The study of Tarot cards & the use of Tarot in spreads for the purpose of divination has been popular for centuries. The recent explosion of commercial decks & popularity has, many believe, diluted the power of the Tarot experience. Many Tarot readers find this disconcerting & are not happy that the Tarot can be used by anybody as a party trick & may not necessarily be taken seriously. In fact the Tarot is simply a deck of painted cards, even playing cards can be used for divination. The magic of Tarot happens when you connect with the hidden meanings of the Tarot at a deeper soul level. You will know when the Tarot has claimed you as the fascination almost always becomes a lifelong obsession.
Cartomancy or the reading of cards can take many forms. Tarot can be used as a personal method for spiritual enlightenment, or to give readings for others to reveal alternative paths that could power them to change the course of their life journey. There are many superstitions that have grown up around Tarot. For example, you should never buy your own deck, or you should keep your deck wrapped in a silk cloth. In fact however you decide to interact with your deck is entirely your prerogative. My personal belief is that as long as you respect the Tarot and don’t allow others to simply ‘play’ with the cards, then your connection to the cards should remain intact.
The discussion as to what comprises ‘true cartomancy’ is set to run & run. Many believe that a Tarot reading cannot be considered cartomancy & that playing cards can only provide the true experience. Then there is the consideration that there are so many different types of oracle cards, angel cards & a myriad other types of decks available these days, can these all also now be included under the definition of cartomancy ?.
The Tarot deck is of course structured differently than other decks of cards. It has seventy eight cards in total, divided into 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards. For more details on the Tarot deck you can visit my Meanings of Tarot page that has links to the meanings of each card in the deck. Though there are four suits they are not the standard Clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades. Tarot instead has Wands, Pentacles, Swords & Cups, which in turn on one level at least, relate to the four elements, earth, air, fire and water.
There are so many levels of meaning immersed in the Tarot experience that a lifetime of study is needed to even begin to unravel these hidden mysteries. Likewise there are many different schools of interpretation. This combined with the endless spreads and the level of skill of the reader and you can see why so many disputes over the interpretation of the cards surface on an almost daily basis. Long ago after absorbing the basic meanings and keywords associated with each card I ditched the little white book that accompanies each deck, choosing instead to focus on using my intuition as to what the cards were trying to reveal through my subconscious.
If you are drawn to the Tarot prepare for a long and fruitful collaboration. Try and start with a reading from a really good Tarot reader to fire your enthusiasm. An excellent way to begin to unravel the mysteries of the Tarot is to design your own deck, as I have done for the deck I use throughout my sites. If this is beyond you then colouring a deck by using a b&W deck such as those available from the excellent BOTA here http://store.bota.org/tarotdecks.html
Wherever your journey with Cartomancy takes you I wish you only the best & many happy hours of uncovering the meanings and mysteries to light your path.