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Samhain, the witches' new year (also called Halloween) is around the corner and the veil between worlds is getting thinner. It is the perfect time to embody our inner witch, pull some tarot cards and start mastering the ART OF TAROT !

You don't have to be psychic to use Tarot cards. You do need, however, to be in tune with your intuition. Our intuitions are our natural ability to instinctively sense things in the world around us. Intuition has nothing to do with our cognitive abilities. It is a gut feeling we get regardless of the logistics of a particular situation. Intuition lets us know when something is wrong when all appears right. For example, there are times when we may meet someone who appears wonderful to everyone but we still may feel something is not right with that person. We may not be able to put our finger on it but we know something isn't quite as it should be. That is our intuition warning us. What happens in a case like this is that although we will act friendly outwardly inwardly we are guarded because of the feeling we have on a gut level.

To be an effective reader one does not have to be psychic per say but should be attuned to their intuition. The more we use our intuition in regards to interpreting the tarot the stronger it becomes. It's like anything else. The more you do something, like using your intuition in this case, the better you become. Tarot cards are tools with which to focus our intuitive senses on. They are like a medium to our intuitive body. We use our intuition to focus on the person being read to get an accurate picture of what is going on in that person's life.

Some people are naturally intuitive and even psychic while others have to work a little harder to get the same sense of what's going on. When you buy a box of tarot cards they are not “magic” in and of themselves. It's the reader's energy that is imparted into the cards that makes them effective for the reader. The person's connection to the symbolism on the cards is what creates the magic. It is the symbolism that opens the person's intuition in relation to the card. This is because each picture creates a feeling in the person that is in turn interpreted based on the person's feeling and applied to a reading. I hope this makes sense !

What are Tarots cards ?

Traditionally made up of no less than seventy-eight cards. Tarot cards come in all sizes, with all types of artwork on both the front and back. Some Tarot deck creators even make up their own additional Tarot cards. The meanings and the message of each one of those seventy-eight cards, however, usually remain the same. The most traditional and widely known tarots are the Rider Waite and Marseille tarots.

Many believe that Tarot cards serve only to tell the future, but this is not true. When used traditionally, Tarot cards speak of the past and present, and are supposed to give clues and ideas about the future that you are potentially heading into.

Tarot cards can also be used as a tool for psychics to link in with spirits and guides, to offer guidance. Tarot cards can be laid out in various ways and include any number of cards drawn. Some psychics may even use a combination of 2-3 tarot decks or even oracle cards. Ultimately, the messages and guidance offered will be of meaning and truth, and essentially, is a message that needs to be given to the one receiving the reading. All tarot cards come with meanings and some people may only use this way of giving readings.

What's in the cards ?

Tarot cards are made up of four suits much like any regular deck of cards. In fact, Tarot cards have all the same values as traditional playing cards: ace through king for each suit. Only one extra card is added to the royal family in Tarot cards: the page. Their position is just under that of the knight (also known as the jack).

The suits are as follows: wands, which in general speak of esoteric issues such as spirituality or creativity; swords, which speak of conicts and tensions; pentacles, which are about finances, money and material possesions; and cups, which deal in relationship matters and love. The other twenty-two cards of the standard Tarot deck are called the Major Arcana cards, and are all very specific. Cards such as the Devil, the Tower, and Death are in the Major Arcana.

How Could a Tarot Card Reading Actually Help Me?

When done traditionally, a Tarot card reading can put everything into perspective in a clear and understandable way. Every Tarot card reading is prefaced by a question. Oftentimes, each card will then come up in the past, present, or future position and will shed some light on the topic of your question.

Whether or not you believe in spiritual or esoteric things, or even in the art of telling the future, a Tarot card reading can help you better understand your own thoughts. You'll realize potentially dangerous patterns in your life, and get a better understanding of self. Even the question that you ask in your mind can help you understand something about yourself, and in this way a Tarot card reading can truly help you.

The Importance Of Clearing A Tarot Deck

When you bring home a new deck of tarot cards you will want to clear them. Clearing is a process of spiritually cleaning the cards to remove any negative energy or blocks that they may have accumulated. When you clear a deck of tarot cards for the rst time you are also putting your own energy into the deck. There are many ways one can clear a deck. It's a matter of preference for the reader.

It is suggested that when one gets a new deck of tarot cards that they are spiritually prepared and cleansed. This is so you can read more accurately. Negative energy and blocks can impede the clarity of a reading. When you clear a tarot deck you are preparing them for use. In addition to clearing the tarot cards, many readers also cleanse the space and objects they use in conducting readings. The room you read in, the table you use, and any other things related to the reader and the cards can be cleansed prior to a reading.

The idea is that spiritually clean cards and space give a clear reading free of the negative or blocking debris that collects naturally. This includes energy from other people and things like unwanted energy. Clean energy portends positivity. And you want positivity when you are doing a reading.

In addition to initial clearings, many readers do little cleanings in between their readings to keep their cards clean. This ensures that any negativity that was picked up in a consultation is dismissed and removed before the next reading. Some readers clean themselves and their cards after every reading and others choose to do it periodically. They may do it on a specific day and time on a regular basis. It doesn't matter how you clear your cards, all that matters is that you are calling good energy to assist you and removing any negative energy.

All types of divination require some sort of energy in order to conduct the reading. Clearing the cards and space eliminates the spiritual residue that the energy builds. This helps reduce the possibility of inaccurate and false readings clouded by that debris. This is especially true for those readers who let their clients touch the cards. When someone touches a reader's cards; their cards are then picking up other people's energy, physically and psychically. In that case, you don't want the next reading to have the last person's energy attached to it. Clearing your tarot deck and space is like giving them fresh air to breathe. You have to breathe fresh air yourself and so do the cards and your space to help you to give you the best reading you can give.

How to clean a tarot deck ?

So you just got your new deck of tarot cards. They are still in the box. There is a process called clearing the deck that most tarot readers do before they start to use the cards. This is done to clear any negative energy from the deck as well as to start to impart your own energy on the new deck. There is no one way to clear a tarot deck. When you clear your tarot cards you remove any traces of negative or blocking energy so you can use them to the best of your abilities with clean and positive energy.

Some people can read without doing anything to a deck, but most people want to put their own energy into the deck instead of just taking them out of the box and beginning. When you clear a deck you are also charging it with your energy as you begin to use it, by removing any other inuences on the cards. Clearing the deck also blesses the deck with your spiritual energy.

Most people begin a clearing of the cards and the space they are going to use by invoking good energy to assist them.

They ask the good energy to clear the tarot deck and space; and also ask the good energy to give the deck and space a positive charge. The good energy can take the form of what you perceive as good energy; be it a spirit guide, a departed ancestor, white light, whatever does it for you. The point is they use whatever they feel is a good and positive force for them to clear any negative or blocks from the cards and space. Many readers also consecrate or dedicate their cards to the use of goods when they clear their space and tarot deck as well.

Here is a simple invocation to clear the “deck” or space to start. When using it for your space you substitute the word space for deck.

I consecrate this deck to bring Light where there is Darkness, I consecrate this deck for guidance and wisdom for myself and others for the higher good for all concerned, I consecrate this deck to enlighten myself and those concerned.

May all who use and touch this deck know the love of Spirit and be drawn into the light of Spirit

I dedicate this deck to serve others with spiritual growth, for wisdom, knowledge, and to bring peace to all those who seek its wisdom, I dedicate this deck to the development of my intuition so that I may be a source of guidance to others.”

You may add any words you wish or change any of them to fit the energy you are using as well as your feelings. This is a non denominational invocation for universal good energy. It is a form of consecration to make the deck of pure good light energy. When we consecrate something we make it holy to ourselves be it a person, place or thing. Your intention is very important for doing clearing and cleansing. You want to have a clear head and heart free from any negative intent and thought when you do this. Sincerity is the first element that goes into being of pure heart and mind. You may also want to thank all those energies that are assisting in the cleansing also. When we give thanks we bring thanks in our lives which brings blessings.

There are two main ways people proceed while invoking the good energy of the universe to their decks and spaces, by either shufing the cards while they say the invocation or putting the cards in numerological order before they say the invocation.

You can do what you prefer. You may decide to do neither and just place your hands on the cards or put the deck of cards up to your heart. Tarot cards can be blessed in many ways. You don't have to use the invocation I wrote above, that's just an idea. Any prayer that has meaning to you is fine. A mantra even works if your intention is clear and positive. The main point is to put your cards in touch with a higher good with which it is empowered.

You can then go on to use incense, smudging whatever you want to do to clear the air and the cards. You can pass the cards through the smoke.

Some readers use oil like lavender and drop a few drops on the cards. Some may sprinkle the cards with salt. They may rap them hard against the table. Some even fling them across the room to remove negativity. Whatever works for you and your beliefs. When this is done the deck can be wrapped in a silk cloth or put in a bag just for the cards. Some people sleep with them under their pillows. People do things from Reiki, to keeping the cards clean, to very personal rituals. Some put a crystal on the deck to keep it charged and cleared when they are not in use. These are just a few basic ideas on how to clear your tarot card deck.

Understanding the Major Arcana

It is the Major Arcana that is considered the heart of the tarot deck. They are also known as the Trump Cards. There are 22 Cards that make up this part of the tarot deck.

The Major Arcana represents life and its cycles from birth to death. It symbolizes the physical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional aspects of humankind and its relationship to the universe. In the Major Arcana, the 22 cards represent different archetypes. The archetypes include a nurturing mother, a strong commanding authoritative type, a traditional religious figure, a mystic spiritual figure and so on. These archetypes represent either real or spiritual figures in one's life.

If you look at the artwork on a Major Arcana card you will see a scene that has symbolic elements. Also on many decks, the cards feature the card’s title and the number of the Major Arcana card in Roman Numerals from 0 to 22. There are some decks, however, where the major arcana only have pictures.

If one looks closely at the pictures on the Major Arcana deck you will find that the pictures are indeed steeped with symbolism. The Major Arcana also relates to those things regarding one's higher purpose for being on the planet. It tells of one's journey in life. The numbers on the card ranging from 0 to 22 depict the fool's journey from birth to death and from innocence to wisdom to hopefully enlightenment. The Major Arcana tells of the journey one has to take to reach enlightenment in their lifetime. In addition to focusing on our spiritual selves, the Major Arcana also gives us answers in relation to major life events. It addresses such things as family, social relationships, jobs and other major milestones we face in our life.

The Major Arcana represents aspects of the human experience that we all go through in our lives. It looks at our spiritual selves, our hopes, our fears, our joys and sadness.

It is recommended that when one starts to read tarot cards that they familiarize themselves with the Major Arcana first. Once you get used to them they help unlock your intuition so you can interpret the rest of the cards in relation to them in a tarot spread.

The Minor Arcana

Most of the cards in the tarot deck are Minor Arcana cards. These cards fill out the deck, making it more balanced and complete. The 56 cards of the Minor Arcana are split into four suits. Each suit represents a different aspect of life. Numerology can be used in conjunction with the Minor Arcana as the cards are numbered from 1 to 10, or Ace through 10. There are four nobles cards in each suit as well, the Page, Knight, Queen and King. This makes 14 cards in each suit.

The Suits of the Minor Arcana :

Wands (Staves or Spears) - The first suit represents a long object, whether it be a staff or wand by name. It encompasses growth, ideas and creativity. It is associated with the element of fire and the season of spring.

Cups - This suit represents emotional desire. The filled cups are symbolic of filled emotions. It encompasses affairs of the heart, desires and the inner self. It is associated with the element of water and the season of summer.

Pentacles (Shields or Coins) - This suit is a round object of some sort, ranging from shields to coins. It represents the material possessions. It encompasses money, wealth, health, prosperity and property. It is associated with the element of earth and the season of autumn.

Swords (Knives or Daggers) - This is the suit of all things with sharp edges. It represents the intellectual self. It encompasses ideas, thoughts and morality. It is associated with the elements of air and the season of winter.

The Number of the Minor Arcana

One/Ace - Represents beginnings, action, will, new ideas, creative power, potential, first causes, primary impulses, and positive activities.

Two - Represents partnerships, relationships, polarities, balancing, duality, choices, patience, stillness, and positive and negative.

Three - Represents synthesis, growth, creativity, abundance, collaboration, friendship, artistic expression, rening plans, and preparing to take action.

Four - Represents foundations, discipline, work, order stability, solidity, tangible achievement, and practical attainment.

Five - Represents new cycles, change, progress, shifts, adjustment, fine tuning, instability, challenge, versatility, freedom, and courage.

Six - Represents balance, health, beauty, harmony, contentment, relaxation, satisfaction, equilibrium, marriage, family, and sympathy.

Seven - Represents Spirituality, wisdom, perfect order, the macrocosm, religion, luck, magick, and multiple options.

Eight - Represents victory, will, success, regeneration, rebirth, reevaluating, putting things in order, and setting priorities.

Nine - Represents compassion, integration, movement, exibility, fulllment, attainment and benevolence

Ten - Represents transition, renewal to a new cycle, completion, wholeness, mastery, excess, and overabundance.

How To Do A Simple Three Card Spread

There are so many tarot card spreads available to use for reading Tarot cards. In order to read the cards effectively you have to be familiar with their meanings and how you relate to them when they are in a spread. Once you get accustomed to each card on its own, you are ready to start learning how to read them in a spread. Most Tarot Card readers are familiar with the Celtic Cross Spread, but a three card basic spread is a good way to learn how to read cards for beginners. Even before you start to use a three card spread; there is a good exercise you can do daily. Its purpose is to familiarize yourself with the cards and the idea of reading them. It is easy to do and will strengthen your abilities when it comes to reading cards in general.

What you do is you shuffle your cards and pull one a day to see what your day will be like. Based on the card you pull you give yourself a reading with that card.

Analyze what that card will mean to you that day. This is an excellent way to get familiar with the cards and their meanings. It also helps you develop your sense of intuition which is also very important for reading the Tarot Deck. Now that you know that, let's move on to the Three Card Spread.

Here are the Steps to conduct a Three Card Reading:

1. Focus on Your Question

2. Shuffle Your Cards

3. Pick one of the Cards and put it in the center of the table. This card represents the “present situation” in relation to the question you asked.

4. You will then pick another card and lay it to the left of the first card. This is the past in relation to the question you asked. Keep in mind the past could be the day before or even the night before. It doesn't mean years ago necessarily based on what you asked. This card connects you to the present situation or middle card.

5. Next Pick your third card and lay it to the right of the middle card. This is the future or outcome position to the question. Keep in mind that the future could mean later that day. It doesn't necessarily mean a year from now.

And there you have it!

You just did a reading. Simple and to the point. When you get to the point that this is easy for you, you can begin to explore more complex types of spreads.

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