Introduction – Tarot Cards

This is an introduction to the 22 Tarot cards constituting the Major Arcana. There are actually 78 cards in the full deck. The Major Arcana are the picture Trump cards.  On these is based the study of the Tarot, summed up in a word similar to Tao, which means the Way. The rest of the deck is the more familiar playing cards, with four Kings and Queens, but instead of Jacksimages, there are both four Knights and four Pages. These cards are called the Minor Arcana and total 56 cards. The word “arcane” refers to secrets or mysteries. Their actual origin is lost in ancient times. The story goes that in Priests and Teachers were entrusted in preserving their teachings and so created this deck of cards to be used for gaming. In this way their initiates could carry them in plain sight. Only they who understood the symbols would profit from their wisdom. In using symbols language barriers became surmountable, especially since the symbols are common to all Wisdom teachings. You will find reference to many philosophies and religions in the pictures. This may also be why they are also called Tarot keys; keys that will unlock the doors of the hidden mysteries of life.

There are many ways to study the cards. To begin we will look at each key individually. Later we will arrange them in what is referred to as a Tarot Tableau. There are two that are widely used. One has them arranged in three horizontal rows of seven cards each with The Fool card at the top. The other has them arranged in five horizontal rows of five cards each with The Fool card on the right side at the top and The World card at the right side at the bottom. When we cover these later I will supply a picture of each tableau. There are, of course, many ways to study the cards in combination.

Tarot TableauThe point, though, is to look at the cards, whether singly or in groups. Just by looking at them they begin their work. I would suggest that as you begin your study of the cards that (1) you study them in the order given, from number 0 to number 21, and (2) spend at least 5 minutes both before and after reading the section on each one just looking at the cards in silence.

You may wish to color a deck of cards. I will supply you with a source where you can purchase a deck suitable for coloring that comes with coloring directions.