Tarot can act as a very useful tool when you wish to seek knowledge or insight on a particular topic, and can often give very accurate readings that come to fruition with time. The earliest decks of tarot cards were believed to have been used for games and gambling, although they were condemned as 'the Devil's Picture Book' during the Middle Ages.
The deck of cards consists of 22 Major arcana, which depict the Fool's Journey towards enlightenment.
And the 56 Minor Arcana cards are divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Pentacles and Swords. The Minor Arcana also consist of The 40 Pip Cards(from ace to ten in each suit) and the 16 Court cards(Page, Knight, Queen and King of each suit).
Before beginning tarot, it is a good idea to have an understanding of your cards.
Choose your deck based on design, colors, textures or whichever deck seems to connect with you. Most New Age stores have displays for you to browse through many different tarot designs. It is also a good idea to have a firm grasp of symbolism; important symbolism to understand is colors and color association. For example: Black can be associated with death, destruction, negativity but also resurrection, and the color orange can be associated with splendor, authority but also pride and egos.
During the process of shuffling the cards, where the question should be held meditatively in your mind, cards that make themselves visible in any manner(for instance appearing to 'jump' out of the deck) are always significant, and the giver of the spread should study the card carefully before continuing with their intended spread.
Keeping a notebook with recorded spreads is also a good way of keeping track of tarot, and gives you a chance to review your cards and their meanings frequently.
Here, I will describe two spreads:
The three card spread
Here, you lay your randomly drawn cards out in the following style
|past| |present| |future|
This is pretty self explanatory; the first card will show thoughts and feelings up to the present situation, the second card will clarify your present state and the third card will present future possibilities.
The Five Card Spread
This spread, as you can tell, is like a more complicated version of the three card spread. Personally, this is my favorite spread as it is simple but effective.
|Past| |Present| |Hidden Influences| |Advice| |Likely Outcome|
Like in the Three card Spread, the first two cards both talk about the events both leading up to the present, and clarifying the events at the the present. The Third card references influences you may have overlooked or are acting outside of your control. The Fourth card references advice on how to deal with this situation and the fifth card suggests a likely outcome of events. However, the outcome predicted by the cards is not set in stone, and is effected by the decisions you make.
There are many other spreads, such as the horoscope spread and the Celtic cross spread, however, those are more difficult to explain without diagrams, and I would say the three and five card spreads are more suited to beginners.
When doing the spread, you can choose to use the whole deck, or you could just use the major arcana. The latter will provide a more concentrated answer possibly than that of an answer given through using the whole deck.
Reversed cards are also an important factor, as they give the opposite of the original upright card.
An example could be
acceptance | rejection
conscious | unconscious
outside | inside
I hope this article has been informative for those of you wanting to start using tarot cards in your divination.
Two books I recommend are:
Tarot: Plain and Simple by Anthony Louis
Divination for Beginners by Scott Cunningham