(Last Updated on : 03/03/2009)
Tarot cards are the picturesque depiction of mythological figures and symbols on shapely pieces of sheet. Each card carries a fascinating interpretation of various facets of Universal forces. These cards have been used for amusement, in-depth spiritual experience and divination since centuries. The total number of cards is 78, out of which, the trump suit for Major Arcana consists of 22 cards. These cards convey the mystical insight through the human and universal characteristics imprinted on it. The origin of Tarot is somewhat obscure, the most common theories leads to the symbol rich culture of ancient Egypt and Thoth, with the connection to the ancient mystery school teachings. There is a common myth that Tarot was brought to Europe by Gypsies. Some believe that a form of Tarot goes back to ancient China.
While many truly believe Tarots to mystically provide divine messages or cosmic insights in the matter, few people see them as a mere help in dealing with Human psychology. The meaningful patterns are thought to provide a different insight and flash of inspiration to solve a problem. No wonder, many consider Tarot reading to be a deep spiritual experience. It is also considered that divination through cards involve stimulating intuition to provide answers that lie in the subconscious. The answers can be regarding one`s self, or the events in life.
Hundreds of tarot decks are available today. The range is from the classics to the modern ones. The "Rider Waite" pack is the most common one. Essentially, all the deck has the same core meaning or `soul`. They all are symbolic of encoded mysteries of universe. Some decks vary from the standard cards number of 78. The deck can vary from the myth-to-myth, psychological information and the aspects of life regarding which one wants to enquire. Spreads are the frameworks in which the cards are arranged and are read out as insightful whole. The choice of single card spread for gaining quick answers to the question, or using Celtic cross spread to gain more details about the specific situation is collaborated by the tarot reader and the querent. Mandala spread is usually taken into account for spiritual readings.
I. The Major Arcana
Arcana are the word lent from Latin - "Arcane" meaning closed or secret universal force. Major Arcana cards depict insight about action, behaviour or events through its powerful symbolism. They represent the state of being in terms of mental, emotional or spiritual condition at the time of reading. These Arcana cards are numbered from 1 to 21. The only unnumbered (or zero numbered) card is `The fool`. The major Arcana cards are the epitome of powerful symbolism and imagination.
The Lesser Arcana cards consist of 56 cards broken down into 4 different suits. The Wands, The Cups, The Swords and The Pentacles. Each of these suits consists of cards numbered from Ace (number 1) to 10, followed by four court cards. These cards hold lesser vibrations than those of the Major Arcana. Each of the numbered suit cards follows vibrations similar to its number in relation to numerology.
Last but not the least, a tarot reading to a large extent depends upon the assessment of the Tarot reader. The interpretations may vary from reader to reader. And each point of view is more or less correct. Tarot reading first requires reader to get in touch with one`s intuitive self and the energies of the card.