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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 Eight of Cups mean?
    by jamesricklef on September 19, 2020 at 12:24 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 Eight of Cups.

  • What does the Three of Cups mean?
    by jamesricklef on September 7, 2020 at 9:42 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 Three of Cups.

  • What does the Three of Pentacles mean?
    by jamesricklef on August 30, 2020 at 7:04 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 Three of Pentacles.

  • What does the Knight of Wands mean?
    by jamesricklef on August 21, 2020 at 9:30 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 Knight 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!

  • New Month Tarot Spread – Revisited
    by Megan Black on September 23, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    I created a new month tarot spread a while ago and I’ve been meaning to revisit the spread for a while now. This is a tarot spread that I use for myself every month. It is also a reading you can get from my shop or, if you’re a patron, you get one free every month. So, why did I want to revisit this topic? Well, there are a few reasons. The first reason is that at the beginning of the month, this is the most-used search term that gets people to my site. The second is that, even though it is popular, people still have questions. The post New Month Tarot Spread – Revisited appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Recycling is a Lie? || NPR Article Discussion
    by Megan Black on September 22, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Recently I read an article on NPR about recycling that got me very…huffy? Angry? Frustrated? Hurt? Upset? I don’t know exactly how to describe how it made me feel, but it wasn’t a great feeling. It’s called How Big Oil Misled The Public Into Believing Plastic Would Be Recycled, and I’m kind of embarrassed that it made me as upset as it did. Part of me feels like I should have known better (because I’m a cynic) and part of me feels silly for believing that anyone would try to make recycling an efficient process. The post Recycling is a Lie? || NPR Article Discussion appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 83: Are You a Broom Closet Witch? || Tips and Conversations on Practicing in Secret
    by Megan Black on September 21, 2020 at 4:54 am

    Get a transcript of this episode here: https://www.roundthecauldron.com/download/12811/ A broom closet witch is someone that has to practice their witchcraft in secret, for one reason or another. So, are you a broom closet witch? If so, what can you do? Want to help decide what we talk about? Join me on Patreon! Being a witch The post Episode 83: Are You a Broom Closet Witch? || Tips and Conversations on Practicing in Secret appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Magick Sigil Ink || Witchy DIY
    by Megan Black on September 15, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Magick sigil ink is simply that — a special ink that you create using ingredients chosen with intention and correspondences that fit the sigil’s purpose. Today on YouTube, I released a video detailing my very simple method for creating this ink and I wanted to share it with you here, too. The post Magick Sigil Ink || Witchy DIY appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 82: Ethics in Tarot — When Difficult Things Come Up
    by Megan Black on September 14, 2020 at 4:54 am

    Tarot Ethics are important, and they might differ from reader to reader. It is important to figure out where you stand on ethics when you read tarot for others. The post Episode 82: Ethics in Tarot — When Difficult Things Come Up appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

From the Unified Esoteric Tarot

Esoteric and Divinatory Tarot by Attila Kárpáthy

  • The complete pictorial key to the Unified Esoteric Tarot deck
    by Admin on September 21, 2020 at 7:33 am

    The Unified Esoteric Tarot is the first ‘gender correct’ esoteric Tarot deck based on a revisited and innovative astrological system correlated with Numerology, Alchemy and Kabbalah. Instead of the traditional dualistic, male-female, good-evil model, the UET is built upon the … Continue reading →

  • The greatest trick
    by Admin on September 17, 2020 at 6:14 am

    The greatest trick God ever pulled was convincing the world that he is all good, and there is a Devil who’s to blame for all the evil. We also believe that we are all good and spotless, and when something … Continue reading →

  • The ‘onion conspiracy’
    by Admin on September 14, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    “Repeat a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth”, is a law of propaganda often attributed to the Nazi Joseph Goebbels. Among psychologists, this is known as the “illusion of truth” effect. Repetition only makes something seem true, individuals … Continue reading →

  • The four cardinal directions of the evolution of Tarot
    by Admin on September 1, 2020 at 12:49 pm

    Since the mysterious appearance of the first known Tarot deck in the mid-fifteenth century in Northern Italy, we only speculate regarding its original purpose. It was meant to be an entertainment instrument, a deck of cards for game playing, or … Continue reading →

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

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

  • Talking Shop: Go Big and Go Work! Jupiter Transits for Business
    by Theresa Reed on September 29, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    When it comes to your business, Jupiter is large and in charge. This big boy can bring expansion if you know how to tap into its benevolent vibe. But what about Jupiter retrograde? What’s that all about? And even though Jupiter is lucky, is there anything you might want to avoid (hint: excess)? We’ve been The post Talking Shop: Go Big and Go Work! Jupiter Transits for Business appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Tarot Bytes Episode 188: Astrology, Tarot and Journaling as Self-Care with Gabriela Herstik
    by Theresa Reed on September 27, 2020 at 2:33 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 188: Astrology, Tarot, and Journaling as Self-Care with Gabriela Herstik Keeping a journal is one The post Tarot Bytes Episode 188: Astrology, Tarot and Journaling as Self-Care with Gabriela Herstik appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – Not me.
    by Theresa Reed on September 26, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    This past week, I received an email from a follower on Instagram. They wanted to alert me that someone had created a bogus account using my name and picture. As you can imagine, I got hotter than a ghost pepper. (Worse yet, they chose an unflattering photo, which added fuel to my ire.) Off I The post The Hit List – Not me. appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Astrology Bytes Episode 120 – Magickal Timing with Astrology with Madame Pamita
    by Theresa Reed on September 25, 2020 at 1:49 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 120 – Magickal Timing The post Astrology Bytes Episode 120 – Magickal Timing with Astrology with Madame Pamita appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

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