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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!

  • 21st Century Tarot de Marseilles — Ace through Six of Clubs
    by jamesricklef on January 18, 2022 at 3:34 am

    Here are the first 6 cards in the Wands / Clubs suit of my new 21st Century Tarot de Marseilles deck.

  • What does the Ace of Swords mean?
    by jamesricklef on December 5, 2021 at 3:51 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 Ace of Swords.

  • What does the Devil card mean?
    by jamesricklef on November 22, 2021 at 10:26 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 the Devil card.

  • What does the Two of Swords mean?
    by jamesricklef on November 18, 2021 at 9:46 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 Two of Swords.

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 the Unified Esoteric Tarot

Esoteric and Divinatory Tarot by Attila Kárpáthy

  • HOLIDAYS 2021 Special offer
    by Admin on December 6, 2021 at 6:59 am

    Special holidays sales offer from 6th December 2021 to 6th January 2022. Two decks of your choice for only 158 USD (about 30 USD discount!), free shipping worldwide8.99 USD extra fee for registered mail outside the USA, Canada and Australia.…Read more HOLIDAYS 2021 Special offer ›

  • Esoteric Tarot – The Fool (book)
    by Admin on November 7, 2021 at 4:51 am

    I am happy to announce that my new book is published and available! You can get your copy exclusively from: LULU.com My name is Attila Kárpáthy, and I’m a tarotolog, mystic, occultist and mixed esoteric artist, writer, poet, painter, photographer,…Read more Esoteric Tarot – The Fool (book) ›

  • The Sidewayz Tarot by Roxi Sim-Hermsen and Jade Storm
    by Admin on September 21, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Each Tarot deck has its own body, soul and spirit. While one may choose to purchase a particular deck instinctively, love at first sight, it takes time and patience to learn a deck and get into its groove. The body…Read more The Sidewayz Tarot by Roxi Sim-Hermsen and Jade Storm ›

  • The Moonatic series
    by Admin on September 5, 2021 at 9:54 am

    Now there are four similar but not identical versions of the Moonatic available: https://www.lulu.com/spotlight/karpathy I made the dots smaller, the colour is lighter, and they are denser as in the original edition. If you want to keep a diary or…Read more The Moonatic series ›

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

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

  • The Hit List – Driver’s seat
    by Theresa Reed on January 22, 2022 at 3:10 pm

    My father was no feminist. But he did want my sister and me to be as independent as possible. (Note: he also didn’t like our independence when it backfired on him and we started doing whatever the hell we wanted to do!) One thing he insisted on: we had to learn to drive. My mother The post The Hit List – Driver’s seat appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Astrology Bytes Episode 150: The Nodal Shift to Taurus and Scorpio with Celeste Brooks
    by Theresa Reed on January 21, 2022 at 2:03 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 150: The Nodal Shift The post Astrology Bytes Episode 150: The Nodal Shift to Taurus and Scorpio with Celeste Brooks appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Tarot Bytes Episode 223 – The Art of Interviewing Authors and Tarot Deck Creators with Onareo
    by Theresa Reed on January 17, 2022 at 2:26 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 223 – The Art of Interviewing Authors and Tarot Deck Creators with Onareo If you The post Tarot Bytes Episode 223 – The Art of Interviewing Authors and Tarot Deck Creators with Onareo appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – The Instagram Imposter Syndrome
    by Theresa Reed on January 15, 2022 at 3:20 pm

    If you’ve spent any time on Instagram lately, you’ve probably noticed it is swarming with tons of imposter accounts, especially for metaphysical creators. I’ve written about this before and so have others. Here are a few good posts on the topic to catch you up to speed: Instascam – Fraud and the Online Occult Community The post The Hit List – The Instagram Imposter Syndrome appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

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

  • Closed in protest of “Black Friday”
    by Beth on November 26, 2021 at 8:17 am

    Escape the shopocalypse! We're closed this weekend in protest of capitalism's most sacred festival. The post Closed in protest of “Black Friday” appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Music as transformative self care: Alexa Dexa’s Sacrosanct Oracle//Composition Deck
    by Alexa Dexa on November 15, 2021 at 11:52 am

    "I love the way sound can transport us, a portal into our inner landscapes and wisdom, an opportunity to learn to listen more deeply to ourselves." The post Music as transformative self care: Alexa Dexa’s Sacrosanct Oracle//Composition Deck appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Alexa Dexa

  • A mirror and a map: Finding myself in the Living Altar
    by Beth on September 7, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    These collaged, many-layered cards are a map, a tool, a living work of femme devotion that turns a square into a circle, reveals intersections, fill in gaps with ever-shifting nuances and possibilities of being. The post A mirror and a map: Finding myself in the Living Altar appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Oli Starfrosting’s Talisman Tarot: A monoprint tarot inspired by magic, cartomancy, & the Marseille
    by Oli Starfrosting on September 6, 2021 at 7:22 am

    Following up on the success of their Jewitchy deck the Hidden Light Tarot, Oli Starfrosting's new Talisman Tarot is a queer descendant of the Tarot de Marseilles. The post Oli Starfrosting’s Talisman Tarot: A monoprint tarot inspired by magic, cartomancy, & the Marseille appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Oli Starfrosting