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What Are Tarot Cards?
What IS the Tarot?

by Rebecca Brents


  tarot articles  Talking Tarot  

misty winter bridge
Ultimately, the Tarot is a bridge
between the conscious and the subconscious
between the known and the unknown.

78 cards -- The Book of Life

The Tarot is a deck of 78 cards, each with its own imagery, symbolism and story. It is divided into two main sections -- the 22 Major Arcana cards which represent life's karmic and spiritual lessons, and the 56 Minor Arcana cards that reflect the trials and tribulations, joys and momentary victories, we experience in daily life.

Within the Minor Arcana cards are 16 Court Cards representing 16 different personality types we each can express in various situations. The Minor Arcana also includes 40 numbered cards organized in 4 suits with 10 cards each -- numbered Ace through 10, showing various situations we meet day-to-day

In those outlines, you can see how the familiar deck of playing cards we use for games descended from the Tarot's Minor Arcana. I'll have more to say about both Arcanas in a future article. (Consider that my version of a trailer ... so check back and stay tuned.)


spring bridge

A tool of many uses

Tarot cards are a divination tool one can use in many different ways for different purposes. People use the Tarot to ask for advice, comment or clarity on themselves or a situation they're dealing with. The Tarot can be an instrument of meditation -- especially using the Major Arcana to request and receive information about Life and its meaning from the Divine Source.

The Tarot can also be used to forecast the future or uncover hidden knowledge by supernatural means. This is why it's called a tool for divination. This is why it makes some people uncomfortable. There is more to reality than is obvious on the surface, and the Tarot can be used to gain access to some of these other realms and dimensions.

In certain circumstances, it has a formidable power to transmit wisdom -- and you do need to keep your wits about you when you're working with it -- and especially when you're learning it, because this where the Tarot gets kind of spooky. (In fact, I see this happen regularly.) But it's nothing to be afraid of ... or avoid, necessarily.

It does mean you should treat it with respect -- and be aware what you ask it to do. Sometimes you may be ready to deal with those kinds of answers -- and sometimes, you may not be. Again, be aware of what's going on, what's happening, what role you play in the unfolding events -- and be serious when working with this extraordinary device.


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An answer to mysteries and questions

So, the accusations that the Tarot can perform "fortune-telling" really are true. If the thought of that bothers you, realize you don't have to use it that way. We all reach the point where we make that decision. For some, that particular application of the Tarot is the reason they study it ... but it's not the only way to gain from or enjoy this intriguing accessory.

The Tarot is also used to assess potential outcomes and evaluate the influences that surround a person, an event or both. It can give advice, make observations and provide answers to important questions ... or just help you deal with the daily dilemmas. You can use its wisdom to help formulate solutions to life's problems and challenges ... or you can ignore it. Never forget that you are in charge of your life.

Reading the Tarot -- once you know how to work with it -- is like holding a conversation with a therapist, a counselor, a wise advisor or a trusted friend. When you and the Tarot really connect, your sessions can be eerily like talking with another person who has insight, opinions, objectivity and wisdom. (What it's often lacking is tact. Again, know this from the start -- and be aware going in what you're dealing with.)


autumn bridge

78 pieces of magic

The Tarot is like a set of 78 semi-magical elements, disguised as ordinary cardstock with pictures. In reality, they're like pieces of energy, tidbits of consciousness that may understand you, your life and your journey more than you realize. The cards have a way of providing insight straight from the mind of you own Higher Self ... you innermost being

With an evolved awareness, you realize they're only mirroring back what you already know, cleverly disguised as something mysterious and uncanny. In a very real way, reading the Tarot is you reading your own mind with guidance from an alliance with the Divine Source.

If you're truly not ready to receive the answer to a question -- or if the answer is still coming together in the regions of ultimate creation, the answer you get likely won't make sense to you. Or you may only understand it in hindsight. I have had instances where that happened. As I've said in a roundabout fashion is this: The cards can display a mind of their own -- which includes being cagey sometimes.


winter bridge over icy river

Let common sense guide your choices

If you're teetering on the edge of real danger, the cards can become ambiguous and frustrating -- perhaps as a last line of defense to save you from yourself and your own morbid curiosity. At least consider it -- and maybe be comforted by knowing that little fail-safe mechanism can kick in if you step too far outside what you're able to work with. It can keep you safe ... if you'll let it.

It's just more proof of the Tarot's evolved awareness of you, your capacity and your situation. As you become more adept at working with your cards, however, you may lose that edge -- and become harder to fool. That's one of the chances you take.

But to experience the magic, and dwell for a time in the mystery, I've found its worth it. Many others have, too. You may be ready to join us. There's only one way to find out.

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Talking Tarot is
Rebecca's Tarot blog.


You might also enjoy

Tarot: Teacher and Treasure -- One path on your mystical journey ---> Your mystical companion ---> The Tarot is a powerful aid in helping a reader access the contents of his or her subconscious mind ... which is itself a tantalizing asset, with exceptional access into possibilities of the future, the realm of things not yet visible, and the levels of creation where reality and time as we know them are being formed.


  tarot articles  Talking Tarot  

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Last updated December 16th, 2019

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