The path of the reader
Here I have compiled writings that will help a beginner (and perhaps even a slightly more experienced reader) to become familiar with the world of Tarot cards.
Here I have compiled writings that will help a beginner (and perhaps even a slightly more experienced reader) to become familiar with the world of Tarot cards.
Here you will find information about Tarot cards, which is suitable for beginners, but also for a more experienced reader to support their work. If some of the information you are looking for cannot be found here, you can always contact me if necessary.
The world is full of wonderful tools for introspection. Why is it worth getting to know and delving into Tarot cards?
There are certainly as many correct answers to this as there are those of us who work with Tarot cards. Instead of giving the right answer, it's a good idea to focus on why you're drawn to Tarot cards.
Is it about their magic? Or are you attracted to their colourful history? Or do you feel that they could help you develop your self-awareness? Or do you think that through archetypal imagery and mythologies you can create incredible stories in your life? Or is the reason something completely different?
If you are interested in Tarot cards, and want to get acquainted with them, you have come to the right place. I have gathered here some tips and information that I would have appreciated when I started my own journey with Tarot cards. Take advantage of these tips as you see fit. Some of them can feel right for you, and some can leave you completely cold. Take with you what you feel is appropriate.
Here I have gathered my thoughts on starting the Tarot journey, and I also share some thoughts on intuitiveness, ethical questions, and also a few thoughts related to difficult or easy feelings aroused by Tarot cards. Here you will also find information about what the Tarot deck consists of, what is the Major Arcana and the Minor arcana, and how to interpret them.
If you have any questions about Tarot cards, you can contact me by e-mail and I will be happy to answer you. I want to share information without the expectation that I will receive something in return.
Have a wonderful journey with your Tarot cards!
It is true that a lot has been written about Tarot cards, and information is readily available to such an extent that it is difficult to figure out where to start.
For example, you can get started by identifying which way of learning is most suitable for you and then progress accordingly. Three alternative ways to start your journey are described below.
If it's easiest for you to internalize new things by listening or watching, it's a good idea to head to Youtube or listen to podcasts. Look for several different people who teach and talk about Tarot cards and then focus on the few that seem most appealing to you. It is important that the teacher is acting fairly and transparently. Authenticity and honesty go a long way in this matter. Gradually, your own ability to question and create your own meanings also grows, and you can rise on your own wings.
Personally, I found a great podcast (Lindsay Mack's Tarot fot the Wild Soul), and for a while it met almost all my need for information about Tarot cards, and I can't stress enough the importance of a visionary teacher. At its best, the teacher opens your eyes to things that you wouldn't have noticed otherwise.
You can also start by familiarizing yourself with a specific Tarot deck and the booklet that accompanies it. If you're creative, and thoughts and images are already important sources of information for you, this may be the perfect way for you to familiarize yourself with Tarot cards. Choose the kind of deck that will appeal to you on a really deep level. It is worth visiting shops that sell Tarot cards, where you have the opportunity to browse various model decks.
You can also search online for pictures of the cards and feel which ones speak to you. Use the time needed to choose the right deck. Once you've found the right deck, start forming meanings for each card that you think are appropriate. In this way, you will have your own collection of meanings that is right for you and speaks to you.
This is certainly the most common way to learn Tarot, and its advantage is that through long-term familiarization, a really strong foundation is created on which you can build your skills. The simplest thing to do is to start your journey with a book that briefly describes what the Tarot deck consists of and in which the traditional meanings of cards are opened up. The easiest thing to do is to start with the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, as it's by far the most written about.
Familiarize yourself with the meanings of the cards, first, for example, The Major arcana, and then move on to the Minor arcana. Memorize the meanings and gradually deepen your skills. Read as widely as you can. The sky's the limit. At some point, you will begin to notice that some interpretations seem more correct to you than others. You begin to form your own intuitive set of meanings.
Do any of these seem like the right approach for you? Of course, you can also combine all of these, and that's certainly going to happen anyway as you get beyond the beginning. However, the most important thing is that you start somewhere. In its simplest form; find one Tarot deck, one teacher, or one book where the meanings of the cards are described. Here's how to get started.
This is a question that bothers anyone working with Tarot cards at some point. However, the answer is easy and straightforward: you cannot misinterpret the cards, every interpretation is correct.
There are as many correct interpretations as there are readers. However, uncertainty often arises because the things depicted by the cards are complex (as, for example, all emotions or thought patterns most often are) and are linked to different areas of life and temporal stages. This can create the feelings of confusion.
So it's important to trust your own interpretation of a card. You shouldn't get confused, if one day you feel that the meaning of a particular card is different from what it was yesterday. You can compare the messages on the cards with, say, the phases of the moon – the moon itself is always the same, but it always looks different to us, never the same as yesterday. In this way, the cards, or rather we and our interpretations, are also cyclical.
Anyone can read Tarot cards and use them in their own lives. No special skills are required. You can think of the cards as a world without constraints and where there is room for everyone. Tarot cards do not exclude anyone or tell about a reality that would not be applicable to all of us. Regardless of your background, personality, preferences, etc., Tarot cards are suitable for you and can help you if you want to open your heart to them.
Then what about scary cards? What should you think about when you pull The Death card? Or the Devil?What should you think about when you raise death? Or the Devil?
It is by no means always easy to work with these cards. Especially if you use such a Tarot deck, in which Death and the Devil are depicted very traditionally, and even frighteningly. However, no matter which Tarot card is pulled, its message is always meant to help us, wake us up, and encourage us to think for our own good. The card always contains constructive and regenerative power.
It is also important to internalize that the cards do not make our reality. They will not change our world or our future. Just because you pull a card today doesn't mean that something it describes will happen tomorrow. Instead, you can realize something today that makes tomorrow different than it would otherwise have been. We ourselves are building our future, not the cards. So the cards do nothing, and they themselves do not bring us anything bad or good.
At its best, the reading of Tarot cards is storytelling. Deep within each of us is a millennia-old tradition of storytelling. We have an innate ability to create meanings and build bridges between things. This is what we are on the verge of when we read tarot cards.
A lot has been written about intuition, so you can find a lot of information about it in the library, audiobooks or online, for example. In short, intuition is a type of knowledge that is not based on rational thinking or logic, nor only on our experiences. Each of us knows that feeling when we feel that something is in a certain way, even though we cannot explain it in any conscious way. So that is what it is all about – not anything more mystical than that.
How to practice intuition?
How, then, to connect with your own intuition? I think that developing intuition can be thought of like any other thing that requires practice. If you're learning how to play the guitar, all you really need is al lot of practice and perseverance.
You can start with something really mundane, for example, the next time you go to the store, think about the basis on which you choose, for example, the vegetables that you buy. Do you always make a choice on the same basis? Could you think of stopping for a moment to feel what happens inside you when you make a choice? Does one choice just simply feel more right? Of course, there can be many distractions in a store, and your choice can be influenced by many things outside of yourself, but the essential thing is that you stop at the process of choice. It is possible that it is your intuition which is telling you what to choose.
Often, when meeting new people, we can immediately draw some conclusions. This is not based on the knowledge that we have about them, but on purely intuitive knowledge. Reflect on your experience with this. What has your intuition told you about a person? The next time you are in such a situation, reflect on what is the process within you. Or, if you meet someone you already know, you'll probably be able to very quickly assess what the other person's mood is like.
One way to get to know your own intuition is to think about where in your body you feel it? Very often it is felt in the stomach, and sometimes also in the throat. This discovery of physical connection with your own intuitive feeling can be useful, especially if you have doubts and think that you are not intuitive at all. The next time you get a clue about something, or you feel something is right, even if you don't know why, stop o sense where in your body that feeling appears. It's your intuition.
These examples show that we all have an intuitive ability. Intuition is present when we are working with Tarot cards. The cards bring forth in us something that we know and that is already in us, but by using the cards it raises up to the surface.
When you pull and read the cards, the first impression is of great importance. What kind of thoughts or feelings arise for you? What is your first thought when looking at the cards? Even if after a while your interpretation becomes more accurate, and you are able to take different points of view into account more broadly, keep your first thought in mind. It's your most intuitive piece of information.
The more you work with the cards the easier it will be for you to maintain an intuitive grip for longer, throughout the reading. At first, it is very typical for conscious thinking to come along.
This is perfectly normal. If this is your way of reading the cards, that is, on a very conscious level, it is the right way if it seems to work for you. In any case, practicing and recognizing intuition is useful – no matter how much you use it in the future.
Tarot cards give us a tool with which we can bring things to the surface from the subconscious. Since this makes very personal things visible, it is important to consider where your own ethical boundaries lie. Everything we would like to know about other people or their situation, for example, should always be excluded from readings. What matters a lot is what kind of questions we ask or, for example, whether we have permission from another person to ask something. Personally, I'm really strict about ethical issues, and I hope you'll incorporate at least some things from this into your own Tarot practice.
Before you pull cards, it's important to consider what things you can ask the cards and what you can't. The following are clearly things that I never ask myself:
If you're doing readinds for people other than yourself, these things really matter a lot. If the person who asks you for a reading is in one way or another in an exceptionally delicate situation (for example, very sick or about to become pregnant), you should think very carefully about whether you agree to do a reading at all. The responsibility in these situations is significant and definitely something to reflect on. Even if you yourself interpret the message of the cards as positive, a person in a delicate situation may have their own, completely different interpretation of the cards. For example, if you pull the Death card in these situations and interpret it to mean a new beginning, the querent may, however, interpret the meaning of that card quite differently, and this may have mentally taxing consequences.
So feel free to say no if you are concerned about a situation. Also, pay attention to keeping these limits also when you pull cards for yourself.
Consider whether these ethical boundaries mentioned above are sufficient, or can you think of situations when you would not do a reading yourself?
How you formulate your questions is also of great importance. If you want to understand why, for example, a person has come into your life, please do not ask the cards "What does person X think of me?" but formulate the question in such a way that it is focused on you.
Rather, ask questions such as "What impact does person X have on my life, and how can I support the realization of that meaning through my own actions?". This way, you won't go into anyone else's private, spiritual territory, but you'll get yourself some advice on how you should act yourself.
The ethical approach to reading Tarot can also be viewed through one's own attitude. Ask questions with a positive and solution-oriented tone. Please do not ask "In what ways could I be better than my colleagues in case X?", but rather ask "How could I develop my competence in matter X?". When the questions are aimed towards the good, and your approach to Tarot cards in general is colored through the positive, you are most likely to act ethically correctly. Of course, it is not the intention that you should approach the cards only with a positive feeling – on the contrary, they can also be used when feeling lost or sad. The essential thing is that you are looking for well-intentioned solutions.
Tarot cards are certainly widely known because of their frightening and archetypal imagery. Everyone knows that there is a Card of Death in the Tarot deck. This is also annoyingly often accompanied by the idea that the cards predict what is depicted in them or that they have built-in witchcraft or evil. I believe that the reputation of Tarot cards is questionable in the eyes of some because of these types of thoughts and beliefs.
Sure, there are cards in the Tarot deck with scary imagery. There are also cards with a sunny and bright atmosphere. It is good to keep in mind that every card is there for us, and there are no "good" or "bad" cards. Of course, a natural part of human life is that the easier and more challenging stages vary cyclically. But the cards do not predict these stages, nor do they cause them. Each card always has a new perspective or opportunity, and even if it seems challenging, it is meant to carry us forward and give us direction.
The really important thing is to understand that the cards will never do anything. If you pull a card, it doesn't mean that it manifests something as true. Tarot cards never predict illness, death, misfortune (and actually nothing else either). It is good to keep this in mind and also to tell it to the other person if you are doing readings for others as well.
Some of the cards may seem difficult or scary, and this reaction arises from the depths of our "lizard brain". The symbolism of the cards is old, archetypal and mythological. We can identify certain archetypal patterns completely intrinsically—in much the same way we recognize in old age-old stories and fairy tales the formula of a archetypal plot. So when you pull a "hard" card, get ready for the fact that your thinking can raise up feelings of worry and fear. It is good to be ready to tell yourself that nothing bad is happening, but that the message of the card is related to change, internal dynamics and growth. So, first calm your thoughts, and only then proceed to interpret the cards.
For example, the Death card means the end of something and a new beginning, or that our inner attitude towards something may be changing. It may mean that we want to give up something that is outdated, even if we are perhaps mourning this change. So focus on tending to your worried thoughts and think about what good the card can tell you, or what change is going on in your life?
If you find this kind of traditional imagery particularly triggering, it may be a good idea to look for a Tarot deck where the imagery is brighter and lighter. There are also plenty of decks that draw influences and symbolism from the traditional Smith-Rider-Waite deck into their imagery, but are not gloomy in the same way. This is completely a matter of taste, but it's worth listening to your own feelings, and even using several decks side by side.
Gentle and bright cards do not evoke such violent emotions, but their challenge may be that the interpretations of them are left superficial. You might think that the Sun card or the Ace of The Cups is a lovely, warm card and that something good is coming, but is that all? It is also important to get acquainted with these "easier" and gentle cards, even if they do not challenge our thinking as obviously as the more challenging cards.
These cards, which seem lighter, always have a deeper message, so don't let the imagery oversimplify the meaning of the card. These cards require just as much familiarization and internal discussion as the more challenging cards. So be genuinely active in interpreting these cards as well and challenge yourself to find deeper meaning in them.
The Tarot deck consists of 78 cards. It is divided into three parts:
If you are wondering what arcana means, it is Latin, and means secret. So it's all about the secret, the mystery.
It is often said of the Major arcana that the power of these cards is greater than us, and it is important to adapt to their energy and act together with them. Thus, we cannot always influence the energy of these cards, but we can benefit from it by adapting to the change that is taking place in our lives.
The Major arcana is like a journey, a cyclical process in which we constantly change. For me personally, it is first and foremost a journey of spiritual development, with its ups and downs.
We often talk about The Fool's journey – this means that the character on card 0, i.e. The Fool, will travel through the Major arcana, all the way to the last card (World, number 21).
It is often said that the Minor arcana describes practical life; what we do, how we feel, how we live our lives and how we can influence it in all our actions. It is the smaller secret, a smaller mystery in relation to the Major arcana. The Minor arcana is about everyday actions, details of life, deep emotion, the whole spectrum of human life.
Personally, I think that in the Minor arcana, the entire scale of our emotional life is visible; those feelings that we show outwardly, as well as those that are only internally visible and processed by ourselves.
The Court cards, according to my own interpretation, are the energy somewhere between Major and Minor arcana. They are, in my view, a part of a journey that continues after the number 10 of the Minor arcana. In the energu of the Court cards, we have already gone through all the first steps of the journey, collected all the experiences. Court cards are more refined, and they work and process things on a deeper level than the cards 1-10 of Minor arcana. It is often the Court cards that are perceived as the most difficult tarot cards to interpret.
The simplest way to perceive the totality of Tarot cards is to think of them as journeys in numerical order with a beginning and an end. This is rarely the case in life, for life is very cyclical in its essence. However, the structure of the Tarot deck is such that it is easiest for us to perceive it as a linear journey, at least at the stage when we are just getting to know it.
The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards and it is the "great mystery" or "big secret" of the Tarot deck. The cards often depict archetypal characters and situations, and it may seem difficult for a beginner to approach or understand. The images depicted on the cards often feel distant, and beyond one's own comprehension. However, there are ways in which the cards and their meanings can be easily approached.
One possible way to study the cards of the Major arcana is to view it as a story that proceeds in numerical order. For example, it can be a growth story from a child to an adult or a spiritual growth from ego-centeredness towards a deeper understanding. In any case, studying the cards as a story unfolding in numerical order helps to understand the big picture.
The biggest realization for myself has been the three horizontal lines of the Major arcana. This concept was developed by Rachel Pollack and I first got to know it through Lindsay Mack.
With these three horizontal lines, the Major arcana can be understood as a great story of development, in which the more demanding moments are followed by moments of rest. The lines are formed so that card 0, i.e. The Fool, is at the top apart, and the remaining cards are divided into three horizontal lines of seven cards.
In practice, the lines are as follows: the first line from The Magician to the Chariot, the second line from Strength to Temperance, and the third line from the Devil to the World.
Lindsay Mack gives each line its own "motto", its own meaning: the motto of the first line is "I am", the "motto" of the second line is "who am I?" and the "motto" of the third line is "there is no I".
Through these mottos, you can outline a spiritual journey that grows from ego-centeredness to understanding that we are all part of something greater. If you want to delve really deeply into the topic, I recommend listening to Tarot for the Wild Soul podcast.
Of course, it is also necessary to study the cards of the Major arcana in depth one by one if you want to develop as a Tarot reader. Each card has a number, from 0 to 21. Through the numerical order, each individual card can be examined, for example, in relation to the card before and after it. You can think about where the energy of a card has come from and where it is moving next. The individual cards of the Major arcana, at least for me, are easier to understand in relation to the previous and next cards in numerical order. What was the stage just before this particular card? What comes after that?
It is possible to establish connections between the cards based on numbers, for example the card 21 is 2+1=3, i.e. card 21 has a connection to card number 3. This gives you a new dimension to cards with a number greater than 9.
In addition, each card of the Major arcana is connected either with a sign of the zodiac or with a planet. If you are familiar with astrology, it is worth diving deep into this point of view. On the other hand, you can completely ignore this aspect in the early stages and focus on interpreting the cards in another way.
The Minor arcana is the "little mystery" or "little secret" of Tarot cards. It is about about everyday life, about our feelings and actions, about the whole spectrum of our emotional realm. It is about how we feel, how our thinking has an influence on us and how we deal with changes in life. In the cards of the Minor arcana, we focus on issues that we can influence ourselves and that are the building blocks of our everyday life.
The four classical elements (i.e. water, earth, fire and air) are a crucial part of interpreting the cards of the Minor arcana. The cards and their suits are connected to the elements in the following way:
Wands: Element of Fire
Cups: Element of Water
Pentacless: The Element of the Earth
Swords: The Element of Air
The Major arcana is typically thought of as the Fool's Journey, and the theme of the development journey is also important in the Minor arcana. It is often seen as a journey between numbers 1 and 10, and depending on the interpreter, Court cards are also perceived as their own journey, as if as a continuation of a journey that ends at number 10. Minor arcana is a cyclic journey, from the beginning of the cycle to its end.
To understand the Minor arcana it is important to be familiar with the the connection of the "suits" with the four classical elements (for example, the connection of the suit of Cups with the element of Water) and, consequently, tho understand their nature. Each "suit" deals with a specific aspect of life, it's like a story about a journey that takes place around that aspect of life.
I myself perceive the connection between each suit and the corresponding element like this, through the following journeys:
Wands and the element of Fire: a journey of enthusiasm, passion for doing and inspiration
Cups and the element of Water: a journey of self-acceptance, intuition, emotions and imagination
Pentacles and the element of Earth: a journey through everyday life, which focuses on how we can live in harmony with our inner and outer selves, as well as reflecting on what we want to be remembered for, what is the deepest purpose of our life
Swords and the element of Air: a journey into our thinking mind, to communication and to setting one's own boundaries
So you can basically think of any card of the Minor arcana through its "suit", and consider what this represents to you. For example, if you are thinking about a Cup card, depending on the situation, you may focus on themes related to self-knowledge, self-acceptance, emotions or imagination. Depending on the interpretations you make based on the image on the card, or any other intuitive message you may receive, , your understanding of the interpretation will become more accurate.
Personally, I think that whenever interpreting a Minor arcana card or a Court card, the interpretation always starts from the recognition of which "suit" I'm working with.
The starting and ending points of the journey are the Aces and the Tens in the Minor arcana. Aces are starting points - we start over, plant new seeds of thoughts and ideas. We seize new opportunities. We boldly take a step forward.
Tens, on the other hand, are the other end of the cycle, where we look at what has been planted and how it has been cared for. What kind of plant has grown from the seed. It's like looking back at the journey that has been traveled. The tens show us the moment when it is time to reap the harvest that has been sown. We evaluate what we want to take with us from the old and what we want to leave behind.
Numbers from 2 to 9 in the Minor arcana are the other stages of the journey, between the beginning and the end. It is easier to understand them when you first clarify to yourself how you interpret the Aces and the Tens.
Numbers really play a big role in interpreting Tarot cards in both Major and Minor arcana. Each of us associates numbers with different feelings and thoughts. If you are familiar with numerology, you may have a really broad understanding of what different numbers can mean and what kind of traditional interpretations or mythologies are associated with them.
I myself have become familiar with the meanings of numbers primarily through Tarot cards. Here below you can see how I think and feel about them myself. These meanings are especially important to me in the cards of the Minor arcana, but also in the cards of the Major arcana I apply this method of this thinking.
What do the numbers mean to me, especially when associated with the cards of the Minor arcana:
1 : beginning, birth, planting a seed, starting point, seizing an opportunity
2: balance, seeking balance from the inside, reflection
3: growth, opportunities, new paths
4: hiding, retreating, looking for balance
5: conflict, emotional storm, stagnation
6: inner journey, transition towards sociability and other people, connecting with others
7: Resolution of internal conflict by external changes
8: a process of change from which one comes out renewed
9: final result, endpoint
10: the end of the journey, letting go of the old, looking back, reaching for the new
For me, even numbers feel more balanced and "easier" than odd ones. The Tarot cards of even numbers show me a situation that is easier to handle than the situations of cards with odd numbers. This way of thinking has developed over time and I have slowly formed this concept for myself, and I encourage you to form similar connections and interpretations yourself.
I also recognize that the personal meaning of numbers is ever changing and deepening. For example, in a year's time, my view of the meaning of numbers may be different from now, and that is perfectly OK.
Please consider for yourself what the numbers mean to you. For you, too, the meanings can change over time, but it's good to have some idea of what kind of thoughts and interpretations you're combining with different numbers. I recommend making a list similar to the one above, and giving each number your own, personal meaning. If it feels challenging, think of numbers specifically as a manifestation and stage of the journey.
You can also evaluate what thoughts come to mind if you look at, for example, all the Fives in the Tarot, or the Eights in the Tarot, at the same time. This allows you to form your own relationship with different numbers.
Court cards are often challenging for beginners. How on earth should these cards be interpreted? Are they people, individuals or not? If not, then what are they? Or can these cards be interpreted as people if more than one happen to appear in the same spread? Does their gender have any meaning?
These questions are typical when we try to get to the bottom of what the Court cards are all about. There isn't really a right answer to this – like Tarot cards in general, Court cards can be interpreted in many ways, and each of them is correct.
For me personally, Court cards are a journey in their own right. They are like an extension of the journey that has beentravelled through in cards 1-10 of the Minor arcana. That is, after the number ten comes, according to my interpretation, the Page, who initiates a more spiritual and advanced journey. This journey is no longer as mundane or down-to-earth as the previous journey through 1 to 10. On this journey, we no longer dwell in everyday challenges, and the challenges are internal, and part of a larger, internal process of dealing with life and its issues. This level, or energy, in which the Court cards are located, is, in my understanding, a level somewhere between the Minor arcana and the Major arcana.
For me, the interpretation of Court cards has to do with the connection between them and the four elements. The four elements (earth, fire, water and air) are combined in the Court cards in a very special way because the Court cards have two elements present in each card. These Tarot cards are of a very special nature in that sense.
Thus, the Court cards are connected with the element of their "suit", for example, the Knight of the Cups is connected with the element of Water. But in addition to that, Knights also have a connection to a certain element, which according to my own thinking is Fire.
I have written a blog post about this topic and you can find it in my Blog. In short, however, here's how I combine the different elements with the Court cards:
In addition to the element, it is essential to identify the role that each Court card represents. Personally, I understand the roles in the following way:
In these roles, each Court card brings out the energy of their elements, and the characteristics associated with them. Think about how you experience these roles described above? How are they aligned with teh meanings of the elements? For example, what would the King of the cups mean in a reading when the Cups are connected with Water and the Kings with Air?
Don't be discouraged, even if interpreting Court cards seems challenging. Many others think so too. First, practice interpreting the other cards of the Minor arcana andthen delve into the Major arcana, and if possible, leave the Court cards last.
If you feel like there's a lot of information and you don't know how to proceed, here are a few tips listed. Here's what you can do next:
Enjoy your journey with the cards!
If you have any questions about the issues I described here, or if something is unclear, please contact me and we can discuss the topic further.
Also, if you feel that it would be good to add some new topics to this article, please tell me about it as well. Thank you!