Learning the Tarot is written by Claire Cunnington and Illustrated with the Ator Tarot by Robin Ator ♥

Can you tell the future with a deck of cards? Well it's pretty hard, considering that the future is always changing and is totally dependent on what we do today (think about how the course of a day turns out when one small thing--like missing breakfast--goes wrong). What you can do is get guidance for the future.


Divination--a fancy word for talking to the Divine (or God--same thing).

So how does it work? Some people can divine just by thinking about it. WOW. That requires alot of concentration and discipline. Another way is by using a divination tool--and there are lots of them. The most common are sets of objects like stones or cards that have symbols on them. The symbols show all different feelings and situations that can happen to a person in their lifetime. You mix up the symbols and without looking, you concentrate on the question you have in your mind and pick out a few (this is usually a set number). Then you place them in a certain order and "read" them by interpreting what the symbols mean in the place they have been put into. One of the most used divination tools in the world is the Tarot.

Some of the cards of the Ator Tarot.  CLICK HERE to access a free interactive coloring book (you'll need Adobe Flash).
There are 78 cards in a Tarot deck, and each card has pictures on it that show different things that can happen in any person's life. The Tarot is divided into two sections, the 22 cards of the Major Arcana (big events) and the 56 cards of the Minor Arcana (small events). Have you ever played with a deck of playing cards? The hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds started out as the cups, swords, wands and pentacles of the Minor Arcana. You can do readings with just the Major Arcana because they cover (though broadly) all of life's ups and downs. There are many, many Tarot decks, but most follow the same picture formula--the one created by Pamela Colman Smith

What exactly gives the cards their meanings? The Fool is a card of beginnings, but what in the picture on the card tells you this?

As you study each card, be aware of the details. Every object, action and color holds meaning. It's a good idea to keep a notebook when learning the Tarot. Keep a page for each card and label it as we did with The Fool. Being aware of what things mean is the first step to becoming a good Tarot reader! First we'll review the meaning of the cards of the Major Arcana (you can do complete readings with just the "Majors"), then we'll go over how and when to use the Tarot, and do some practice readings. Let's do some Divining!
The Fool is starting along a completely new path in life. He knows that he does not have all the answers and he is not embarrassed to ask for help. What he does have, in abundance, is enthusiasm.

Imagine two people walking along a road. One is an optimist; he sees a rainbow, a lovely new pair of shoes in a shop and smiling faces. Another, a pessimist, sees rain, dark skies and muddy pavements. They are both walking along the same road but their experience of it is very different. Neither of them knows what will be at the end, but the first one hopes it will be something good. 

This attitude affects how others treat you. If you meet people in an open, happy way they will, generally, want to help you. If you are negative they may not. The Fool is an inspiration to us all. If you face the future believing it will go well, then you will create a future where things do go well. Enthusiasm can be far more important than knowledge.

The Fool challenges you to believe, to trust in the future and to leave the past behind. A person who thinks they have the answer to everything really knows nothing! Someone who accepts that they don't know everything, but isn't scared to learn has the real wisdom. That person will take a step into a brighter future!
Imagine a newborn child crying for the first time. If people come and attend to him, then he feels like he has some power. If they do not come, then he believes that he has none. This is The Magician; either you feel that you are swept away by circumstance, or you can have some mastery of it.

Perhaps you believe that the universe is a benevolent entity that will give you everything you want. This may be true, but you still have to put yourself in the path of such good fortune. You will not meet that fabulous friend you dream of sitting in front of the television! This is the message of The Magician: you have to be in it to win it! You create your life, and that is magic. Magic is about turning the enthusiastic energy of the Fool into reality.

Be aware of every choice you make. You will be surprised by how much power you have over your own life. Every movement, every decision and every action--you choose. You are truly powerful, and with that power comes responsibility. Factors in your past or present may influence you but in that one moment you are free to act with tenderness and compassion. You always have that choice. Make each moment a good one by choosing the kinder, wiser path and in return the universe will grant you a far better life. People will react to you differently and want to help you achieve your dreams. The universe itself will tip just a little in your favour.

So today and every day, be a Magician and create the life you want. Hurting people is the refuge of scared people who think they are powerless. Know your power and use it wisely!

Our ancestors’ first religions were connected to the power of the sun and the moon, often seen as male and female. The sun was powerful and creative, the moon mysterious and dangerous. The sun is the conscious mind and the moon the unconscious. In many mythologies there are both male and female gods, each complementing the other. In the Tarot the High Priestess is the partner card to the Magician. The High Priestess signifies woman as a spiritual force. She is often connected with the moon.

The High Priestess is there to lift the veil dividing us from spiritual truth. Women create the gateway between nothingness and life by giving birth and traditionally help nurse people through the other gateway to death. Therefore they have symbolic access to the mysteries of spirituality. The High Priestess also signifies our unconscious thoughts where many mysteries and truths struggle to be heard. Truth communicates through dreams and in meditations. The High Priestess reminds you to listen.

The High Priestess is also symbolic of intuition rather than logic. Western society views logic as the only real way to approach existence, but logic can be complimented by intuition--particularly when it comes to dealing with people, who aren’t at all logical. Intuition can be the key to relating to people in a useful way.

So why not take a look outside tonight. What’s the moon doing? Listen to your intuition. If you have a feeling about something or someone remember it then see if it turns out to be true. Take a look inside. What’s your subconscious trying to tell you? Taking time to be quiet, listen and delve within is just as valuable as time spent creating marvels. Truth is found on such journeys. Let the High Priestess draw back the veil.
Symbolic of the fertility of women, The Empress is THE creative, giving and loving woman. The High Priestess is a priestess, but the Empress is a mother. She symbolizes caring for others, giving time and love freely, and working to keep others happy. The Empress can be seen as symbolizing your own mother. Whatever she has or has not given you, she created you. What greater gift is there than to bring another into existence?

The Empress is found in Greek myth as the fertility goddess Demeter who, when her daughter Persephone was condemned to live with Hades (god of the underworld) for half of the year, mourned her daughter when she was absent. When she mourned the earth mourned too, and all the plants died. In this way the Greeks explained why there was autumn and winter. In spring Persephone returned from the underworld, her mother rejoiced, and all the plants grew again.

Demeter is symbolic of the earth. It is strange to think that we are perfectly evolved to live upon this planet yet we surround ourselves in buildings and machines to remove ourselves from it! One of the best ways I know of finding peace is simply to stop and experience the earth.

Try this: Lie on your back, inside or outside, and become really aware of where your body meets the earth--feel its solidness pressing into your arms and legs, your back, the back of your head. Next, extend your consciousness to the place where you are. For example, if you were on your bed, visualize yourself on your bed (close your eyes and make a picture in your mind), then widen the picture so that you see more: you on your bed in your room, then your house, street, town, country, continent--until you are lying upon the entire earth. Now think about what the earth has given you: life, food, water, friends and love. Then gradually draw your consciousness back: earth-continent-country-town-street-house-room--and finally back into your body.

After doing this meditation I always feel extremely relaxed, looked after, and quite unable to lift my head for a while! It’s a very good way to get to sleep as you feel supported and cradled by an entire planet!

When this card comes up in a reading, it suggests a time of great abundance and love. You’ll feel supported and cared for. It might also be a time to look after your mother or your planet. Maybe you can give something back by thanking your mother for everything she has done for you, or making sure your family recycles everything they can so our planet can carry on looking after us for many, many years to come.
The Emperor is symbolic of your father specifically and authority in general. Often you’ll find that your attitude toward authority relates pretty directly to your relationship with your father. If your father is a fair man, then you are more likely to respect and listen to teachers and other authority figures.

In myth you can find the Emperor as the father god Zeus,Odin, Dagda and the Christian God. His message is that you are not alone, but that it's time to knuckle down and get on with it. Sometimes things do require work and discipline and the Emperor reminds us of this--but he also assures you that you can achieve the result you want. The Emperor illustrates the necessity for authority, without which there would be chaos. Sometimes we don’t like having responsibility. He reminds us of its uses.

The Emperor is also symbolic of the power of men. Men can and should aspire to the most marvelous things: loyalty, honour and courage--some of the good things about being a man.

The message I draw from this card is that it’s time to get things done. Respect authority where it is deserved and know that being loyal to your friends and brave in difficult circumstances is something to aspire to. In a reading the Emperor suggests that it is time to show how brave you are. Everyone experiences times when they must be strong. You are as strong as you believe you are. The Emperor comes along to tell you that you are not alone and that if you try you will achieve what you want.

The Hierophant represents learning. In the Fool's journey through the Major Arcana, this can be seen as the time the Fool starts school. The Hierophant can represent a teacher or religious leader. It is about learning something from a wiser person. The Hierophant is here to remind you that other people can teach you things if you will listen. Another meaning of the Hierophant is someone who has access to secret knowledge.

In school, or anywhere we learn, we have a choice whether to apply ourselves and gain knowledge or to ignore lessons. We also can choose whether to join in or set ourselves apart from others.

The Hierophant is also symbolic of joining groups or being part of a culture. We are all part of so many different groups: our family, our friends, our town or city, our country, our race, our sex and our religion. We are very happy to join some groups--but others might be questionable and we need to study them to see their value.

The final meaning, for me, is that this card is also about power. Your teacher has power, as has your religious leader. At the moment you are there to listen to them but one day you will be in their position. Let’s hope everyone with power over other people uses that power with love. Let’s also hope you do that when you have power over others. Being kind is usually the strongest thing we can do.

My interpretation of this card is that you always have a choice. You may be forced to go to school, for example, but only you can decide to listen. The more you learn, the wiser the choices you make. The message of this card is listen, learn and be kind.

The Lovers is in some ways a very obvious card. It means love: two people joining their lives together. Behind that action though, is a lot of thought and choices.

People don’t just get married (or live together) by accident. There is a long road of meeting, communicating and getting to know each other before they decide to marry. There are a lot of points on the path where they could decide to go another way. Once they are together, there are still many choices before them. Behind all that is a strange chemical, magical thing called love. No one can catch it and put it in a bottle. Science can’t prove whether it exists or not, but anyone who has felt it knows it is there. No one can truly define it as it shifts like sand on a beach. Without it the magic isn’t there.

The Greeks defined different types of love. Eros is romantic love (named after a Greek god), Agape is family love where they can drive you crazy but you still always love them, Philia is love and loyalty to your friends.

This magical thing isn’t just about people falling in love. Why do you have the friends that you do? Why can some people make you laugh and feel wonderful when others don’t? It’s that magical thing. I have friends I have known for 20 or even 30 years. Our lives are entwined; if they are sad, I am too. I am inspired to be happy when they are. I have a partner I’ve been with for many years. Our lives are entwined too. The love is different but no less strong.

When the Lovers come up in a reading, think about love, but also think about the choices that inevitably come along with it.
Look at the chariot's driver. He’s rushing along, ready for anything. He’s ignoring the fact that the animals pulling the chariot are traveling in opposite directions!

He also hasn’t noticed that the animals pulling his chariot are Sphinxes. Sphinxes are half human, half lion creatures. The most famous one is the Great Sphinx in Egypt. The Sphinx is famous for riddles. One riddle from a Sphinx is--What walks on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening? (find the answer at the end!). This question was asked of anyone who wanted to pass through the gateway to the Greek city of Thebes, and anyone who got it wrong was eaten! Anyone who got it right was allowed through.

So the Sphinx is a mysterious, enigmatic creature that confuses and tests you. It’s a good symbol here because it represents the choices we have in life. Life is a very mysterious, confusing thing and sometimes, just like the chariot driver, we get pulled in different directions. For example, your parents might want you to do one thing (like your homework), and your friends, something else--maybe watch some TV or play some video games.

The Chariot symbolizes your life--and you are the person driving it. The message of the Chariot is to know where you want to go and look to the future. Who do you want to be? Do you want to be a train driver? A doctor? Run the country? Write amazing books?

Thinking about the future helps you control the two creatures pulling your chariot. Imagine one Sphinx is telling you to eat lots of cake and the other Sphinx is reminding you that you want to be fit and healthy. The balanced choice is to have one piece of cake then go outside and play.

In the end it is your chariot and your life. You can choose who you will be in the end. Who knows where you’ll end up unless you grab the reins! Listen to the Sphinxes telling you about the choices you have, then get onto your chariot and start steering it!

PS--The answer to the riddle is... Humans! We crawl on all fours as babies, then walk on two legs as we grow up, and finally use a stick when we get old.

In the Strength card you can see a woman calmly holding a lion’s jaws. The Lion is a symbol of aggression and dominance. Above her head is the symbol of Infinity. 

Strength isn’t about what we would traditionally see as male power. It’s not about fighting for what you want, being aggressive or violent. It’s not about forcing the matter or rushing in guns blazing; it’s about having the wisdom to wait, ponder, choose and walk carefully along the path. It’s about smoothing the way, communicating your ideas and charming others into following your suggestions. It’s about female power: unobtrusive, and sometimes unnoticed, but effective. 

The woman on the card has used her skills to calm the lion and control it. She knows that strength isn’t all about physical power but far more about integrity and wisdom. She knows that by taking a quieter path you can solve problems forever. People from history who have understood the wisdom of the Strength card include Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi. These amazing people changed the world for the better forever without violence or aggression and you can too.

In the old days, hermits were people who went off into the wilderness to meditate about God and the meaning of life. The Tarot card the Hermit shows just such a man--but is he going off into the wilderness, or coming back? The star in his lamp shows us that he has been on a long journey, perhaps just in his own mind, and is coming back to teach us what he has learned. The star is the wisdom he wishes to share. 

What does it mean for us? Sometimes we need to take time out to think things through. We wonder: Where did we come from? Where are we going? What is the purpose of life? You can ask other people what they think, and this can be very useful, but the only real answer to such big questions is within yourself. 

Sometimes it helps to quiet your mind and spend a bit of time alone. How can you do this? Hermits, like our friend on the Tarot card went off to a cave somewhere, meditated, then returned enlightened! Meditation is a good way to quiet your mind and see what it has to tell you. Parents don’t often let kids go off into the wilderness--but no worries--you can meditate anywhere, although some places are easier than others. A quiet room is good, or your garden, anywhere where you feel safe and comfortable. 

There are many ways to meditate. One way is to get yourself settled somewhere; lie down, sit crossed legged or sit any way that you like, so long as you're comfortable. Now close your eyes, and count your breaths. Count to ten then start counting again. Keep counting to ten. You can count each time you breathe out or in, or mix it up. Just keep counting until all you are thinking about is your breathing. Once that happens--your mind will be clear and fresh--and ready to think about those big questions. Think about one thing at a time. If you start to feel overwhelmed, just count your breaths again and start wriggling a bit. Save opening your eyes for last--and do this slowly! You can also imagine yourself surrounded by a silver or white light whilst you meditate. It will help you feel energized and safe. 

Meditation takes a while to learn how to do but it is a wonderful skill to have. We are all so noisy these days that it is important, sometimes, to act like the Hermit and go within. Who knows what wisdom will emerge? Maybe you will find answers no one has ever thought of before. Maybe you will teach others how to make life better. Maybe those old hermits had a point!

The Wheel of Fortune is a very strange looking and mystical card. At its center is a wheel, and the animals in the four corners are searching for wisdom and knowledge in their books. Sitting on top of the wheel is a sphinx, a symbol of mystery (and the one who knows the truth!). There is something missing from the card--spin. Wheels turn around and around. In fact. it's turning right now! 

The Wheel of Fortune is the wheel of life, bringing happiness and sadness in a continuing cycle. This is the lesson of the Wheel of Fortune: the wheel of life turns, and we all turn with it. Everything changes--the one thing that can be promised without hesitation. 

Think how much you have changed since you were born, and imagine how much you will change before you get old! Life is a magical fairytale ride, but like all fairytales, it can contain dark people and places. What do we do when we encounter such things? First, we must assure ourselves that it will pass; the Wheel will turn and pull us up again. Second, we can always learn, even from things we do not enjoy. They can teach us wisdom so next time we encounter something bad, we know how to deal with it. Don't forget that life can also bring us great joy and happiness, but because we know that the wheel will turn again, we should really appreciate those very good times. 

We are all of us tied to this Wheel and it spins us round and round. The question is whether you will see this as a problem or an opportunity. Try to see it as an opportunity and appreciate the happy or lucky times when they come along. If you are sad and feel that nothing will ever change be assured that soon things will get much, much better. That’s a guarantee.

A woman sits upon a throne. She holds the scales of justice. She IS Justice. She is on her throne because she is here to judge all of us--and this can be a very good thing! 

She can signify the law, police and lawyers. More than that though, she represents that feeling most of us have about things being “fair.” We can all remember a time when we were blamed for something that was not our fault and thought, “it’s not fair!” Justice is here for you to make sure that you get what you deserve. 

Sometimes though, we're not the right people to decide what we deserve. Sometimes we think less of ourselves than others do; often people put themselves down and do not appreciate their true value or contribution to the world around them. Justice is there is make things fairer for us, and also for other people. 

Many people suffer from unfairness for many reasons. Maybe they are a different color, religion, size, shape or have something different about them. Part of the message of this card is that being mean to people who are different is wrong and, if you can, it’s up to you to step in to help them. That doesn’t mean putting yourself in danger, but doing something in your own small way to make a difference. You could make friends with someone other kids pick on and find out what they're really like. You could ask people why they think mean things about other people and try to help them realise it's silly to act in that way. Justice also signifies a time when accounts must be settled. Is there something that you know you must do? Someone to whom you should apologize? The Justice card tells you that there is no time like the present. 

Justice is sitting on her throne reminding us to create balance in our lives. Do not let yourself be put upon. Do not let others be discriminated against. Make amends to those you have wronged. Clear the slate and do not be tainted by injustice. Trust that in the end things do work out. Bad people do get punished and good people do get their just rewards. Justice is here to make it happen and she’s hoping you'll help her. 
This card is possibly the strangest image in the Tarot pack. A man hangs upside down, but looks rather happy about it. A halo burns around his head. What has he learned? What is he trying to tell us? 

The Hanged man evokes a Christian theme, sacrifice, and considering the cross he is hanging from, this could be interpretted as an image of Jesus. Sacrifice involves giving up something you really value in order to obtain something of more value. The Hanged man can also be assigned to Odin, Viking God, who hung from the World tree for nine days in order to learn to read runes. He sacrificed in order to gain hidden knowledge. Sometimes you have to be passive to win. If you give yourself over to life, you can be swept along to a quite unexpected conclusion. Let the universe create your path, because it can see a lot further than you can. 

As you may have noticed, the Hanged Man is also upside down. His perspective on life is very different from ours. Sometimes the only way to learn is to look at things in a totally different way. If you are having problems or arguments with someone try to focus on what is driving them. What do they want? Look at it from their side. You would be amazed how much this can help. 

The Hanged Man is all about trying to solve problems in new ways. Try it and hidden knowledge might well be yours!
Death. The most misunderstood card in the Tarot pack. 

It is used far too often to scare people in movies. The Death card does not mean physical death. The card shows Death, as a skeleton on a horse, riding into town. On his flag is a rose symbolizing life. All around him people are lying on the ground. There has been a battle or an illness that everyone has been affected by. Death comes just as people begin to rise again--just as the sun shines once more. 

Death signifies our greatest fear--passing through a gateway into another world. He signifies change, real life change. Death knows what we do not--what the other side will look like. All of us, when contemplating any sort of change, such as moving house or changing schools, are desperate to know that everything will work out. So what is its message? All of us must face change, it is inevitable. Faced in the right way, as a potentially positive thing, any change can be magical. Like a caterpillar into a butterfly, sometimes we all must let the universe take over and transform us. 

Death can be one of the best cards to have in a tarot reading. Like October signalling the start of winter, this card shows you that it is time for transformation. Time to become more than you are. The Celtic New Year at Samhain is the perfect time for the Death card. New Year is a time for change, a time to embrace the future. What does it mean for you? Simply that there are greater processes at work. 

Trust in these and allow the natural change to occur. Do not fight it but trust in the universe. If you have been fighting change then stop: move forward. Embrace it and you will find that there is a lot less to fear. 
What a lovely card to follow Death! If you look at the card you can see an angel pouring water from one cup to another. It’s all about balance. 

Temperance symbolizes finding balance in your life, and learning that excess will drain, not sustain you. The temperance movement in the USA lead to alcohol prohibition; they misunderstood the real meaning of Temperance. Temperance is about moderation not abstinence. Moderation can be far harder than abstinence; try having one square of chocolate and stopping there! It’s a challenge, and one that this card suggests we rise to--especially over the holiday period! 

Of course it's not just our consumption of food and drink that we may need to temper. It can be any excess: shopping, arguing, negative thinking or any self-destructive behavior. Our excesses can also impact others; perhaps we neglect the people in our lives when we indulge our desires to excess. The angel is trying to show us that if you keep things flowing and don’t go to extremes, life will feel much more hopeful and peaceful. 

So how does this card apply to you? All of us do something to excess whether it is harmful to us or not. Think of something you do. Now consider if it harms you in any way. Does it harm others either actively or by neglect? If you find something that does cause harm in some way, then try this week to moderate it. Any reduction is a good result. Move closer to balance, to Temperance, and you’ll see how much better you feel.
Don’t worry--the Devil doesn’t mean an actual 'devil'--but it doesn’t symbolize all hugs and puppies either. 

If you look at the card it shows two people, The Lovers, chained together. Their chains are held by the Devil. The Devil, who people used to think could possess someone, symbolizes feeling compelled or forced to do something. This can be two people who are lovers or friends even though they really don’t want to be, but they can’t seem to say goodbye. But it can mean more than that. It can also be about being addicted to something. It can be anything--drugs, food, shopping, computer games. 

Some of the things on that list can be good for us, like food, but too much can be bad for us. The Devil wants us to do things to excess which can harm us. He doesn’t have our best interests at heart. It might be good fun and we might learn lots from a computer game, but if we play it all day we miss out on lots of other things. 

So what is the message of this card? The chains binding us CAN be broken. We can decide to ignore the urge for another cake, or another game. This might not be easy, but each time we overcome an obstacle our resistance 'muscle' gets stronger. There's nothing wrong with enjoying things or even enjoying them to excess--its lovely to have a big party--but sometimes we need to listen to our bodies and slow down a bit. 

When this card comes up in a reading, we need to take a look at our lives and think what person or action is not positive. What do you need to break free from?

If you look at the Tower card, you'll see two people falling from a tower that's being struck by lightning. The Tower indicates a time when your foundations, even the walls you have built around you, are very shaky indeed. 

The Tower indicates a very intense time. It is a time of both revelation and destruction. Sometimes things need to be torn down in order to rebuild them stronger. This is rarely a pleasant experience! However, it is often necessary. The two people falling from the tower may have another story to tell. One Tarot interpretation is that they are jumping from the tower because they believe that they can fly. Obviously--all too quickly--they're going to discover that they cannot. This indicates one action of the Tower: the tearing away of illusions. 

Illusions can be harmful if they stop us from accepting the truth. Sometimes seeing to the heart of the matter, bleak and stark though that vision may be, is what leads us to monumental life enhancing change. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. Sometimes, however, the Tower can shock us by showing us a positive truth. Perhaps we have a very negative spin on things or dream of a better life, which our own reality can never live up to. In this case, the Tower can illuminate our minds and free us from such negative thoughts. Either way, the Tower means monumental change. It is something that happens to you. Life has decided to give you a kick up the backside and whilst it might temporarily hurt, the ramifications can be wonderful. So what is the lesson of the Tower? Accept that we learn more from pain than joy. Joy is something you enjoy, while pain, you question, examine and vow not to repeat. 

What can pain, catastrophe or the tearing of illusions teach us? The true value of your life. What better insight can you be given? Though the Tower is a harsh teacher, she works out of love and with the intention of moving you forward in life. If you are going through such a time at the moment, a time of harsh lessons, remember that your life will change for the better. When it does, you will appreciate it more for this lesson. Grab every morsel of wisdom you can from your experiences to limit the damage should the lightning hit your tower again.

Ever been out playing and got covered in mud? When you get home you get in the shower and as the warm water pours over you, you feel such pleasure and a wonderful feeling of being reborn. It’s similar when you have been ill for a while and then, suddenly, one day, wake up feeling 100% well. That’s the Star. 

After all the upheaval and hard work of The Tower, our last card, the Star, comes along to remind you that there is hope. Tomorrow, as they say, is another day. The Star is the bridge between you and that tomorrow. It promises you that there is a positive future and all you have to do is trust in that. 

Take a look at the Star, the most positive and hopeful card in the pack. The woman has one foot on land and one in the water. This can mean that she is comfortable in both the material and spiritual worlds. I see it as someone who has learned to balance her conscious and subconscious desires. The water flowing from her two containers is symbolic of a free flowing of thought, imagination and emotion. This woman is not stagnant. The seven stars around her signify the Chakras and indicates a time when they are in balance. 

So what does this card mean to you? If, for any reason, you feel negatively about the future, the Star is telling you to allow yourself to hope. Even if you can not change what is to come, you can alter how it affects you. The Star promises joy and happiness. The Star itself is showing you possibilities, trying to get you to believe. You have to take the next step. It is like the Pevensie children finding Narnia, a magical world, at the back of their wardrobe. The Star can show you Narnia--but you have to step through and into the new world. Take that step today!

Following on from the hope given by The Star, you might expect the next card in our journey to be one of joy and acceptance. It isn’t, I’m afraid--it’s going to get a bit more spooky before we get there. The Moon is a card denoting experiences that can be good or bad depending on how you approach them--but this is where the message of the Star comes in. The more you hope, the better they will be. 

The Moon signifies a time when you have stilled your mind enough that more subtle information gets through. Your intuition takes over. This could happen within your dreams, late at night when you are alone or in the middle of the street on a wet Thursday. What could happen is that your intuition suddenly tells you, STOP! Now, do you listen and react instantly, or do you carry on? It could be that you suddenly remember someone you know from school and a moment later you get an email from them. You could be singing a song, turn on the radio and it’s being played. Things, basically, get a bit weird. 

Some peoples' entire lives are like this. They either learn to accept it, or they deny it and thus lose a bit of themselves in the process. For others it happens rarely. Some people act on these messages and thus avoid accidents that might have happened or people that they would have regretted meeting. They also have incredibly fortuitous events happen too because they took the time to listen. 

Intuition is, I believe, another way in which your unconscious mind and a higher power tries to communicate with you. For example, sometimes your unconscious might pick up small clues in a person’s body language that make you feel that the person is very unpleasant indeed. This could explain those times when you meet someone and instantly dislike them. Your unconscious is trying to tell you something. I suggest you listen. If it says "Run away!" then please run (you may also get positive messages too!). 

Sometimes also it is a higher consciousness softly trying to move you towards a beneficial experience. You might be in a book shop and have a strange urge to look in a section you never normally enter. You might be drawn to someone you have known for a while but never spent time with or towards a new hobby. You may well meet someone or something that can change your life. 

So the message of the Moon is try to quiet things down so you can listen to your sixth sense. The Moon’s light is not as bright as the sun, but can still illuminate your life. What is it trying to tell you? The Moon advises you that the sixth sense is as vital as your other senses although it doesn’t always communicate as clearly! If life is always a bit strange for you in the way I have described, then perhaps its time to find a mentor to help you manage your talent. If life is only rarely this way for you then when it is, please listen! If your sixth sense is talking to you, it’s important!

Feeling creative, confident and self-assured? Then you are under the influence of the Sun. We are very soon to reach the end of our journey through the Major Arcana of the Tarot and the path one takes through life. The Sun marks a time when an individual is ready to expand their existence, either by creating a child or by creation in another form.

The Sun is an exuberant card, ready to take charge. If you look at the picture you can see a child riding a white horse in a beautiful garden. To me this is all about newness and creation.What can be more beautiful than a newborn child, a poem, a painting, a book or a dance? It is a very good time to do something creative!

It is also a good time to work on your confidence. If you have negative or critical thoughts going on in your head all the time, pick today as the day you’ll start being really conscious of it. Be aware of when a negative thought comes up--does it make sense? Is this something reasonable that you would say to another person? If not, why do you say them to yourself?

Once you are aware of it, rather than just letting it run like background music covering your life with a grey fog--stop that negative voice--right now! When you start to hear a negative thought, call it something silly that makes you laugh, or simply say, "Negative Voice, shush NOW!" This should, with any luck, make you smile, and destroy the power it has over you.

This can be a time of sunshine, when everything seems possible and is only limited by your imagination. Stop doubting yourself and asking if you are ready. Instead jump into life and really truly live! 
On the face of it, Judgment looks like quite a severe card. You can see all the people rising from their graves! But what does it mean in a Tarot sense? Judgement can simply be about a time when you are being judged. It could be an exam or a test, for example--and the result will go well.

It can also indicate when YOU must decide something. Maybe you have a choice to make. It could even be that you hear a call to follow a particular path in life; the angel calls and we all must respond.

Judgment can also be about our personalities and who we are. All of us play different parts depending on who we are with. You can be a child to one person, and a friend to another person, and you'll behave differently with both of them. This isn’t a problem--you should act differently with your friends than with your parents, but you should always be yourself in each encounter. If you are desperately trying to be someone you are not--that is where things can go wrong. 

Being true to yourself is the key, and once this happens the path becomes amazingly clear. Rocks and boulders that you foresaw along the way are suddenly gone--it's easy to decide what to do. The heavens are smiling upon you and that’s exactly what is happening--just like in the card!

The World is the culmination of the Fool's journey and the end of our trip through the Major Arcana. The philosophy of the Tarot is that everyone chooses their path in life--and a person will walk many different paths in his or her lifetime. For example, when you reach the end of one path, such as school, you also have to choose which path you want to take next. The Fool's journey illustrates a walk along one of these paths with the World being the end.

It's time to remember what the Fool has learned on his journey through the Major Arcana: Firstly, he learned the excitement of starting a new life and the control he could have over it. He saw the power people and emotions could wield. He developed some personal skills through tests such as balancing opposing demands on time, finding strength and being alone in order to gain wisdom.

 He comes to realize is that experiences in life are good and bad, and constantly changing with everything working towards balance. He acknowledges that his addictions and obsessions are within his own control. He learns responsibility and finds new hope. He begins to listen to his intuition, and the desire to create and share his knowledge grows. His experiences effect the person he becomes by the end of this path--the World.

So what happens at the end of your path? Well, it would be usual to celebrate where you are, and all you have achieved. It would then be sensible to look around, list the options you now have, and chose a new road. And so your journey--and the Fool's--begins again. Have you ever heard the phrase, "the World is your Oyster?" It means that you are getting everything you want from life. And you can--but you need to make wise choices. You are in control of your life.

Imagine that your life is like a boat floating down a river. Sometimes you might take the boat to the shore--but you can't stay there forever; you must keep moving forwards. You can try to row up stream to relive your past but it will be a struggle. You can let the current pull you along, but you'll need oars to steer to avoid rocks and shallows. Your oars are wisdom and the Tarot is one way to gain information to help you to decide which way to paddle your boat. Life is an exciting journey, difficult at times, often wonderful and always changing. 

I take my inspiration from Goya, the painter, who was an old man in his 80’s when he drew a picture with the caption,"I’m still learning." When you learn new things, you grow as a person--and that's something you can always do, no matter how old you are. I hope that is always true for me--and for you, too.
Now that we've looked at the meanings of the cards of the Major Arcana, it's time to learn how to read those cards--but the first important step is buying the right deck of cards for you. Some people say that Tarot cards should always be a gift and never something you buy for yourself. Personally, I think that's nonsense. Tarot cards are not mystical things in and of themselves. It is the READER who makes the cards mystical (although it is nice to get them as a present)!

When Tarot cards were invented they were used to play a card game. They were not seen as supernatural in any way until people started to realize that they could use them to tell fortunes. Tarot cards show people’s lives, in all their complications, which is why they lend themselves so well to clairvoyance ("clear vision" --the ability to "see" using means other than the known human senses). In the past, people used lots of different ways to tell the future. The ancients used the beating hearts of sacrificial victims, the entrails of animals, or dancing flames to find out what lay ahead. Today, the Tarot is a popular tool for telling the future (maybe because it involves a lot less mess!).

Before you buy your cards or have them bought for you, realize that the magical thing that will see the future is YOU--not your cards. However, it is still nice to have cards you like and that resonate with you. There are many, many, many different types of tarot cards but they split into two different types; pictorial and non-pictorial. Pictorial cards have a picture on each card illustrating what it means. Non-pictorial don’t have a picture on every card. I recommend buying pictorial cards because it’s much easier to read with them. If you use non-pictorial you'll have to remember what every card means rather than just looking at a picture. Most pictorial Tarot decks are based on the Rider-Waite tarot set (the one I use!). Over the years many people have created their own cards with all sorts of themes, but based on that set. 

Have a look at an online catalog of tarot cards and see which ones you are drawn to. You might be drawn to images based on Egyptian, Greek or Celtic mythology, or something more supernatural like fairies or witches. Just make sure they are pictorial before you buy unless you want to study hard before you start reading. Tarot cards are tools we can use to open our minds, and it's worth giving it a bit of thought before you get your first pack. Hopefully they'll be the ones you'll use for the rest of your life.
The last time we talked Tarot, it was about buying your first deck of cards. Once you have your cards, you'll want to start reading them straight away. You should be aware that for a while, they will not be very accurate. The cards need to attune with you and you need to become relaxed at reading. So do readings--but do not take what they say very seriously.

I’m going to repeat that again.

At first, DO NOT take what they say seriously. The point of Tarot (in my opinion!), is to make you feel hopeful about the future. If you are unsure about what the cards signify, it's easy to believe that the worst could happen. It will not. Tarot doesn't work like that. Tarot cards usually come with a little book that tells you a bit about each card. You will notice that there are two groups of cards--the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana signifies the big things that happen to us in life. The Minor Arcana is the smaller things. Your first readings should preferably be of your own life so you can get used to reading without anyone else judging you. If you do read for anyone else, just make sure they understand that this is a practice reading. 

Before you start a reading you must find the card that signifies you. I do this by the star sign, gender and age of a person (Page =Child/Young Adult, Knight = Young Adult, Queen = Woman 25+, King = Man 30+ Of course these are all approximate!):

Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces (water signs)
Page of Cups
Knight of Cups
Queen of Cups
King of Cups

Aries, Leo, Sagittarius (fire signs)
Page of Wands
Knight of Wands
Queen of Wands
King of Wands

Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo (earth signs)
Page of Pentacles
Knight of Pentacles
Queen of Pentacles
King of Pentacles

Aquarius, Gemini, Libra (air signs)
Page of Swords
Knight of Swords
Queen of Swords
King of Swords

I let women choose between page and queen cards. The suit can tell you a lot about the person. Cup people are dreamy, romantic and very deep. Wand people are innovative, artistic and can be argumentative. Coin/Pentacle folks are hard working, loving and like security while Sword people never stop talking, are creative and can be moody.

Find the card that you feel represents you. Does it look like you? Is there anything on the card that you like? A colour? Shape? It’s important that you like your card so spend some time finding something that reminds you of you. 

Next separate out the Major and Minor Arcana, keep the card that signifies you out. Put the two stacks face down in front of you. Make sure that the top of the cards is pointing away from your body. Take your card and warm it up. Most people just put it between their palms. When it feels good and warm, put it face down (the top of the card pointing away from you) on or in one of the two piles. Then put the two piles together and shuffle. Tarot cards are big, so don't worry if you drop any or find them hard to handle. Take your time and do your best. Do not use any card shuffling tricks because they will damage your cards. Once you have shuffled, put the pack down and cut it into two piles. Put the piles back together then shuffle again. Do that three times. Shuffle, cut, shuffle, cut, shuffle, cut. You should end with two piles. Put those together, whichever way around, and you are ready to read. On a flat surface, lay out four cards in a line face down. The first one on the left is your past, next is your present, then your future and the one on the far right is your advice card. 

When doing a reading, you will need to know the meaning of the card itself, as well as the meaning of the position of the card. The card tells you what is happening and the position of the card puts it into context. Turn over the first card on the left. This card will tell you something that happened to you or someone close to you in the past. For example, if the card is the Fool, it could mean that you started something new that you had never done before and it was all very exciting. As you turn each card over, use your book to look up each card. Think about the position of the card and try to link the meaning of the card with the time it represents. Remember that the final advice card is not telling you about a particular time. It's giving you advice. So, for example, if you get the Star as an advice card, it means that you need to be more hopeful for the future, that everything will be okay. 

Try and do a reading every day. With practice, you will get familiar with the images. For now though, get used to reading with your cards and enjoy the illumination that may come. I hope that you will start to feel quite fond of your cards--I love mine!

Have you been practicing with your cards? The next stage is to learn the cards so you don’t have to keep consulting your book. It also looks a lot better when you start reading for others.

The way I learned the cards was to give each one some key words. The pictures and titles of the Major Arcana will be very useful in helping you remember what they mean. You'll remember the meanings of some cards because they come up over and over again. If you are reading for yourself it’s worth looking at those cards and figuring out what the universe is trying to tell you. Remember, don’t take individual readings too seriously, but if the same card comes up more than 5 times, there may be a message there.

Here are my key words for the Major Arcana cards (Choose your own keywords if that works better for you--look at the images, what do they tell you?). Some key words are the same as the card title, as the title sums it up--but remember, they are just a little poke to help me remember the deeper meanings of each card:

Hey! There's a card missing from our Major Arcana! Do you know which one it is? HINT: This is one of those cards where the title shows the meaning...

You can do readings with just the Major Arcana--eventually we'll have a look at the Minor Arcana, but for now, let's have a go at doing some readings! How would you interpret these cards:

Have a go yourself, then scroll down to read my interpretation (try it yourself first!!!).

The World is in the past. The World means coming to the end of a path like coming to the end of a school year. It could be the end of anything that has been important to the person. It isn’t a bad card so it doesn’t mean things went wrong, just that it came to a natural end. 

The Fool is in the present. It means a new path and makes sense that it comes after the World. After one path ends (The World) then another starts (The Fool). Although the Fool sounds like an insult it isn’t. It means that the person is starting a new path (such as a new school, for example) and won’t have all the answers. Learning about it is part of the fun. 

The Chariot is in the future position and suggests that things are going to get very busy. Being busy isn’t bad, but can sometimes be tiring or hard if we have to choose to do one thing over another. 

The advice card is The Magician. The Magician asks us who is creating your life? Who decides what you do and when? Who decides where you want to go? When you are very busy (the Chariot) it can be worth asking what you want to do. We don’t always have choices in our lives, sometimes we must do things (like go to school or work), but where we have choices the Magician says we should think carefully about them. 

I think this reading shows someone who has finished a particular path lately and is starting a new one. They will be very busy and they need to try to prioritize what they want to do. 

What was your interpretation? Was it similar? Keep practicing! 

♥ ♥ ♥

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