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What Are Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards are enjoyed by many for the purpose of fortune telling and predicting the future. Most people are familiar with major arcana cards like the Lovers, which can predict a new romance, and the Wheel of Fortune which can herald a run of good luck.

However, to limit the cards to divination or cartomancy, is missing their key benefit. A traditional Tarot deck, such as the Rider Waite, is packed with rich symbology which can help you gain a deeper, spiritual insight in your life. Whether you’re dipping your toes into metaphysical spirituality, or you are a seasoned enthusiast, a Tarot reading can guide you towards a happier life and show you what practical steps to take next on your journey. 

How Do Tarot Cards Work?

The cards are not magical, they do not possess supernatural powers, so there is no need to be afraid of them. Rather, consider the cards a trusted tool of communication which can connect you to a greater Power. That Power can be spirits, guides, angels or even spiritual beings we can’t yet comprehend. For the sake of a name, I usually refer to this Power as ‘The Universe’.

The Universe wants to communicate with you, and provide answers to your questions. Normally, we experience this guidance in the form of hunches or gut feelings. But depending on your level of intuition, this method of communication can be difficult to interpret.

The Tarot offers a solution. It acts as a much clearer channel, to receiving real guidance.

Tarot is for everyone; it is not connected to any single religion. It is a pure channel of communication. The cards are multi-layered which is why card readers can also use the cards for manifestation rituals and in combination with astrology and geomancy. See Tarot Card Symbolism for a full guide.

What Is The Best Tarot Deck?

One of the most popular decks today is the Rider Waite, which was originally published in 1909. I’m a big fan of this deck, which is why I use it to train beginners in my book Tarot in 5 Minutes. Another great deck for beginners is the Thoth Tarot or Book of Thoth, by English occultist and magician Aleister Crowley. 

In comparison, the Tarot de Marseilles and Visconti-Sforza decks, created in the 1500s, are more suitable for advanced readers because the cards have fewer illustrations, and you really need to know the minor arcana cards well.

How Many Cards Are There in the Tarot Deck?

There are 78 cards which are divided into two major themes: 56 minor arcana cards and 22 major arcana cards. (See 78 Tarot card meanings for the full list). The word Arcana means ‘secret’ which gives a clue to the knowledge you can unlock. Major Arcana refer to big events in your life, and minor to smaller events.

The minor arcana is further subdivided into four suits: Wands suit, which represent action. Cups suit, which represent emotions. Swords suit, represent thoughts and Pentacles suit, talk about practical matters.

See also: Horoscopes | Astrology