To understand how to read tarot cards, we must first understand how tarot works. The art of tarot is an intricate interplay between our knowledge of universal symbols and the intuitive understanding of each reader. Although the symbolism within the tarot cards may be incredibly intimidating to a beginner, we can learn how to read the tarot more confidently if we approach it with a system.
Understanding your Goal in Tarot ReadingsIf you’re reading this, you probably are searching for a way to deal with uncertainty in your life. The tarot can become a great tool for helping ease anxiety as well as discovering hidden truths about the self, so long as we understand its purpose. At Labyrinthos, we don’t believe that tarot tells the future - that is a point of view that takes agency and authority from us. Instead, we believe that tarot helps you explore yourself.
If you’d like to learn more about this approach, we suggest that you sign up for our free online tarot app.
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Learning How to Read Tarot as a LanguageThe first principle you must learn about the cards is that tarot essentially works as a language. The vocabulary that we are working with in tarot cards the archetypal experiences that we all have as human beings. When you pick any card from the deck, it essentially represents an event, state of being, or person that we encounter throughout our lives. For example, the Empress card is essentially about motherhood - we all have mother figures in our lives that we can associate with this card.
With these words, we can start weaving together sentences and stories with the tarot, all of which have unique meanings to our lives. What one person gets from a reading is bound to be different from another’s, and yet they all have a universal thread.
To easily learn the vocabulary of the cards, our Labyrinthos Academy app helps you with simple, easy to use exercises.
The Hero’s Journey - How to Read Major Acana Tarot CardsNow that we’ve learned that each tarot card is part of a vocabulary, let’s step backward and take a look at the concept of the Hero’s Journey. You’ll notice that some of the cards in the deck are special. We see four suits, along with what look like trump cards. These cards are known as the major arcana.
The Hero’s Journey is a common storyline that is told over and over again within our cultures. It is the idea of a human soul setting out into the world, facing obstacles and overcoming obstacles to achieve some goal. You’ve undoubtedly heard many tales that follow this framework, and the tarot is meant to tell this tale in a universal way.
You can follow the story of the fool as he reaches enlightenment in the world by downloading the Labyrinthos Academy App.
The Minor Arcana - Understanding The System within the CardsIn the standard 78-card deck, we see multiple stories being told - not just the Hero’s Journey. The suits are wands, cups, swords and pentacles - all of which represent opposite and adjacent elements and properties. Each of these are numbered, and they have their own story to tell as well.
For more about the different suits in the cards, as well as explanations about each one, you can visit the respective articles in the blog. Or if you’re curious about tarot in general, you can learn with us on the Labyrinthos Academy App.
Piecing the Story in the Tarot Reading TogetherOnce you have the framework for the cards, you can start stringing the meanings together. You can either choose a spread - which gives you a structure for each card, or draw a few cards and see how you can combine them.
An easy spread using two cards can help you look at the negatives and the positives of a situation. Or think about your current challenge and your obstacle. Try these if you’re just starting out.
Guiding the Tarot Reading with your IntuitionWhile the framework is a great way to start with tarot reading and build confidence, do not be afraid to follow the guidance of your unconscious. At times, the pictures in the cards will speak to you directly - do not ignore it, but see how it can add to the reading. Your experiences will shape your perception of the base meaning of every card, and is part of your own uniqueness as a human being. Don’t be afraid to share it with others!
In the Labyrinthos Academy App, we also include guided tarot readings to help you get the hang of using your own intuitive mind.
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