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What are Tarot Cards and How Can I Use Them?

What are Tarot Cards

The reading of tarot cards is a rather mystifying topic. We often see them appearing in movies or TV shows, shrouded in a veil of mystery. They often appear in the tents of gypsies, with smoke, crystals balls, and old women. The reality of these reading tools is a lot simpler and easier to understand than you may imagine, and anyone can potentially learn tarot (the tent and crystal ball aren’t necessary). So, what are tarot cards and what is tarot reading? These are the questions we hope to answer for you today.

What are Tarot Cards?

There are many misconceptions when it comes to spiritual practices, especially those connected to readings. The use of the term “magic” can often cause skeptics to instantly dismiss any and all ideas connected to it, but tarot cards are a little different in that there is a rational explanation for why these cards can offer us insight into the past, present, or future.

How many tarot cards are there?

Tarot cards are similar to playing cards, in a sense. The main difference being the number of cards, type of cards, and the function that they serve. Tarot cards come in a pack of 78: there are 56 Minor Arcana cards and 22 Major Arcana cards. Each tarot card contains a unique image, usually with colorful illustrations.


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Minor Arcana and Major Arcana

The Minor Arcana cards are divided up into suits: Swords, Wands, Pentacles, and Cups. There are 14 cards within each suit, divided into 10 numbered cards and 4 Court Cards (similar to face cards). The 22 Major Arcana cards are all unique from one another and aren’t divided into suits in the same way as the Minor Arcana cards. Some examples of these cards include The Fool, The Emperor, The High Priestess, and The Empress. All cards carry a meaning, many of which are open to the interpretation of the reader.

What are Tarot Readings?

Understanding what Tarot cards are is only the beginning of exploring these spiritual tools. The next question we must ask is: what is tarot reading? In order to learn tarot, you have to understand how the cards themselves work. What are tarot cards? It’s important to remember that they are primarily tools that we can use. The cards themselves don’t predict the future or provide any information. Instead, they work to channel your energy and subconscious thoughts into a visually represented platform.

Successful tarot readings require two main components: Firstly, you need the knowledge to understand the processes involved within the reading itself, as well as the steps that are necessary to perform the reading effectively. You need to have a basic understanding of each of the cards and their meaning (both upright and reversed).

Secondly, you need to be in touch with your intuition and be able to trust what your gut instinct is telling you. If you can’t let your heart and soul guide you, then you’ll second guess every Tarot interpretation that you make. Sometimes, this will mean acknowledging that the meaning of a card can change and that you shouldn’t view it as a rigid guide that fits every situation. A card’s meaning is fluid and will often carry a slightly different message from one situation to the next.

So, what are tarot readings and how can you perform one? Assuming that you have a tarot card deck (if you don’t, there are some online resources that you can use) we’ll now walk you through the basic steps necessary when trying to learn tarot.

What are tarot cards – The Purpose of a Spread

Before you do anything with the cards, you have two decide two things: what question are you asking and what spread will you use? The question can be specific or vague. You might ask about how your love life will change in the coming week, or you might ask about your love life in a more general sense e.g. an overview of the rest of your life.

What is a tarot card spread? A spread is simply how you’re going to arrange the cards as you select them. The most common and simplest spread is known as a 3-card spread. As you can imagine, this involves three cards. Each card will represent a different tense or state and depending on the question this can vary. For example, your chosen cards might represent the past, the present, and the future. Alternatively, they might represent the body, mind, and soul. Sometimes they will represent both.

Have your question and you’re chosen spread in mind as you go into the next step of the Tarot reading process: shuffling.

The Purpose of Shuffling

Shuffling might sound like a rather trivial step. What are tarot cards and why do you have to shuffle them? The purpose of shuffling any deck of cards is to make the order of them completely random. Our subconscious mind pays attention to details that our conscious mind is often unaware of. It can know where a certain card is, even if we’re unaware of it. Shuffling cards in a manner that makes it impossible to know the location of even one card is essential.

However, shuffling tarot cards plays a more important role. In order to use these cards as a spiritual tool, we have to transfer our energy into them. That’s why it’s important to have a question in mind prior to this stage. As you shuffle, repeat the question in your mind and the vibrational energy of this thought will move into the cards. So, while card selection may seem random, you’re actually being drawn towards specific cards in order to reveal a certain message.

The most effective shuffling technique involves messing the deck up. Spread the cards across the table and spend a few minutes just mixing them up over and over again. You want to make sure that you touch each card at least once. Collect them up and lay them out in a fan shape (face down), and you’re now ready to select your three cards, turning them over as you place them down.

What are tarot cards – the power of Interpretation

When you select the cards and play them, it’s important to ask yourself something: what are tarot cards? Remember, they are a tool, and when it comes to reading them, they don’t provide the answers: you do. Use the images and card meanings as a guide but trust your intuition and allow your spirit and subconscious mind to guide you towards the message within each card, and the spread as a whole.

By knowing what are tarot cards, you may be helping yourself to set the path to the new future that awaits you, by picking the good doors to open and those that should be to close definitely behind.

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