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 Lesson 1 – Overview of the Tarot Cards (Parts 1 & 2)

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PostSubject: Lesson 1 – Overview of the Tarot Cards (Parts 1 & 2)   Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:08 pm

Lesson 1 - Part I


Before we start here are some hints on how to treat and keep your Tarot cards:

Spend as much time as you can practicing or meditating with them, or at least handle them regularly, especially during the course.

To avoid the cards absorbing disturbing vibrations or energies wrap them in a black cloth, silk if you can afford it, and put the wrapped cards in a box.

Treat your cards gently and with respect and it is recommended that you don’t allow others to use your own deck.

You need at least 2-3 hours or more for this first lesson so start it when you know you can be undisturbed for that amount of time.

In order to begin you will need to be relaxed and calm, perhaps have some gentle instrumental music playing or incense burning - whatever helps you to relax.

The very first thing I am going to ask you to do is a practical exercise for which you will need your Tarot deck and a writing pad or paper and a pen. You may wish to invest in an attractive bound
notebook as it will become an important reference book for you.

Read the following instructions and then commence the exercise before reading any further.

Instructions for first practical exercise:

Spend at least two or three hours simply looking at each of the 78 cards in your Tarot deck!

Firstly, shuffle the deck for a few minutes with your eyes closed and breathe gently and deeply, and as you do so try to focus on how you are feeling, what thoughts are dominating your mind? How clear is your mind? Not at all probably!!

Meditation greatly enhances your ability to read the cards. It allows you to connect with your ‘intuitive self’, helping you to understand the messages or visions you may get as you work with your cards.

Always take time to clear your mind of those busy, noisy thoughts from your everyday issues and personal concerns, before you start to work with your cards. This is not easy to achieve and will take a lot of practice, so try to make meditation and relaxation a regular part of your day.

OK, when you are happy to stop shuffling your cards, pick one card from the deck and put it in front of you. Look at the card and ask yourself what does it mean? What does the image tell you? What does the name of the card, for example: The Fool or 3 of Cups, mean? What feelings do you get from this card? What images or words come to you?

Write the name of the card on your pad and whatever comes into your head - the words you would associate with it and what you think the card and its image means.

When you have finished with that card, put it to one side and pick another card from your deck and do the same exercise. If you don’t get any thoughts or feelings about a particular card, put it to one side and come back to it later. Do this until you have studied every card in the deck and written your meanings next to each one in your pad or notebook.

If you wish to take longer than two or three hours to do this exercise then do so, there’s no need to rush.

OK, start the exercise and do not read any further until you’ve finished it!



Lesson 1 - Part II


So, how did you get on? You may be wondering why I asked you to do that exercise before telling you anything!

There is a method to my madness!! I wanted you to start by focusing on what you ‘saw’ or ‘felt’ from each card before giving you any information, so that later on in the course you can check back to this exercise and see how close or indeed how far off your initial, intuitive, gut reactions were to each card.

You would have instinctively used your own words to describe what you saw and felt, and that is very important. Whether you got the meanings ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is not important at this stage.

I will ask you to come back and check this exercise later in the course, and when you do, you can use a highlighter or underline with a pen the cards and definitions where you were quite accurate in your interpretation.

Ask yourself what card or cards were you really drawn to? What was it about that card or cards that fascinated you? Make a note of this too.

What I will do now is give you some basic facts about the classic Tarot deck, this is by no means ALL the information about it, but enough for you to be getting on with at this moment in time.

The classic 78 card Tarot Deck:

The classic tarot deck has 78 cards. There are many variations to decks in both number, card and suit names, and design.

These facts will help you to understand your deck more clearly and as you become more experienced you may want to experiment with other types of deck.

There are 2 main parts to a deck:

The Major Arcana which consists of 22 cards
The Minor Arcana which consists of 56 cards

The word ‘Arcana’ is taken from Latin and means ‘secret’. An individual card can be referred to as an ‘Arcanum’.

The Major Arcana:

The Major Arcana cards are numbered 0-21, each card telling a story or conveying a message. Major Arcana cards represent more significant events or decisions, practically, emotionally and spiritually in a reading, whilst the Minor Arcana represent the more mundane, everyday aspects or events in a reading.

There is a specific order for the Major Arcana, but some decks deviate from this, for example, the Rider-Waite deck has the Strength card coming before the Justice card, and hence is numbered differently from the list below.

In this list, each card of the Major Arcana is attributed an element, planet or zodiac sign.

0 – the Fool – air, Uranus
1 – The Magician - mercury
2 – The High Priestess – Moon
3 – The Empress - Venus
4 – The Emperor - Aries
5 – The Hierophant - Taurus
6 – The Lovers - Gemini
7 – The Chariot - Cancer
8 – Justice – Libra (in the Rider-Waite deck 8 would be Strength)
9 – The Hermit - Virgo
10 – The Wheel of Fortune - Jupiter
11 – Strength – Leo (in the Rider-Waite deck 11 would be Justice)
12 – The Hanged Man – water, Neptune
13 – Death - Scorpio
14 – Temperance - Sagittarius
15 – The Devil - Capricorn
16 – The Tower - Mars
17 – The Star - Aquarius
18 – The Moon - Pisces
19 – The Sun - Sun
20 – Judgement – fire, Pluto
21 – The World – Saturn

Often called ‘The Fool’s Journey’, the Major Arcana represents our journey from earliest awareness (The Fool numbered 0), to fulfillment (The World numbered 21). The cards represent the qualities and experiences we must incorporate into our lives before we can realize our full potential - emotionally, spiritually and physically.

The Major Arcana naturally fall into two groups, with the Wheel of Fortune significantly at the mid point - this turning point between one half of life and the other is of critical importance.

We will cover each of the cards in the Major Arcana in more detail in lessons 2 and 3.

The Minor Arcana:

The 56 Minor Arcana cards are divided into four suits, much like traditional playing cards. These are Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles.

Some of the suits may have other names:

Wands are also known as Rods or Batons

Pentacles are also known as Coins or Discs

Each suit has numbered cards 1-10, and 4 court cards: Page, Knight, Queen and King

Astrological elements and signs associated with each suit are:

Wands – Fire – Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Cups – Water – Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces
Swords – Air – Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Pentacles – Earth – Virgo, Capricorn and Taurus

Wands are associated with career, work, and creativity

Cups are associated with emotions and affairs of the heart

Swords are associated with our thoughts and intellect

Pentacles are associated with money and material matters

We will cover the Minor Arcana cards in lessons 4-9.


Your Homework:

Spend the next week studying this information on the Major and Minor Arcana using your cards. It will certainly give you a broad base of understanding, as a foundation to build more detailed knowledge of the Tarot deck in the coming weeks.

Which court card is your astrological card?

Queen – adult woman of any age
King – men aged 35 or over
Knight – men aged under 35
Page – a male or female child or adolescent
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Lesson 1 – Overview of the Tarot Cards (Parts 1 & 2)
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