The most fascinating collection of ancient secret lore, compressed into codes and symbols that are embedded into beautiful imagery, is what makes up the tarot. The true origins of the tarot, shrouded in mystery, are yet to be discovered. Occulists have tried to trace its origins back to anicent Egypt, others to Tibet, Babylon and some have even gone as far as claiming that it originated in Atlantis! The first recorded appearance of the tarot, however, was in medieval france in about 1930.
Feared and misuderstood by many who have failed to interpret its shadowy symbolism, the tarot earned the false reputation of being the "devil's picture book". Nevertheless, the cards have survived through the centuries spawning today's playing cards along the way and becoming an indespensible divinatory and meditative tool occultists, esoterists, magicians and witches.
Many variations to the original tarot of Europe exist today, and there are many decks to choose from. It is recommended to start with the Rider-Waite deck as the illustrations carry the least complex symbolism, but you can ofcourse look at all the decks available on the market and choose the one that appeals to you the most, if it 'calls out' to you, than that's the one.
After you've purchased your deck, spend time with it. Examine the cards, try to put time aside for that, you can even perform a simple or elaborate ritual to break in your new deck. You can use props such as inscense, candles and crystals, you can request the presence and aid of your guides/dieties/angels, whatever you prefer to work with, or you can simply go through the cards, examine and meditate on their meanings. Either way, try to spare time everyday to 'connect to' or create a 'bond' with your deck and charge it with your energy.
As for storage, I personally recommend that you keep your cards in their original cardboard box, as I feel it holds and protects them from damage and helps prevent the cards' edges from becoming tattered. You can then place them in a wooden box or make or purchase a pouch to put your deck in if you carry it around with you.
Start doing readings for your friends, family and yourself. Some tarot readers prefer not read for themselves, but its a great way to practise, and will give you plenty of insight into many areas of your life and will aid in the develpoment fo your intuitive skills. There are plenty of spreads you can use, you can even make up your own when you have enough experience with the tarot. I draw a card every morning to meditate on for a short while, and I use the 'Celtic Spread' for readings.
I personally don't use any props during a reading, except maybe a candle sometimes and a silk purple cloth to lay the cards out on. I silently ask my guides to help me during the reading and I hold the deck against my third eye or my heart for a few seconds and visualize energy flowing into the deck, I then shuffle and lay the cards out. Ofcourse this is my way, you should use whatever method of preparation you feel is right for you prior to a reading.
Suggested News Resources
- The Tarot Society Brings Esoteric Sound to Out to See Fest
- New York is in the middle of a tarot revival. We live in a city where covens like the Witches of Bushwick host parties covered by The New York Times and occult shops run by young practitioners are thriving.
- Making the Tarot Literary Again
- Jessa Crispin's “The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life” aims to show that tarot cards, long associated with the occult, can be useful for creative pursuits. Credit Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
- Queering the Tarot: The Moon
- Perhaps it is because I am a most stereotypical Pisces, but The Moon has always been one of the most important tarot cards to me, and in many ways sums up the Tarot's intention and purpose in and of itself.
- Sperryville's Cara Cutro: Teaching the tarot
- She's studied mysticism all her life, with a focus on tarot and astrology and says that she was “influenced by her father who was an astrologer, and a keeper of esoteric wisdom and knowledge.
- a tarot-inspired Hollywood fable
- In tarot, the Knight of Cups is a wayward prince who drinks from a chalice and forgets who he is while on a mission from his father.