Tarot Cards Are More Than Just A Cute Decoration
by Jaclyn Lupo
Once mere playing cards in Europe, now psychic tools and new age instruments, Tarot cards are everywhere from tapestries to t-shirts, thanks to Urban Outfitters. It’s about time we get up close and personal with the infamous tarot deck.
The mystic and cosmic beauty of tarot cards alone is enough to want to jump on the trend and buy some for yourself. Although these cards cannot predict the future, they will offer valuable advice. They’ll help make sense of the past, provide clarity into the present, and counsel the future. Although there are many skeptics, tarot cards are a powerful divination tool to ease stressors and provide guidance.
Traditional tarot decks contain 78 cards, and each card holds a unique meaning. The images, pictures, and numbers on each card serve to tell the story of the person of interest. Essentially a tarot spread is created, wherein each card connects to the next. Think of it like this: each tarot card is like a chapter, and when you line up the cards in a particular pattern, you get a unique story. It’s then the reader’s job to interpret the cards and use symbolism to provide insight into the sitter’s life.
Although traditionally this was a two-person phenomenon, it’s becoming more and more common for people to perform their own readings. This makes for a more intimate experience, allowing for a deep dive into the self without any fear of judgment. Considering that a tarot deck can help one align their life, readings make for a great self-care activity. New Age spirituality allows for a personalized experience with the spiritual self, which is why every tarot interaction is unique and provides the person of interest with exactly what they need.
In the past, tarot cards have spiked controversy, specifically with the Church. The Catholic Church condemns any witchy activities, including tarot cards. The argument is that when Catholics are feeling lost in their lives, they must turn to God. It’s a sin to put your faith into anything other than him, especially when you’re asking big questions about your life journey. These ideas are valid, however, speaking as someone who was raised Catholic, I found the most peace in my life when I turned towards alternative spiritual realms. That’s not to say that I do not believe in God, it’s more that I wanted to add to my spiritual practice, and tarot cards were the best tool for me.
My family is interesting; everyone is a devoted Catholic except my grandmother, who toyed with the ideas of informal witchcraft more often than not. It was she who introduced me to the oracle and encouraged me to buy my own deck of tarot cards. Growing up, I’d escape to her house where we would watch Long Island Medium on TLCand chat about spirits, psychics, and all things New Age.
My tarot card readings are incorporated into a self-care ritual to help me make sense of the world around me. Not only do tarot cards seem to pave a path in the right direction, but they are grounding, inspiring a meditative mindset. During the reading, I feel myself surrendering to the cards, letting go of what no longer serves me. They are a physical reminder that I am not in this world alone because everything is interconnected.
Let’s take a deep dive into the tarot decks now:
First things first, all magical practices are rooted in the Hermetic axiom “as above, so below.” This means that the macrocosm, aka the universe as a whole, is reflected in the microcosm, the individual. In regards to the tarot deck, it means that each card represents a place, person, or event within the cosmos. The deck is then broken into the Major and Minor Arcadea. The Major Arcadea cards speak to great, monumental secrets, revealing powerful messages that often punctuate significant moments in life. These cards are numbered chronologically, representing different moments on the timeline of life. On the contrary, the Minor Arcadea cards have a more subtle role, sharing everyday matters. They showcase ordinary, mundane actions triggered by human behaviors. The Minor Arcadea cards are broken into four suits and numbered. However, these numbers reveal the stage of the event, where the ace is the beginning and the 10 is the end. The court cards represent one understanding of a circumstance on an individual level, with the progression from Priest/Priestess to King showing increasing levels of wisdom. The suits (swords, pentacles, wands, cups) correspond with unique astrological elements, each suggesting a unique sphere of influence.
When the Major and Minor Arcadea cards are shuffled together, they create a comprehensive story capable of revealing deep truths. When performing a reading, it is essential to “clear” the deck via shuffling to open the doors to different spiritual dimensions. Remember, each card symbolizes a person, circumstance, or potential outcome, so the objective of reading is to manifest a narrative between the chosen cards. Of course, this will take lots of practice, and fortunately, each deck comes with a small book to help you understand the meaning of each card, so you don’t have to have all this memorized! Tarot requires patience and time, so allow yourself to embrace the journey if you seek to be fluent in the pictorial language of these cards.
All in all, tarot provides rich insight into our own lives but is no more powerful than a mere coin toss or a game of rocks/paper/scissors/shoot. However, these cards will help sharpen your intuition and guide you if that is what you seek. There’s no harm in trying something new and exploring different approaches to spirituality. The most important thing is to enjoy your life and learn a bit about yourself along the journey.