Tag Archives: Tarot
Alex Sumner’s answer to As a beginner in tarot reading, is it normal to be confused at the results and even feel like the answers don’t make sense? – Quora
(a2a) Yes: you are not alone, I myself and I guess every tarot reader has been where you are when they began. There is no shame in feeling that way. As to what to do about it, I would give the following advice based on my own experience.
- Treat Tarot Reading like an Art. A concert pianist does not worry about how much money he will make playing the piano, he concentrates on playing the best he possibly can – i.e. perfecting his Art. Conversely, if he did think about where his money his coming from, that would distract him from the pure art of playing. Similarly, if you really want to get good at Tarot reading, be like the Artist aiming to be the best Tarot reader you can possibly be – don’t go into tarot reading thinking about trying to please others or making money from fortune-telling.
- Learn to get rid of the Little White Book as soon as possible. The LWB does not and cannot provide for every eventuality, so you should aim to get to a point where you don’t have to rely on it at all. This is another way of saying – learn to memorise the meanings of the individual cards – however! This does not have to be more difficult than need be. For example, picking one or two keywords for each card. I also found it helped to imagine that the Minors in the form of a grid of 4 columns (suits) and 14 rows (Ace to 10 and the Court Cards), realising that all columns have a similar meaning; all rows have a similar meaning; therefore a rough & ready way to remember a Minor is to mentally cross reference the two.
I also found it helpful to compare each tarot card with its astrological associations, and to analyse and look for patterns.
- Read widely. Especially the thoughts of other practicing tarot readers. Not just books, but blogs as well. There is always the possibility that someone with more experience has come up with an insight which helps you.
- Practice, practice, practice. The Three Ps. You can and should practice on yourself to begin with, but eventually you can take the plunge and try to give readings for other people – I found doing so myself boosted my confidence.
But really the most important piece of advice I would have to offer is
- EMBRACE THE CONFUSION. It’s actually the challenge of trying to figure out the meaning of a difficult or seemingly out-of-place card which makes you a better tarot reader. It’s that flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants feeling which makes you realise the real secret of Tarot reading, which is that it’s not really about the cards, but about your own intuition. Ideally therefore, you shouldn’t be afraid of Confusion – you shouldn’t even resign yourself to accept it grudgingly – you should embrace it as an opportunity to grow and develop.
(a2a) It can be magical, and in the tradition which I practice, it is magical. By “magic” I am here referring to what is sometimes referred to as “magick” or the art and science of causing in change in conformity with Will, or in other words, the occult.
Tarot is magical at many different levels. For example: the actual act of interpreting the symbols of the cards stimulates the intuition of the reader, in which case Tarot becomes a key to unlocking the reader’s psychic powers. More generally there is at least one tradition of ceremonial magic which integrates tarot reading into the actual magical ceremony, so that one realises that the same techniques of clairvoyance and magical invocation for use in an occult ritual generally can unlock the full potential of tarot as a divinatory tool specifically.
Ultimately, because having a Tarot reading can be viewed as a quest to go out of the Darkness of ignorance into the Light of knowledge, one can draw parallels between it and the quest for spiritual illumination which is at the heart of true occultism.
(A2A) The answer to this has changed over the course of history.
In every Tarot deck inspired by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn – including, most importantly, the Rider Waite Deck – Tarot Key 11 is “Justice.” However in every other deck, including every deck devised before the Golden Dawn, Tarot Key 11 is “Strength.”
Confusingly, the Crowley Thoth deck, which undoubtedly is GD-inspired in part, has its equivalent of “Strength,” i.e. “Lust” as number 11, and the counterpart of “Justice,” i.e. “Adjustment” as Key 8. This is not, as some believe, because Crowley was using his ipsissimus super-powers to change the order of these two trumps, he was simply keeping the numbering found in ancient tarot decks.
The reason there is any confusion at all is that the GD came up with the idea that if Keys 8 and 11 were Strength and Justice respectively, they would correspond to Leo and Libra, and if you put the Fool at the head of the Tarot Trumps, the whole sequence would qabalistically map onto the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Hence the innovation was made by the GD in making Justice number 11: Crowley just changed the numbering back – although he did retain the astrological signification.
I like astrology, but I don’t think tarot cards are necessary. Why do people use tarot cards for astrology?
I like astrology, but I don’t think tarot cards are necessary. Why do people use tarot cards for astrology?
Alex Sumner’s answer:
(A2A) Astrologers do not necessarily use Tarot cards: Tarot readers might however use Astrology. For example, relating a Tarot card to an associated Astrological meaning might help a Tarot reader interpret a given tarot spread.
In the late 19th century, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn taught that because there are 22 major arcana in the Tarot, they can be allotted to the 12 signs of the Zodiac, 7 planets, and 3 of the Elements (Air, Water and Fire). The symbolism does actually make sense, e.g. “Justice” = Libra; “The Sun” = the Sun; “Death” = Scorpio (because Scorpio is equivalent to the 8th House, which is the House of Death); etc.
Furthermore, the Golden Dawn taught that the suits of the Minor Arcana correspond to the four astrological Triplicities; whilst there is a method of assigning the individual cards to the Zodiac which aids in clarifying their meaning.
I say Astrologers do not necessarily use Tarot cards, but of course they may choose to do so nevertheless. One of the things I like to do is to do a Horary Astrological figure at the same time as doing a Tarot reading, on the basis that a Horary chart drawn up for the Time, Date and Place of a reading ought to corroborate the Tarot cards, or perhaps the cards might supply the details of how to interpret specific features of the chart.
(A2A) This is almost too painful for me to answer, but I will attempt to do so anyway. Here goes…
Ask your own cards how you can take your tarot reading skills to the next level!
Real tarot readers do not rely on Quora to answer questions for them: they rely on their own Tarot cards because they already know they have the best question-answering system in their own possession. So, yes, if you really want to up your skills, you have to get into the mind-set that your Tarot cards are reliable and trustworthy, and you really do have the power to interpret them in an appropriate manner.
If you act as if you distrust your cards, your cards will distrust you. If, however, you learn to really love them, they will repay that love accordingly.
I have taken the liberty of down-voting every answer which began by saying they didn’t know at what level the OP was already. Duh! Are you tarot readers, or are you schmucks? (That’s a rhetorical question, by the way, I have already divined the answer to it).
A friend who’s stopped reading Tarot cards, has thrown them away and turned to the church, told me I should stop reading my tarot cards in my bedroom, and that it attracts spirits. Can I have a second opinion from an experienced tarot reader? – Quora
Well personally, if your friend had said that to me, I would reply to them: “You say that like it’s a bad thing?”
I think the most important thing is that if you value your friendship with this person, you should behave tactfully towards them, and simply not get out your tarot cards in their presence, or talk about your tarot-activities to them. They are on their own path, and it’s up to them to realize the truth for themselves, and maybe in the future they will realize the error of their ways and come to you seeking forgiveness.
As to whether your friend is technically correct or not, unfortunately I have to say this:
In the tradition with which I am familiar, Tarot DOES attract spirits i.e. good spirits! And, what’s more: it’s supposed to!
What I mean is that in my tradition, every Tarot divination begins with an appeal to a Higher Power to give guidance to the reader when interpreting the cards. This Higher Power may be characterized as “angelic” in nature… or depending on your point of view, it may also be characterized as a Gnostic or Pagan god, a manifestation of the actual God, or an Energy of a refined or higher spiritual vibration.
Those of a pseudo-scientific bent might characterize it as a recondite part of the Unconscious which is not understood by modern psychology… yet. In any case, the Tarot cards when properly used, unlock powers within your mind, which is the key to a successful divination – there is nothing superstitious about the cards by themselves.
However, no matter how you characterize the mechanics of how Tarot works – through good spirits, angels, manifestations of Divinity, Energies, psychological phenomena, etc – from the point of view of an overly dogmatic Christian, these are all “devils” or the work of Satan even if it is not true. It is unfruitful arguing with such people, so it’s often best to keep silent.
Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to A friend who’s stopped reading Tarot cards, has thrown them away and turned to the church, told me I should stop reading my tarot cards in my bedroom, and that it attracts spirits. Can I have a second opinion from an experienced tarot reader? – Quora
(A2A) For simple questions I use a fifteen card layout, like this:
This is most appropriate for situations which can go one of two ways. The general principle is that in each set of three cards, the centre-card represents the main meaning, whilst the cards to either side influence how the first card is to be interpreted.
The cards on the right hand side indicate what is likely to happen if the Querent doesn’t attempt to change what he or she is doing, or intending to do. The cards on the left hand side indicates what will happen if he or she does change, or deliberately does something new. Moreover: the cards in the top-row represent the short-term future; whilst the cards on the bottom-row represent the long-term (i.e. what is likely to develop as a result of what happened in the top-row). Hence:
- Cards 3, 1, 2 – the present – now;
- Cards 4, 8, 12 – short-term future, no change;
- Cards 5, 9, 13 – short-term future, change;
- Cards 6, 10, 14 – long-term future, change;
- Cards 7, 11, 15 – long-term future, no change (or what would have happened anyway).
(The numbers represent the order in which the cards are dealt.)
Apart from this, the rest of the interpretation is pretty conventional (i.e. observing traditional tarot meanings). One peculiarity though is that it does not necessarily used “reversed-cards” – however, cards to either side of each main card can be used to indicate whether it is “well-dignified” or “ill-dignified.”
(A2A) I own both decks: for my own particular reasons I prefer using the Hermetic Tarot over Rider-Waite, and usually end up recommending it to others (I even bought a copy of the Hermetic Tarot as a Christmas present for my girlfriend!)
Because I am keenly interested in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Hermetic Tarot is my go-to deck, because it is an actual GD deck. It closely follows the designs specified in Book T, which is the Golden Dawn’s inner order teachings on the Tarot; it includes the astrological attributions of all 78 cards; and each card features divine and angelic Hebrew names which reflects the Qabalistic associations thereof. It is thus an ideal deck to complement Golden Dawn teachings.
The Rider-Waite deck, whilst not completely incompatible with the Golden Dawn, is not GD-specific, despite the fact that A E Waite and Pixie Coleman-Smith were both (at one time) GD members. The Rider-Waite deck is more generic in outlook. It is thus perfectly suitable for people who just want to use it for Tarot divination: the fact that it is fully illustrated in colour makes it especially suitable for giving readings to clients. So although I prefer the Hermetic Tarot, that’s not to say the Rider-Waite deck is not a good deck in its own right.