Today on the blog, we’re answering some of your most asked questions about tarot and using tarot cards. Without further ado, let’s get to those questions, shall we?
Q. How many cards are there in a standard tarot deck?
A. Let’s start with the basics. A tarot deck is formed of 78 cards. 22 of them are grouped together in the Major Arcana, which includes named cards such as The Fool, The Emperor, The Lovers, and Death. The other 56 cards make up the Minor Arcana, which is made up of four suits: Cups, Coins, Wands and Swords.
Q. There are so many tarot decks available – how do I choose the right one for me?
A. You may have heard people say you should never buy yourself a tarot deck. Everyone has their own opinion about this, but we believe that every deck is special whether it’s a gift from a loved one or a gift to yourself. It’s important to find a tarot deck you connect with and enjoy using, so take your time when selecting one.
Some decks emphasise a particular theme, varying from more traditional imagery, which you may enjoy for its connections to the past, to more contemporary artwork, which you may find more relatable. Many decks also come with guidebooks from the author, which can give you more information on why they chose a particular theme and how they suggest using that particular deck.
Q. How do I prepare to do a reading?
A. It’s good to be as relaxed as possible when you perform a reading for yourself or others. Spend five minutes or so emptying your mind and breathing slowly and deeply. Tune your attention, but without preparing yourself for a great mental effort: you are not sitting an exam. Approach the cards with a clear, open mind – as in meditation – and let the symbolism of the cards speak to you. Don’t try to shape the meaning of the cards to fit your conscious wishes. If you believe that there is a ‘correct answer’, you might be approaching the cards with the wrong attitude. You are a seeker, and you are grateful for any glimpses of truth the cards may bring you.
Q. What kind of shapes, layouts or spreads should I make from the cards?
A. Many tarot users will vary the layout they use depending on the question they want to ask. A seven-card horseshoe is often chosen by people who are pondering personal and sometimes practical problems. Shuffle the cards and lay them out face down, then meditate for as long as feels right before beginning to turn over the cards.
Card one represents the past and the influences upon you that may have a bearing on the problem. Card two represent the present and the psychological and spiritual effects that the problem may be having on you. Cards three and four symbolise the personal qualities that may help you to resolve the problem. Cards five and six symbolise the qualities that may hinder the resolution. Card seven suggests how you may avoid similar problems in the future.
A guidebook included with your tarot deck will often suggest spreads specific to that deck (as well as offering deck-specific insight), so try them out and see if they resonate with you!
Why not have a look at some of our decks to learn about tarot first-hand?
The Cathar Tarot is a living book of images. It takes as its starting point the beliefs of the Cathars, which were in turn founded on the ancient belief system known as Gnosticism. Though the pack follows the basic outlines of the traditional tarot, many of the original archetypes have been replaced with those drawn from Cathar belief.
Taking the core ideals of the Chakra Wisdom system and the seven-chakra structure and applying it to the traditional 78-card tarot system, Chakra Wisdom Tarot is a tremendously insightful and powerful manifesting tool. Honouring the deep tradition and heritage of tarot, Tori’s application of the Chakra Wisdom system to this structure is one that will trigger personal insights, intuitive paths and powerful awareness.
This kit is a tarot classic, combining inspiring, luminous illustrations that make the symbolism of the cards easy to grasp with a guidebook that clarifies the mysteries and symbolism of the Tarot and encourages users as they embark on their own journey of self-discovery with the cards.