Since the 1400’s tarot cards have enjoyed great popularity. The 78 card deck was originally used among the Italian nobility to play games of cards, much as the modern poker or pinochle card deck is used today. These games, called tarrochini eventually spread throughout Europe.
The tarot cards, which many think of today as being used only for purposes of divination, actually did not begin to be used in that fashion until the 1700s when occultists and mystics began to use them to read fortunes.
The tarot deck is comprised of suits, much like regular playing cards. There are four of these, cups, swords, rods and coins which correspond to the suits of hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds respectively. These cards (like modern playing cards) number from ace to ten (referred to as pips), and four face cards, for a total of 14 cards in each suit. These cards, numbering 56 are generally referred to as the Minor (or Lesser) Arcana.
What makes tarot card decks unique from the average deck of playing cards is the addition of another 22 cards referred to as the Major Arcana. The cards are numbered in Roman numerals from one to twenty-two; The Fool (the first in the sequence) card can serve the same purpose as the Joker in a poker deck—a wild card—when the tarot is used for game play.
The Major Arcana is most often used in divination as the primary deck with the images on the face of each card relating to various life aspects and influences working in the life of the person being “read”. The Minor Arcana cards may also be used to show more influences and minute detail.
The tarot cards have many layouts, called spreads, which vary from simple to very complex. As may be surmised, the more simple spreads utilize only the Major Arcana, the most complex use the entire 78 card deck.
Learning how to read tarot cards requires gaining a thorough knowledge of what each card represents. The process is complicated by the fact that the orientation of the cards affects meaning (for example an upside-down card in a spread means that the original meaning of the card is reversed) as does the placement next to another card in the divination spread. Cards are said to influence each other in the latter instance.
Tarot cards are enjoying great popularity in the modern age, a search engine query of tarot cards for sale will reveal hundreds of different decks. While the structure remains loosely the same as the traditional card sets (Ride-Waite), the theme of the cards as represented in the artwork on the cards can vary widely. Theme tarot decks may feature particular animals (cats); or a style of art (a popular recent deck is “steampunk”, a sci-fi blend of historical and modern technology); a geographic location (a Russian themed deck with beautiful art inspired by St. Petersburg) and many dozens of others.
Theme decks also often feature the work of one particular artist; some are so beautiful that they are collected as art and not as divination tools.
As noted previously there are a vast number of tarot card spreads which range from easy to incredibly complex. Each tarot card deck sold comes with an instruction sheet that provides at least one or two simple free tarot spreads. There are any number of books available that teach tarot deck spreads; some general in nature, some offering up a variety, some devoted to the more complicated divination spreads. Still others may be devoted to one particular type of spread, such as love tarot spreads.
Information on the various spreads is also plentiful on the internet.
Tarot card meanings
Tarot cards meanings, as also previously noted, are influenced by many things. The card orientation; placement in a spread next to other cards; they are also different from one reader to the next to at least some degree. Those who become highly proficient with the tarot cards may eventually develop their own systems of tarot meaning. These may be based on the traditional meanings for each card or may vary a great deal according to the tarot card interpretation experience of the reader or expert.
Once again, there are many sources available for tarot card meanings; many books and many websites devoted to traditional and interpretative meanings of the cards.
The tarot card reading is often linked with gypsies in the modern imagination thanks to the influences of modern media which tend to put forth these stereotypes. While modern day gypsies (more properly the Romani people) may engage in this activity, the truth is that any number of people perform tarot card readings. Some may fancy themselves psychics, others astrologists or numerologists; still others may include psychic mediums who use the tarot to communicate with the spirit world.
Gone are the days, if they ever existed, of entering a gypsy reader’s tent, in today’s world a reading can happen anywhere, even remotely, via the internet or via other means of communication.
In general, no matter who does the reading or where it takes place, there is most often a charge to have a tarot reading done. Fees will vary on the experience of the reader, the means by which the reading is done, and other factors.
That said there are ways to find a free tarot reading. There may be a booth at a local psychic faire that will offer up a free tarot card reading as a promotional device, hoping you will become interested enough to buy a more advanced reading or decks or literature the person offering the reading may be offering.
Promotional offers like this also tend to crop up regularly with professional readers on social media; online tarot websites, psychic hotlines and websites; the sources are endless.
Those searching for free tarot are probably most likely these days to be exposed to free tarot reading online offers. One should always read the fine print on these offers to avoid disappointment and financial complications. Since tarot reading is a commodity like any other, the idea of a free reading is usually a marketing device.
Depending on the respectability of the source of the offer, the reading that is actually free may be very limited in scope; you may be requested to pay money for an expert interpretation of the reading, you may be enticed by another offer such as a love tarot reading for a small additional charge; or it may be the free love tarot reading that is put out there as the promotional device. Everyone always wants to know about their “true love” or the future of their love lives, sometimes the offer is just too difficult to pass up.
Bottom line? Just be careful of “free” anything—there are usually strings attached!
Due to plentiful online tarot reading websites and offers, this is usually the place that the general public will be introduced to the cards and their interpretation. If not in the course of an online search, then most likely through involvement in social media. Social media is used as a business tool as much as entertainment in our digital age, and like any other source of a service or product, marketing strategy is in full play online.
The promise of a cheap tarot reading, just like offers of free readings, may be too difficult to resist for the curious. A free or cheap reading is not necessarily the same thing as a fake tarot reading, but seekers should always exercise caution, and shop around carefully if they want a real tarot reading from a respectable reader. Think of it as doing research before making a purchase, even if the price is low. If the quality of the reading is important to you, you must know where to turn to find an authentic source.
In our modern, connected world, there are technological advances that make it easy to find and receive tarot readings. These include programs and services for tarot chat sessions; phone tarot readings from a live reader; email tarot readings, even text tarot readings.
But how to find the best tarot reading with so many sources and methods available?
Once again it is a matter of research. Chat tarot readings can be text only or can incorporate a video chat element depending on the program. Whenever possible it Is recommended that the actual reading of the cards incorporate some visual element of the cards being laid out, in real time. Otherwise it could be that a so called reader is actually working from a script, and is able to glean information from you that make the reading seem personalized by asking carefully worded questions. This can also be a danger with phone, text and email readings, which may be supplemented via information gathered from a quick online search of your name and location. Don’t be fooled by psychic tarot readings; while there are honest and good psychics out there offering tarot card readings, there are also charlatans looking to make a quick buck.
The watchword is to always be careful when it comes to any virtual tarot reading method–one where you are not in the same room with the reader and watching them lay out the cards.
Website daily tarot card services are often automated programs embedded into the website. Your reading is generated by choosing cards (they are usually face down, and generated by the program once you click on them) and entering your name. The click of a button will bring you a reading based on the cards generated. Usually these programs involve simple spreads; three cards on average, under the headings of love, career and mood for example. Other programs offer up a tarot card of the day for everyone, with the option to enter information for a more personalized tarot reading for today.
Daily tarot card readings can also be sent to your cell or smart phone; as well as being sent by text or email. Again these are usually limited card spreads or a single card said to have the most influence on that particular day.
In most cases on the internet horoscope tarot reading refers to the format of the reading rather than the type of reading. A daily horoscope is something a vast number of people check every day, either online or via their daily newspaper. Most do not even believe in astrology and may not know their own star sign (which is why daily horoscopes usually incorporate the month and date range with the sign reading). Public familiarity with the concept of a horoscope may make people more receptive to a daily tarot reading.
Sometimes a psychic site or an astrological website will offer a combination of horoscope, tarot reading and numerology report of the day services. The type of reading here may include all three elements or a single type of daily offering.
So how does the average person find reliable tarot readers? Once again, research is key. Ask your friends; visit the local new age/occult bookshop, check out review sites and buyer beware cautionary sites. Comparison shop like you would for a new TV, ask folks on social media sites where you are a member.
Avoid any tarot reader or psychic that claims that you have a curse on you that they can remove—for a fee; or if they offer to place one on someone else on your behalf. No true psychic or tarot reader will make any such offer as it violates the universal law of free will to which any legitimate reader or psychic subscribes.
Another way to spot a likely tarot reading scam artist is if the so-called reader offers to sell charms or provide winning lottery numbers. If psychics had the ability to know winning lottery numbers, they’d all be billionaires and not offering readings to the rest of us mere mortals, they’d be hoarding the numbers for their own benefit!
In the case of charms or trinkets—sales pressure is the deciding factor. Many legitimate tarot readers and psychics may have these kinds of items for sale as a way to supplement income. It is when the reader in question tells you that the charm is something that you must buy or dire consequences will ensue, or something magical and wonderful will happen to you only if you buy that your scam alarm should activate.
Tarot readers, even more than psychics are only able to illuminate general influences and possibilities. When your reading involves a specific question, the true tarot reader will not offer up a decision for you, they will show you options based on what the cards tell them about your situation, they may offer suggestions that will aid you in finding your own answer. But the true answer to any question will always reside in you; the best reading will give you a sense of empowerment to control your own life and make your own decisions.
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