Making Sense of the Tarot 

From YOUTUBE  Becoming Quantum Conscious March 29th Episode #13

Tarot is employed for the purpose of divination, by esoteric or spiritualistic means, skill or practices for gaining knowledge of the unknown or of the future. The word tarot can apply to both the deck of cards and to the practice.

Each deck is divided into 2 sections:

Major arcana – 22 cards, and they are numbered 0 through 21, with the first card being the Fool and the last card being The World.

Minor arcana – is like a regular deck of cards. There are 4 suits, including court cards and they relate to the four elements.

Swords = air – life’s challenges

Pentacle = earth – money and potential

Wands = fire – inspiration and creativity

Cups = hearts – regarding matters of the heart

The most common decks contain Celtic images and Judeo-Christian symbols. However, there are many styles of the deck. I personally prefer the Rider Waite deck, a version created in 1909.

Where did the Tarot originate? 

The date and origin of the deck is unknown. It is known that playing cards were used in China before the 11ttj century AD. One of the more fascinating things about these cards is that they incorporate elements from many different countries’ myths and legends.

The first documented appearance of the cards in Europe can be traced back to 1377when a Brother Johannes of Bredfeld, in Switzerland wrote an essay in which he described a game of cards which outlines the state of the world as it was then. He said he was ignorant of when it was invented, where and by whom.

The next time there is written evidence is 1392 when a sum was entered in the court ledger of King Charles VI of France stating that money had been paid to Jacquemin Gringonneur to create 3 decks of cards illustrated in gold and diverse colors ornamented with many devices. As each card was hand painted, one can assume that they were very expensive and only for the rich.

When Tarot first appeared in Europe in the Middle Ages, Christianity held a big sway over the population. The Catholic church was busy stamping out paganism and murdering unorthodox Christian sects such as the Cathars. They also stole all of the Knights of Templar’s money and eradicated them. However, they couldn’t stamp out some of the mystical, heretical sects which went underground. Some survived and are collectively called Gnosticism, meaning a belief in esoteric knowledge. Many believe they kept their beliefs alive in the tarot.

In the 1980s, tarot was popularized in the general public by Joseph Campbell, the fascinating professor at Sarah Lawrence College. Bill Moyers filmed a series of interviews with Dr. Campbell called “The Power of Myth.” Dr. Campbell was famous for teaching his students the phrase, “Follow your bliss.”

He was a strong believer in the psychic unity of mankind. He wrote many books, and one of them was “Tarot Revelations”, an analysis of the mysterious philosophy in the ancient cards. He cited Dante, Jung and early Gnostics and alchemists. He said:

“In the 22 cards comprising the Major Arcana, we have a genuine document of the soul’s initiation into higher consciousness. As such the Major Arcana may be interpreted as a Western Book of the Dead.”

How did you learn to use the deck? 

I’m self-taught. Thirty-eight years ago, a friend came to visit carrying a Secret Dakini deck, which isn’t tarot, but is an oracle deck. She had me pull a couple of cards regarding a situation in my life, and I was stunned at how accurate they were. I got a deck for myself and worked with it a bit, but it was limited in scope. Austin has a large metaphysical population, and soon, I found a tarot reader who gave me a very accurate reading, which excited me.

I read a couple of books, including “The Complete Book of Tarot” by Juliet Sharman-Burke. Rider Waite is probably the most used deck in existence. I studied the cards and got familiar with the symbols over time, then I began doing layouts and practiced reading for myself and later for friends. It just seemed to flow for me, and I was often surprised in the early days at what the cards revealed.

How does tarot work in giving you answers? 

First, the cards are shuffled repeatedly. Then, a layout is done. Each position of the cards represents some aspect of the reading. For instance, in the Celtic Cross, the first card down represents the situation. The next one shows what crosses the situation. The card on the right shows what is past. The bottom one shows what is leaving the person’s life. The one on the left reflects what’s coming up soon. And so on. As the cards are laid out, they work with the mind of the reader, calling up the subconscious mind which offers a reflection of knowledge buried deep in the unconscious mind. Working with the cards opens the intuition, and the reader then can speak what she sees.

The fundamentals of tarot are easy to learn and understand. The issue can be that there is room for misinterpretation. Nothing is set in stone. It reflects the energies at play. I work best when I first consciously breath and center myself. I call in the spiritual, unseen guides of the person I’m reading for and my guides, too, requesting their help with clarity.

Doing readings for oneself and others can help increase intuition. Just make certain that if you are new at tarot, you inform the one for whom you are reading, as you are bound to make mistakes.

Special note 

Some people use tarot to question another person’s thoughts and behaviors (like what your ex is up to). While you may get an answer, this is totally out of integrity and can bite the reader on the butt down the road. Karma.

Robin Heart Shepperd, D.C.

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