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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 numerological 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 World card mean?
    by jamesricklef on February 10, 2020 at 8:47 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 World card.

  • What does the Six of Cups mean?
    by jamesricklef on February 7, 2020 at 2:52 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 Six of Cups.

  • What does the Hierophant card mean?
    by jamesricklef on February 3, 2020 at 9:18 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 Hierophant.

  • What does the Ace of Cups mean?
    by jamesricklef on January 16, 2020 at 4:18 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 Cups.

From Mary K Greer’s Blog

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

  • 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

  • A Tarot Reading for BTS’s Suga upon listening to Agust D, Rap Mixtapes #2
    by Mary K. Greer on July 3, 2019 at 12:59 am

    This tarot reading addresses a particular piece of music and its composer/lyricist, however it is not necessary to be familiar with the work. I wrote the article to demonstrate how tarot cards can add insight and dimension to any project or experience. It helps you think outside the box and consider the deeper significance, inner

From Round the Cauldron’s Blog

Round the Cauldron Everyday life as a modern witch!

  • Learn to Read Tarot – Temperance || BEGINNER FRIENDLY || Talk Tarot with Me Ep. 21
    by Megan B. on February 21, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Temperance is about balance in all aspects of your life. The angel here in Temperance brings guidance and a bit of a message. The post Learn to Read Tarot – Temperance || BEGINNER FRIENDLY || Talk Tarot with Me Ep. 21 appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Offerings and Devotionals
    by Megan B. on February 19, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    In many pagan faiths – or any faith where a deity or Higher Being is worshipped or revered – offerings and devotionals are a regular part of practice. But what does that mean? The post Offerings and Devotionals appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 54: Veganism, Witchcraft, and Ethical Choices – It’s not what you think!
    by Megan B. on February 17, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    There are many differing opinions on this subject. The way you view the world, including your religion or spiritual practice, can definitely color how you behave and the lifestyle you live. But does that mean you have to be vegan to live a spiritually-led life? The post Episode 54: Veganism, Witchcraft, and Ethical Choices – It’s not what you think! appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Learn to Read Tarot – Death || BEGINNER FRIENDLY || Talk Tarot with Me Ep. 20
    by Megan B. on February 14, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    The Death card is a card in the major arcana that scares a lot of people. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t mean what you think it means! Come find out what Death has to offer you. The post Learn to Read Tarot – Death || BEGINNER FRIENDLY || Talk Tarot with Me Ep. 20 appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Attract Love – A Spell Jar Recipe
    by Megan B. on February 13, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    Valentine’s day is happening and we know love is in the air. But even if you’re single, you can still take advantage of the energy of Valentine’s day. I thought I would write a little spell to help attract love into my life. For me, this is a form of self-love because I’m already in a healthy, loving relationship. I tried to make it as adaptable as possible, so feel free to switch things up to fit your situation. The post Attract Love – A Spell Jar Recipe appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

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

  • The Hit List – Fearbook
    by Theresa Reed on February 22, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    When you’re empathic, you must be vigilant about what you allow in your world. Boundaries are essential if you want to keep your peace. Not just boundaries for humans (and in some cases, cats…ahem) but also in what you read, watch or talk about. For example, a few years ago, I realized that watching the The post The Hit List – Fearbook appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Astrology Bytes Episode 102: Lunar Types with Sarah Gottesdiener
    by Theresa Reed on February 21, 2020 at 2:46 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 102: Lunar Types with The post Astrology Bytes Episode 102: Lunar Types with Sarah Gottesdiener appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • New Moon in Pisces 2020 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign
    by Theresa Reed on February 20, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    The New Moon in Pisces 2020 shows up on Sunday, February 23rd at 10:32 AM EST. This puts a sensitive mystical vibe into the day. Emotions are raw. Everyone has the feels so go easy on others…and yourself. It’s too easy to absorb every feeling today – and this can make you feel heavy at The post New Moon in Pisces 2020 – and Tarot Readings for Each Zodiac Sign appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • 5 Top Tips for Mercury Retrograde
    by Theresa Reed on February 18, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    Last week, I posted a series of tips for Mercury retrograde over on my social media channels. I decided to compile them and post ’em here so they don’t get lost in the social shuffle. Before we get started on the tips, you might be wondering: what the heck is Mercury retrograde? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Here’s the The post 5 Top Tips for Mercury Retrograde appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

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

  • Our favourite tarot decks
    by Beth on January 25, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    We love all the decks that we sell in the Little Red Tarot Shop...but of course there are a few that are extra close to our hearts. The post Our favourite tarot decks appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Cristy C Road is coming to Brighton, UK
    by Beth on January 15, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Yes indeed! An evening with Cristy C Road and the Next World Tarot - Tuesday 3rd March, 6-8pm at ONCA, Brighton. The post Cristy C Road is coming to Brighton, UK appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • The Turning Year: A tarot spread & ritual
    by Beth on December 30, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    A tarot reading ritual for reflection and intention-setting at the turning of the year. The post The Turning Year: A tarot spread & ritual appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • Learn Tarot in the New Year
    by Beth on December 26, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Want to learn tarot in the new year? Reconnect with your tarot practice - or dive deeper? The Alternative Tarot Course is now open. The post Learn Tarot in the New Year appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth