of that because I noticed globs of drool around his muzzle. I wasn’t squeamish about that part. Instead: I was panicked. The reason The post The Hit List – Cat Assumptions appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

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

  • Layers of knowing: A daily check-in tarot spread
    by Beth on February 8, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    A simple ritual and two-card spread for checking in each day. The post Layers of knowing: A daily check-in tarot spread appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Full moon landing & sabbatical info
    by Beth on January 28, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    Happy full moon! The shop will close on the 9th February for a reflective sabbatical. The post Full moon landing & sabbatical info appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Tarot Spreads for the Spacious Tarot
    by Cathou on January 20, 2021 at 1:41 pm

    Dive deeper into your Spacious Tarot (or other favourite deck) with these four simple tarot spreads created and shared by Cathou. The post Tarot Spreads for the Spacious Tarot appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Cathou

  • REVIEW | The Spacious Tarot: An invitation to reclaim your space
    by Cathou on January 19, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    If tarot cards are portals, then the Spacious Tarot is a key to step into spaces. Spaces we’ve wandered at night forever. Spaces still left to discover and explore. The post REVIEW | The Spacious Tarot: An invitation to reclaim your space appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Cathou