Tarot cards have been tickling people’s fancy for ages. They ain’t just pretty cards with fancy designs; they open a window into our deepest thoughts and emotions. At first, you might think it’s just superstition, but Tarot is a whole lot more than that.
As a Buddhist organization, LotusBuddhas does not believe in divination, or something fateful, predicting the future. However, in order for readers to have a more objective view of aspects in life, LotusBuddhas decided to share knowledge related to Tarot Cards. The content of the article is referenced from Ninh, who is currently a famous Tarot Reader in Sai Gon, Vietnam.
What are Tarot Cards?
Tarot cards are a set of cards used primarily for divination, which began appearing in Europe in the late 14th century. A tarot reading aims to provide insight into current life circumstances and potential future events.
The practice requires a reader who understands how to lay out the cards and interpret their meanings, with each card holding a unique significance. The accuracy of tarot readings has been subject to personal beliefs.
Unlike astrology, which may use the zodiac or other systems to forecast long-term futures, tarot readings are more suited for short-term predictions. Instead of questions about when one might marry, tarot is consulted for more immediate concerns like career progress or upcoming changes in personal relationships, focusing on outcomes within the coming months.
A standard tarot deck includes 78 cards divided into two categories: the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana consists of 22 trump cards, while the Minor Arcana is split into four suits — Wands, Coins (or Pentacles), Swords, and Cups — each associated with one of the four classical elements and containing 14 cards.
The introduction of tarot cards to Europe is believed to be in the late 15th century, possibly deriving from the Mamluk card game in Egypt. In English-speaking countries where the game was not widely played, tarot cards have been predominantly used for divination, often with specially designed decks. Some diviners believe that tarot has mystical origins from ancient Egypt, the Kabbalah, Indian Tantra, or the I Ching, though scholarly research has found no documentary evidence for such origins or for the use of tarot in fortune-telling before the 18th century.
How do Tarot Cards Work?
The functioning of tarot cards is rooted in the realm of synchronicity, intuition, and symbolic interpretation. Tarot cards do not predict the future in the way a crystal ball might be depicted in popular culture. Instead, they offer a reflective space where one can explore different perspectives, consider various aspects of their lives, and make empowered choices based on the insights gained.
Understanding how tarot cards work involves delving into three core elements: the tarot deck itself, the tarot spread, and the interpretation of the cards.
1. The Tarot Deck: As i mentioned earlier, a tarot deck consists of 78 cards divided into the Major Arcana (22 cards) and the Minor Arcana (56 cards). The Major Arcana cards represent significant life events or lessons, while the Minor Arcana cards tend to represent day-to-day events. Each card has a specific symbolic meaning, which can change depending on its context within a reading and its orientation.
2. The Tarot Spread: Tarot spread is the arrangement of cards drawn in a reading. There are various types of spreads, each suited to different types of questions or areas of focus. The spread not only determines the number of cards to be drawn but also assigns a specific meaning to the position of each card. Some commonly used spreads include the three-card spread (representing past, present, and future) and the Celtic Cross spread (providing a more detailed and nuanced reading).
3. Interpretation of the Cards: The interpretation of tarot cards is a nuanced process, which involves understanding the symbolic meaning of each card, considering its position in the spread, and intuitively connecting these insights with the question or situation at hand. The interpreter’s skill and intuition play a crucial role in this process. It’s a symbiotic relationship between understanding the traditional symbolic meanings and applying them to the contemporary context.
A critical component to understand in the operation of tarot cards is the principle of synchronicity, a concept introduced by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. Synchronicity refers to the occurrence of meaningful coincidences that seem to have a causal relationship, but are not causally related. In the context of tarot, it is this principle that is believed to guide the random drawing of cards in a way that they reflect the circumstances, inner states, and potentialities of the person receiving the reading.
Finally, it’s worth emphasizing that tarot cards work as a tool for reflection, introspection, and guidance. They do not possess magical powers or provide definitive answers about the future. Instead, they offer a framework for understanding our life’s complexities, a mirror to see our inner realities more clearly, and a compass to navigate our journey with greater awareness and confidence.
The Meaning of Each Tarot Card
Each card in the 78-card tarot deck carries a unique meaning, reflecting a wide array of human experiences, situations, and potentialities. Let’s dive into a brief overview of the symbolic meanings associated with each card, bearing in mind that these meanings can vary based on the context of a reading and the interpretation of the reader.
The Major Arcana is a set of 22 cards that represent significant life events or lessons.
- The Fool: Represents new beginnings, spontaneous action, and stepping into the unknown.
- The Magician: Symbolizes willpower, resourcefulness, and the ability to manifest one’s desires.
- The High Priestess: Stands for intuition, mystery, and inner knowledge.
- The Empress: Embodies creativity, fertility, and the nurturing aspects of life.
- The Emperor: Represents structure, stability, and authority.
- The Hierophant: Symbolizes religious structures, tradition, and societal norms.
- The Lovers: Stands for love, harmony, and partnership.
- The Chariot: Represents determination, drive, and the will to succeed.
- Strength: Symbolizes inner strength, courage, and patience.
- The Hermit: Represents introspection, solitude, and seeking inner wisdom.
- Wheel of Fortune: Stands for destiny, life cycles, and sudden changes.
- Justice: Represents fairness, truth, and law.
- The Hanged Man: Symbolizes surrender, letting go, and new perspectives.
- Death: Represents endings, transformation, and transitions.
- Temperance: Symbolizes balance, moderation, and patience.
- The Devil: Represents temptation, materialism, and self-bondage.
- The Tower: Stands for upheaval, disaster, and sudden change.
- The Star: Represents hope, faith, and rejuvenation.
- The Moon: Symbolizes illusion, fear, and anxiety.
- The Sun: Represents joy, success, and vitality.
- Judgement: Stands for reflection, awakening, and judgment.
- The World: Represents fulfillment, harmony, and completion.
The Minor Arcana is a set of 56 cards divided into four suits: Cups, Pentacles, Swords, and Wands. Each suit corresponds to a particular element and sphere of life: Cups to water and emotions, Pentacles to earth and material matters, Swords to air and intellect, and Wands to fire and action. Each suit has 14 cards: ten numbered cards and four court cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King).
Cups: This suit generally represents emotions, relationships, and feelings. For example, the Ace of Cups signifies new emotional beginnings, while the Ten of Cups symbolizes emotional fulfillment. The court cards in the Cups suit (Page, Knight, Queen, King) often represent people or personalities related to the realm of emotions and relationships.
Pentacles: The cards in this suit are typically associated with material aspects of life such as work, money, and resources. For instance, the Ace of Pentacles represents new financial or career opportunities, while the Ten of Pentacles signifies wealth and abundance. The court cards in this suit often reflect personalities or situations related to material matters.
Swords: This suit is connected with intellect, thoughts, and challenges. The Ace of Swords, for example, might represent a breakthrough in understanding or overcoming a challenge, while the Ten of Swords can signify difficult endings. The court cards in the Swords suit often represent individuals or situations related to intellectual pursuits or conflicts.
Wands: The Wands suit generally symbolizes action, inspiration, and energy. The Ace of Wands can represent a new project or a burst of creative or entrepreneurial energy, while the Ten of Wands might signify burdens and responsibilities. The court cards in this suit often represent personalities or situations associated with energy, action, or ambition.
Remember, this is just a basic overview of the meanings associated with each card. In a tarot reading, these meanings serve as a starting point, from which the reader interprets the cards, taking into account their intuition, the context of the reading, and the interplay between different cards in the spread. Tarot card reading is as much an art as it is a science, requiring a balance of knowledge, intuition and empathy.
The Benefits of Tarot Card Reading
Tarot card reading is not only a means to predict the future but also a tool for self-discovery, guiding individuals toward a happier and more peaceful life. It can illuminate mysterious and profound aspects of one’s life. The undeniable benefits of Tarot readings include:
- Personal improvement: Tarot helps identify weaknesses to work on and strengths to leverage for robust personal growth.
- Emotional peace and balance: Life’s stresses and uncertainties can be overwhelming. Many turn to spiritual practices like Tarot for solace. Tarot cards act as companions, offering guidance to navigate life’s challenges.
- Informed decision-making: Tarot doesn’t predict the future but provides guidance and advice on current issues, with the final decisions and outcomes resting in the hands of the individual.
- Intuition trust-building: Tarot readings can reinforce one’s trust in their intuition, helping to validate and rely on personal insights.
Tarot is increasingly sought by the younger generation for answers to their future-related queries. Despite skepticism about its accuracy, Tarot requires the skill, understanding, and experience of the reader for an optimal interpretation. Without a professional reader, explanations can be incomplete.
Moreover, Tarot focuses more on offering advice than predicting the future. It’s up to the individual to interpret the reader’s insights from the cards and make their own decisions. Ultimately, you shape your future and the direction of your life.
Above all, belief is crucial. With faith, Tarot readings gain deeper significance. Belief opens the door to discovering wonders and envisioning a brighter future.
Potential Harmful Effects of Tarot Card Reading
While Tarot card reading can be a source of guidance for many, it also carries potential harmful effects that users should be aware of. Dependency is one of the main concerns, as individuals may become reliant on readings to make decisions, inhibiting their ability to trust their judgment and make choices independently. This over-reliance can lead to decision paralysis without a Tarot consultation.
Another potential harm is the psychological impact. Tarot readings can sometimes bring to light negative aspects or suggest unfavorable outcomes, which may cause anxiety, fear, or stress in some individuals.
Additionally, not all Tarot readers operate with the best intentions or professionalism. Inexperienced or unethical readers may provide readings that are manipulative or exploitative, especially if they sense a client is particularly vulnerable or willing to pay more for further guidance.
Lastly, the Tarot can also be misused as a form of escapism, where individuals may choose to consult the cards rather than confront and address their real-life issues directly. This avoidance can lead to unresolved problems and compounding stress. Therefore, you must view Tarot readings as a support tool, a suggestion, rather than a substitute for personal decision-making and problem-solving.
How to Do Tarot Readings on YouTube
For those curious about Tarot and its basic card meanings but unsure how to start, online resources like YouTube Tarot readings are a popular option. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Visit the website tarot.withyoutube.com. Upon arrival, you’ll be presented with three main topics: Wellness, Fortune, and Love. A short introductory video will play for orientation, which you can skip by clicking “Skip” at the bottom right of the screen if you prefer.
Step 2: The site will display a series of facedown Tarot cards. Simply select the one you are drawn to. The meaning and interpretation of the chosen card will then be revealed for your perusal. The website is equipped with a translation tool; just click on it if you need language support.
Step 3: The website may then ask if you’d like to see your “Soul Card.” If you’re interested, click “YES,” otherwise, “NO” will suffice. To proceed, you’ll be asked to provide a photo and your date of birth. Based on this information, the website will offer insights into your love life, career, future, and more.
It’s a convenient way to explore Tarot readings and gain insights without the need for a physical deck or a personal reader.
History of Tarot Cards
The history of Tarot cards is as intriguing as the imagery on the cards themselves. Originally, Tarot cards emerged in the mid-15th century in Europe, first playing the role of a parlor game among the upper classes, particularly in Italy and France. The earliest versions were hand-painted and featured elaborate designs, making them luxury items for the wealthy.
Over time, the Tarot gained mystical significance, with the cards evolving beyond their game-playing origins. By the 18th century, they were repurposed for divination. This transition was greatly influenced by occult movements and figures who imbued the cards with esoteric meanings, linking them to ancient wisdom traditions, although historical evidence for these claims is sparse.
The most recognized Tarot deck design, the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, was created in the early 20th century. This deck popularized many of the images and interpretations commonly associated with the Tarot today. It was also among the first to include detailed pictorial images on all 78 cards, not just the Major Arcana, which made the cards more accessible for divinatory purposes.
The Tarot’s popularity has fluctuated over the centuries, but it has seen a resurgence in recent years as a tool for self-reflection, psychoanalysis, and spirituality, as well as fortune-telling. Its rich symbology and capacity to reflect personal narratives make it a versatile medium for exploring complex questions about life and one’s personal journey.
You can refer to the following for more information:
- The different types of Tarot decks: https://lotusbuddhas.com/the-different-types-of-tarot-decks.html
- How to choose the right Tarot deck: https://lotusbuddhas.com/how-to-choose-the-right-tarot-deck.html
- The meaning of reversed Tarot cards: https://lotusbuddhas.com/the-meaning-of-reversed-tarot-cards.html