Everything About Tarot Cards

From their use by fraudulent psychics to their Satanic connotations, Tarot cards have quite a negative reputation. However, if you look past their inadvertent connection to cheesy Zoltar Fortune Telling Machines and the occult, you’ll find that Tarot cards have quite an intriguing history and meaning.

Here is your introduction to Tarot cards:

Ancient tarot cards

What is Tarot Reading

Two of the biggest misconceptions about Tarot readings are that they can tell your fortune and can only be read by “psychics”. In reality, Tarot cards are used to divine wisdom, guidance and self-empowerment from your higher self. It’s very similar to the experience you might have when practicing yoga or meditation.

In essence, Tarot readings serve as a symbolic map for your soul that encompasses your life’s journey both practically and spiritually. It’s believed that the cards don’t tell your future, but rather provide increased awareness for your innermost truths.

What are Tarot Cards

The history of Tarot cards and Tarot readings is quite murky. Some scholars believe they originated in Europe anywhere from the 14th century to the early 1500s. However, during that time, they were typically used for a game known as Tarocchi. It wasn’t until the 18th century that we started to see historical references of Tarot cards being used for spiritual divination.

Contrary to popular belief, Tarot cards are not a magic trick or fortune telling machine. They are instead a sacred mirror that, through a process known as synchronicity, removes the disconnect between your inner and outer self. Both realities happen simultaneously, allowing you to connect with your true being.

circular fan of tarot cards

What is a Tarot Deck

A standard deck of Tarot cards has 78 cards consisting of 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards.

The Major Arcana cards (or trumps) are numbered 0 through 21 and represent the key milestones in life. They also often feature the archetypal illustrations like The High Priestess, The Devil and The Death Card (more on that later).

The Minor Arcana deck revolves around the more common areas of life, providing insight on new opportunities and pending challenges. It is divided into four suits that represent different elements: Wands (Fire), Swords (Air), Cups (Water) and Pentacles (Earth). Many historians believe these images may have even played a role in the development of modern playing cards.

Each suit in the Minor Arcana deck has 14 cards including the Ace through 10 and the Court Cards or Personality Cards: Page (Princess), Knight (Prince), Queen and King. These cards are designed to reflect the attitude, temperament and personality of an individual. While the details of certain Tarot cards may vary from deck to deck, their general meanings are typically the same.

How do you Read Tarot Cards

Most standard Tarot Readings follow a simple format where you ask the Tarot deck a question. These questions should be clear and open-ended as the Tarot is not designed to provide specific answers, but rather illuminate a path toward broader opportunities.

For example: Instead of asking “Will I get married by next year?” or “Will I get a promotion?”, you should ask questions like “What should I focus on in my relationships if I want to be married?” or “What hidden opportunities have I overlooked in my career?”

After the question is asked, you then shuffle the cards and begin to deal them out in a Tarot card spread. There are a variety of different Tarot Spreads from the most common 11-card layout known as The Celtic Cross to the Tree of Life or Pentagram spread. Some Tarot readers may even prefer to use a three tarot card spread, which is open to endless interpretations such as the Mind, Body & Spirit or Past, Present & Future.

When interpreting a Tarot reading, the significance of a single card is dependent on a variety of factors from who the Tarot Reader is to who is receiving the Tarot reading, what question was asked and even what card spread was used. Some even believe the orientation of the Tarot card (whether it was upside-down or right-side-up) can impact its meaning.

the hanged man tarot card

There are No Negative Tarot Cards

Additionally, there are actually no inherently negative cards in a Tarot deck. For example, the oft-referenced 13th trump or Major Arcana card in a traditional tarot deck is the (XIII) Death card. Despite its eerie name and occult imagery, the Death card actually revolves around positivity and represents the rebirth you experience when you release dead weight and transform into a new phase of life.

What is the Best Tarot Deck

One of the oldest and most commonly used Tarot decks is the Rider-Waite Tarot deck that was first developed in the early 1900s. Some other universally respected decks include The Golden Tarot, The Hermetic Tarot and the Crowley Thoth Tarot. You can even now get tarot decks in a variety of different themes from Lord of the Rings to Steampunk, Alice in Wonderland and even HelloKitty.

Best Tarot Card Magic Tricks

With their gorgeous imagery and mystical background, Tarot cards are also quite popular among magicians and mentalists - especially those who perform Bizarre Magick.

Here are some of the most popular Tarot card magic tricks:

In addition to offering 1,000s of playing cards, Vanishing Inc. magic also has a variety of Tarot decks available like the Familiars Tarot Cards and White Sage Tarot Cards. You can apply the same principles of storing playing cards to storing Tarot cards to get the most out of your decks. We'd recommend you don't play poker with them though!