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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 Swords mean?
    by jamesricklef on May 27, 2020 at 7:44 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 Five of Swords.

  • What does the Five of Cups mean?
    by jamesricklef on May 23, 2020 at 9:16 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 Five of Cups.

  • What does the Ten of Swords mean?
    by jamesricklef on May 20, 2020 at 9:37 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 Swords.

  • What does the Death card mean?
    by jamesricklef on May 12, 2020 at 9:14 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 Death card.

From Mary K Greer’s Blog

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

  • 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

  • A Tarot Reading for BTS’s Suga upon listening to Agust D, Rap Mixtapes #2
    by Mary K. Greer on July 3, 2019 at 12:59 am

    This tarot reading addresses a particular piece of music and its composer/lyricist, however it is not necessary to be familiar with the work. I wrote the article to demonstrate how tarot cards can add insight and dimension to any project or experience. It helps you think outside the box and consider the deeper significance, inner

From Round the Cauldron’s Blog

Round the Cauldron Everyday life as a modern witch!

  • Learn to Read Tarot – The Sun || BEGINNER FRIENDLY || Talk Tarot with Me Ep. 26
    by Megan B. on May 28, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    The Sun is a Major Arcana card that brings with it joy, happiness, and warmth. It can be considered to be one of the most positive cards in tarot! The post Learn to Read Tarot – The Sun || BEGINNER FRIENDLY || Talk Tarot with Me Ep. 26 appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 68: Witchcraft Correspondences || Where do they come from?
    by Megan B. on May 25, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    One thing I wrestled with at the beginning of my studies of witchcraft and magick was just who decided the correspondences? Who decided that clear quartz is a good crystal for just about everything? Who decided that lavender corresponds with calming? Today, I wanted to talk about witchcraft correspondences and where they come from. I discuss the animist perspective, the psychological perspective, and the medicinal perspective. This by no means is a comprehensive dive into correspondences, but I hope it gives you a chance to think about your own witchcraft correspondences and how you use them in your craft. The post Episode 68: Witchcraft Correspondences || Where do they come from? appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • The Dark Moon is Rising || A Time of Reflection
    by Megan B. on May 22, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    If you work with moon phases, you may be familiar with the term dark moon. This can depend, though, because some witches call it the new moon and skip over the dark moon. That’s fine – your practice is your own. I don’t tend to skip over the period of the dark moon, though, and I think it is important that you at least consider it in your practice. The post The Dark Moon is Rising || A Time of Reflection appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Easy Waterfall Ward || Defensive Magick
    by Megan B. on May 21, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    As promised, today we’re going to talk about how to do my waterfall ward technique. If you haven’t listened to Monday’s podcast episode about defensive magick, I definitely recommend doing that first. Defensive magick is an important skill for anyone to learn how to do, and today I’m going to teach you how to do The post Easy Waterfall Ward || Defensive Magick appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 67: Defensive Magick || Protection for Heart and Home
    by Megan B. on May 18, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    Defensive magick is the spellcraft equivalent of self-defense. Learning different defensive magick techniques can make you a more well-rounded witch. The post Episode 67: Defensive Magick || Protection for Heart and Home appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

From the Unified Esoteric Tarot

Esoteric and Divinatory Tarot Tarot: theory and practice

  • The Tower – study session
    by Admin on May 28, 2020 at 8:13 am

    The Tower Etteilla’s interpretation of the card. Upright: Loss of goods, accident, the collapse of convictions. Misery, wretchedness, distress, destitution, poverty, shortage, need, necessity, calamity, adversity, misfortune, trouble, torment, pain, affliction, annoyance, inconvenience, penalty, correction, punishment. Rude awakening, disgrace, severity, … Continue reading →

  • Unified Esoteric Tarot Sale 2020
    by Admin on May 26, 2020 at 8:29 am

    The last and final copies of the Unified Esoteric Tarot, Second and Black Edition are on sale together, shrink-wrapped and in velvet bags, worldwide shipping included for only 98 USD! Available exclusively here https://tarotator.com/unified-esoteric-tarot-shop/ and at my Etsy shop here … Continue reading →

  • Staring at the Sun
    by Admin on May 22, 2020 at 10:28 am

    Etteilla’s interpretation of the card. Upright: Englightenment, lightening, explanation. Clarity, glory, Heaven and Earth. Philosophical sulfur. Reversed: Fire. Heat, warmth, glow, flame, passion. Meteors, lightning. Internal, external and philosophical fire. S.L. MacGregor Mathers’ interpretation of the card as it was … Continue reading →

  • An alternative architecture of the Major Arcana
    by Admin on May 18, 2020 at 6:02 am

    Learning is not a matter of memorising but understanding. Learning begins with unlearning. One should keep its mind and options open. When it comes to the Tarot deck, it is not about the cards separately but discovering the subtle connection … Continue reading →

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

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

  • Talking Shop: Love, Money, and Madness: Venus Retrograde and Business
    by Theresa Reed on May 27, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Most folks have heard about Mercury retrograde. If you’re in business, you know that it can create chaos around tech, communication, and travel. But did you know that Venus retrograde can be problematic for your biz too? Although we associate Venus with romance, other things that are under her realm are finances, clients, contracts, and The post Talking Shop: Love, Money, and Madness: Venus Retrograde and Business appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Tarot Bytes Episode 172: Tarot and Astrology with V of Red Light Readings
    by Theresa Reed on May 24, 2020 at 1:30 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. Tarot Bytes Episode 172: Tarot and Astrology with V of Red Light Readings When you blend The post Tarot Bytes Episode 172: Tarot and Astrology with V of Red Light Readings appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – Masks off
    by Theresa Reed on May 23, 2020 at 1:59 pm

    Back when I used to work on an anarchist newspaper, masks were a necessity. This was during a time of mischief and mayhem when protests turned ugly. Hiding your face made it harder for the authorities to identify you. Frankly, I never liked wearing them because it got in my way when I wanted to The post The Hit List – Masks off appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Astrology Bytes Episode 111: Saturn Aspects
    by Theresa Reed on May 22, 2020 at 1:21 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 111: Saturn Aspects An The post Astrology Bytes Episode 111: Saturn Aspects appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

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

  • Creator Tea on the Black Gold Lenormand & spiritual reclamation
    by Beth on May 26, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    "A lot of us are on similar journeys to reclaim stolen and forgotten parts of our history, cultural identity and - honestly - ourselves." The post Creator Tea on the Black Gold Lenormand & spiritual reclamation appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • The Bubblewrap Diaries: Lockdown listening
    by Beth on May 22, 2020 at 11:07 am

    What I'm listening to while I'm packing your lovely orders. The post The Bubblewrap Diaries: Lockdown listening appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • A tarot spread for identifying obstacles
    by Cathou on May 8, 2020 at 11:00 am

    A spread to help you to acknowledge the obstacles you’re facing and understanding them. Plus, some practical ideas to spark up some change The post A tarot spread for identifying obstacles appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Cathou

  • #Decklust | The great indoors
    by Beth on April 18, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    As usual, there are shop updates, great free tips and resources - plus Cathou is back with a gorgeous spread to help you express yourself in scary times. The post #Decklust | The great indoors appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth