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Tarot 101

  1. How does Tarot work?
  2. Can I predict the future with Tarot?
  3. Are the cards Satanic or evil in any way?
  4. What books do you recommend for studying Tarot?
  5. Is it best to learn one deck or many?
  6. Why the need for so many decks?
  7. What is the best deck with which to start?
  8. How can I find the deck that is right for me?
  9. Is it true that my first deck should be a gift from someone else?



How does Tarot work?
There are a variety of beliefs as to what makes the perfect card come up in the perfect position. Guidance by a higher power is probably the most common belief, whether that higher power takes on the name of God, Goddess or Guardian Angel. Another belief is that we all connect to a Universal Subconscious through our subconscious, and in doing so, we have access to data on any individual to which we direct our focus. Intuition is always a great culprit, but his intuition can spring from your subconscious or a guide, as well. I rarely question HOW it works. I have enough unquestionably convincing situations happen to accept that it does work. So will you once you begin reading.


Can I predict the future with Tarot?
Tarot’s strongest and most empowering aspect is the ability to provide a snapshot of where a person is right now in their life, and where they are going if they keep doing what they are doing. This gives them the power to change their actions if they do not like the outcome.

The minute you turn your life over to the cards, expecting them to tell you what is going to happen no matter what actions you take, you give up your power. During your studies and readings, you may find you have a very strong psychic ability; however, be very careful that your predictions don’t take away the freedom of choice for your clients.


Are the cards Satanic or evil in any way?
It is possible to find decks with a negative influence; however, the majority of decks out there have no Satanic or evil symbolism in them. On the contrary, the Rider-Waite deck and its clones have many images connected to angels and biblically inspired stories. If you study the Kaballah in connection with Tarot, you will find the cards represent a pathway back to the Godhead in addition to the path of energy from a spiritual creator to our material world.

The belief that Tarot is the tool of the Devil is a commonly held belief, perpetrated by horror movies and suspense thrillers. One of the tools you will need early on as a reader is a solid answer to the question of demonic influences in the Tarot cards. I find sharing some of the beautiful images from the deck, especially those images inspired by formal religion, is a way of dispelling fears and prejudice.

Accept the fact that there are some people so deeply rooted in their beliefs that nothing you do, say or show them will alter their understandings. When encountering someone like this, it is better to move forward secure in your belief in the goodness and value of Tarot.


What books do you recommend for studying Tarot?

For basic learning:
"Tarot For Your Self" Mary K. Greer
"78 Degrees" Rachel Pollack
"Power Tarot" Trish MacGregor and Phyllis Vega
"Learning the Tarot" Joan Bunning
"Tarot Dictionary and Compendium" Jana Riley
"Tarot for Self Discovery" Nina Lee Braden
"Designing your Own Tarot Spreads" Teresa Michelsen
“The Complete Tarot Reader” Teresa Michelsen
"Putting the Tarot to Work" Mark McElroy
"Understanding the Tarot Court Cards" Mary K. Greer and Tom Little
“Tarot Reversals” Mary K. Greer

For tarot history:
"Tarot: History, Mystery and Lore" Cynthia Giles
"A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot" Decker, Depaulis and Dummett
"History of the Occult Tarot: 1870 - 1970" Ron Decker and Michael Dummett
"The Encyclopedia of Tarot: Volumes I, II, III" Stuart R. Kaplan


Is it best to learn one deck or many?
It is best to start with one deck if you are completely new to Tarot. Once you master the meanings in one deck, it is usually relatively easy to build on your knowledge and add decks to your arsenal.


Why the need for so many decks?
Not everyone likes vanilla. Various groups and individuals throughout the ages have felt the inspiration to create decks which align with their belief system or artistic inclination. This makes it possible to find THE deck that speaks to you.


What is the best deck with which to start?
Any deck with pictorial pips (cards 1 – 10) is generally the best. This means that the 5 of Cups, for example, will have a picture of someone or something dealing with a situation in which there are five cups, as opposed to five cups used in a decorative design. The more that a card shows a situation, the easier it is to tie it to real life meanings.

Be sure you get a real Tarot deck. There are oracle decks, angel decks, meditation decks and Major Arcana only decks that do not fit into the Tarot deck category. Even though these alternative decks are very powerful tools, they will not align with many of the beginning Tarot books, which will make learning your first deck more difficult...

A standard Tarot deck has 78 cards – 22 Major Arcana cards or Trumps, 16 Court cards and 4 suits of 10 cards each comprising the Minor Arcana. Some Tarot decks add some alternative cards like an additional Death or Lovers card or a blank card or two. If there are too many additions, for example, adding an additional Court card in each suit, you will have the same difficulty when learning Tarot for the first time, unless you find a book specific to the deck.


How can I find the deck that is right for me?
If you don't feel connected to your cards, check out another deck. Go somewhere where they have lots of decks on display, or at least samples, look at them, take them out of the packages if the store allows it. See if you feel drawn to any particular deck. Having the connection to your deck is the single most important factor in being able to read them.


Is it true that my first deck should be a gift from someone else?
No. If this were the case, I would never have stumbled into Tarot. It is great to have the first deck as a gift; however, I believe half of the joy of stepping into the world of Tarot is seeking out your first deck.


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