:: The study of Tarot is an ever-evolving craft. No matter how much you know about the cards, there is always more to be learned. The cards open up our lives to new possibilities, help us avoid bad choices, and bring us closer to the Divine, from which we sprang. ::
No one is quite sure where or when the Tarot deck originated. But many theories abound. Most historians agree that the earliest record of Tarot dates back to the 14th century. However, because so much of the Tarot cards' symbolism can be traced to ancient Egypt, India, China, Persia, and other countries, there are many who theorize that the Tarot originated far sooner than the 14th century.
The word Tarot probably comes from the Italian word, tarocchi, which means triumphs or trumps. The French used the word tarot instead of tarocchi.
It is possible that Tarot cards were first used in games, such as regular playing cards are used today. However, as people used these cards, they began to see the inner worlds presented and started using the cards for divination purposes, as well.
The Tarot deck is made up of two arcanas, or sets: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Minor Arcana provides detail whereas the Major Arcana shows the "big picture".
The Major Arcana contains 22 cards. Each card is numbered from 0 to 21, beginning with the Fool and ending with the World. The cards include pictures that represent the inner workings of our lives – our emotions, our thoughts, our hopes, and our wishes. The cards present a picture of what is happening at a given moment, while also providing the most probable outcome to a particular situation.
In addition to providing a snapshot of the present and the near future, the Major Arcana also tells the story of how a soul can evolve from a Fool to one who understands the World. Because of archetypal properties of the Major Arcana, many Tarot readers use only this set in their spreads.
Whenever three or more Major Arcana cards appear in a spread, many metaphysicians believe this indicates that the querant is either receiving much help from the Universe (God, Goddess, Allah, Krishna, angels, ascended masters, and more) in regard to the situation that requires insight; or, it’s possible that multiple Major Arcana cards indicate that the querant needs to look at the issue from a more esoteric point of view. or example, if a person is asking whether their career is going to progress well, and three or more Major Arcana cards appear, this could indicate that the querant needs to ask different questions. Are they in the right career? Are they working a career that brings them joy? Do they have misgivings about the company for whom they work or the type of work they’re doing? The Major Arcana always illuminates a querant’s life path and brings it into focus.
Numerous Major Arcana cards appearing in a spread indicate that the reading involves more than mundane details of everyday life. Major Arcana cards help us become more aware of why we’re in a certain situation or why our lives have taken on their current shape. Using the wisdom of the Major Arcana, you can either find your intended path or enhance your current path.
The Minor Arcana supports the Major Arcana by providing four suits of cards:
- Wands (sometimes called Staffs or Staves)
- Pentacles (sometimes called Coins)
Each suit includes cards that are numbered from 1-10. Additionally, the suit has four "royalty" cards: a Page, a Knight (sometimes referred to as a Knave), a Queen, and a King.
The Minor Arcana suits each represent a specific element:
- Swords represent Air
- Wands represent Fire
- Cups represent Water
- Pentacles represent Earth
These elements are indicative of various ideas, actions, emotions, or material elements. Swords represent mental activity, but can also refer to issues surrounding talking or negotiating – anything that provides clarity to a situation. Wands provide deeper insight to actions, be they in a mundane environment, such as the corporate world, or within a spiritual context, where one gives of herself to better a situation. Cups deal with emotions of all kinds – both good and bad: love, hate, sadness, happiness, and more. Pentacles deal with issues that encompass any kind of material possession or the money/work necessary to obtain the stability and comfort that these possessions provide.
While each of the Minor Arcana suits offer basic meanings, each of these cards can provide a deeper insight into an area outside of a card’s suit. For example, a Three of Pentacles first representation indicates the building of something most likely related to money, be it a career path or a talent. However, if this card were to come up in a reading about a love relationship, it would indicate that the relationship was in its early stages and the people involved in the relationship are in the process of building upon their initial attraction to each other.
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