Tarotsmith provides free tarot reading featuring the works of contemporary esoteric artists. Get readings with the Surrealist Tarot, the Diary of a Broken Soul, the bifrost, and the Langustl tarot decks – with well over a dozen options of spreads to cover any of your queries. For more information such as e-LWB meanings and full deck galleries, click here. You can learn about the cards on this site by reading our deck comparisons, which compare the decks side by side, one card at a time.
Introduction to the Tarot Deck
The Tarot is a deck of 78 cards containing hidden or occult wisdom. Tarot cards can be used to do readings which provide inroads to the understanding of unconscious processes. In tarot readings, the cards paint a story for the querent and/or reader to think about.
The different layouts for the cards, known as tarot spreads, have been developed to answer all kinds of questions. The symbolism contained in each of the cards represents spiritual energies that can be likened to the things that are happening in your real life. Tarot can be used to reveal hidden factors about something that you seek awareness of. The cards can be extremely helpful when you are faced with tough decisions.
To begin a reading, the querent (you) should be in a relaxed, receptive state of mind. It may not be wise to be overly analytical when it comes to reading. Then again, many readers thrive on this method. But you should know that messages may be irrational, only making sense from another reality, as in dream imagery. Some beginners approach tarot cards timidly, frivolously, or with skepticism. Just keep in mind that we reap what we sow.
As a gateway to spiritual wisdom, tarot cards should be considered as sacred as any other altar. Spiritual messages received from a simple tarot reading can change your life. A profound tarot reading will often leave you awe-struck if you can be open to the kind of communications that many people fear.
Just about anybody could learn a little about the tarot and become a good reader if they have the determination to do so. The magic is in the cards. Most people get it right away when given the basic idea on how to proceed. People seem to just innately know how it works, again as in dream interpretation.
A fairly quick way to learn the meaning of tarot cards would be to draw a card daily and take notes on how the cards seemed to match up to events in your everyday life. When the concept is applied to everyday life, the meaning becomes real and you will learn its energy by experience. Remember that meanings should not be regarded as positive or negative because once you receive insight, because once you receive insight, the new awareness may give you a choice that could have been overlooked if not for the reading. Tarot is all about discovery.
Roots and Compatibility
Like horoscopes, tarot reading is compatible with all religious paths because its purpose is to enhance the power of the contact you have with your god, angel, soul, or spiritual center. Perhaps because of its occult roots, a frequently asked but totally absurd question concerning tarot is, “Are tarot cards evil?” The simple answer to this question is no, not unless you believe you are calling upon an evil force. You call upon your own soul, spiritual guardian, or god. Tarot cards are like a mirror which reflects your own intentions. The Devil is just one card, and the scapegoat is only one role in the grand scheme.
Though the tarot deck has historical roots as a Medieval card game, the Gnostic symbolism contained in the deck cannot be dismissed as mere coincidence. The Major Arcana have been likened to everything from tribal gods to human archetypes to the various stages of personal development. The Tarot deck has been adapted to incorporate everything from the Kabbala to the Periodic Table of Elements. The beauty of the cards is that it does not matter which system one believes or chooses to follow. The revelations that can be spawned from tarot readings are limited only by the querent’s will and aptitude to know more.
The Major Arcana section consists of archetypal images that represent major themes in life. When these cards show up in a spread, they can generally be interpreted like a stressed syllable or word when speaking. On these cards, you may want to pause and reflect longer than usual for a moment.
The Minor Arcana section represents the more mundane commonplace happenings in life, or the small jobs. These cards are the body of the deck, divided into 4 suits. Each suit is like a body system too. To extend the metaphor, the nervous system could be thought of as the Swords, the circulatory system Cups, the endocrine Wands, and the Pentacles would be the muscular/skeletal/skin. The suits also overlap each other, working together in much the same way as body systems do. Each suit is further divided into 2 sections known as court and pip cards.
Courts are the 4 cards traditionally depicting the royal characters of King, Queen, Knight, and Page – or sometimes Knight, Queen, Prince, and Princess. This section of the deck is seen by some readers as the section that represents actual people in a person’s life. Pips were traditionally depicted as numbered collections of suit items, but after the Rider-Waite deck, most tarot decks show depictions of certain scenarios of ordinary events and themes in life.
Each section, each card of the deck plays its role in the function of the deck as a collective whole, and just like the working engine that is a living organism, the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.
Major Arcana – the greater secrets – trumps carry more weight than the 4 suits
Minor Arcana – the lesser secrets – divided into 4 suits of elemental states
Wands (Fire) – Energy, motivation, action, force, conflict, the will
Cups (Water) – Emotions, feeling, language of spirit, the subconscious
Swords (Air) – Ideas, communication, thoughts, enlightenment, concepts
Pentacles (Earth) – Manifestation, physical reality, the mundane and the carnal
How to Interpret Tarot Readings on this Site:
As a picture book of the macrocosm, having a tarot deck is like holding the key to the world in the palm of your hands. Tarot imagery can be analyzed in the same way that dreams are interpreted. Like dreams, tarot readings deliver messages from the unconscious mind: it is trying to tell you something important.
Tarot readings can be used to discover unconscious patterns that rule a person’s life. At the core, beneath the logic, human beings are creatures of emotion. Emotions can actually be categorized as a type of thought. If conscious thoughts are those of the logical, rational mind, then the unconscious thoughts – the ones we seem to react to instinctively — are a person’s emotions. Tarot interpretation can tell you more about the unconscious patterns that may be hindering your progress, so that you can locate the source of a problem. How can you fix a problem that you have yet to identify?
The tarot spreads on this site cover questions and concerns of just about any kind. Tarot spreads are layouts that act as a framework for the reading. Depending on what position a card appears in the spread, its meaning will alter accordingly. While certain rules governing the interpretation of tarot imagery must be observed, as with dream interpretation, these rules are flexible — more like guidelines than rules.
Seeing rules and guidelines to be like training wheels, not every artist on Tarotsmith puts a lot of effort into writing lengthy comprehensive text descriptions. As esoteric artists, we believe the messages are in the art. After all, we know they are because we put them there! As Napoleon said, a picture is worth a thousand words. And words can corrupt the message, like a scripture that has been lost in translation. Everybody has to start somewhere, but relying too much on training wheels can impede the novice’s growth and development.
The most important thing about interpreting tarot cards is: What does the card mean to you; what kind of vibrations do you get from the image? With practice, we come to understand tarot cards in ways that words cannot describe.