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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!

From Mary K Greer’s Blog

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

  • Pamela Colman Smith photo by Alice Boughton
    by Mary K. Greer on October 9, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    I just discovered this previously unknown photo of PCS by her friend, the well-known photographer, Alice Boughton. The source is The Literary Digest, July 4, 1908. Enjoy.

  • The Moon Card: Between a Dog and a Wolf
    by Mary K. Greer on September 17, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    Do you know what the expression “entre chien et loup” or “between a dog and a wolf” means?  It is a French description for twilight – either dusk or dawn – when the half light turns everything monochromatic and you can’t tell the difference between the wild and the tame. I’ve always loved this as

  • The Truth Untold, Lenormand Cards, Ashbless, and the Smeraldo Flower
    by Mary K. Greer on June 17, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Recently, music producer for BigHit, PDogg, was asked what his favorite BTS song is and he answered “The Truth Untold,” sung by the four vocalists (live performance below). It seems there is a long, fascinating history behind it. I’ll try to make this short. (Check out these sites for details: The BTS Effect and the

  • 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 adding the numbers in 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 = 1+3=4), and the Fool (the un-numbered 22nd card of the Majors; 2+2=4). Many people

From Round the Cauldron’s Blog

  • Lavender Magic: Uses, Tips, and a Freebie!
    by Megan Black on March 24, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    Lavender is one of those plants that just about every witch has in their cabinet. This is because lavender is such a versatile plant ally to work with! I think it also says something about our modern world that we all tend to lean on an ally that gives us a bit of peace and … Read more

  • Spring Equinox with Children: Honoring Balance and Creating Joy [FREEBIE]
    by Megan Black on March 16, 2023 at 2:36 pm

    As a mother and a witch, I try my hardest to instill a love of nature and respect for the Earth and her cycles in my child. I may not always teach her about witchcraft – only if that’s what she wants – but I will always teach her about the natural cycles of the … Read more

  • Book Review: Confronting the Crisis
    by Megan Black on March 9, 2023 at 3:07 am

    If the human species has an evolutionary purpose that purpose is delight. Aren’t we constituted to experience and express conscious delight in the immensity and intimacy of creation, the diversity, abundance, and miracles of life? We have moved far from such purpose. Instead of imagination’s dreamers with the Earth, maturing into avatars of relationships, narrators … Read more

  • Book Review: Aos Sidhe by Morgan Daimler
    by Megan Black on March 4, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    Please note: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions given in this review are my own. An introduction to the Aos Sidhe, the People of the fairy mounds, and to Irish fairy beliefs, this book takes readers on a journey to understand the place that … Read more

  • Self-Care and Witchcraft: What it is, what it isn’t, and ideas for your routine!
    by Megan Black on February 28, 2023 at 4:30 pm

    Before we talk about self care and witchcraft, we have to really talk about self care in general. I like to think of self-care as burnout prevention and literally caring for myself. Just like with literally anything else, self-care has a dictionary definition and psychological explanation. So, let’s look at those. The dictionary has two … Read more

From the Unified Esoteric Tarot

Esoteric and Divinatory Tarot by Attila Kárpáthy

  • The simplest key to life and trading
    by Admin on March 24, 2023 at 3:17 pm

    Recently several people approached me interested in using esoteric knowledge for trading and market predictions. I admit I am unfamiliar with stock exchanges, trading practices and the work of W. D. Gann. However, at a quick glance, the similarity between…Read more The simplest key to life and trading ›

  • The Tarot Suits and Seasons
    by Admin on March 12, 2023 at 5:03 am

    There is a common misconception regarding the correlation of seasons with the Suits of the Tarot deck. People believe that Wands represent spring, Cups summer, Swords autumn, and Disks (Pentacles, Coins) winter. Perhaps, one of the issues is that seasons…Read more The Tarot Suits and Seasons ›

  • The 9 of Swords blanket project
    by Admin on March 5, 2023 at 6:40 am

    Most people are scared of the Sword cards. The Nine of Swords is usually associated with illness, sleepless nights, bad dreams and the over-day burden we often carry on with us for the nights. Etteilla’s Nine of Swords signify bachelor,…Read more The 9 of Swords blanket project ›

  • Sharing and caring
    by Admin on February 27, 2023 at 8:22 am

    I’m researching, studying, editing, and writing esoteric materials, I create Tarot decks, I provide guidance and private reading sessions, and I create and promote all my content by myself. Unfortunately, the entire internet and especially these so-called social media platforms,…Read more Sharing and caring ›

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

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

  • New Moon in Aries 2023 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign
    by Theresa Reed on March 19, 2023 at 1:58 pm

    Aries season begins and ends with a bang. The day after the Sun moves into the sign of the Ram, the New Moon in Aries 2023 arrives on the 21st at 1:23 PM ET. A second Aries Moon, this time a Solar Eclipse, will be present on the 20th of April, right as Taurus enters The post New Moon in Aries 2023 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – The Karen
    by Theresa Reed on March 18, 2023 at 1:43 pm

    There it was. A snarky little comment with a smiley face sitting ugly on my post. No one has time for that. Delete, block, move on, and dusted my shoulders off. When you’re a business owner or author, at some point, you will encounter someone like this. It might be a random troll or, in The post The Hit List – The Karen appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Stars Crossed: Where to begin
    by Theresa Reed on March 17, 2023 at 1:44 pm

    So you want to see if the stars are aligned for you and your new crush. You find out their date of birth and plug the info into some app only to see the compatibility meter has given you a three on romantic attraction. If you feel like throwing your phone across the room, I The post Stars Crossed: Where to begin appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – Power down
    by Theresa Reed on March 11, 2023 at 2:30 pm

    Yesterday, I woke up to the bleep-bleep sound of my surge protector. That meant only one thing: the power was out. I opened my bleary eyes and saw the clock was dead (yes, I have a regular alarm clock – don’t judge). My fan wasn’t running either (yes, I sleep with a fan…the noise helps The post The Hit List – Power down appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

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

  • #Decklust | Liminal Season: January news
    by Beth on January 31, 2023 at 8:44 am

    Sweet new decks for easing into the year... Thea's Tarot pre-orders, 2020 Visions is finally here, and Companion Cards for dancers, movers and solo artists. The post #Decklust | Liminal Season: January news appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • #Decklust | Winter Magic, Many Moons & a Living Altar
    by Beth on November 11, 2022 at 8:59 am

    It's freezing cold, our boiler's broken... Let’s talk about something that’s actually going well! And no I don’t mean my “drag career” (see below) – I’m talking about stocking our shelves with magical goodies for cosy winter nights in 🙂 The post #Decklust | Winter Magic, Many Moons & a Living Altar appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • What home means: Re-membering miracles, care & connection with Elia Fushi Bekene
    by Beth on October 31, 2022 at 7:55 am

    "Home to me feels like a return. So much of the path to liberation is the coming home, the return to the full potential of what we are and I find that home is the container that allows us to unfold in this way." The post What home means: Re-membering miracles, care & connection with Elia Fushi Bekene appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Making old things new again: Jameson Hampton & the Tarot of Sorts
    by Jameson Hampton on April 30, 2022 at 4:27 pm

    "My love of tarot is related to this love of old things, this connection I feel with every printmaker and tarot reader that has come before me. So for me, letterpress and tarot go together quite naturally, and thus the Tarot of Sorts was born." The post Making old things new again: Jameson Hampton & the Tarot of Sorts appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Jameson Hampton