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How to Get Started with Tarot Right Away

Tarot is such a great tool to use for so many things in your life! I use it to help me make decisions, to help me write my books, to help me set the tone for my day a head and to add art and aesthetic to my spiritual practices. I get asked often where to start with learning tarot. I'm going to give you a few quick tips to get you started so you can begin reading TODAY!

1.) What deck to buy:

There are many schools of thought about this. My personal opinion is to buy the deck that you are most drawn to. It's about enjoying the art, the mood, the aesthetic and how it makes you feel. If there is a deck that has been catching your eye every time you see it, or one that makes you curious or you think you might really enjoy, that's your deck. Remember, you can get as many decks as you want, so you aren't just picking the one and only for the rest of your life, so just enjoy and have fun with choosing. Don't put too much pressure on the process.

There are two types of decks for card reading: Tarot and Oracle. Tarot is a set of 78 specific cards that have a specific story arc, no matter the style of the deck. They all have a version of The Fool, The Lovers, King of Cups, Eight of Wands for example. They may call them different things, but they are symbolically the same. 

Oracle decks are more free form. They can be any number of cards and have any theme. You know it's an oracle deck if it isn't based on the 78 card structure. Some oracle decks I have use plants or crystals or women authors as their subject matter and have themes other than the 78 in the tarot deck. 

For our purposes today we are talking about tarot decks. Oracle decks are more straight forward to read in that you just look at the guide book for that particular deck and get the meaning there. Tarot, you can also use the guidebook, but once you know the basics, you won't really need it, even if you get different kinds of tarot decks.

2.) Intuitive reading using the card details

The definitive Ryder and White deck (the deck you probably think of when you think of tarot) was designed and created by a woman named Pamela Coleman Smith. She went by Pixie. Pixie was an artist, bohemian, free spirit who was at one time in her life into the occult arts and who ended her life a devout catholic. She did the art for that iconic deck we still use today and was never given credit of her work. I always like to acknowledge her for her contribution to the art. When she designed the deck she didn't want the cards to have specific meanings. It was her belief that you should look at the cards and gather an intuitive meaning based on the colors and numbers and symbols in the art. This is still a perfectly legitimate way to read tarot, and requires no memorizing or study. 

An example of this would be if I drew the queen of wands pictured below. Let's look at the details together. 

I see a queen on a throne. She looks strong and confident. She is holding a sunflower that seems cheery and a wand that seems symbolically male if you catch my drift. She has two lions supporting the arms of her throne and two lions on a tapestry above her head. She also has a black cat in front of her. Her robes are cheery yellow or gold like her crown and her throne and her bright sunflower. The sky around her is clear and blue and placid. What kinds of things do you think of when you think of these symbols? I think maybe the flower means cheeriness, and the black cat maybe means shadows or secrets. I think the yellow robe is celebratory and the wand is a balance of king and queen energy she posses. The lions can be seen as emblems of power and protection and the clear sky ease and smooth days. When you are intuitively reading, there are no wrong answers. Maybe to you the cat is a symbol of a beloved pet and means deep companionship. Maybe to you the black cat symbolizes Halloween or witchcraft. Maybe you to you it symbolizes contrast because black has a different feeling than all the cheery yellows. Again, it's about how it feels to you and what you notice, not being right or wrong. 

Reading cards intuitively is a good way to tap into your own subconscious like psychologist's ink blots. It can show you how you really feel about certain things and help you get in touch with what is inside of you. It's also great when you are new to tarot and want to read cards, but don't know all of them yet. 

3.) Major and Minor Arcana

When reading cards according to the tarot structure, the place to start is learning the difference between the major and the minor arcana. There are 22 major arcana cards and 56 minor. You can boost the quality of your readings instantly when you know the difference and how to work with them. 

Major Arcana

This group of 22 cards represent major life events and themes. These show up in readings when they have a larger place in your life, and not just about today. They are the cards with titles like The Magician, the Fool, Justice, and The Wheel of Fortune. They don't have swords, cups, wands or pentacles. 

The major arcana follows a hero's journey from card 0: the fool, to card 22: the world. It follows a person from innocence to character and completion, just as we will all experience in our own lives. They represent the growth milestones each person faces from enthusiastically, but also naively starting life's journey, to going through the twists and turns and ups and downs of learning and growing and becoming whole and wise. When they show up in a reading there is a message of overarching life themes. 

Minor Arcana

Those are the 56 cards that are in one of four suits: cups, wands, swords or pentacles. They are more about day-to-day matters and change often, just like the energy of one hour or day or week to the next. They show up when the reading is about the energy of the here and now. 

The most basic way to use the minor arcana is to know that the cups represent love, relationships, romance, feelings, and the element of water. Swords represent communication, directness, conflict, clarity, and the element of air. Wands represent passion, fire in the belly, enthusiasm, energy, and the element of fire. And pentacles represent money, the material world, practical matters, and the element of earth. 

Now you can draw a card for yourself and examine it for intuitive details, know if it is a major life theme or just flavor of the day, know if it might be dealing with love or money, or how you communicate in your life or live your passions. Just knowing these few very basic skills can help you begin to get use out of your tarot cards right away. Remember the real power of tarot is inside yourself, and you already have it whether or not you have the cards memorized. It's how it speaks to you that counts. Most of all, have fun!

I am teaching a virtual class to help you get started with reading Tarot right away, so you can learn what it can do for you in your life and how to get started now. Click below to join!

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