Getting Started Reading Tarot Cards By Psychic Chat reader Samantha Historical records of Tarot decks date back to the fourteenth century when people first used them for card games. The Roman Catholic Church condemned them as a device for the devil, referring to them as "The Devil's Picture Book." Today they are still being used, and are actually seeing a resurgence in popularity. The Tarot is a wonderful tool for awakening our intuition and putting us in touch with our inner and outer worlds through meditation, reflection, spiritual growth, problem-solving and divination. The Tarot deck consists of 78 cards. They are divided into the Major Arcana (22 cards) and the Minor Arcana (56 cards). The Major Arcana contain the "greater secrets," and usually signify major life-changing events. The Minor Arcana, which is made up of forty pip cards, aces through tens, and sixteen court cards, can describe everyday events, emotional states, struggles, beliefs, and people in our lives and how we relate to them. In addition, the Pip cards are divided into four suits (Cups, Swords, Wands and Pentacles). Cups relate to emotions, romance, friendships, and any relationships involving strong emotional ties. Swords are very "mental cards," which means they represent the process of mental discernment and decision making. Wands can point out areas of growth and new energies that have formed or are in the process of forming. Pentacles are the manifestations of our desires, and can provide information on career, finances, and how things will materialize. Another source of information many tarot readers use are the numbers that are found on the cards. Each number has its own individual meaning, as well as the overall meaning that can be ascertained from an abundance of certain numbers. The colors, images, and textures of the cards is perhaps the first thing one notices about the cards, and is the primary factor in choosing a deck. If you are interested in owning your own deck, it is important to look at as many different kinds as you are able to. Most Tarot readers have a preference for one or two decks, because they have "connected" with the images they see. There is no magic in the cards themselves of course, they are just tools, but the more the images "speak" to you, the better they will be at helping you to tap your own inner intuitive guidance. Obviously, there is a lot of information that must be put together in a cohesive form in order to give an accurate and reliable reading. Each individual card has its own meanings and these are emphasized more less depending on where it is in the spread and what cards surround it. You can think of a tarot card reader as someone who is able to weave together all the meanings into an understandable story, giving you information on past, present and future occurrences, along with guidance on problems and peace of mind for your soul and spirit. That is truly the magical, mystical part of any reading, since each reader relies on their own personal intuition and "knowing" to reach their conclusions. While there are many different spreads that can be used, I have chosen a couple just to give you an example of how they work. Keep in my mind that each tarot reader has her own personal preferences in choosing spreads. I use many different spreads, as well as some that I have developed for my own readings. One is not necessarily better than the other, they just tend to lend themselves to the type of information or knowledge the querant hopes to gain. The first spread is called the Celtic Cross Spread, and is probably the most popular, especially if you are looking for something that will describe many different aspects of a situation and provide answers. This spread carries the Christian symbolism of making the sign of the cross as you lay out the cards. Remember that before the cards are laid out, they must be shuffled in order to prepare them for the reading. Some readers will shuffle a certain number of times, while some prefer to shuffle until they feel the cards are "ready." They may also be cut, again, depending on what the tarot reader chooses to do. There is no right or wrong way to do it, it is simply a case of following intuition. On a personal note, I find when I shuffle that if a card "pops" out while I am shuffling, or a card catches my eye, that card will have a significant message to send to the querant. Some people place special meanings on reversed cards, some don't . I have found for me, it usually will alter the meaning or change the connotation at least subtly. It can point out where challenges may lie. CELTIC CROSS SPREAD (Consists of ten cards, with some practitioners using a significator to represent the querant, though I tend to omit this one, as I don't feel it is necessary) "You" in the following example refers to the querant, or person asking the question, so this is written as though you are reading for yourself. 1. Cover Card: This card covers you and reveals aspects of the situation, your current state of being, the substance of the question, and general atmosphere. (If you have a court card show up here, it can either signify yourself or someone else, in any case it is always an important factor, and could possibly point to someone else being an important factor in present events.) 2. Crossing Card: This card crosses the cover card, and will give indications of what influences may either provide a positive or negative impact in relation to the first card. 3. Below or What is Beneath You: This is the root or foundation of the current situation. It tends to represent what is hidden, meaning sometimes you will have not yet have realized how this factor has affected the situation. 4. What is Behind You: Shows recent influences, those things that are passing out of importance in relation to the current situation. Obviously, if you have an actual person show up here, they are moving out of your life. 5. Crowning Card: What is above you will tell you what your options could be, if goals are possible, and is where I see the most surprises occur. If there is any element of surprise that will show up, this is where it can be found. It is also known as a Potential Card, because it signifies one possible outcome, depending on how you handle the information acquired. 6. Forthcoming Influences: This addresses the near future, and will often cover the next few weeks. The way you attend to these near future events will affect the outcome reflected in the crowning card. This is often an important card to pay attention to, since any problems that you may see happening during that period are often changeable. At this point, you have the shape of the cross before you. To the right four more cards are laid out, one above the other to form the staff. 7. Self Card: This symbolizes where you stand on the issue, your feelings, and how you see the situation. It is all about attitude. 8. Your Environment and those around you: This card describes those around you, such as friends, lovers, coworkers, or anyone else that has a role in the events, and how they see things. It may also reflect your surroundings, interactions with others, and how those outside influences, or other factors, such as your home, might be involved in the outcome. 9. Hopes, Fears, Expectations: Positive cards here reflect hopes or wishes you may have, while negative cards expose fears and doubts. It really helps clarify what you hope or fear, and is another position in the reading that can reveal unexpected twists. 10. Outcome: Symbolizes the outcome or most likely ending or resolution of matters. One word of caution: this card cannot be read in isolation to the rest of the reading, particularly in regards to the crowning card (which can show an alternative potential outcome occasionally) or card six which reflects the immediate future. Both of the cards have the possibility of causing an alternative or somewhat different outcome, if they show that you must alter your behavior. There is also the possibility you could be shown more than one path your life could take on this matter. Court Cards in this position take on added meaning, since a person showing up in this position indicates they will have a direct influence on the outcome. Sometimes a clarification card is drawn at this point, especially if there are still some questions that need clearing up. Often if another person will affect the outcome by appearing in the outcome position, I will lay out another reading to get more information on them. As you can see, this spread is very sequence oriented, which allows you to put things in a logical order, as well as get a good handle on the timing of events. Often someone will have a simple question that needs answering, and the three card spread is excellent for this scenario. As with any other reading, you are not limited to these three cards. If more questions come up, or something needs clarification, it is always a simple matter to draw another card, or even several cards, to gain more perspective. Below is an example of this. Three Card Spread 1. Past: Shows significant aspects of events leading up to the current situation. 2. Present: Shows current Influences 3. Future: Shows future possibilities As you can see, a Tarot Reading offers a lot of information, and can bring up points you may have not even considered. They are wonderful tools for opening up the intuitive faculties, presenting a picture of the moment, allowing you to broaden your view of events surrounding you. They have the uncanny ability to zero in on exactly what you need to learn about for your life. Another thing I have not mentioned is the fact that the success of a reading greatly depends on the interaction between the Querant (person asking the questions) and the Reader. It is very important to approach your reading with openness and honesty. This allows the reader to get to the heart of the matter. Sometimes a person is interested in knowing about one area of their life, for example, their love life, and the cards could be drawing attention to something else that at first seems to have nothing to do with the question. Careful exploration can reveal that perhaps the financial problems that are showing up are the reason you are being blocked from your desired goal. Maybe the other person will need to get their financial obligations cleared up before they are able to pursue a relationship. Perhaps emotional problems or something else is coming in between you and your goals. Just remember, it's wise to be willing to look at anything the cards choose to discuss. Most likely after these areas are looked at, the answer will come!