Learning the meanings of the Tarot cards is like learning the rules of English.
Until you know them, you cannot write in an individual style. Having learned the conventional meaning, you might find that a certain card speaks to you in another way.
So be it.
We all see the world differently, and if the message you glean from the card is in tune with your psyche, who can say you are wrong?
At first, you may find it helpful to write the meanings on labels and paste these to the back of cards.
The person who reads the cards is known as the reader.
The person they are reading for is the querent.
It is the custom to wrap the Tarot cards in a black cloth, preferably silk, which is thought to protect them from both negative and positive vibrations.
Most readers allow no one to touch their cards, which they believe to possess their personal aura. Preparing for a Reading If you have psychic ability, concentrating on the cards can give you insights into future or past events.
If your intuition is as yet undeveloped, practice will help it to grow and strengthen.
An awareness of the spiritual dimension of life, plus a trust in the intuitional faculty, can lead to the development of a psychic sense, which will be peculiarly the property of each reader.
You will eventually be able to give the cards distinctly individual interpretations, but before this stage is reached, the traditional meanings must be learned and card-reading practiced to enable intuition, inner awareness, and sensitivity to others to develop.
Asking a Question
Although it has long been customary for the querent to ask a specific question, people often prefer not to divulge personal information especially if they are skeptical of the reader’s psychic ability.
Sometimes querents ask about an unimportant issue because they are afraid to express, or even to confront, what is really worrying them. In spite of this, the intuitive reader can usually offer the advice needed to solve the real problem.
Readers who know that they possess strong telepathic powers and are concerned that they could tune directly into the querent’s mind, rather than their own subconscious, often insist on using a second deck of cards.
This is both shuffled and set out by the querent to check that the psychic evaluation is the same.
Relaxing and Empathy
To begin a reading it is important to relax the mind so that it is open to the messages the Tarot symbols will send you. When you have decided which spread (layout) to use, and are ready to set out the cards, spend a few moments meditating or praying for guidance.
You can also protect yourself by visualizing a shining gold ring encircling your body and then closing up around your chest. Some psychics do this to safeguard themselves against an encounter with people of a strongly combative or negative nature that can drain their energy.
If you sense a loving positiveness in your querent, however, visualize building a golden bridge between that person and yourself.
Remember that in every reading, no matter what negative messages the cards bring, you must always try to put yourself in the querent’s place and interpret them in the kindest way possible.
Choosing a Significator
In several of the methods of setting out the cards, such as the Celtic Cross spread used throughout this book, your first task is to select a card to represent the querent (who you are doing the reading for). This card is known as the Significator.
If the querent’s question is of an emotional or spiritual nature, it is traditional to choose a card from the major arcana, the Pope for a male or the High Priestess for a female.
If the question concerns material matters, however, the Significator is usually a court card from one of the suits of the minor arcana. Many readers prefer to use court cards whatever the question.
In addition to their individual meanings, the court cards denote a person’s age, sex, and coloring, as illustrated to the right.
Your querent may not fall neatly into a single category, so you must use your judgment to choose the card you feel most closely represents him or her.
Older people are generally represented by Pentacles or Cups when their hair goes gray.
As you become more intuitive, you may prefer to choose a Significator that represents the querent’s inner qualities rather than outward appearance.
In addition, although the cards are portrayed as male or female, the attributes they represent can apply to either sex.
Because maturity varies with the individual and is not necessarily linked to chronological age, an experienced reader might sense that the querent is older or younger than the representative card suggests, and has qualities associated with a court card of a different sex than their own.
Areas of Meaning
Always analyze a larger spread before carrying out a smaller, more specific reading, in order to obtain an overall view of the querent’s future prospects.
Study all the cards in the spread.
If a number of the major arcana appear, it will denote that the events they portray will be of lasting importance to the querent. It could also signify that the querent has a strong and courageous nature and definite views on life.
See if you feel there are too few or too many of the major arcana cards present.
Too many can indicate a strongly controlled person, who cannot express his or her true feelings and may be near to breaking point.
Too few can denote deep inner distress because the querent is not facing his or her problems squarely.
The meanings of the major arcana will overshadow those of the minor, but the minor will add more clarity to the foreseen events and give more depth to the spiritual and emotional problems the querent may encounter.
The four suits of the minor arcana represent the four elements, and the preponderance of any minor suit in a spread means that the area it rules should be paramount in the reading.
The primary areas ruled by each suit are as follows:
Wands symbolize fire, life, growth, and work of all kinds.
Cups denote water, emotions of love and pleasure, the subconscious, fertility, and beauty.
Pentacles represent the earth, the five senses, money, magic, and trade.
Swords stand for spiritual struggle, physical conflict, courage in the face of hostility, and strength in adversity.
If the querent has a specific problem, choose one of the smaller spreads, using only the relevant suit of the minor arcana:
For career matters, use Wands.
For emotional matters, use Cups.
For spiritual conflict or decision, use Swords.
For money matters, use Pentacles.
If the problem concerns deep spiritual issues or choices, the major arcana should be used instead.
If there is a preponderance of court cards in any spread, it indicates that many people are involved in the situation, although sometimes a court card can mean an event rather than a person, and occasionally both.
The inner qualities of the court cards may mirror the querent’s own inner nature, or the card may depict a person with those qualities who will act as a catalyst to teach the querent more about themselves and so assist in their self-development.
Sometimes a court card will turn up in a spread representing the querent as either older or younger than he or she actually is, possibly because that person is either perpetually young at heart or perhaps preternaturally bowed down by worry or hedged around by tradition and convention.