What is tarot and what meaning can it bring to your life?
Tarot is a deck of 78 cards, each with their own symbolism and story. They represent universal experiences we all go through as humans. There are 22 major arcana cards, that I see as the big life lessons, and 56 minor arcana cards, which represent the ups and downs that everyday life brings.
What’s magical about this practice is that they embody archetypes that are deeply rooted in our history. Deep down we all intuitively know the story that each card has to say. This means anybody can explore tarot, you don’t have to be a professional reader!
I believe you can think of tarot in two ways:
- As a divination tool, from the divine to you. The idea that, through the cards, messages are channelled from a higher nature (the universe, source, your higher self) and that this can help to guide you to what you need to know.
- As a prompt to explore what you already know. I think of this more as your own unconscious communicating with you. The cards mirror back to you what you might have been ignoring or not fully embracing.
You can, of course, think of tarot as both of those things. If there’s one thing I’d recommend remembering when you explore tarot, is that your future is not already decided, you are a being of free will. It’s so important to recognise this, as it can put so many people off. Instead, they help you to explore the potential. There are limitless potentials depending on what you choose.
I found tarot whilst training as a psychotherapist. I was three years into my traditional counselling training and on placement as a trainee therapist. I happened to be assigned to a supervision group run by one of the most open-minded, spiritually awakened counsellors I’d ever come across. Maria (who continues to be my mentor to this day) ran monthly group sessions, which often consisted of us using tarot decks and other non-traditional therapy tools. What’s fascinating is that tarot isn’t far from Carl Jung’s teachings - the founder of analytical psychology. I believe I was somehow guided to that group, as it allowed me to develop into the holistic therapist that I am today.
What is the meaning behind tarot cards?
To help you get a feel of what the cards have to say, here’s three I love exploring:
The fool represents that moment in life when we’re about to embark on a fresh new journey. This card brings to mind flying the nest, leaving for college, or preparing to travel the world. It can feel exciting, thrilling, and even daring. It represents limitless potential and a playful nature.
The energy of the fool is less about fear of the unknown and more about a readiness to explore. It encourages you to not concern yourself so much with appearing ‘a fool’ because all good things require a little risk-taking. Remember, we go through cycles in life, so you might have been in the fool energy at 18, again at 21, again at 30, again at 60, etc.
I see this card as one of the most positive cards in the deck. It’s also the type of card that scares people away from exploring tarot and why this practice often gets misunderstood. The Death card is by no means a predication of a physical death but, instead, it embodies the death of something or some part of us.
It symbolises an ending, and often an ending that is much needed. Unlike the six of swords, where the ending may bring sadness or represent fleeing a situation, the death card is constantly part of the cycles we go through. With death comes re-birth and new beginnings. For example, there is death every winter and a re-birth every spring. This card can help you to recognise what has died and what is about to be re-born. It can be a liberating card that awakens you to change.
The Queen of swords
I want to share this card with you, as it so often sprung up in my own readings when I was going through difficult times. The Queen of swords represents being a leader in your own life. Instead of feeling consumed with worry or emotion, she encourages you to take action. There are times in life when we need to rest (like the hermit or the four of swords) but there are also times when we need to use logic and reason to navigate the path forwards. She kept coming up for me at a time in my life when I needed to have ‘my head screwed on’ and I’m forever grateful for that lesson.
Using tarot at home
If you want to explore this for yourself, I’d recommend purchasing the Ryder Waite deck, which is the original pack. To begin with, just shuffle and have a play around. I often pull cards for myself daily, to tune into my energy and to listen to what I need to know. I also pull cards for my clients to help them to explore the things they feel stuck with. I find it enriches self-awareness and gets you in touch with your intuition. I’ve seen tarot be the catalyst that helps people to have incredible realisations and awakening moments.
If you’d like to look at exploring tarot with me further, I offer both spiritual coaching (for you to develop your own intuition) or readings and healing sessions. Reach out to me to book an appointment.