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Tarot Reading I

Before beginning on the Tarot deck itself, the importance of relating some of the history behind its evolution is necessary in order to fully grasp the depth in meaning. There are various stories regarding the history of the Tarot deck and the most common one begins below. The oldest examples of the Tarot now in European museums date back to roughly 1390 A.D. with their origin approximately around 1200 A.D. Other documentation suggests that the Tarot has roots in China, the Middle East and Egypt as long 15,000 years ago. As the story goes, a group of people used to meet in the city of Fez, Morocco at pre-determined intervals after the destruction of Alexandria. It was during this time that Fez became the meeting place for important things like literature and science, as it was then the capital of the known world. These meetings brought people speaking different languages from all parts of the globe. The picture book of Tarot was developed to enable everyone to communicate to each other regardless of the language differences. The ideas in the book of Tarot were painted pictures which also included symbols and numbers which were understood by everyone at the time including Japan, Korea and Asia. The symbols and pictures on each of the pages (now cards) became the common language so that everyone could understand each other. The symbols and numbers were derived from the Qabalah, or Secret Wisdom of Israel, which was similar to the secret schools in China, Tibet and India.

This introduction to the Tarot will help you to become familiar with what could be considered a standard which has been used during the learning process. There are a few Tarot decks with fairly standard interpretations which will be discussed. For the purpose of this endeavor, standardized decks should be used because they tend to follow similar interpretations and familiar symbols. Dr. Arthur Edward Waite's research regarding the Tarot let to his book, Key to the Tarot, which was published in London by William Rider and Sons in 1910. This book led to the deck referred to as the Universal Waite Deck and is still widely used in teaching and learning the Tarot. The Universal Waite Deck is one of the most popular and simple examples of many decks and has limits as to depth in meaning, however, it is still widely used to begin learning because of its simplicity.

In order to really become familiar with a Tarot deck, it is important to stick with one deck while you are learning the basics. When you get to the point where you have learned as much as you can from your first deck then it is much easier to find another deck that interests you to increase your use and knowledge. After your knowledge base is attained and you feel comfortable with the Universal Waite Deck (which is highly recommended) other fairly standard decks to consider:

  • Palladini Tarot
  • Golden Tarot
  • Marseilles Tarot
  • Aquarian Tarot
  • Colman Smith Tarot
  • Llewellyn Tarot

To simplify and take some of the mystery out of the learning process, most standardized decks are heavy in symbolism, but more important, contain pictures on them. To help take the confusion away, there are many definitions and meanings for each card depending on who writes about it. That being said, ultimately it comes down to what the cards mean to you. While it is important to read up on the different divine interpretations to get a basic idea of its possible meanings, at the end of the day it boils down to an art that is highly dependent on intuition.

There are so many different opinions by experts on each card's meaning that it can become confusing. To correctly interpret cards try to keep in mind that there is no one meaning or way to 'read' cards as you may 'see' or 'feel' something different than another person using the same deck and layout or spread. Try to keep an open mind and don't let other's opinions affect what you see in the cards, as everyone may describe them in a different way. This all boils down to what they mean to you.



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