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Tarot Background? Peek Into the Origins

Updated: Apr 6

Woman reading tarot

We live a life of constant uncertainties. There's often a yearning for guidance that transcends our everyday understanding. Here is where it will help to understand tarot background and the art of tarot card reading comes into play. Tarot background, often considered mysterious for a layman, offer a unique path to unravel the ambiguities of life, or at least give it that sense of missing direction. If you're intrigued by tarot but find it overwhelming to begin, start slow. This guide will gently lead you into understanding what is tarot card reading.

Background on Tarot Cards

Originating in the 14th century as a card game, tarot cards took a twist in the 18th century when they found a new purpose in divination. By the early 20th century, they had become popular across many parts of the world.

Tarot, a form of cartomancy or divination, taps into one’s energy and connects with one’s spirit guides to gain access to a certain universal wisdom that can help in providing guidance to people in various aspects of life. Be it matters of love, relationships, marriage, career, education, or any other aspect, it helps to understand tarot background better to know how these cards can offer answers..

A tarot card reader, also known as a practitioner, selects cards from a deck of 78 that correspond to the questions you seek answers for. Each card has unique images and symbols, which have a multitude of meanings and interpretations depending on the energies they emit at that point. Through these images and symbols, a tarot reader can gain insights into your hidden thoughts, emotions, and truths about different aspects of your life.

You can help the reader out here, by having conversations and clarity on the reading that can help the reader give you more accurate readings. By interpreting these images and cards keeping your question in mind, the reader provides you with the answers you seek. When these images are decoded correctly, they weave a comprehensive story about your life.

How Does Tarot Work?

It's crucial not to confuse tarot with magic; this is not about spells or sorcery. Tarot is primarily about connecting with your inner self, spirit guide, soul, intuition, or the universe, whichever term resonates closest to you. When you lay out a tarot deck, you're essentially spreading out all aspects of life before you. Your tarot card reader connects with your mind and spirit and selects cards accordingly. Therefore, the cards that emerge represent a manifestation of your energy and thoughts.

So, you might ask, is tarot real? Tarot reading relies on perception and interpretation. To embrace the spirit of tarot, keep an open mind and leave your scepticism at the door. Communication with your inner self, rather than your rational mind, is essential in this journey.

The traditional tarot deck comprises 78 cards, categorized into two groups: the Major Arcana (22 cards) and the Minor Arcana (56 cards).

  1. Major Arcana: These cards delve into the deeper karma of your life and the spiritual lessons necessary for self-reflection and growth. The Major Arcana carries significant messages that demand your attention.

  2. Minor Arcana: Focusing on the daily grind of life, Minor Arcana guides you on those minor and regular daily challenges and on dealing with them with grace and ease. It consists of four suits: Swords, Wands, Cups and Pentacles.

  • Swords: Associated with mental capabilities, Swords relate to thoughts, ideas, challenges, communication, and truth.

  • Wands: Associated with physical aspects of life, Wands relate to energy, movement, action, passion, growth, and new beginnings.

  • Cups: Associated with your emotional state, Cups relate to matters of the soul, touching upon emotions and relationships.

  • Pentacles (Coins or Disks): Associated with material and physical aspects of life, Pentacles relate to money, career, and success.

Learning Tarot Card Reading

Now you may ask, how do I read tarot cards? Learning tarot card reading is not as daunting as it may seem. As a first step, get rid of all your perceptions, myths, or paranoia surrounding tarot.

This is not a harmful occult science, but more of a deep connection with your intuition to find the right answers to life’s curveballs.

To start, you'll need a good deck of cards. While there are various decks available, the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, with its 78 cards and detailed illustrations, is the best deck to start with for beginners.

Here's a simple guide on how to read tarot cards on your own:

  • Always connect with the tarot deck when you purchase one. Go through each card and relate to them. See what you feel and try to interpret them based on the vibes they give you. Connect with them sub-consciously.

  • Frame your questions in the right way and with clarity to ensure you are able to interpret the card messages gainfully.

  • Shuffle the deck while focusing on your question.

  • You can stop shuffling at any point when you feel ready and pull a card. You could pull out cards on your own or wait for the right card to jump out. Both the approaches are ok.

  • The card may appear upright or reversed, each carrying distinct meanings and interpretations. You may choose whether you wish to interpret cards in reverse as such. If you do not wish to interpret reverse cards, consciously decide so before the reading. And ensure you arrange the cards upright before shuffling.

  • Interpret the card by closely by looking its image and how it resonates with you. If needed, refer to the guidebook for additional insights or draw another card for further clarity.

Where to Purchase a Tarot Deck

The internet has made it very easy and convenient to purchase tarot decks. But don’t be confused by the plethora of decks available online. There are many available websites that offer a range of tarot decks to buy from.

If you have a local book or meta-physical store near you, you could check there as well.  However, you might be limited by choice in a physical store.

Exploring Different Types of Tarot Decks

Check youtube or other resources for deck reviews that show you unboxing of tarot decks along with every card that makes your decision making easier.  

My personal recommendation is that a Rider-Waite Tarot deck is an absolute must in any tarot reader’s collection. Look for decks that resonates most with your personal preferences and liking.

The Inclusive Nature of Tarot

Tarot is an inclusive practice, accessible to everyone. It does not require any specific spiritual or religious background, or psychic abilities to start on this journey. Like we saw above, tarot is a general guidance on life from the universe. It is not specific to a religion or custom. Just establish your connection with the tarot deck and start exploring messages from the universe.

The Storytelling Magic of Tarot

I always say Tarot is not about fortune telling. Of course, one can get a general sense of what to expect, but treat this as a tool for guidance and direction. From there you will see how each card, card combinations and tarot spreads allow you to narrate a story for each question. This storytelling can be an amazing experience for those with a creative bent of mind.

In Conclusion

Tarot card reading can be exciting and fascinating.

Remember, that is a journey about your intuition, interpretation, and storytelling. It is personal to each person and there is nothing common about a set of cards to different people.

Whether you choose to read tarot for yourself or seek guidance from a tarot card reader, the key is to trust the process, keep an open mind, and remain receptive to the wisdom the cards reveal. Embrace the guidance of tarot, and let the cards guide you through the labyrinth of life's decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Tarot Card Reading?

You might be intrigued about tarot cards and might be wondering what is tarot card reading. Think of tarot as a message from your spirit guides, from the universe. There are very deep messages about your past, present, future, challenges, advice, etc. that you can benefit from through tarot cards.

Is Tarot Card Reading true?

Tarot card reading, unlike astrology, is not predictive. While it can indicate outcomes, these are not carved in stone and changes as per your energies and actions. What you get from tarot is a direction and some valuable advice in situations that make you feel stuck.


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