Tarotsmith Blog

Introduction to Tarot Cards

There is a dense fog of misconception about the tarot, as it relates to the nature of space and time. I have used the tarot for the past 2 decades — as an instrument to gain deep insight and understanding. With much practice, this tool has become a part of me, as I have learned the hard way what it can and cannot do. Though it is often depicted as a fortune telling device, the tarot is not exactly such a thing. It does not lay out the future in black and white, making life a breeze by giving away all the answers in advance, because you give your birthright away to the whims of circumstance if you believe the future is set in stone (although from the spiritual perspective, it may well be).

Basically the tarot is an instrument used to gain insight through the exploration of symbolism. It is a tool of personal transformation which can weave the threads of the mind and spirit together as one. Enhancing awareness, it expands personal boundaries by highlighting choices as the spreads, card positions, and esoteric symbols give birth to a story, one that is trying to answer your specific question. If you want to be in the driver’s seat, it is important to live life as if the future was not entirely predestined. Like getting a grade on a test, you have certain objectives and lessons that are part of the course which is life. Some students do well, others will not make the grade, but each student shapes their own learning through experience. Tarot, when used properly, is not simply a tool for investigation to help the querent make more informed decisions. It acts as a study guide, like viewing history charts reveals repeating undesirable behavior patterns. The tarot tells a story, each card’s imagery representing different personality traits, attitudes, actions, etc., and through these pictures a story begins to unfold. Ultimately, the outcome is entirely in your hands.

As it is with other controversial subjects, it is human nature to fear and label things as potential threats when we don’t understand them. Typically things that are outside one’s comfort zone are avoided rather than explored. We live in a society not far removed from torturing witches and heretics into confession, reminiscent of the famous Kennedy quote “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Engramatic irrational fear is responsible for all kinds of completely absurd knee-jerk reactions. The Tarot was not mentioned in the Bible – or any other holy book for that matter, having not been invented until somewhere between the 14th and 15th century AD. Holy books should be kept in context, taken symbolically and not so literally, the same way dreams and tarot cards are interpreted – through divination: the art of unifying one’s earthly will with the will of the divine. If we were to interpret the Holy Bible literally, we would still be pelting our neighbors to death with stones, and few, if any, would survive the onslaught.

A realistic reader does not present the tarot as an elitist tool; anybody can learn to read tarot cards. The mark of a good reader displays confidence and self-empowerment, not dependency. Once I became accustomed to the psychic levels of the universal consciousness, my love for tarot has never wavered. I still use it often in concert with other skills, in readings for myself and others. Like a sixth sense, tarot somehow validates my other senses in a way that cannot be described with words. It ties all of my loose ends together.

The cards also come in handy for many purposes such as inspiration for writing, meditation, reflection, as well as spiritual guidance. Practical uses for tarot cards are limitless. Today there are seemingly limitless decks that reflect many disparate spiritual paths, styles of art, languages, etc. Tarot decks are not restricted to any particular religious faith, or to levels of reading ability. Many beginners find that intricate occult tarot decks filled with esoteric symbolism or overly detailed artwork can distract from the learning process, so it is often recommended to start out with a very basic deck such as the Rider-Waite. Its rather blunt, matter-of-fact style was developed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. More advanced decks tend to be easier to learn once a feel for the Rider-Waite has been developed.