By Stefan Stenudd
I'm a Swedish writer, astrologer, and aikido instructor. In addition to fiction, I've written books about astrology, Taoism, and other Chinese and Japanese traditions. I'm also a historian of ideas, researching the thought patterns in creation myths. Here is my personal website: stenudd.com
Divination Reading with the Tarot Card Deck
Tarot is the extended deck of cards, usually 78, used for divination reading. It's an old tradition, dating back to the Renaissance. Here's how to do it, and the meanings of all the Tarot cards. You can also try it out online for free.
Tarot Online ReadingThe link below is to the webpage on this site where you can get your own free Tarot card spread and reading. It's the Celtic Cross, the most established and used of the Tarot spreads. Deal the cards and read their meanings. I recommend you to read about the Celtic Cross spread first (see the link to the left and below), but if you're impatient you can go ahead and try the Tarot Online reading immediately:
Divination by ImagesIt must be understood that the Tarot cards work by images, especially the Rider-Waite card deck, which has descriptive and meaningful images for all the 78 Tarot cards. And that's the thing.
Since the Renaissance, Tarot cards were decorated with allegorical images, carrying lots of symbolic meanings familiar to people at the time. When they saw these images, their minds went spinning on how to interpret them in relation to the question at hand. That's still the best way of working with the Tarot cards.
Any Tarot card deck with a number of images that are meaningful and suggestive to the viewer will inspire an enlighting reading. Watch the pictures and let your mind spin. The Tarot card meanings are in the images.
That's why, ulitmately, you need to make your own Tarot card deck with the images to which you relate the most, the ones that make you react and get your imagination going. The Tarot card images with the most meaning to you. Maybe you can use your photo album, or search the internet for pictures you find significant - somewhat like the old tradition of collecting material for a scrapbook.
Until then, I recommend you work with the Rider-Waite Tarot card deck, which has wonderfully suggestive images, rich with meaning, on all the 78 Tarot cards - although these pictures are very evidently from an era other than ours. These Tarot cards were originally published in 1909. Read more about them here:
The Major ArcanaThe Tarot card deck consists of 78 cards: 22 in the Major Arcana and 56 in the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana cards are the trumps, which are unsuited. Each card represents a major force to be taken quite seriously when appearing in divination. Read more about the Major Arcana and the meanings of the Tarot cards in it:
The Minor ArcanaThe 56 Tarot cards of the Minor Arcana are divided into four suits: Wands, Pentacles (also called Coins), Cups, and Swords. Each suit has its general meaning, and each card of it brings its very own message in a divination. Read more about the Minor Arcana and the meanings of the Tarot cards in it:
The Tarot Celtic Cross SpreadIn divination with the Tarot cards, there are different spreads used. By far the most famous and used Tarot card spread is the Celtic Cross, which consists of ten Tarot cards, each with its own specific meaning. Here's how to do the Celtic Cross Tarot card spread, and how to read it:
Tarot Card DecksPlaying cards are originally of Chinese invention, documented already in the 9th century, but the actual Tarot cards appeared in Europe around 1440, also at first for card games. The European use of the Tarot card decks for divination, cartomancy, where all the cards were given their divinatory meanings, commenced already in the 16th century and grew during the following centuries. That's just about its only use today, and it has become widely spread.
This website focuses on the Tarot card use for divination, how it's done and what divinatory meanings the Tarot cards contain.
I use the Rider-Waite Tarot card deck, which is by far the most popular one, although there are lots of others (see the links on the left menu). It's my favorite Tarot card deck, too - until I find the time to make my own version, which is what I really recommend for everyone who finds delight in divination with Tarot cards. That's how to perfect it.
Here are the most famous variations of the Tarot card deck from the 15th century until today:
Tarot and Playing CardsThe Tarot card deck has many similarities to regular playing cards. That's no surprise, since they have the same origin. But there are also significant differences, not only in the number of cards each deck contains. Read more about it here: