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Introduction to Tarot
Copyright  AnnaLynde, 1999
TAROT BASICS
 
The Tarot is an ancient esoteric system of symbols and vibrations that
uses 78 different cards to represent the vast majority of experiences
any single person can encounter throughout the life journey. The cards
operate on many levels, describing both internal developments
(emotions, thoughts, intuitive feelings) and external ones (actions and
physical events). Think of the complete Tarot as a map where each card
represents a different piece of a jigsaw puzzle. This puzzle symbolizes
the wide variety of possibilities and experiences available to us all.
Each individual selects different pieces of that jigsaw to create a
unique life experience. Each card has a separate significance, and they
can be put together in a wide variety of ways to show the quality of
the events within our lives at any given time.
 
The symbols are the different pictures we find on the cards. Every card
within a Tarot deck has special meanings that are based upon many
things; these can include mythology, esoteric or secret knowledge,  
association, color, etc.  They give us important information through a  
visual form; a Tarot picture definitely does tell a thousand words, if    
not more. Whenever we see a particular design or symbol on a Tarot    
card, we are seeing more than just its outer form; we are looking    
beyond the illustration to find the deeper meaning or vibrations    
attached to it. This will then influence the meaning of the card itself    
and our interpretation of it.    
   
Let me explain this further by using an example. Rabbits and eggs are      
objects that were related to an ancient pagan fertility festival of    
birth, abundance and growth known today as Easter. For many years,    
these two things have traditionally represented the qualities of      
fertility and the like (after all, rabbits are known to multiply their    
numbers very easily and very well). Ancient peoples noticed a    
correlation between what they saw and what their celebration meant to    
them (such as the egg and birth), then took these items and gave them a      
special significance and they became symbols for Easter. By making
these external objects symbols, they gained a greater meaning; the
picture of a rabbit became more than just another animal, it
represented something deeper.
 
In a similar way, the Tarot is full of hidden meanings and references.
The pretty pictures that your eyes focus on are merely windows that
will lead you to more profound information as you delve into the inner
realms of each card.  This leads me to the second part of this esoteric
system, the vibrations.  Vibrations are the different qualities or
meanings that have been assigned to each card throughout the years.
These interpretations are derived from different methods of
observation, knowledge, symbology, spiritual wisdom etc., and from a
variety of teachers and sources.
 
Before we study the cards, it is important that we investigate this
concept of Symbology further, as it is one of the foundations upon
which the Tarot has been built. Symbology is the connection of personal
and/or spiritual meaning  to a particular emblem or figure. The human
race has a need and a tendency to externalize inner ideas, feelings and
knowledge through attaching those mental connections to an outer form.
This is a way that we can strive to understand our inner dimensions and
the hidden qualities of life by finding items that we can project those
concepts onto. This then allows us to analyze and understand those
inner qualities more deeply in a way that moves beyond the need for
words.
 
When you think about it, you'll discover how much symbology is actually
present within the day to day substance of our lives. There are many
motifs, emblems, etc that we have attached meaning to. Here are some
examples of the many ways in which the presence of symbology influences
our lives:
 
Business companies have immediately recognizable logos (symbols) that
they use in advertising (you see the logo and immediately think of that
company). Most children's fairy tales are symbolic representations of
moral issues. Symbols are used in mathematics and science to show
particular qualities. Of course, our lives would be totally different
without our symbolic alphabetical and numerical systems.
 
These are just a few examples and I am sure you can think of many more.
However, as you can see, symbols have a great scope of influence and
meaning in our world. Through the Tarot, you can develop a deeper and
more harmonious connection to the seemingly arbitrary visual images
shown within the cards, and this will occur as you discover and
understand the meanings that lie behind them. The expression of energy
within the illustrations of each card indicate different qualities that
are present in both our inner and outer lives. They give meaning to the
vibrations and experiences that surround us and expand our ability to
understand and interpret different events, developments, etc. They also
show us our awareness of these inner realms by opening up greater
abilities of perception within us. The more you look, the more you
begin to see, intuit and understand. This leads to greater discernment
and wisdom.
 
Through the Tarot, we can understand the patterns that operate in the
life of every single person. We all have our individual rhythms and
modes of expression, and by understanding these patterns, we learn to
flow with our personal cycles. This helps us to become the masters of
our own destinies, rather than passive subjects of outside forces.
 
Studying the Tarot or having a reading can be a path to self knowledge
as well as a method of prediction. The divinatory aspect of the cards
definitely does exist. This is because, in addition to the meanings
within the cards themselves, there are certain factors in the Tarot
that will assist you in developing your ability to tap into the
unlimited subconscious mind. However, it is also important for you to
understand from the beginning of your studies that the cards are so
much more than a method for telling the future, and prediction is only
one possible use.
DIFFERENT WAYS OF USING THE TAROT
 
Within the average Tarot Deck there are 78 cards. There are 22 Major
Arcana, 40 Minor Arcana and 16 Court cards. Each of the three sections
have their own independent functions and each card within these
sections has its own unique meaning. The Major Arcana traditionally
deal with personal, spiritual and life stage archetypes or models; the
Minor Arcana focus on situations, everyday events and reactions; and
the Court Cards concentrate on individual people and personality types.
Therefore, by combining all three aspects, you can get an accurate and
complete rundown on every human emotion, condition and reactive
capability as well as events, experiences and personal development
issues. These meanings can be combined and utilized effectively in many
different ways.
 
1) Divinatory
 
This is the side of the Tarot that can be used for prediction (telling
people about their possible future experiences through the information
gleaned from the cards). You can do readings for yourself or other
people. A Tarot reading can be a very powerful tool for positive change
in one's life. It will give you an objective viewpoint and direct you
toward your goals and ambitions, give insight into a situation, ferret
out hidden possible futures and more. You are only limited by your
imagination, intuition, knowledge and experience. During a divinatory
reading, you are also acting as a counselor and sympathetic ear;  you
provide a safe place for dreams to be spoken and problems to be
recognized and faced.
 
2) Meditation
 
Because of the symbolic, archetypal nature of the cards, you will find
them to be of great assistance as focal points for meditation. They
will lead you to deeper insights regarding any issue and take you
further toward the experience of your divine self and that greater,
wiser part of your inner being.   Meditation is also a great way of
getting to know the deeper meanings of your cards.
 
3) Psychic Development
 
The cards provide guidelines and information that show us the path we
travel as each of us moves along the journey of inner soul development.
They literally act as signposts and mirrors that will assist you during
your travels along your personal mystic path. In this way, the Tarot
can give you important information, advice, support and direction. The
cards can become a great ally, giving you objectivity so that you can
investigate personal life issues with more clarity. Using tarot in this
way will also tap into the designs and desires of your subconscious
mind, helping to bring the different aspects of your being together in
unity, which leads to greater harmony in your life. Each and every one
of us is here to learn, grow, experience and taste from the cup of life
and all its possibilities. The information contained within the Tarot
will help you and anyone you do a reading for to accomplish this with
greater ease.
 GETTING TO KNOW YOUR TAROT DECK
 
There are many varied and creative ways you can begin to learn your
Tarot Cards and then gradually expand that knowledge. Apart from
memorizing the basic meanings for each card, there are different
techniques that you can use to further facilitate that knowledge,
helping you to understand them on a more personal and therefore more
complete level.
 
Choosing a daily card
 
Shuffle the cards and choose one at random. Turn it over and look
deeply into the picture before you, observing everything that you can
see. Note the initial impression it makes on you and any feelings or
thoughts you receive about this card as you gaze upon it. Write these
down in a note pad that you  have specifically for this process. Don't
look up the meanings for that card right now (especially if you have
just begun to learn the Tarot), we want this exercise to open up your
individual interpretation and connection to each card before you learn
its assigned meanings. Keep watching the card, noting when you observe
something that you feel is special within it and how your perspective
changes as you investigate one part of that card and then move to daily
routine, then come back periodically and see if you can get anything
new from another look.
 
As you start learning the meanings for each card, you can incorporate
the memorization of traditional meanings into this exercise after you
have initially recorded your impressions. Through this method, you will
continually discover new and richer meanings to your Cards and,
although I have stated that this is a daily exercise, you can elect to
do it whenever you wish. However, it would be great if you could fit it
into your schedule at least once a week. Once again, remember to be
flexible in this and the other exercises. Also, take note of different
things that come up within this exercise. Is there a particular card or
Suit that you pick again and again? If so, look closely at this,
because there is bound to be some meaning here that relates to your
life.
 
Meditation
 
Once again, randomly pick a card from your deck. Meditate on that card
and record any impressions you receive during the meditation. Don't
make any judgements on the information that you receive, just record it
for later examination. This exercise assists in developing that link
between the conscious and the subconscious and opens you up to new
intuitive information. If you haven't meditated before, here is a brief
explanation of what to do:
 
Before you start, ensure that everything is as quiet and private as
possible. Darken the room (we want dim light) and place the card face
up in front of you next to a pen and notebook for recording your
impressions (or maybe a hand held tape recorder). Have a good, long
look at the card so that you can remember details of the picture during
the meditation.
Gently close your eyes and take several slow, deep breaths, feeling the
tension flowing out of your body and your mind becoming quiet. Focus
your thoughts (not your eyes) on the card before you, and visualize
that card as though it were placed in between your eyebrows.
Concentrate on it for as long as you can; if you feel your mind
slipping away, gently bring it back. If you have trouble visualizing
the card, half open your eyes slowly, look at the image and close them
gently again. Do this for several minutes or until you feel ready, and
then quietly state to your subconscious that you are ready to receive
any information about that card. You do this by saying in your mind
things like "What does this card mean to me?" or "What do you want to
tell me?" or things along this vein. Continually breathing, accept any
impressions you get during the meditation and when you feel as though
you have completed receiving the information, gently open your eyes and
slowly bring yourself out of meditation by stretching.
 
You may get a feeling, a word, or a color. Be prepared for anything.
Whatever you receive during the meditation will be of use to you, and
ultimately add to your knowledge of that particular card. Another way
of doing this exercise is through dream work. Use a variation on the
above method just before you fall asleep and be prepared to record your
impressions upon awakening.
 
As you develop your knowledge of the Tarot, you can take this technique
further by changing the focus of your meditation and asking specific
questions about what you want to look at. This could be about a
particular image within the card, a character, feeling, meaning, color,
etc. Anything you wish to know about any part of the Tarot can be
investigated using this method. You may even want to try meditating on
the card with your eyes open and see what happens.
 
Freeform Writing
 
This is an extension of the daily card exercise. One of the best ways
to learn the Tarot is to personify the cards, approaching them as
though you are learning both the positive and negative aspects of 78
new friends. In order to do this exercise, you need a notebook and pen.
Randomly select one card and, after observing the daily card exercise,
put pen to paper and write. What  you want to do here is to write from
the perspective of the card. In other words, make it as though that
individual card is introducing and telling you all about itself. This
may seem to be a somewhat unusual or contrived exercise, but you will
be surprised how well it will work. This is because we are setting the
subconscious free, allowing your imagination to fly. People also tend
to remember things more easily when they have personalized content.
 
Coloring your Cards
 
When we use different modalities or skills in an effort to learn, we
open ourselves up to untouched areas of the mind and strengthen our
ability to tap into the subconscious mind, where our intuitive
knowledge lies. Color can help us learn because it has a quality that
immediately promotes a reaction within us. I'm sure that you personally
have a favorite color, as well as one that you just don't really like.
This is because color is energy; different colors vibrate at different
frequencies and these frequencies may or may not relate harmoniously to
your own. For example, red has a faster vibratory rate than  blue, and
often people with a frenetic energy seem to wear red or other warm
colors.
 
If you can, purchase a deck of ink drawn tarot cards. If you prefer,
you can either photocopy your own, or trace their images onto a blank
sheet of paper.  Get any coloring pencils, crayons, markers, etc., that
you can, and then go on and indulge your inner child by coloring those
drawings. One of the first ways we begin to learn as children is
through our coloring books. By using this method, you can recapture the
essence of childhood fun while connecting further with the cards at the
same time. This exercise also relates to the principle of Karma Yoga,
for by concentrating and using certain tools, you virtually turn this
into an act of meditation that will further enhance your intuition.
 
                         
 
AnnaLynde is an international professional reader, teacher and writer
who works in both England and Australia. She has spent over a decade
studying many mystical systems in addition to the Tarot, including
Numerology and Astrology, Past Life therapy, Rebirthing, Reiki &
Psychic Development. She spent six months in India studying Meditation,
and writes a monthly Astrology Column for a series of Devon papers in
addition to running her classes workshops and correspondence courses on
Tarot, Numerology and Meditation.  She has also written a book called
"The Little Tarot Bible" and is presently seeking a publisher. To
explore her articles and course offerings, visit her website. She can
be reached by e-mail at kairyne@mailcity.com, or by snailmail at:
Annalynde, 1/10 Bank St, TEIGNMOUTH, DEVON, TQ14 8AL, ENGLAND.
 
                                  Copyright 1999 Psychic Journal and
Sabrina Scott Co., Inc
 
 
Choosing your tarot deck
 
Choosing a tarot deck is an important part of your quest to enhance
your psychic abilities.  With the proper deck of cards, you will easily
transcend your conscious mind and perform intuitive psychic readings.
 
The first part of finding a deck is to go someplace that has sample
decks for you to be able to look at.  It is important to choose a deck
based on your intuitive reaction to the pictures on each card.  You
should be able to look at the cards and tell a story based on that
card.  Sometimes you may find a deck that is really pretty (I do this
all the time!) but which you cannot really read.  These may be nice to
look at, but for the purpose of doing a reading they are irrelevant.
 
Be sure to look at both Major Arcana and Minor Arcana (or trump) cards.
A tarot deck is basically divided into these two sections.  The Major
arcana are cards that have to do with large issues, personal demons,
spiritual necessities and so forth.  The generally begin with 0, The
Fool, and end at anywhere from 22 - 25 depending on the deck.  I,
myself, do not have any traditional decks (such as the Rider-Waite), so
mine all have a lot of variation.  The Minor arcana are more about your
day-to-day existence and needs.  They are set up as are the four suits
of a regular deck of playing cards, from the Ace to the King.  The
suits are generally Cups (water), Rods or Staves (usually fire), Swords
(usually air) and Disks or Pentacles (earth).  Make sure all the cards
are easy for you to read and speak to your unconscious mind.
 
Once you have found a deck you like, make sure you can get a new,
unopened deck - at least if this is your first deck of cards.  It is
easier to put your energy into them if there is no competing energy
from all the people who have looked them over.  I recommend _not_
buying the book to accompany the deck unless you are looking at it for
the history of the deck or some such, because your intuitive
understanding of the deck could be compromised by reading the
ŇsuggestedÓ meanings before you have developed your own.  We will go
into this further when I send out my next piece - breaking in your
Tarot deck
 
 
The Cleansing and Charging of a New Tarot Deck
 
Often, with ritual, you 'feel' your way through it;
following the paths that seem most correct. For me,
magick is rarely done the
same way twice; improvosation seems necessary. This in
mind, feel free to modify this incantation to fit your
own beliefs and path.
 
For visualization, gather a black votive candle and a
white votive candle, and cast the spell sometime in
the days following the full
moon. Gather a green taper candle as well.
 
A bit of gingerroot (for potency/power) can be chewed
during this ritual and peppermint leaves may also be
helpful. If you have
any incence (stick incense is easiest and cheapest to
come by), use a stick during the ritual. While your
favorite incence (or one
with which you identify with cleansing) is always a
good idea; incenses with such properties to me seem to
be pine or frankinsence.
Get a piece of silk to set your deck upon and wrap it
with when you are done.
 
A pocketwatch, hourglass, sundial or other time piece
should finish this ritual.
 
    1. Gather your herbs and implements. Get a stone
or something that won't burn on which you can set the
leaves (if
    you decide to use them).
 
    2. Set the three candles from left to right with
the black votive on your left, green taper in the
middle and the white
    votive to your right. Put the timepiece in front
of the green candle. This symbolizes divination and
knowledge of the
    future.
 
    3. Set the Tarot deck on the silk cloth before<BR>
you.
 
    4. Ground and Center.
 
    5. Establish what protections/requests to the
Four Quarters you require.
 
    6. Start by lighting the cleansing incense and
breathing in deeply, holding the tarot deck to be
cleansed in your lap.
    Feel it's contours with your hands until you know
it's shape in your mind. Overlay this image with
another image of
    the timepiece. Let the symbolism of the two merge
to become one. (In other words, concentrate on the
symbolic
    similarities of the deck and time piece and weave
the raised energy through that concept.)
 
    7. Light the green candle with the words,
        ", I light this candle in honor of your
cleansing hands."
 
    8. Chew the ginger root (if you like, it's pretty
awful tasting) for potency and utilize the energy
released from it to
    charge that which you have already raised.
 
    9. Take the peppermint leaves (if used) and light
them in the green candle and let them burn on the
stone or
    inflammable surface you have with the words,
        ", I release the energy of life to drive off
impurity."
 
    10. Pass the tarot deck through the smoke of the
leaves (if used) and the incense. Focus the image in
your head on
    the energy and smoke moving through the deck and
forcing impurity out.
 
11. Light the black candle from the green taper, imagining it to
represent the impurities in the deck. As it burns, so too are the
impurities cleansed away.
 
12. Innundate the shape in your mind (and project through the deck)
with the energy you have raised.
 
13. Flip through the deck, one card at a time, and picture the
impurities drifting up on the smoke away from the card. Be sure to
channel the actual energy you've raised into this visualization. If it
feels appropriate, you may want to use a chant (such as the Goddess
Chant) to focus your thoughts. Place each card back, face-down, on the
silk. You don't have to look at each card unless that feels right to
you; this shouldn't have to be a very difficult or a huge task ... just
a smooth cleansing. It occurs to me that you may want to pass each card
once over the timepiece -in effect, charging the card with the
'future'. This is not required and has been added as an afterthought.
 
14. Once all the cards are face-down on the silk in a stack, snuff the
black candle and light the white one with the words, "by your healing
and my will, So Mote It Be."
15. Wrap the cards in the silk for protection and Ground any extra
energy.
 
16. Snuff the candles.
 
17. Close any circle or protections you have raised.
 
 
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