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Tarot - a Brief Introduction

Author: Lori Hampson

TAROT a brief introduction

The Tarot has many myths, mysteries and misconceptions associated with it and it is often regarded with suspicion. It is one of the most enigmatic systems of divination and prediction and has fascinated all who have come into contact with it for hundreds of years. No one really knows for certain how or when the Tarot began as its origins remain shrouded in mystery although the general opinion is that it originated in the 15th Century in Northern Italy. Since then, Tarot cards have been used for gaming, fortune-telling, meditation, psychological insight, ritual, creative inspiration and healing.

These days, the Tarot Reader is much less likely to use the Tarot as a 'fortune telling' device and more likely to use it for advice, guidance, empowerment and enlightenment both for others and her/himself. I believe that the future is not set in stone or predestined as our free will and the decisions and choices we make can change the direction in which we are travelling. The Tarot can help us to make these decisions and choices by showing us options that we may not have considered before. Sometimes we can be so involved in a situation that we cannot see the way forward.

The Tarot does not take away our free will or ability to make choices for our self and does not predict a fixed, unchanging future. It is best to consider a Tarot reading as advice and guidance.

A standard Tarot deck consists of 78 cards depicting scenes, symbols and images which can seem mysterious, curious, fascinating, disturbing or even amusing. There are 22 cards in the Major Arcana (Arcana means secrets) and 56 cards in the Minor Arcana. Each card of the Major Arcana symbolises an aspect of human experience or one of the life lessons that we need to learn. The cards of the Minor Arcana represent the day to day events and happenings, the dramas of our everyday lives and are divided into four suits. These suits can be compared to a standard pack of playing cards. The suit of Wands relates to Clubs, the suit of Pentacles relates to Diamonds, the Swords to Spades and the Cups to Hearts.

There are literally hundreds of different styles and themes of Tarot decks to suit all tastes and needs. Many of the early packs are French in design for example the Tarot de Marseilles and this deck is still very popular today. Some are more suitable for beginners than others for example the Rider-Waite (or similar) but it is important to choose a deck that suits you, one that you like looking at, one that you feel you can relate to and which stimulates your imagination. Take a good look around before you buy. Look on the internet; some books have lots of pictures of different cards and some shops have display packs to look at. If you like dragons - get a deck which features dragons, if you are into Medieval art - get one that features this type of artwork, if fairies or angels are what you are into - then get one of these decks. Although the pictorial images of the cards of different decks vary considerably, the basic essence of what each card is saying is the same. It is unlikely that you will be unable to find a deck that appeals to you or that you feel comfortable with.

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About the Author:

Tarot reader, Lori Hampson, offers advice and guidance for all life's challenges through her website. Please visit for further insights and information on Tarot readings, Tarot cards, events and Tarot in general.

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