Cartomancy and Tarot
Divining the future or receiving guidance using cards
Cartomancy – telling the future using cards – has existed about as long as playing cards have been around. Card decks have varied across time and countries, but since the late 18th century there has been a link between the tarot deck and divination. Modern cards vary widely, with a huge selection of artwork and symbols. Find a deck that suits you and meditate upon the cards, studying each in turn so that their meanings are clear to you for interpretation. If you aren’t familiar with your tarot deck, the messages you get will be confusing and often contradictory.
Reading a Spread
The most well-known way to read the tarot is using a spread – an intentional and deliberate layout of cards, where each position holds a meaning or represents an aspect of the reading as a whole.
The purpose is to help create a framework to respond to the querant, and like knowing the cards well, knowing the spread well is key to performing an insightful reading.
Answer a Question
It is also a not uncommon practice to pull a selection of cards from the deck to answer a simple question.
This doesn’t require a spread, or even a surface, but the answers are often less specific.
"Divination is a means of telling ourselves what we already know"
Cards of almost every sort have four suits; some, like tarot cards, have a selection of trump cards as well.
The Major Arcana
The Major Arcana are the named or numbered cards in a cartomantic tarot pack. There are usually 22 such cards in a standard 78-card pack, typically numbered from 0 to 21 (in card playing packs, there is no 0, the unnumbered card is the Fool). Prior to the 17th century, tarot cards were solely used for playing games and the trumps were simply part of a standard card pack.
This is a card of talent and power. You have the skills and tools to accomplish your goals at this time, and it is time to make the most of your abilities. This card is one of potential about to be unleashed, and indicates it is time to manifest what you desire. As above, so below.
The Magician in the reversed position indicates a creative block, or self-doubt. You may want to reconsider your timing. More time working on your skills and knowledge will be a benefit in the long run.
The High Priestess
This is a card of mystery, stillness and passivity. This card tells you to trust your inner instincts, your inner voice is speaking clearly and you are following the advice.
Turn off the outer noise so that you can hear the inner voice. This is not the time to reveal your secrets. When reversed, this card suggests that it is time to retreat and reflect upon the situation before moving forward. Listen carefully to your inner voice, for you have not heard its message accurately.
The Empress portrays the energy of the great mother. She is nature, around us but also within us, the ever-unfolding source of life-giving power. This card also symbolizes fertility. A period of great creativity is ahead. Whether that be creating art, a new life or a new venture, all signs are positive. The energy of the Empress is abundant.
Problems ahead. Creative blocks. Punishment or corrective action is due, however be cautious not to over-do it.
The Emperor Tarot card represents the highest leadership, a head of state, or the most exemplary and powerful person in the realm. This archetypal ruler is responsible for the affairs of a society or community. The Emperor represents stability, order, and dominion. It indicates achievement through hard work and discipline. Often the Emperor can represent dealings with authority figures.
When reversed, it is a time to work towards stability, and to go from order to disorder, from power to a power trip, from authority to tyranny. What seems secure turns oppressive and shaky. Arrogance is a likely issue, a tendency to behave like a petty tyrant, insisting on being indulged, served and flattered. This emperor prefers his own version of events to what is actually true.
This card refers to a master and the learning of practical lessons from the study of natural law. Some agent or resource that can reveal the secrets of life, the cycles of the Moon and tides, the links between human beings and the heavens.
When reversed, this may be indicating that you bring an unnecessary episode of rebellion against traditional, long held ideals and spiritual beliefs that belong to your lineage. You are biting the hand that feeds you.
Attraction, love, beauty, trials overcome.
Failure, foolish designs.
Succor, providence; also war, triumph, presumption, vengeance, trouble.
Riot, quarrel, dispute, litigation, defeat.
Power, energy, action, courage, magnanimity; also complete success and honours.
Despotism, abuse of power, weakness, discord, sometimes even disgrace.
Prudence, circumspection; also and especially treason, dissimulation, roguery, corruption.
Concealment, disguise, policy fear, unreasoned caution
The Wheel of Fortune
Destiny, fortune, success, elevation, luck, felicity.
Increase, abundance, superfluity.
In divinatory, esoteric and occult tarot, the Minor Arcana represent relatively mundane features of life. The court cards usually represent people. Each suit also has distinctive characteristics and connotations. Cups is commonly held to be related to the element of water, the clergy or religious persons, and predicts subjects of emotions and love. This suit is known as Cups, chalices, goblets, vessels or ♥ Hearts.
Ace of Cups
The Ace of Cups indicates that a romantic offer awaits you. A new suitor or partnership. If you are looking for love, it’s very likely that something positive is on the horizon. Emotionally, this is a time to open yourself up. Be vulnerable and express the softer side of your self (you don’t always have to be a straight-up thug – show that tender side!). A great card for weddings, proposals, births or any sort of heart-centered celebration. A new emotional beginning. A chance to start fresh. Healing the old to make way for the new.
An emotional disappointment. Perhaps the other person is not feeling the same as you. They may be unavailable emotionally or have commitment issues. Being turned down. Rejection. Dissed. Emotional unavailability. Commitment issues. Coldness. Feeling let down and depressed – or blocked. If this card is combined with the Devil, it can speak of serious addiction issues. Time to get some intervention in da house.
In divinatory, esoteric and occult tarot, the Minor Arcana represent relatively mundane features of life. The court cards usually represent people. Each suit also has distinctive characteristics and connotations. Pentacles is commonly held to be related to the element of earth, the merchants, traders or business people, and predicts subjects of possessions or material goods. This suit is known as Pentacles, coins, disks, rings or ♦ Diamonds.
Ace of Pentacles
The Ace of Pentacles represents wealth, talent or potential. This card is a sign that abundance is headed your way. There is still work to be done, but the opportunity is before you. This is the time to put in effort, for the path to your goal is beneath your feet at this moment.
When reversed, the Ace of Pentacles indicates that there are material obstacles before you; major expenses or something is not as lucrative as hoped. You may have lost touch with your motives or values, and should reconsider your situation. You may have taken something to be more important or valuable than it truly is.
In divinatory, esoteric and occult tarot, the Minor Arcana represent relatively mundane features of life. The court cards usually represent people. Each suit also has distinctive characteristics and connotations. Wands is commonly held to be related to the element of fire, artisans and craftsmen, and predicts subjects of creativity and will. This suit is known as Wands, batons, clubs, staves or ♣️ Clubs.
Ace of Wands
The Ace of Wands in the upright position is a sign that good things are heading your way. This card is associated with new beginnings, so this card indicates that it’s a great time for your plans to proceed, or opportunity is about to knock. This card calls for ambition, ideas and creativity so don’t expect a windfall.
When the Ace of Wands is reversed, it’s an indication that the situation is not yet ideal, that there is a delay of some sort. This card also indicates that you may be your own worst enemy in this endeavor, resisting change or balking at something uncomfortable.
In divinatory, esoteric and occult tarot, the Minor Arcana represent relatively mundane features of life. The court cards usually represent people. Each suit also has distinctive characteristics and connotations. Swords is commonly held to be related to the element of air, nobles and military, and predicts subjects of reason, wisdom and intellect. This suit is known as swords, blades or ♠️ Spades.
Ace of Swords
The Ace of Swords allows new thoughts and ideas to enter, it is the razor edge of the intellect, and the point of epiphany. This card indicates an progress or evolution of some kind; something has changed or is changing in a positive way that affects your major driving forces.
When the Ace of Swords is reversed, it’s a sign that you are your own worst enemy, overthinking things to the point of creating obstacles. Stop creating mountains out of molehills, take a step back and look at the situation again. You have created mental noise and chaos that is hindering you from moving forward.