If you’re particularly new to witchcraft or paganism, you’ve probably run across some Instagram accounts/websites/etsy stores and the like with a LOT of tarot cards.
I was given my first deck when I first started my witchcraft path, and that was 12 years ago. I didn’t read it right away, and even then it went south so I didn’t read for many years. About 5 years ago I came across an occult store in my new town and fell in love with a deck. I’ve been reading in and off since then, with it being more on than off in the last year. It can get addicting…but moving on!
Let’s talk about the deck. A deck of tarot cards has 78 cards; 22 Major Arcana, and 56 Minor Arcana. The Minor Arcana are separated into four suits in a similar way that a regular playing card deck is. Where in a playing card deck you have; Hearts, Spades, Clubs and Diamond, in a tarot deck you have Swords, Pentacles (or coins,) Wands and Cups. Each of the four suits is associated with one element, an area of life and three zodiacs.
- Pentacles – Earth; Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn. The material suit.
- Wands – Fire; Aries, Leo, Sagittarius. The action suit.
- Cups – Water; Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces. The emotion suit.
- Swords – Air; Libra, Aquarius, Gemini. The wisdom suit.
Similar to playing cards, there is Ace – 10, and then face cards. In Tarot there are 4 face cards instead of 3 and are as follows.
The names of the court cards can differ depending on the deck you’ve got, but Page-King is the most common.
You then have the Major Arcana. These are number from 0-21 (or 1-22) and given specific names and attributes as well as different zodiac signs. The Major Arcana are also widely used in rituals or spells when needed to direct energy for a specific purpose.
- 0 – The Fool
- 1 – The Magician
- 2 – The High Priest
- 3 – The Empress
- 4 – The Emperor; Aries
- 5 – The Hierophant; Taurus
- 6 – The Lovers; Gemini
- 7 – The Chariot; Cancer
- 8 – Strength; Leo
- 9 – The Hermit; Virgo
- 10 – Wheel of Fortune
- 11 – Justice; Libra
- 12 – The Hanged Man
- 13 – Death; Scorpio
- 14 – Temperance; Sagittarius
- 15 – The Devil; Capricorn
- 16 – The Tower
- 17 – The Star; Aquarius
- 18 – The Moon; Pisces
- 19 – The Sun
- 20 – Judgement
- 21 – The World
The meaning behind each card is very extensive so I won’t be going into detail in this post, but you can easily buy a tarot book or look up the meanings online!
So now that we’ve talked a little bit about their foundation, let’s talk about just them. When I bring my tarot cards to work or to family events, I have some folks itching for me to read (not that I’m good enough to read without my guidebook yet, but I’m always available to read,) and then I have some that immediately say “I don’t want to know.” and back away like the cards I’m holding might spontaneously burst into flames and produce a fiery demon that’s going to tell then the exact date, time, and modality of their death.
Let me tell you, Tarot cards will not predict your demise, and if the cards do start to get extremely and consistently negative or giving you death messages, it’s time to get rid of them.
“If they aren’t predicting the future then how do they work? What’s the point?” – everyone, ever.
Reading tarot for yourself or for someone else, is a mode of clarification. Whether you’re pulling one card or performing a Celtic Cross, the cards that are pulled are to help you clarify a situation or question. Giving you all the possible angles, or the “this might happen if you continue doing this thing.” It’s like reading the master plan of the architecture that is your life, but as soon as you’ve seen the plan, you can choose to change the position of a wall or add a window. Your life is in your hands.
The tarot, like many other divination techniques, are used to allow messages to flow from the universe, SHE, or the deity of your choice, into your life. It’s like texting the universe using only photos. It’s a conversation.
I currently have four tarot decks. The first 2 I bought, and the second 2 I was gifted. Cards that are gifted are supposed to be more powerful, but it’s whatever you’re drawn to. The first deck I was given I barely used and when I did end up trying I couldn’t see any symbolism, I got headaches and felt ill after using it and started getting dark messages. So I burned them and buried the ashes. But I love all my current decks, with the Wild Unknown being my personal favorite and the one I use every day.
There are multiple other forms of divination as well if Tarot doesn’t call to you;
- Crystal scrying
- Ogham sticks
- Reading tea leaves
And many more!
You also don’t HAVE to have a divination technique if that’s not what’s in your repertoire. You aren’t a “bad witch” for not using the tarot or anything else. You also don’t need to practice witchcraft if you are drawn to tarot or any other type of divination.
Test out lots of mediums, you’ll either connect or you won’t and then you’ll know!