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Uncloaking The Tarot

Updated on November 20, 2009

Uncloaking The Tarot

Background and Overview of The Tarot

Background and Overview

Uncloaking the Tarot

Welcome to “Uncloaking the Tarot”. I hope that by reading and digesting the information presented herein, you will gain a comprehensive understanding and appreciation of the Tarot, and have the ability to pass this knowledge along to your friends and family.

The lesson plan presented within this text is meant to remove the myth and mystery surrounding the Tarot, and to be presented in such a manner as to educate the general public, heretofore not presented with sufficient information to make an intelligent judgment on the use of the Tarot as a personal growth mechanism.

The Tarot dates back to Ancient Egypt and has changed and evolved through the centuries. There are many different decks that have been adapted by many different cultures.

For the purpose of this educational manuscript we will use the Universal Waite Deck, as this learning tool is for the beginner and intermediate student of the Tarot and this deck contains the most universally recognized symbolism of the Tarot Deck. Future writings will encompass the cultural adaptations of the deck, but for the novice, we shall stay with that which is considered to be a “standard”.

What the Tarot Is, What the Tarot is Not

What the Tarot is, is a tool for stimulating personal spiritual growth. The Tarot, known by the general public as primarily a divinatory tool, has much more productive uses than divination for the enlightened and educated individual.

What the Tarot is not, is a fortune telling mechanism that will predict exactly what the course of events of your life will be. Although the Tarot can be used effectively for divination, the Tarot will only present to the Reader what will happen if the current course of events remains unaltered, so Free Will always allows you to alter the future presented in the cards, either in a positive or adverse manner. It is key for the Reader and the Querent to mark specifically what path they are on consciously in order for a Reading to be an effective consultation of the esoteric.

Myths and Misconceptions

Myths and misconceptions concerning the Tarot abound. One popular myth is that you should never read your own cards. Let me dispel that for you right now with one logical statement: The Tarot is meant to be a meditational tool, assisting us with the introspection process, if we are not to read our own cards, then how will they be an effective tool for our own personal spiritual growth.

Although there is danger that we will project our hopes and fears onto the spread when we read our own cards, this can be avoided if prior to reading we focus on our question and meditate on the statement “not my hopes, not my fears, but the truth”. Maintaining this meditational sentence in our consciousness while working with the cards will assist us in eliminating any corruption of a personal self-reading.

Another misconception is that the Tarot has something to do with the practice of some dark, magickal, or evil force. Call it what you will. Quite to the contrary, the Tarot is a holy and mystical part of understanding what our souls were meant to do on this earthly plane, what lessons we were put here to learn, and how to better serve the human race. Understanding with others begins with understanding ourselves. How can we interact effectively with the rest of the human race if we lack the basic understanding of the psychological and emotional motives that drive us to behave in the manners that we do. The Tree of Life, as presented by the Holy Qabalah, is an ancient and spiritual path to wholeness of the soul, there is nothing evil about it. The Tarot brings us closer to the God and Goddess within, and helps us to live among the various states of evolution our sisters and brothers on this earthly plane exist in, in peace and harmony.

The Tarot Deck

The Tarot Deck consists of 78 cards. 22 of these cards are referred to as the “Major Arcana” and the remaining 56 are known as the “Minor Arcana”.

The Major Arcana are the most powerful cards in the deck. The twenty-two archetypical members represent archetypes of the human soul’s journey through development. Each member has powerful spiritual and divinatory implications; we will review each card individually, in order to expedite a comprehensive understanding of the deck.

The Major Arcana are drenched in symbolism and relate not only to reincarnation, internal development, external forces, numerology and astrology, but tie in to nearly every esoteric principle that exists.

When a member of the Major Arcana appears in a spread, it represents forces that are beyond the Querent’s control. They tend to represent either the actions of others who have influence over the situation, or the role of fate, karma, destiny, or whatever you prefer to refer to it as.

The important thing to remember when working with the cards is that we must learn to accept the things that are beyond our control, and focus on those things which we can control (ourselves). Remember this: Never let something that is out of your control upset you, the only factor we can control in this life is ourselves. If we come to a challenging situation in life, reflect upon what factors you could and could not control, and adjust your behaviors accordingly. With this in mind, the Tarot can help you look inward for guidance.

The Minor Arcana consists of “court” cards and the “pip” cards in four suits. The court cards are the Page, Knight, Queen, and King, the pip cards consist of the ace through ten. If you noticed that this almost sounds like the structure of a modern deck of playing cards, you’re on track with the course of study already. The modern deck arose from the Tarot, the Page has been eliminated, and the balance of the deck remains intact. The Knight is commonly referred to as the Jack, and the four suits of the Tarot are commonly called: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles, replaced respectively with Clubs, Hearts, Spades, and Diamonds.

Tarot Decks sometimes vary the names of the suits, common alternate names are as follows; Pentacles, also referred to as “Coins”, “Shields” or “Disks”. Wands are sometimes called “Rods”, “Staffs” or “Spears”. Cups may sometimes be referred to as “Hearts”, “Horns” or “Waterskins”. Swords in some decks are referred to as “Daggers”. The decks of different cultures may have various alternate suit names, but the meanings remain the same, regardless of what we refer to the suit as.

The Suit of Wands refers to action being taken. It is associated with the Element of Fire, the South Quarter of the Circle, the Season of Spring, and the time of day of Noon. Typically, a Wand appearing in a spread will indicate movement or action of some kind. The Qabalah assigns the Letter I from the ancient Hebraic Alphabet to it. Astrologically, the signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are represented by the Wands.

The Suit of Cups is associated with emotion, love and human relationships, when predominant in a spread it nearly always pertains to matters of the heart. The Season of Summer, the West Quarter of the Circle, the Element of Water, the Letter O and Dusk are associated with Cups. The corresponding Astrological signs are Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio.

The Swords are representative of the Autumn, of things perhaps coming to an end. Many of the pip cards in the Swords Suit are associated with pain, or painful forced change, but not all. Swords represent the East Quarter of the Circle, the Element of Air, the Letter E, and Dawn. Swords represent the intellectual in many cases. The Astrological signs of Aquarius, Gemini and Libra are reflected in this Suit.

The fourth Suit, Pentacles, represents all that is material, and successes on the earthly plane. Work and family are closely associated with this Suit which is associated with Winter, the Element of Earth, the Letter A, the North Quarter of the Circle, and Night. The Astrological signs that correspond are Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.

Are you beginning to see how Tarot ties into all that is esoteric? If not, by the end of this manuscript, you will.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


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