- Anima / Animus
- Father / Mother
- Wise Elder
An effective method of removing all energy, including negative energy, from a tarot deck.
Personifying playfulness and innocence, children appear in several tarot cards. They remind us of who we have been, and of a time when we were pure and free of the self-importance of adulthood. To reconnect with our inner child is to return to a simpler form of ourselves, one not weighed down by burdens or tangled up in concerns.
Spirit is the fifth element, coming after Earth, Water, Fire, and Air. It resides within each of us, and at its highest level is that which we call God. At its lowest level, it takes the form of a ghost or apparition.
It often takes the form of a winged creature such as an angel.
Spirit uplifts us, makes us more than we are, and provides relief when things are at their worst.
The trickster is an important figure in folklore. Taking such forms as the Joker or Coyote, he embodies cleverness and wit, but also deceit and irresponsibility. He appears to provide comic relief as a jester or clown, but also to humble us, never allowing us to become too full of ourselves. Like a zen koan he makes us think in new ways about ourselves and our motivations. His mischief is most harmful when we take ourselves too seriously, but is neutralized when we learn to laugh at ourselves with sincere pleasure.
The Ercole I d'Este Tarot Deck features the heraldic devices of Ercole I d'Este and his wife, Leonora of Aragona.
The Visconti di Madrone deck features several of the heraldic devices of the Visconti family.
Excerpted from New Light On the Renaissance, Bayley 1909.
Any numerological system is essentially arbitrary. I'm making one up, and I hope it'll be internally consistent. This is how I plan to assign divinatory meanings to the cards, in the hope of someday making my own deck. The general idea is that you combine the suit significance with the numerological significance in order to obtain a more specific meaning. If you are using a pictorial deck, you should also combine this with the impressions left by the card itself. If you look at the various schools of thought on divinatory meanings of cards, it is evident that many of those people used this same method. Please note that this is a work in progress, so your comments are triply appreciated!
Newly updated with additional numerological suggestions as of 5/22/13!
This is probably the oldest form of cartomancy, dating back to the 16th century at least. People would cut the deck to pull one card, essentially to test whether their luck was running high, before making a decision. Similar principles led to the development of solitaire games in the 17th century.
Excerpt from E. S. Taylor's "The history of playing cards, with anecdotes of their use in conjuring, fortune-telling, and card-sharping":
The stormy period of the first Consulship of Napoleon and that of the Empire which followed it, was especially characterized by cartomantic practices in France. At this time, there lived in Paris a famous woman, whose renown as a prophetess will probably not soon pass away. This person was Mlle. Lenormand, whose influence with the empress Josephine, and even Napoleon himself, was said to be considerable.
In various places around this site, you will hear me throw around the words divination and cartomancy as if they were interchangeable. They aren't. In my opinion, before you trust any advice you receive from the cards, you should be very careful to decide where you think that information is coming from.
It's a very interesting question whether one should cold-read one's querent when performing a reading. Some might say that it's a little like cheating, because the cards themselves ought to tell the whole story. To me, there is a very fine line between cold reading and second sight; perhaps it is simply a matter of degrees.
Personally, I disagree. I think that as fortune tellers, we should bring all of our minds to bear on what we are doing, and make use of all of the talents god gave us, including the ability to read people or any other form...
This article describes how to shuffle and lay out the cards.
I remember teachers in school insisting that there was no such thing as a bad question. I disagree wholeheartedly with that idea. I can think of many examples of bad questions, starting with those that trap the listener: "When did you stop beating your wife?" When it comes to reading tarot cards, asking the right question is crucial. Let's start with bad examples, and move up to good examples.
There are several different methods of centering oneself before performing a tarot card reading, each of them valid: meditation, a moment of silence, prayer, or even taking a moment to focus on the breath can help to provide the ambience you want when delving into the secrets of the cards.
The function of this behavior differs greatly depending on what you believe. For materialists, it can help to achieve a state of heightened awareness, remove the influence of negative thoughts, connect with the collective consciousness, and allow the mind to focus on what is directly in front of it; the reading....
I've been thinking about how to make my own tarot deck, and I figure it can't be too terribly hard to do via collage, although it would be incredibly time consuming. That doesn't scare me off because most of the crafts that I do are designed to be time consuming, and this activity seems like it would be deeply cathartic on a spiritual and creative level.
A gorgeous deck of this type was produced by LittleDeadGirl and released free to the public: Cool Tarot by LittleDeadGirl. It can be printed from her website but is also included here for...
Pamela Colman Smith was the skilled artist and seer who was commissioned by fellow member of the Order of the Golden Dawn, Arthur Edward Waite, to illustrate the entire 78 card Tarot deck to his exact specifications, so that any variation introduced would not be her fault.
Before the Rider-Waite deck was published in 1911, there was no modern deck that featured pictures for each of the 78 cards in the deck. Most decks had illustrations only for the Major Arcana, while the rest of the cards featured simply a pattern of easily recognizable pips. Arthur Edward Waite (1857-1942) wanted to publish a complete, modern version of the tarot that featured pictures for each card in the deck, including the minor arcana.
In most Tarot decks, there are certain cards that appear to be pointing in one or both directions. Try to look for this trait as you are reading, as it may help to give you some context for the other cards.
In the original games played with a tarot deck, taking tricks of cards was often the entire point of the game. It is appropriate, then, that we should look for the same tendency to form sets that the cards possess through their nature. In some readings, you may find that you received a large number of one suit, or a large number of one designation. There are varying viewpoints on what this might mean.
660-670, China: First example of printing on paper. Early xylography was accomplished with hemp paper and woodblocks.
100s CE, Rome: The codex format is used for the first time. A codex is the very earliest form of book that we had that looks like a book. Before the invention of the codex, all knowledge was written in scrolls or on tablets, or the walls of monuments. This was the first time we could leaf through information in such a convenient manner.
Cubical dice, descended from Astralgi or sheeps' knuckle bones, made their way from Sumeria throughout the world. They had arrived in India by the 600s, and China by the 700s.
The game was often referred to as "gold speckled leaves", which does make it sound quite a lot like early gold-leaf Tarot cards. Many scholars will tell you that playing cards were invented in 827 because they have conflated these two games. If there is any relationship between these games, which I doubt, it is this:
Alphonse Louis Constant (a.k.a. Éliphas Lévi Zahed) was a famous French occultist and kabbalist who revolutionized the field of cartomancy. Had it not been for Lévi, the theories of Court de Gebelin might never have become popular.
Jean Baptiste Alliette (a.k.a. Etteilla) was an influential French occultist who helped establish the occult nature of the Tarot. Had it not been for Etteilla, the theories of Court de Gebelin might never have become popular. It was Alliette who made divination with the Tarot popular.
Papus was a French doctor, hypnotist, and occultist, who founded the modern Martinist Order and helped to popularize occultism. He was born in Spain in 1865, but his family moved to Paris when he was four years old, and he received his education there. He wrote about the Tarot from a Kabbalistic perspective, and was an expert on the works of Éliphas Lévi.
Antoine Court de Gébelin (c. 1719-1784) was a French pastor who initiated the rumor that the Tarot represented the remnants of the Book of Thoth, the wisdom of the ancient pharaohs. He was incorrect, but his theory gained widespread popularity and it has taken over two hundred years to truly dispense with his ideas. Even today, there are people who believe that the Tarot is the Book of Thoth.
On the twenty-third day of the sixth month in the thirty-first year of the zhiyuan period (17 July 1294), we caught Yan Sengzhu and Zheng Zhugou playing cards, and have also found wood blocks to print cards. Each person has admitted to the truth of the accusation. We have, according to the rules, passed judgement and punished correctly the organizer Lu Donger, accessory to gambling Zheng Zhugou, the owner of the premises Jiang Sier, and the block printer Ye Lin, and dispatched to the Ever-abundant Treasury for deposit the nine cards (zhipai) that were about to be destroyed, and...