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Interpreting Tarot Cards

By Maria Svensson

Interpreting Tarot cards is, as you might expect, quite difficult and requires much practice. So is there an easy way? A short cut? yes - by focusing only on the Major Arcana cards. What are the major cards I hear you ask? The standard tarot deck, whatever imagery is used to depict the symbols, is 78 cards in 2 sections, namely the major and minor arcanas. The major cards are by far the most important, and for quick readings, it is perfectly permissible simply to discard the minor cards and concentrate solely on the major arcana ('secrets' in latin). To lay out the cards in a standard reading is beyond the scope of this article, consult if you need instructions on how to start a reading.

There are 22 major arcana cards, each one of which symbolizes an aspect of our existence. In our lives, we are constantly influenced in terms of our essential drives by forces that are depicted in the Tarot. Together, the major Arcana represent the 'Fools Journey' - the trip we all make - our lives in other words. To become a fully rounded individual and complete the journey successfully, each quality represented by the cards must be experienced or in some cases mastered.

These 'qualities' we all must experience are universal, although of course the order they occur in our lives and the particular form the lesson takes is completely individual. From the '0' card (representing our first awareness) to card 21 (fulfillment), each of these cards is a stage on the road to our final destination. When giving a reading, you must remember that although these universal experiences and lessons must be in everyone's life, your client will not have experienced them in the same way as you (or even at all yet!) and so you must be careful not to superimpose your own life experiences on the cards as they fall.

Taking the cards in order, we start with the Fool. Based on the medieval 'jester', the Fool can watch, mimic and make fun of others. As the Fool is essentially unpredictable and full of surprises, this card is a reminder that life has unlimited potential. Simultaneously, the Fool stresses that fact that life is basically good. The very innocence of the Fool brings him joy. In readings, the Fool often signals a new start or change in direction. He also puts you on guard to keep your faith and trust your own instincts. Believe in yourself and follow your heart, your own convictions are right, and no one else can tell you otherwise, no matter how mad your course may seem on the outside.

Next we have the Magician. This card agrees that your have a massive opportunity to use your creative powers if you will only claim them as your own and focus. If your course is clear, this card says 'act now' or the moment will pass.

Card 2 is the High Priestess. This card makes an observation - that you need to go deeper and look beyond the obvious. Underneath is the real truth. Like the Fool, she also reminds you of your incredible potential, yet also perhaps the need to not rush - to consider carefully before acting. Remember that sometimes your destination can be reached without decisive action.

The next card is the Empress. Strongly associated with Motherhood, she is beyond the specific case of simply being a mother, and recalls the fact that this is just one aspect of a true essential - the creation of life and it's nurturing through love. On the material level, she signifies wealth and abundance as long as you understand that these riches are not for you but are to be distributed lavishly as mother to your children.

The last card we will examine in this article is the Emperor, who symbolizes the need for organization. Sometimes this card means a brush with authority or the chance to become an authority. Often associated with legal matters or officialdom, the Emperor is the archetypal 'father figure'. He can indicate the need for you to take control of your life - to accept responsibility for your actions and to actually start to enjoy that power. We'll look at more major arcana next time, or you can pop over to for more info on tarot card reading for beginners.

About The Author

Maria Svensson reads cards for free at the free site answering all arcane questions.


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