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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 World card mean?
    by jamesricklef on November 19, 2020 at 2:33 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 World card.

  • What does the Three of Cups mean?
    by jamesricklef on October 31, 2020 at 1:49 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 Five of Cups mean?
    by jamesricklef on October 25, 2020 at 3:33 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 Five of Cups.

  • What does the Moon card mean?
    by jamesricklef on October 17, 2020 at 12:20 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 Moon 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 91: Make it Yours || Personal Correspondences for the Eclectic Witch
    by Megan Black on November 23, 2020 at 5:54 am

    As an eclectic witch, I find that most “common” correspondences don’t necessarily fit the way I practice witchcraft and the things I believe. If you’re an eclectic witch, many of your correspondences can be personalized and made to fit your practice. 💕 Elements in Witchcraft Video: https://youtu.be/OuqWI7qfgKw 💕 Elements in Witchcraft Podcast: https://www.roundthecauldron.com/2020/11/16/episode-90-witchcraft-in-pop-culture-favorites-and-thoughts/ 💕 Witchipedia: The post Episode 91: Make it Yours || Personal Correspondences for the Eclectic Witch appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 90: Witchcraft in Pop Culture || Favorites and Thoughts
    by Megan Black on November 16, 2020 at 5:54 am

    Witches are often portrayed in pop culture as evil, demonic, or ugly. I asked on Instagram who your favorite (and least favorite) pop culture witches were and the results were…expected. Let’s find out what you said as well as my thoughts on how witches are portrayed in the media. James Feeney: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPWQ2dYUfhy36KrOH2i0LmQ The Witches Cookery: The post Episode 90: Witchcraft in Pop Culture || Favorites and Thoughts appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 89: Elements in Witchcraft || Common Correspondences and My Thoughts
    by Megan Black on November 9, 2020 at 5:53 am

    Elements in witchcraft are fairly common amongst research material for new and not-so-new witches. Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit are the five “traditional” elements in witchcraft and they have common correspondences. So, what are they? And what are my thoughts? The Craft by Dorothy Morrison* https://amzn.to/38ixeW5 Utterly Wicked by Dorothy Morrison* https://amzn.to/3p7OzXE Seasons of The post Episode 89: Elements in Witchcraft || Common Correspondences and My Thoughts appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 88: How to Be a Witch || Getting Started in Witchcraft and Paganism
    by Megan Black on November 2, 2020 at 5:54 am

    This is a question that comes up a lot for new seekers — how to be a witch! We often tell new seekers to read, read, and read some more, but there is more to it than that. 💕 Psychic Witch by Mat Auryn (pg.58 for that exercise!)* — https://amzn.to/3e7Rhr4 💕 The Importance of Journaling The post Episode 88: How to Be a Witch || Getting Started in Witchcraft and Paganism appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

  • Episode 87: Samhain 2020 || Information and Practices as an Irish Pagan
    by Megan Black on October 26, 2020 at 4:54 am

    Samhain is a time of new beginnings in my path as an Irish pagan for many reasons. Working in darkness can be daunting for some people, but darkness is a necessary part of growth. The post Episode 87: Samhain 2020 || Information and Practices as an Irish Pagan appeared first on Round the Cauldron.

From the Unified Esoteric Tarot

Esoteric and Divinatory Tarot by Attila Kárpáthy

  • Aquarian Hermetic Tarot Black Edition
    by Admin on November 22, 2020 at 9:38 am

    It is my pleasure to introduce you the Aquarian Hermetic Tarot, special Black Edition. Following the pattern of the Aquarian Hermetic Tarot, the Black Edition is a beautiful and classy version, a perfect combination of elegance and content. Each card … Continue reading →

  • When time is of the essence
    by Admin on November 10, 2020 at 7:21 am

    One of the frequently debated issues regarding cartomancy is the determination of time. Nowadays, cartomancers use different, sometimes quite out of the box, methods for determining the time associated with the cards. It is a common misconception that Suits represent … Continue reading →

  • Bad luck? Formula 1, Vettel and Bottas
    by Admin on November 4, 2020 at 5:00 am

    Hopefully, it will not be considered ‘unsolicited advice’, my intention is to offer a different perspective into aspects most people would overlook or disregard. I don’t believe in ‘luck’ – not in common-sense anyway. ‘Luck’ is a complex matter of … Continue reading →

  • Etteilla’s Book of Thoth
    by Admin on October 22, 2020 at 8:10 am

    According to Etteilla, the Tarot was created by a group of seventeen Magi under the direct guidance of Hermes Trismegistus. He wrote in 1783, that he calculated that the Tarot was 3,953 years old. Originally called ‘The Book of Thoth’, … Continue reading →

From Theresa’s Tarot Lady Blog

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

  • The Three Cups Giveaway!
    by Theresa Reed on November 23, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    What happens when three witchy authors who happen to be friends get together? A Three of Cups Giveaway! I’m partnering up with two of my fave metaphysical badasses, Gabriela Herstik and Madame Pamita, for this super-fly Three of Cups Giveaway over on Instagram. Three lucky winners will receive a copy of: Embody Your Magick from The post The Three Cups Giveaway! appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Tarot Bytes Episode 195: Tarot and Angels with Andrew Barker
    by Theresa Reed on November 22, 2020 at 2:27 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 195: Tarot and Angels with Andrew Barker The Tarot is loaded with images of angels: The post Tarot Bytes Episode 195: Tarot and Angels with Andrew Barker appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • The Hit List – Teeny Tiny Thanksgiving
    by Theresa Reed on November 21, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    When I was a child, the holidays were noisy. I come from a family of extroverts and loud talkers, so it’s always been far too much for my introverted soul. I’ve been paring down the holidays since my parents passed away (much to my brother’s chagrin). This year’s pandemic is making my Thanksgiving teeny-tiny. My The post The Hit List – Teeny Tiny Thanksgiving appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

  • Tarot Bytes Episode 194 – Facial Expressions in the Tarot Cards
    by Theresa Reed on November 15, 2020 at 2:31 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 194 – Facial Expressions in the Tarot Cards In past episodes, we’ve looked at postures, The post Tarot Bytes Episode 194 – Facial Expressions in the Tarot Cards appeared first on The Tarot Lady.

From Beth’s Little Red Tarot Blog

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

  • #Decklust | QTPOC magic & winter love
    by Beth on November 25, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    Welcome to #Decklust! This is our newsletter beaming out semi-regularly to tarot lovers across the world. To get #Decklust in your inbox and be the first to hear our news, subscribe here. Hey, friend. How you doing out there, in your corner of the world? Hanging in there okay? It’s a sunny sunny cold cold … The post #Decklust | QTPOC magic & winter love appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth

  • A beginners’ guide to Lenormand, from the Hurricane Mystic
    by The Hurricane Mystic on November 11, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    Want to know how to read Lenormand cards? Start here, with this accessible guide from the Hurricane Mystic! The post A beginners’ guide to Lenormand, from the Hurricane Mystic appeared first on Little Red Tarot by The Hurricane Mystic

  • Tarot for Trailblazing: Self-care baskets & a tarot spread for queer & disabled folx in pandemic times
    by Grace Quantock on September 28, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    "I’m watching conversations shift and I wonder: whose normal we are going back to?" A guest post shared by Grace Quantock. The post Tarot for Trailblazing: Self-care baskets & a tarot spread for queer & disabled folx in pandemic times appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Grace Quantock

  • Emily Lubanko’s Tarot is surreal, intense, queer, & divine
    by Beth on September 14, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    "...my queer art is this way: it is loud, it is intense, it is sensual and dark and unapologetic and looks nightmares and reality (and the overlap) in the eye." The post Emily Lubanko’s Tarot is surreal, intense, queer, & divine appeared first on Little Red Tarot by Beth