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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 Hanged Man mean?
    by jamesricklef on August 10, 2020 at 5:00 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 Hanged Man.

  • What does the Three of Cups mean?
    by jamesricklef on August 2, 2020 at 1:13 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.

  • What does the Four of Cups mean?
    by jamesricklef on July 28, 2020 at 7:33 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 Four of Cups.

  • What does the Chariot card mean?
    by jamesricklef on July 20, 2020 at 7:42 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 Chariot card.

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 78: Is the Witchcraft Aesthetic Harmful to the Community? || When it becomes toxic…
    by Megan Black on August 10, 2020 at 4:57 am

    Click here to get a transcript of this episode! Want to help decide what we talk about? Join me on Patreon!   This week, we’re talking about the witchcraft aesthetic and whether it is harmful to the witchcraft community as a whole! Got a different opinion? Let me know in the comments or reach out The post Episode 78: Is the Witchcraft Aesthetic Harmful to the Community? || When it becomes toxic… appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • 5 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Waste
    by Megan Black on August 4, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Today, I want to talk about five simple ways that you can reduce your waste. Now, as a pagan, living an earth-centric life is important to me. Living in an eco-conscious way is important to me and the way that I practice. So, I wanted to give you five tips for reducing your waste. You’d The post 5 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Waste appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 77: Is Paganism Right for You? || 10 Questions to Ask Yourself
    by Megan Black on August 3, 2020 at 4:53 am

    Get a transcript of this episode by clicking here. The topic of paganism for beginners gets brought up often. However, the amount of information on the internet along about paganism is astounding. As a pagan myself, I feel like I can give a unique perspective on whether paganism might be right for you as a The post Episode 77: Is Paganism Right for You? || 10 Questions to Ask Yourself appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Lughnasadh || A Brief History of the First Harvest
    by Megan Black on July 29, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    The Wheel has turned again and we are slowly making our approach to Lughnasadh. As the First Harvest and one of the Celtic Fire Festivals, did you know that Lughnasadh has been celebrated for many, many years? In ancient Ireland, it was celebrated as Lughnasadh – the first harvest of the season. Now, it is more commonly known as Lammas, the anglicized version of the name. So, what is Lughnasadh and why do we celebrate it? The post Lughnasadh || A Brief History of the First Harvest appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Lúnasa Herbal Bread || Free Recipe
    by Megan Black on July 28, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Lúnasa is almost upon us and now is the time to start thinking about the bread you’re going to bake for the wonderful celebration of the first harvest! Baking bread is a traditional and popular way to give thanks to the Gods and incorporate the beautiful goodness that is baked bread. The post Lúnasa Herbal Bread || Free Recipe appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

From the Unified Esoteric Tarot

Esoteric and Divinatory Tarot Tarot: theory and practice

  • Seven of Cups (Excerpt)
    by Admin on August 11, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Excerpt from the novel ‘Two thousand fifty-six’ by Attila Kárpáthy. Full or partial use of this text for commercial or non-commercial distribution by any means whatsoever is strictly prohibited unless expressly authorised by the author. “There are as many pillows … Continue reading →

  • The Magian Tarot and Postmodern theory
    by Admin on August 7, 2020 at 8:58 am

    I bought this book a while ago, and although I still didn’t found time to read it throughout, this introductory chapter is fascinating. I share a small fragment here in hope to open your appetite to buy and read the … Continue reading →

  • The RWS Seven of Cups decrypted
    by Admin on July 26, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    Pamela Colman Smith has put a lot of work into the details of the Seven of Cups. On the other hand, in addition to the interpretation of the card, based on Etteilla’s work, this is everything that Waite considered sufficient … Continue reading →

  • The Fool (Excerpt)
    by Admin on July 16, 2020 at 8:25 am

    Back in April, I started a large project which includes a Tarot inspired, esoteric, dystopian-crime novel. Here is a small excerpt from Chapter four, The Fool. Chapter four, The Fool “Those who will not reason are bigots, those who cannot … Continue reading →

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

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

  • Is it a good idea to “memorize” what Tarot cards mean?
    by Theresa Reed on August 12, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    When you get your first tarot deck, you might pore over the cards, studying the images, and pondering what they mean. Perhaps you’re thumbing through that little white book that came with them, wondering how on earth you’re going to remember 78 different meanings (double that if you consider reversals). Do you have to memorize The post Is it a good idea to “memorize” what Tarot cards mean? appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Tarot Bytes Episode 182: Reading Without Tarot Spreads with Desiree of Intuitive Gems
    by Theresa Reed on August 9, 2020 at 1:59 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 182: Reading Without Tarot Spreads with Desiree of Intuitive Gems Tarot spreads can add structure The post Tarot Bytes Episode 182: Reading Without Tarot Spreads with Desiree of Intuitive Gems appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – There are no guarantees
    by Theresa Reed on August 8, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    “There are no guarantees. From the viewpoint of fear, none are strong enough. From the viewpoint of love, none are necessary.” – Emanuel Tanay  Many years ago, I read that quote and it stuck with me. It’s one of my favorites. During times like this, I think of it all the time.  “Will everything be The post The Hit List – There are no guarantees appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Astrology Bytes Episode 116: The Conditions of a Planet
    by Theresa Reed on August 7, 2020 at 12:46 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 116: The Conditions of The post Astrology Bytes Episode 116: The Conditions of a Planet appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

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

  • #Decklust | News for late summer days
    by Beth on August 9, 2020 at 10:06 am

    New decks in the shop, a gorgeous review, improvements and tweaks... Oh, and I've written a book 🙂 The post #Decklust | News for late summer days appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • A Love Letter to the Many Queens Tarot
    by Cathou on July 21, 2020 at 10:54 am

    "In this review, I declare my flame directly to the Many Queens Tarot. After a complicated introduction, we went on to explore femmeness, feminism, solidarity and revisioning it all. What's to come next?" The post A Love Letter to the Many Queens Tarot appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Cathou

  • #Decklust | Black Art Matters
    by Beth on June 29, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    There is no going back. The conversation about racism, about white supremacy, about our deeply, deeply broken unjust systems, is too loud to ignore and those with power are having to listen. Here's what we're doing in the shop. The post #Decklust | Black Art Matters appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Share your views: An invitation to our Black & POC customers
    by Beth on June 26, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    If you're a Little Red Tarot visitor and a person of colour, I would love to invite you to take part in our POC customer survey. The post Share your views: An invitation to our Black & POC customers appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth