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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!

  • 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.

  • What does the Ten of Swords mean?
    by jamesricklef on December 14, 2020 at 1:11 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 Ten of Swords.

  • What does the Three of Cups mean?
    by jamesricklef on December 8, 2020 at 1:16 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 Cups.

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!

  • 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.

  • Episode 96: Setting Spiritual Goals || What makes a good goal?
    by Megan Black on January 11, 2021 at 5:54 am

    There’s a new year and it is time to set our spiritual goals for 2021! I’d love to hear how you set your goals and … The post Episode 96: Setting Spiritual Goals || What makes a good goal? appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 95: Finding Your Life Purpose || My Thoughts and Ideas
    by Megan Black on December 28, 2020 at 5:54 am

    As human beings, we are all looking for our life purpose. We are all looking for answers to questions like… 💕 What’s my purpose? 💕 … The post Episode 95: Finding Your Life Purpose || My Thoughts and Ideas appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 94: Is This a Sign? || When a Squirrel is just a Squirrel
    by Megan Black on December 14, 2020 at 5:55 am

    Signs and omens are commonly talked about in witchcraft and pagan communities, but is it really a sign? Is it really an omen? Or is … The post Episode 94: Is This a Sign? || When a Squirrel is just a Squirrel appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 93: Are deities dangerous? || A Polytheistic Perspective and Lesson in Respect
    by Megan Black on December 7, 2020 at 5:55 am

    Working with and honoring deities isn’t inherently dangerous, but there are some ground rules that should be followed when approaching Them from a polytheistic perspective. The Gods can and will mess with your life if you’re not respectful, and not all Gods are fuzzy and soft and full of love. Some will turn your life upside down to teach you a lesson. As long as you approach a deity with respect and reverence, you aren’t necessarily in any danger at all. The post Episode 93: Are deities dangerous? || A Polytheistic Perspective and Lesson in Respect appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

From the Unified Esoteric Tarot

Esoteric and Divinatory Tarot by Attila Kárpáthy

  • KS King of Cups
    by Admin on January 15, 2021 at 6:59 am

    Wealth regarding the King of Cups refers to emotional wealth, the depth of feelings and the intensity of these experiences. Although everything may seem calm and collected on the surface, these are deep and sometimes troubled ‘waters’. It may refer … Continue reading →

  • KS Two of Wands
    by Admin on January 14, 2021 at 7:13 am

    The Golden Dawn astrological attribution of the card is Mars in Aries which signifies originality, enthusiasm, a burst of energy and eagerness to be at the centre of the action, impulsiveness, even aggressiveness. However, Pamela’s depiction of the card, based … Continue reading →

  • KS Eight of Wands
    by Admin on January 13, 2021 at 6:53 am

    Generally speaking, the Eight of Wands is considered a card of action: something is going to happen now. For an undecided, it is the moment of clicking. If one was stuck in a certain situation, an opportunity to move over … Continue reading →

  • KS King of Wands
    by Admin on January 12, 2021 at 8:53 am

    Upright: ardour, country man, good and honest man. Reversed: apathy, indulgence, austerity, tolerance, condescension. Most readers see in the Kings the dominant (patriarchal) father’s figure. But it is truly the case? Not all the rulers were mandatorily masculine. For instance, … Continue reading →

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

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

  • The Hit List – 10 great alternatives to doomscrolling
    by Theresa Reed on January 16, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    I’m the first to admit it: I doomscroll more often than I like. What’s “doomscrolling,” you ask? According to Wikipedia: “Doomscrolling (also known as doomsurfing) is the act of consuming a large quantity of negative online news at once. Mental health experts have stated that the practice can be detrimental to mental health.” Last week, The post The Hit List – 10 great alternatives to doomscrolling appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Astrology Bytes Episode 124 – Solar Return Charts
    by Theresa Reed on January 15, 2021 at 2:40 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 124 – Solar Return The post Astrology Bytes Episode 124 – Solar Return Charts appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • New Moon in Capricorn 2021- and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign
    by Theresa Reed on January 11, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    The New Moon in Capricorn 2021 will be high in the sky on Wednesday, January 13th at Midnight EST. If you’re in a different time zone, it’s Tuesday night for you. This New Moon is most excellent for goal-setting, especially around your career. Want the corner office? Do you dream of starting your own business? The post New Moon in Capricorn 2021- and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Tarot Bytes Episode 200: Hoodoo, Tarot, and the Black American Experience with David Davis
    by Theresa Reed on January 10, 2021 at 2:30 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. Episode 200: Hoodoo, Tarot, and the Black American Experience with David Davis In this episode of The post Tarot Bytes Episode 200: Hoodoo, Tarot, and the Black American Experience with David Davis appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

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