Are you fascinated by the images on tarot cards? For many people who are new to tarot cards, the images can seem overwhelming to decipher. For others, who may be frightened by what they stand for, some of the images may even seem downright evil. Tarot cards are not evil. They are beautiful works of art dated back thousands of years.
According to Mark Patrick Hederman in his book “Tarot: Talisman or Taboo”, the origin of the tarot cards is actually still speculated upon by scholars. The oldest pack of tarot cards in existence comes from Italy and dates from the fifteenth century.
From the time I was a young girl sitting at my aunt’s knee watching her shuffle the cards and lay them out in special patterns, I have been in awe of the them. Since then, my understanding of each particular card and those special patterns of laying them out has increased considerably; yet, each time I hold the cards I still feel that sense of awe.
There are many versions of tarot cards to choose from, but the most popular deck is the Rider-Waite deck. The deck, which consists of 78 cards, is broken down into what is considered the major and minor arcana cards. The minor arcana cards are very similar to the modern deck of playing cards that we are all familiar with today, with the addition of an extra court card, the knight.
Instead of the cards being broken down into the four suits of hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades, however they are represented by cups, pentacles, wands and swords. Each suit begins with an ace and has a card for each of the numbers 2 through 10 as well, followed by a page, knight, queen and king card.
Each suit has a particular association. To give you a very basic overview of each suit, based on my understanding, the cups, for instance, deal with emotions and matters of the heart, also non-material abundance and spirituality. The pentacles deal with financial matters and security or lack there-of. The wands represent ideas, science and knowledge. The swords represent action and justice.
Additionally, if you have an understanding of numerology or the meaning of numbers, you can put them together. That is a very basic way to begin to understand what each card means. As an example, the number one connotates the beginning of something; therefore, we can deduce that the ace of pentacles might represent the start of a business or an opportunity associated to income. The ace of wands might represent the beginning of a new endeavor or opportunity for education or knowledge. You can then build upon it from there.
Undoubtedly though, the most intriguing cards are the major arcana cards. These cards are said to hold more importance or significant meaning. Each card has the name right across the bottom, therefore, through simple contemplation, one might conclude that the chariot would deal with travel, or that the sun would bestow a positive indication or represent something optimistic and hopeful.
The three most frightening cards, I would venture to say, are the tower, the devil and death. The images on these cards do appear to be dark, reinforced by the use of black in the actual background, in the case of the tower and the devil. They can be negative, in truth, but there are negatives in life as well as positive. Understanding the cards around these cards can give you great insight into what is being depicted in a particular spread.
In conclusion, I would like to point out that sometimes the devil refers to depression or sadness. The tower can refer to confusion or chaos, even the destruction of something. And the most frightening card in the deck, death, may also indicate a rebirth or a new beginning. It can refer to the death of a particular lifestyle, friendship or the end of an era or sorts.