(NOTE: All Tarot Decks of which I have featured cards from in this post (except the Visconti cards, obviously) are included on my Amazon.com links page for purchase. If you are interested in taking a closer look/buying any of the decks, please go to my Amazon.com links page, and look at top box.)
You enter the doorway of a small dark room, its walls curtained with a collection of drapery. Various rugs and cushions cover the floor. The dimly lit interior is illuminated by a collection of candles, balls of light dotting the room. The musky scent of sandalwood drifts through the air. A woman wrapped in a shawl, a many colored scarf tied around her thick black hair, sits idly at a round table at the rooms' center. Her creased visage studies you, her eyes filled with dark mystery. On the table before her is a stack of ornately designed cards. With gnarled fingers she proceeds to shuffle the deck. The gypsy fortune teller waits patiently for your question. Gesturing with a feeble hand, she beckons you to the empty chair...
Divination. Fortune Telling. The art of 'Cartomancy'. Mention the Tarot to someone, and I am sure most people would envision a gypsy fortune teller pouring over a card spread. In many ways the Tarot are associated with mysticism and the occult, but they actually have different uses and interpretations that span many forms of spiritualism. In fact, the Tarot started as playing cards for nobility. The first decks are traceable back to 15th century Italy when the Visconti family commissioned the creation of the first 3 decks known as the "Visconti Trumps". These decks are regarded as the forefathers of the Tarot decks of today.
|(Hand painted 'The Lovers' card from the Visconti)|
|(Left: Visconti 'Devil'; Center: Visconti 'Tower'; Right: Visconti 'Death")|
|(Left: Antoine Court de Gebelin; Right: Thoth)|
|(Left: Jean-Baptiste Alliette; Right: Ettiella Deck)|
The creation of Ettiella's deck and the accompanying published work on the use of the cards, coincided with the theory of de Gebelin. Then in the year 1799, when the Rosetta Stone was discovered, de Gebelin's belief was proved false. De Gebelin's theory that the Trumps were Egyptian in origin was unsubstantiated. The belief would live on though. De Gebelin's theory would be strengthened by the introduction of a notion. The notion that Romany people/Gypsies, believed to be of Egyptian descent, traveled throughout Europe with decks in tow.
|(Left: Eliphas Levi; Right: Tree Of Life)|
|(Left: Arthur Edward Waite; Right: Pamela Colman Smith)|
|(Some cards from the Waite Deck as drawn by Smith)|
Today there are many different decks to serve just about any purpose. I own several, the Aquarian deck being my favorite. The cards adorned with beautiful artwork by artist David Pallidini, and the accompanying book "Psychic Tarot", are also rather comprehensive. I have had a few friends over the years who prefer the Aquarian deck, as well. There is a Waite deck among my collection, it being the small version...what I refer to as "travel size". In many respects I am still learning how to interpret what the cards have to tell, but I have learned quite a lot up to this point. Yes, most cards have images that tell you what the card is about through the artwork, but as mentioned earlier, reading the cards is also up to the individual interpretation of the reader/cartomancer. I have always found the Tarot both interesting, and intriguing.
|("3 of Cups" - Shadowscape Tarot, by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law)|
|("3 of Cups" - Faerie Tarot,|
by Nathalie Hertz)
|("4 of Wands" - Deviant Moon Tarot, by Patrick Valenza)|
|("Ace of Wands" -|
Vertigo Tarot, by
Wands also represents creativity and the imagination. They shine light on our resourceful aspects. They can give insight into ones' career. Maybe you need to re-evaluate a vocation, and make some needed changes? Maybe you just need to look at the big picture, and weigh your options? The Wands represent enthusiasm. They place great value on balance.
|("6 of Pentacles" - Baroque Bohemian Cats Tarot, by Alex Ukolov & Karen Mahony)|
|("7 of Pentacles" -|
Thoth Tarot, by
The suit of Pentacles represents the physical, the material. Security, and stability. What you have gained financially, and what you will gain. The fruits of ones' labor. Pentacles also symbolize Gaia...Mother Earth. Fertility, and growth. Can represent money changing hands through business or inheritance. They can represent property owned and to be potentially gained; banking matters; a promotion, or new job on the horizon. Issues dealt with can be those of commitment and trust. Maybe there is a need for querent to show some generosity, and do act of charity or kindness? They also can represent the physical body, and issues of a health nature.
|("2 of Swords" - Joie de Vivre Tarot, by Paulina Cassidy)|
|("Queen of Swords" -|
Bohemian Gothic Tarot,
by Karen Mahony & Alex Ukolov)
They also can serve as a warning, to alert querent about miscommunication or acts of aggression. The Swords can also indicate emotional turmoil, or illness.
If you have never had a reading but want to, try to get a recommendation from someone you know. If you don't know anyone to refer you then try one out. I recommend my approach of volunteering as little info as possible, and a pad and pen for note taking.
Give it a go...it can be a real learning experience on many levels.