When studying meanings for the Rider-Waite Smith, I referenced books, videos and anything I can find. You can find meanings in the Alpaca Tarot booklet but here's a nice run down of card meanings if you want to add knowledge to your readings. :)
Welcome to this mini tutorial on tarot and deck composition! If you're new to tarot, this guide will help you familiarize yourself with your brand new deck. Whether you've chosen a Rider-Waite-based deck or a visually appealing alternative, learning the foundation of tarot will enable you to interpret the cards effectively.
The Rider-Waite Deck
The Rider-Waite deck, created by Pamela Coleman Smith and published by Ryder & Company, holds a significant place in tarot history. Arthur Waite, a freemason and a knowledgeable figure in secret information, collaborated with Smith to make tarot accessible to everyone. Smith's illustrations became iconic, although she was not initially credited on the deck.
The Universal Waite Tarot deck, a recoloring of the original Rider-Waite deck, is a popular choice among tarot enthusiasts. It pays homage to Pamela Coleman Smith and includes a brief history of her contributions in the accompanying leaflet.
Understanding the Tarot Deck
The tarot deck consists of 78 cards divided into two main categories: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana represents significant life events and consists of cards numbered from 0 to 21. The Minor Arcana is further divided into four suits: Cups, Pentacles, Wands, and Swords.
The Major Arcana
Let's explore the Major Arcana cards, each with its own unique meaning:
- The Fool: Represents taking a significant step into the unknown.
- The Magician: Symbolizes the ability to create and manifest.
- The High Priestess: Signifies hidden knowledge and intuition.
- The Empress: Represents creativity and the birth of new ideas.
- The Emperor: Symbolizes leadership and authority.
- The Hierophant: Signifies seeking guidance and mentorship.
- The Lovers: Represents relationships and choices.
- The Chariot: Symbolizes advancement and moving forward.
- Strength: Signifies inner strength and courage.
- The Hermit: Represents introspection and solitude.
- Wheel of Fortune: Symbolizes the evolving cycles of life.
- Justice: Signifies finding one's true path and balance.
- The Hanged Man: Represents letting go and surrendering.
- Death: Symbolizes endings and new beginnings.
- Temperance: Signifies patience and balance.
- The Devil: Represents temptation and distractions.
- The Tower: Symbolizes chaos and necessary change.
- The Star: Signifies hope, inspiration, and guidance.
- The Moon: Represents hidden paths and imminent revelations.
- The Sun: Symbolizes happiness, success, and joy.
- Judgment: Signifies awakening and life-altering decisions.
- The World: Represents completion and new opportunities.
The Minor Arcana
The Minor Arcana cards are divided into four suits, each representing a different aspect of life:
- Cups: Symbolize emotions and relationships.
- Pentacles: Represent wealth, material possessions, and the physical realm.
- Wands: Signify action, creativity, and passion.
- Swords: Represent thoughts, intellect, and challenges.
Each suit consists of cards numbered from Ace to Ten and four court cards: Page, Knight, Queen, and King. The court cards can represent either people or specific qualities related to their suit.
Getting Started with Your Tarot Deck
Now that you have a basic understanding of the tarot deck, here's how you can begin working with your new deck:
- Take the time to familiarize yourself with the cards in your deck, starting with the Major Arcana.
- Divide the deck into sections to facilitate learning. Start by studying and memorizing the cards within each suit.
- Once you feel comfortable with the cards, begin practicing simple spreads. A three-card spread, such as Past-Present-Future, is an excellent place to start.
- When interpreting the cards in a spread, pay attention to the story they tell. Each card adds depth and insight to the overall reading.
Remember, tarot is a tool that provides guidance and insights. Use your intuition and trust your instincts as you navigate the world of tarot.
Enjoy your tarot journey and embrace the wisdom that the cards have to offer!
Video content and interpretation by : The Tarot Shop UK