Tarot Guide: Using the Cards for Self-Discovery

Here are my top tips for beginners to understand the universal symbolism behind the tarot cards and use it for self-discovery. But don’t forget – using your intuition is key!

What is Tarot?

You don’t have to be a scolar or a magician to use this colorful oracle. That’s because the Tarot, like dreams, presents images that trigger your intuition and speak to your inner knowing. It’s a right-brain tool, not a left-brain one. Its purpose is to help you probe your own subconscious and to find answers within yourself. Consequently, immediate impressions can sometimes be more meaninful than lengthy, intellectual analysis.

When you gaze at Tarot cards, you allow the images to connect with the vast storehouse of knowledge you possess – including things you don’t even realize you know. The scenarios, colors and numbers shown on the cards expand your vision and let you see what lies beyond the surface of everyday reality. They speak to the creative part of your mind, the part that serves as the architect of your life, to guide you in making choices.

Initially, you’ll probably be intrigued by the sometimes strange images on the cards. Why is that man hanging upside down? Why are those Sphinx-like creatures pulling a chariot? When learning a new language, you begin with the ABCs. Standard interpretations of each card will give you a framework that will enable you to develop your own personal dialogue with the cards. I’ll also show you how to use ‘spreads’ – groupings of cards to tell a story. Spreads let you see the link between past, present and future – how your thoughts and actions manifest your reality.

History of Tarot

No one knows exactly when or where the Tarot originated. The earliest known ‘book’ of Tarot cards still in existence dates back to the early 1840s. The first entire deck still in existence was painted by the Italian artist Bonifacio Bembo for the Duke of Milan.

The allegorical illustrations on Tarot cards are said to contain secret teachings, which in the Major Arcana represent a course in personal and spiritual development. The Minor Arcana, which was added to the Tarot at a later date, may have derived from an Italian card game know as tarrochi.

Tarot images are linked to ancient beliefs, mythologies and religious systems, such as the Hebrew Kabbalah. The cards’ numerological associations have been tied to the Greek mathematician Pythagoras, who taught that letters and numbers contain divine essence.


Understanding the Tarot Deck

A typical Tarot deck consists of 78 cards. Of these, the first 22 are identified as the Major Arcana. The 56 remaining cards are called the Minor Arcana, presumably because they contain information that is of a less important or less mystical nature. Because the Tarot can be understood as a body of wisdom and guidance, it is sometimes thought of as a book – or more accurately, as two books – of knowledge.

My Tarot deck

If you live in Malta, you can buy a tarot deck at the Stone Market store. I also recommend you buy a book like ‘The Only Tarot Book You’ll Ever Need‘ by Skye Alexander if you want to deepen your knowledge about the cards.


The Major Arcana

The Major Arcana (arcana means mysteries of secrets) represent the mysteries or secrets of the universe. As such, they are the most complex cards in the deck and require more diligence to understand. Each of the Major Arcana cards, which are also often called trumps, is illustrated with specific symbols or scenarios. The symbols are basically the same in all decks, even though they may differ thematically according to the philosophy of the designer.

Each of the Major Arcana cards has a title, such as The Magician, the Empress, The Lovers, The Moon, The Tower, and so forth. They are numbered from 0 – The Fool – to 21 – The World.

The 22 Major Arcana cards

Some scholars and authors focus primarily on the numerical order of the cards (0 to 21) contending that they form a system through which the development of an individual’s life can be traced. Some interpreters have placed psychological meanings onto the Major Arcana, while others have viewed them as representing spiritual development and growth. Many believe they also describe a path to enlightment – from The Fool, which represents innocence and the initial step of the journey, to The World, which signifes wisdom and completion.

0. The Fool

Crazyness and Extravagance

It symbolizes embarking in a new way of life. This may involve a physical journey, moving to a new place, starting a new job, getting married or divorced, or starting a spiritual path. The person has no fears and believes that everything will turn out well, with absolute faith in the Universe. The Fool represents a state of openness and faith that you will be supported in your adventure.

1. The Magician

Skill at addressing pain, loss, mantal disturbance

This card indicates latent powers, yet to be brought into manifestation. It is recommended you learn to use your intellects, intuition, and practical skills to mediate between the physical and spiritual worlds. This card suggests that, since we can manipulate people, things, and events, we have the ability to control our own lives and create the desired circumstances.

2. The High Priestess

Mystery, the unrevealed future and wisdom

This card indicates that something hidden, or interior, is preparing to come forth or that you need to pay more attention to your inner world of dreams, imagination, and intuition. She advises you to develop awareness of your night side, as well as your day light personality. It may indicate that the person is attempting to hide something that needs to be revealed. It represents our potentials that have yet to be discovered and brought forth.

3. The Empress

Initiative and doubt

A strong feminine energy is at work. This motherly figure is a creative force that brings disparate things together, reconciling differences. This is the card of emotional control and congeniality. Often, there is a situation in the person’s life where love and nurturing are required – sometimes by the person herself, sometimes by others.

4. The Emperor

Stability and power

This cards represents issues with authority, worldly power and wisdom. The Emperor teaches the meaning of power and how to use it in this world. It is necessary sometimes to take up arms agains evil forces. What is worth having is worth fightning for. This card can also indicate issues concerning the biological father, or authority figures in general, like a boss or a husband. The time has come to become the authority figure, rather than depending on others to provide protection.

5. The Hierophant

Relationship to Society, including marriage

This card suggests that the person has chosen a religion or philosophy by which to guide his or her life. Sometimes the card indicates disentangling yourself from such an association. When this card appears, a choice is being presented. At this stage of your spiritual development, you are challenged to remain a follower or to break out and find your own individual truth and learn to think for yourself.

6. The Lovers

Attraction and overcoming trials

This is a statement about a union of opposites, whether between two people or within ourselves. It refers to discrimination and making choices. Partners often experience conflict that requires making choices. When this card appears, it points to the need to heal a rift. Although it can herald a romantinc involvement, it most often turns up when a critical life decision must be made, sometimes in connection with a love relationship. It suggests you are in a crossroads and you need to choose carefully.

7. The Chariot

Triumph and vengeance

When this card appears, there is a need to control competing forces, whether these are inner conflicts, people, or a situation in your life. The solution to the problem at hand is to take the middle road between the conflicting elements. Once you have resolved this conflict, you will be able to move on. To overcome all obstacles, you need clear thinking and a sense of purpose: self mastery. At this point you are aware of how to use past experiences to reach a goal, and you are in touch with deep inner resources. This card is usually favorable, it indicates you have the means to triumph over all obstacles and stay the course you have set for yourself.

8. Strenght

Power, energy and courage

This card shows you are exhibiting moral courage and fortitude. You have learned to work with your own instinctive nature. This is a time when faith in yourself will pay off and it is time to let people around you know who you are, especially if someone has been dominating you. This cards indicates that was is required is for spiritual strenght to replace or overcome physical strenght.

9. The Hermit

Unreasonable caution and prudence

This card means that a guide figure is at hand, offering help. The querent must make an effort to connect to this guide or consciously begin a search for the truth, doing some soul searching. Spirit cannot talk to you if you are distracted by the noise of everyday life. Look for guidance and inner balance.

10. The Wheel of Fortune

Luck and fortune

This card means that something has been put in motion over which you now have little to no control. You must accept the action and align yourself with their aims. However, the coutcome is considered favorable. Changing circumstances, usually for the better, will promote growth and advancement. This card almost always heralds good fortune coming as a result of what you yourself have put into motion. You may have applied for a new job, met a new person, begun a romance, decided to take a college course, or had a chance encounter that got the ball rolling. It means a new phase, possibly the need to make an important decision.

11. Justice

Contends with bigotry and bias

It indicates that an actual legal matter is pending or being considered. This card urges you to seek guidance from your inner self, not to rely solely on human advisors. Also, it cautions prudence and care – deliberate calmly before taking action.

12. The Hanged Man

Intuition, prophecy and sacrifice

Many see this card as a card of self-sacrifice and martyrdom, but others view this as voluntary surrender to the process of achieving enlightment. It may require giving up superficial pleasures and trivial activities in pursuit of a more spiritual way of life. Try to follow a less materialistic way of life and suspend ordinary activities to more clearly see your spiritual path. You might need to re-evaluate what is and what is not important to you. It might be difficult to let go of old patterns – a relationship, a job, a worldview, a lifestyle – but this is essential to your continued growth.

13. Death

Mortality, destruction, sleep

This card rarely foreshadows a physical death. Rather it means the end, or death, of a cycle. Whenever a stage in life ends, there is a need for mourning. Trying desperately to hold on to what is clearly over causes trouble.

14. Temperance

Moderation and better management

This card is about moderation in all things. When it appears, you are being cautioned to have patience, which may be difficult. The circumstances of your situation will teach you to wait calmly when it seems like nothing is happening. The advice is to sit and wait for things to develop in their own time. The trick is to make the waiting constructive and learning to do nothing mindfully.

15. The Devil

Violence and evil

He does not represent satanic forces with evil intent. He is telling you to re-evaluate your relationship to material things, which are keeping you chained. It’s time to look at whatever is limiting your personal growth, especially abusive, obsessive, or harmful relationships. Confront your fears about financial security and social and material success. You need to recognize and acknowledge things you don’t like about yourself – your personality, body, behavior, or temperament. It’s time to let go of old fears, hang-ups, inhibitions and ways you manipulate others to satisfy your needs insead of taking responsability for yourself. Often there is a sexual component involved that may have a hamful effect on your whole life. Or there could be a non sexual relationship that binds you and that must end.

16. The Tower

Distress and disgrace

This card does not necessarily represent ruin and devastation, although its appearance usually does hearld swift and dramatic change – sometimes extremely upsetting change. The querent has usually brought the situation on herself by ignoring or denying that something needs restructuring or deconstructing. This represents a crisis, such as losing a job, getting a divorce, an accident, or financial setbacks, that forces the person to finally face reality. This card signifies the crumbling of an old structure. You might have to end an unsatisfactory relationship, quit a job, cast off false values or conserve money and live more simply to avoid that. Destroy the old structures before they destroy you, so you can become free. In the wake of the chaos, a new order will grow. Decide what’s worth saving and, from that, rebuild your life in accordance with who you truly are.

17. The Star

Can be loss or bright hopes

The star is the symbol of hope. This card can symbolize that a new and happier phase of life is coming. It pretends good fortune, creative inspiration, spiritual growth, and wishes come true. It marks a time of fulfillment.

18. The Moon

Deception and error

It symbolizes what we feel and how we respond. Emblematic of all that is instictive and irrational, it suggests that you should pay more attention to your inner self, your lunar self. Pay attention to your dreams, feelings, instincts and intuition. This card can also indicate deceit and self-deception, confinement and undoing, but these conditions are usually a result of ignoring your own inner promptings. It recommends tying up loose ends connected to the past, especially to your mother or other females.

19. The Sun

Richness, hapiness and contentment

Your past work is now bearing fruit, a concept that is symbolized by the child or childrem on the card. Whether the fruit represented is a biological child or a creative project, the outcome is a happy one. Good things now come into your life: success, achievement, health, good fortune, and hapiness. It suggests prosperity, enthusiasm, honors, public recognition, and attainment. Efforts or ventures will turn out favorably.

20. Judgement

Change of position

It is awakening a sense of a higher self within. Sometimes the card coincides with turning away from a draditional set of beliefs toward one that better suits your personal philosophy of life. Judgment represents the end of an old way of life, a cycle that is finished. It is time to seek a new direction, to make adjustments that reflect who you truly are. This is a positive card that symbolizes regeneration and rebirth after a period of confusion and confinement. You may have felt ‘dead’ before, you now you have the unique opportunity to enliven yourself and your environment by making the appropriate changes. It’s a time of freedom to be yourself.

21. The World

Success and travel

It represents balance and support by unseen forces and symbolizes the end of the spiritual journey begun with The Fool. You are entering a place of great powers and great secrets: the realm of the sacred. To interface with this world is to be impacted in a way that is life-changing. When this card appears, it is a signal that you have been guided to the successful conclusion of your spiritual journey. At this final stage you will receive what is rightfully yours because you have earned it. You feel whole, complete, refreshed from your long journey and ready to begin anew at a higher level.

The cards in the Major Arcana represent forces beyond yourself and the limits of mundane, earthly, human existance. Depending on your personal worldview, you could think of these forces as fate, gold, cosmic, karma, or your own higher self. Whichever way you choose to see the energies behind the cards, they indicate that something larger, outside yourself is influencing you and the issue about which your are seeking advice.

When many trumps turn up in a reading, it’s a signal that the situation is not entirely in your hands or that you are not alone in the matter that concerns you. Higher forces outside your control may be at work, perhaps guiding the outcome. A reading that contains more cards from the Major Arcana than from the Minor Arcana suggests that you may not have a great deal of choice in how the issue turns out, and you might not be able to control what happens. In some cases, a predominance of trumps shows that previous actions or decisions have set things in motion, and now you are being propelled toward the inevitable result.

The Minor Arcana

Most scholars agree that the Minor Arcana were added to the deck at a later stage, sometime in the fourthteen or fifthteen century. The Minor Arcana consists of four suits of fourteen cards each: Wands, Pentacles, Swords and Cups. Each suit contains 4 Court Cards: King, Queen, Knight, and Page, and 10 numbered cards from Ace through Ten, also called pip cards.

The Minor Arcana cards can be extremely accurate in answering questions about the here and now, as they refer to specific areas of everyday life and human experience. They do not describe spiritual growth per se, but each of the areas to which these cards refer can certainly be incorporated into a pattern of spiritual development. Through the study of the Minor Arcana, you can observe the ongoing process of how you grow and develop. However, you don’t need to search for some deep mystical meaning to attach to them.

Generally speaking, the Minor Arcana cards represent lesser, or mundane lessons. They show the everyday concerns, situations, challenges, and achievements you experience in your personal life. As such, they also present advice and describe conditions and possibilities related to the subject of a reading. When many (or all) of the cards in a reading come from the Minor Arcana, it’s safe to say your future is in your own hands. Your decisions and actions will produce your future. You have the ability to control your destiny.

The Court Cards (Minor Arcana)

In most decks, each suit contains 14 cards, including 4 Court Cards: King, Queen, Knight, and Page. The images look similar and sometimes the only way to differenciate the suits is to note the symbol of the suit – Cup, Sword, Wand, or Pentacle – which is usually held by the person on the card:

Court Cards from the Minor Arcana

The Court Cards often represent actual people in the life of the individual for whom a reading is being done, or they may personify the readee.

King

The king of any suit represents a completion point: there is no higher position to attain. A cycle that began with the Ace has been completed, and it’s now time to either consolidate your position or begin a new cycle. The level of the King is where you release and let go, complete old tasks, and prepare for a new and more fulfilling way of life.

Queen

The Queen embodies and expresses the feminine qualities of lidership, most importantly the qualities of creativity and cooperation. With the Queen you achieve a level of maturity and self-confidence. You know when to compromise and when to take a firm stand. You are not intimidated by any situation. Yet you remain able to grow and evolve, and you can be flexible through undestanding. The Queen may portray a mature, capable woman, an authority figure who is nurturing and understanding, or a mother image, sometimes the querent’s real mother.

Knight

A Knight is someone who has been singled out and honered by the ruler for having performed valuable services. At the level of the Knight, you are fully aware of your path, and your aims are clear. You feel an intense sense of dedication – to a project, an idea, a person. The Knight, who is often considered a messenger or an agent of movement, can refer to a woman as well as to a man. The message the Knight carries or the movement he suggests corresponds to the suit to which the card belongs. The Knight of Wands, for example, might indicate a message about a creative project or a trip taken for fun and adventure.

Page

The Page cards usually refer to a young person or a child who is involved in the experiences related to the suit to which the Page belongs. Pages can indicate messengers, students/ apprentices, youths, or immature adults. The Page is a personal attendant of the royal family. It’s his or her job to serve in order to advance. The Page represents preparing yourself to succeed at something. It envolves being willing to assume a subordinate role – as younger people often do – and to learn about commitment. The Page is about challenging yourself, developing your inner resources, and taking something to a greater stage of accomplishment. You may experience some hesitancy, or feel that you are not fully prepared for the task, but you still hope the situation will turn out as you anticipate.

In addition to representing actual people in your life – family, lovers, friends, coworkers, etc. – the Court Cards can symbolize influences in your environment. They can also refer to situations, conditions, or characteristics of the querent. Feedback from the readee can help you to identify the person to whom a Court Card is reffering to.

The Numbered Cards (Minor Arcana)

Each suit also includes an Ace, which is considered to be the One card, followed by cards numbered 2 through 10. Also known as pip cards, these combine the qualities of the suit with those of the number.

Numbered Cards from the Minor Arcana

Although 500 years worth of Tarot students and masters have produced some agreements on the meanings of the Minor Arcana cards, there is also a good deal of disagreement, and sometimes the pictures on the numbered cards tell a different story than would be indicated by the combination of number and suit.

My advice is that you base interpretations of the pip cards on the number (numerology), rather than on any particular illustration, since they vary from deck to deck, unless your intuition hooks into the picture and it reveals something.


The Symbolism of the Suits

The four suits correspond to the four elements, which are the building blocks of life, the vital and primal forces of the universe. These elements – Earth, Air, Fire and Water – exist everywhere in our world, not only in a physical sense but also as vibrations or energies.

Although the suit symbols are most evident on the Minor Arcana cards, they also appear in the Major Arcana. The Magician, for instance, is usually pictured with the symbols of all four suits before him, indicating his mastery of all the elements.

Wands (Fire) – Creativity, Spiritual Considerations & Willpower

The suit of Wands corresponds to the element of Fire. Fire is active, outer-directed, linked with spirt, with self-expression, and inspiration. It suggests growth, expansion, and personal power. Fire represents archetypal masculine or yang energy. Often the people on the Wands cards are shown as warriors, heroes, leaders, dynamic and creative people who change back and forth into life with confidence and enthusiasm.

When Wands appears in a spread or reading, it’s usually an indication that some sort of action or growth is afoot. You might be embarking on an adventure of some kind or may be required to muster your courage in a challenging endeavor. Perhaps you could benefit from using your intuition instead of logic to solve a problem. Maybe you need to have fun, take some risks, assert yourself, or be creative.

Swords (Air) – Mental Issues & Communication

The suit of Swords relates to the element of Air. Like Fire, Air is a masculine/ yang force. Decks frequently show the characters on the Swords cards as warriors, scholars, sages, teachers, or seekers, serious and dispassionate individuals who pursue answers to life’s great questions. Often the images reveal suffering or strife, perhaps indicating the struggle involved in transforming experience into knowledge.

When Swords turn up in a reading, it often means that mental or verbal activity is a priority. Perhaps you are overworking your mind. Or you might need to use your head and examine an issue clearly and rationally. The King of Swords, for instance, can advise you not to let your heart rule your head. Swords also represent communication, study, or cutting through murky situations with logic and discrimination.

Cups (Water) – Emotions & Relationships

The suit of Cups is associated with the element of Water. Water’s energy is receptive, inner-directed, reflective, connected with the emotions, creativity and intuition. Because Water is a feminine or yin element, Cups represent the ability to receive and hold. For the most part, the scenes that appear on these cards suggest comfort, security, and contentment. Because the suit of Cups symbolizes the emotions, the people on the cards are usually shown in relationships of some kind – romantic, familiar, friendship. Because Cups represent Water and its ability to be reflective and receptive, Cups can also describe a person who is intuitive, compassionate, sensitive, creative, or nurturing.

A reading that contains many Cups usally emphasizes emotions and/ or relationships. Depending on the cards involved, you may be enjoying positive interactions with people you care about or are seeking greater fulfillment in matters of the heart. Perhaps you are suffering a loss or disappointment, or are on your way to recovery and emotional renewal.

Pentacles (Earth) – Financial & Physical Conditions

Pentacles or pentagrams (five pointed stars) corresponde to the Earth element. Like Water, Earth is a feminine/ yin force that energetically relates to our planet as the source of sustenance, security, and stability. The suit of Pentacles represents practical matters, money and resources, the body and the material world. The suit symbolizes physical resources, values, practical concerns, material goods, property, and forms of monetary exchange – things that sustain us on the earthly plan. Decks usually depic people on the Pentacles cards engaged in some form of work or commerce, or enjoying the fruits of their labors and the things money can buy.

When Pentacles appear in a spread, it’s a sign that finalcial or work-related matters are prominent in the mind of the person for whom the reading is being done. In some cases, these cards can also signify physical or health issues, or other situations involving the body or one’s physical capabilities. Depending on the cards, this suit may suggest a need to focus on practical concerns. Or you could be too security-conscious and are putting emphasis on material things at the expense of the spiritual, emotional, or intellectual considerations.


The Symbolism of the Numbers

The numbers on the cards reflect stages of development and show how a matter is evolving. When interpreting the number cards of the Minor Arcana, consider the suit too – it will tell you the are of life to which the number card refers. By combining the meaning of the suit with the number, you can determine how the card applies to the particular situation for which the reading is being given.

Ace (One)

One signifies new beginnings. It implies something coming into being, the starting point of a whole new cycle. It represents self-development, creativity, action, progress, a new chance, a rebirth. The Ace shows that a seed has been planted, though you might not yet know how it will develop. Aces symbolize potential growth. When an Ace appears in your reading, you are being offered a new opportunity. It’s up to you to follow it through, it won’t automatically happen. The Ace indicates you have the choice to initiate something, that the time is ripe for new possibilities and growth.

Drawing an Ace may also indicate being alone or withdrawing into isolation to nurture a new idea, project, or experience before going public with it. Aces also can show focus, concentrated energy, and clarity of purpose.

Two

The essence of two is duality. This number depics some kind of union or partnership, with another person, a spiritual entity, or two parts of yourself. Two also represents the balance of polarities such as yin and yang, male and female, private and public, separate and together. Two furthers the direction initiated with the Ace: it represents stabilizing and affirming that new opportunity. Sometimes Two shows a need to achieve balance with whatever new factor is being added to the situation that began with the Ace.

Depeding on the reading, the Two suggests either increased chances for a desirable outcome or greater obstacles involved in achieving that outcome. Two’s vibration can indicate sensitivity to others, perhaps to the point where you consider their needs over your own. ‘Two-ness’ can also mean a state of immersing yourself in another person or in an idea or project.

Three

The essence of three is expressed in the trinity of Mind, Body and Spirit. It’s the number of self-expression and communication, of expansion, openness, optimism, and clarity. With the Three, you begin to see the big picture, undestanding the details of how One and Two combine in your own process of growth and evolution. This is the point at which the project, idea, or relationship initiated earlier begins to take form.

The number 3 represents movement, action, growth and development, but in some cases expansion can happen too fast. You may scatter your energies or spread yourself too thin. There is a tendency to leap before you look, or to buy now and pay later. However, properly handled, Three’s vibration is cheerful, optimistic, and pleasant, representing a period of hapiness and benefits, so long as you pay attention to what you are doing.

Four

The number Four equates with foundation. There are four elements, four directions, and four seasons, so Four suggests totality, stability and security. When Fours appear in a reading, it can indicate a time for self-discipline through work and service, productivity, organization, and pragmatism to establish a sound foundation.

Clarity is important now, so that you can work effectively to make your situation turn out positively. If you are in a place you want to be – a home, job, relationship – you might have to work to maintain stability. If you aren’t, drawing Fours suggests it’s time to plan and work to make appropriate changes. At this time, life can seem to be all work and no play, but sometimes that’s necessary for you to accomplish your objectives. If your goals and purpose are clear, you won’t mind doing the work, for you see the end result is beneficial. When Fours turn up in a reading, the message is to take slow, steady, determined steps and move patiently to bring your dreams to fruition.

Five

Five is the number of freedom, instability, and change. Its vibration is active, physical, impulsive, impatient, resourceful, curious and playful. Fives in a reading suggests excitement, adventure, movement, and challenges afoot. Although Fives are an indication to go for it, the cards around it will indicate wheter there is real danger or if things will work out.

Sometimes, Five can be too much to handle, especially if you tend to be a quiet, sensitive person. The excitement and changes in your life may seem to be happening too fast. Thus Fives are often connected with stress and instability. You might need to slow it down a bit and get some perspective before moving ahead.

Six

Six is the number of service and social responsibility, caring, compassion, and community involvement. It signifies peace and quiet after the storm of Five. This is a time to keep it simple and attend to everyday needs, to rest, to get into harmony with yourself and your surroundings. Any misunderstandings that occurred during an earlier period of upheaval can now be resolved harmoniously.

When Sixes appear in a reading, it’s time to stop and catch your breath. You have created a comfortable pattern and can reap the rewards of your previous planning (Four) and risk taking (Five). You feel centered and at ease with yourself and your circumstances. Unfavorable cards in the reading may indicate difficult circumstances yet to be faced, but Six cards rarely show anything negative themselves. Six’s vibration is cooperative. It can represent working with others or providing service of some kind. Just remember to take care of your own needs too. In some cases, Sixes in a reading can show a tendency toward reclusiveness – just vegging out at home to enjoy a time of ease, especially after a period of intense activity or stress.

Seven

The number Seven symbolizes the inner life, solitude, and soul-searching. Seven is a mystical number, depicting wisdom and spirituality. There are seven heavens, seven days of the week, seven colors in the visible spectrum, seven notes in a musical scale, and seven major chakras. When Sevens appear in a reading, it indicates a time of turning inward to discover the meaning of life, what has been happening to you, and why. You may be searching for answers. Perhaps you feel an intense need to be alone. Seven often refers to rebirth, religious inclinations, and spiritual resources. Some people retreat from the busyness of everyday life at this time to attend to their inner development. Emblematic of the path of solitude, analysis, and contemplation, Seven marks a time when you are exploring your own individuality.

This is not a time to begin projects related to the material or financial world. Your energy is focused on the inner rather than the outer realm. Now is a good time to examine your past experiences and evaluate the present. You might wish to study or research metaphysical subjects, start paying attention to dreams – whatever will help you to find your own true path in life. In some cases, Sevens in the reading may indicate that you are spending too much ime alone and need to socialize.

Eight

Eight represents abundance, material prosperity, and worldly power or influence. It is the number of leadership and authority. On the spiritual level, Eight symbolizes cosmic consciousness. This powerful number indicates you possess the organizational and managerial skills that contribute to material success – or that you need to develop them. If you have been devoting too much time and energy to spiritual progress, the appearance of Eights in a reading says it’s time to get your financial or worldly affairs in order.

Eight’s vibration is linked with honor, respect, equality, awards, public recognition, power, and abundance in all areas of life. When you draw Eights, the potencial for achieving these benefits is likely, but sincerity and dedication are needed. The Eight cards caution you to consider the welfare of others too. If there are unfavorable factors in the reading, you may need to be careful with money or possessions. Eights reversed can indicate that you have many issues around abundance – or the lack of it – yet to resolve.

Nine

The number Nine equates with humanitarianism. It represents universal compassion, tolerance for the many differences among different people, and the attainment of wisdom through experience. Drawing Nines suggests you have reached a level where you are comfortable dedicating your life to other’s welfare, or to some worthy cause. The challenge is to avoid being caught up in the big picture – the greatest good for the greatest number – that you neglect what is closest to you.

Nine symbolizes integration and, in a reading, shows that you have estabilished your life priorities – you know what you want and how you intent to get it. You understand the interaction between you and the world as a continuing process of living, being, moving. The Nine vibration allows you to see beyond the boundaries of the self into the totality of the universal. You are able to give freely of yourself because you feel complete within yourself. The last single digit, it represents the end of a cycle. It’s time to tie up loose ends. In most cases, the Nine depicts fulfillment, completion, wholeness, and the sense of satisfaction that comes from having reached a peak after a long, arduous climb.

Ten

Ten represents both an ending and a beginning, the point of transition from the completed cycle to the new cycle which has not yet manifested. When Tens show up in a reading, whatever you have been working on or involved with is over. You’ve got whatever you are going to get out of it, and now it’s time to bring in the new cycle that’s been waiting in the wings. This can be especially gratifying if you have been experiencing rocky times. If you have become complacent during a good period, drawing Tens tells you to challenge yourself and reach for a higher level. As a compound number, Ten adds an extra dimention in a reading. Like ascending to a higher level of a spiral staircase, you can look down at precisely where you began and chart your progress. Now you have a choice to either stagnate in familiar and comfortable territory or to take a chance and start something new and different.

As happens in any period of transition, you may experience discomfort about making the decision to stay put or move on. You might feel you are sitting on the fence, with one foot on either side, not sure whether to jump all the way over. Sometimes it takes quite a while to get both feet on the same side of the fence. However, you know that ‘he who hesitates is lost’, and though you have the luxury of postponing both decision and action for a little while, when Tens show up in a reading it’s a signal that a decision must be made.


Seven Important Spreads

Spreads are configurations or arrangements of cards – usually 3 or more, and up to more than a dozen – designed to convey certain types of information. You could think of a spread as a puzzle that presents a picture when all the pieces are in place. In a spread, each position within the overall pattern means something specific. The relationships between the cards become as important as the individual cards themselves. You need to combine the meaning of the cards with the meaning of the positions in a spread.

One of the first steps is to choose a Significator. A Significator is a card that symbolizes the person for whom the reading is being done. Usually this card is incorporated into the spread. Choose a card that best describes the person or matter about which you are inquiring.

One Card: Daily Insights

Many people turn to the Tarot for daily insights. Each morning, you can shuffle your deck, ask for guidance, and draw a single card. Sometimes this card will shed light on a problem, project or issue you’re dealing with in your life. Sometimes it might presente the theme for the day. Or it may point you to a matter you need to pay attention to. On and off, throughout the day, you can think about the card you drew that morning and how it relates to what unfolds during the day.

Two Cards: The Either/ Or Method

Use this spread when you have two opinions and can’t decide between them. After shuffling and cutting the deck, select two cards either from the top or at random from the pack. The first card represents one option, the second card represents the other option.

Three Cards: Past, Present and Future

This three-card spread lets you see the past influences or conditions regarding a situation, the present state of the matter, and what’s likely to occur in the future. After shuffling and cutting the deck, select three cards either from the top of the pack or at random. Lay them out side by side. They represent the past, present and future, from left to right.

Four Cards: Overcome Obstacles

This spread offers advice for dealing with a specific concern. Shuffle and cut the cards, then lay four cards out side by side in a horizontal line. From left to right, they represent the situation, the obstacle, the action recommended, and the outcome, respectively.

Traditional Celtic Cross Spread

This popular and versatile spread calls for a Significator. Place it on the table, then lay the rest of the cards ar per the above pattern.

Card 1 covers you (the Significator card) and describes your immediate concerns. Card 2 crosses you and describes obstacles facing you. Card 3 crowns you and describes what is known to you objectively. Card 4 is beneath you and describes the foundation of the concern or past influences affecting the situation. It can also show what is unknown about the situation. Card 5 is behind you and describes past influences now fading away.

Card 6 is before you and describes new circumstances coming into being in the near future. Card 7 is your self and describes your current state of mind. Card 8 is your house and describes the circumstances surrounding the situation. Card 9 is what you hope or fear, perhaps what you both want and fear. Finally, Card 10 is what will come and describes the likely future outcome.

Feng Shui Spread: Home Life and You

This pattern represents the eight-sided octagon called a bagua, used by feng shui practitioners to examine the connections between a person’s home and his or her life. The cards show the energies and influences operating in each area of your life.

Card 1 represents fame, future, and career. Card 2 represents relationships, marriage and partnerships. Card 3 represents creativity and children. Card 4 represents helpful people, friends, agents/associates/colleagues and travel.

Card 5 represents self, identity, and image. Card 6 represents wisdom, knowledge, and spirituality. Card 7 represents family, community, and neighbours. Card 8 represents wealth. Finally, Card 9 represents health.

Horoscope Spread: Astrology Lends a Hand

In this spread, twelve cards are laid out in a circle. Each card corresponds to one of the twelve houses of the astrological chard. Each house refers to a specific area of life. This spread is not used to answer questions, but to provide an overview of the person’s life at the time of the reading.

The first house represents the self (the physical body and appearance, as well as your vitality, identity, sense of self, and the immediate impression you make on others). The second house represents personal resources (it includes money, personal possessions, resources, earning ability, and your identification with what you own). The third house represents the near environment (the routine of everyday life, involvements with friends and family, and short distance travel).

The fourth house represents roots (home, family, parents, tradition, heritage, the past, and your homeland). The fifth hourse represents self-expression (your creative side, romantic relationships, hobbies and amusements). The sixth house represents health and service (nutrition, exercise, health, duties, daily work or chores, job-oriented relationships, service to others, capacity for self-sacrifice).

The seventh house represents one-on-one relationships (business and personal, including with enemies). The eighth house represents transformation (the past, transformative change, death – end of something old, inheritance, and other people’s resources). The ninth house represents higher knowledge (philosophy, religion, spirituality, law, advanced education, and long-distance travel) – this house shows your search for meaning and how you go about expanding your horizons and knowledge of the world to find it.

The tenth house represents life task (social or professional statues, career, public image, parents, authority, responsabilities, honor and reputation). The eleventh house represents friendships (your friends and groups, goals, hopes, and wishes). Finally, the twelfth house represents the hidden realm (dreams, fantasies, your latent talents, fears, weaknesses, secrets and unknown enemies.


Blessing and Purifying the Cards

It is a good idea to bless your deck each time before you use it. When its a new deck, you can place the cards in front of you, hold your hands palms down over them, and say, silently or out loud: ‘I call upon the divine powers to bless and protect these cards, for my intention is to use them for good only. I declare that only good shall come from their use and that all negativity shall be turned away from them‘. After using the cards you can also smudge them with white sage or palo santo, to clear the energies.


Explore. Engage your curiosity. Use your imagination!

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