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Author Topic: How to get started?  (Read 806 times)

DancesWithHorses

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How to get started?
« on: July 19, 2012, 10:49:00 am »
I normally shy away from divination but for some reason Tarot intrigues me. I've never seen a deck in person, literally all I know is that they are cards with artwork and the artwork has symbols that mean something.

Why would I be drawn to this, having never seen or handled a deck? I know some of it is the appeal of working with my hands.

Since I know divination can be dangerous for the lack of a better word, I'm very much hesitant to actually try tarot.

Could someone kindly explain exactly what Tarot is? How it is done? And if I actually wanted to try, what kind of deck to look for (I understand there are different types)?
Jinx or Jinxy :)
Add a dash of folklore, a few centuries of farmer\'s blood and mix well.
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LiminalAuggie

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Re: How to get started?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2012, 12:56:42 pm »
Quote from: DancesWithHorses;64971


Could someone kindly explain exactly what Tarot is? How it is done? And if I actually wanted to try, what kind of deck to look for (I understand there are different types)?

 
You might want to take a look here: Tarot FAQ
I gave this link to my GF when she was getting interested in Tarot and had some of the same reservations as you: Aeclectic is a great review site for getting a "feel" for a deck before you go out and purchase it, and their FAQ sums Tarot up much more concisely than I ever could.

So: cards with illustrations that hold symbolic meaning, like you said. There are three major varieties of decks: Marseilles, Rider-Waite-Smith, and Crowley's Thoth. RWS is the most common type in North America, and usually the type of deck you see in movies and television. It's good for a basic introduction to what Tarot is, if you only have a vague idea, but the artwork in that deck can get...really bland and static, which might turn you off.

As far as reading, there are a few different schools of thought: you can approach it through a study of the layers of symbolism and astrological/herbal/numerological correspondences, or do a more intuitive semi-Jungian "this is the vibe I get from this particular card/what this means to me" type reading. Both are valid approaches and you might find you have better results with one over another, or a mixture.

tl;dr there's a lot of different decks and ways to read and I could probably ramble on abuot it all day. But, Tarot is useful and fun and in my experience the only real danger in learning Tarot is that you might get addicted to buying scores of new decks. :) It's a sickness.

Holdasown

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Re: How to get started?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2012, 01:20:51 pm »
Quote from: DancesWithHorses;64971
Could someone kindly explain exactly what Tarot is? How it is done? And if I actually wanted to try, what kind of deck to look for (I understand there are different types)?


I used to do cards but I don't right now. There is lots of info here http://www.sacred-texts.com/tarot/index.htm about symbolism. You shuffle and do a layout of some type out. You can use whatever deck you like but I would read about the original significance of the symbolism.

DancesWithHorses

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Re: How to get started?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2012, 01:22:31 pm »
Quote from: LiminalAuggie;64995

tl;dr there's a lot of different decks and ways to read and I could probably ramble on abuot it all day. But, Tarot is useful and fun and in my experience the only real danger in learning Tarot is that you might get addicted to buying scores of new decks. :) It's a sickness.


Thank you so much! I'll have to do some exploring, I like good artwork, pretty pictures are an addition of mine (I can not live in a room without posters, photos, artwork, etc).

I will do lots of reading before. :)
Jinx or Jinxy :)
Add a dash of folklore, a few centuries of farmer\'s blood and mix well.
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Faemon

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Re: How to get started?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2012, 01:27:15 pm »
Quote from: DancesWithHorses;64971
Why would I be drawn to this, having never seen or handled a deck? I know some of it is the appeal of working with my hands.
I read about tarot and its symbols way, way, way before I ever owned my own deck. Something about the surprise of what can come out in the shuffle, maybe? Like life. Or the convenience of, yes, working with your hands, but somehow more primly than most other divination stuff? They don't scatter or clatter or chip like runes, require a setup like a ouija board or yijing, or as much mental strain as scrying. They pack quite neatly, but the use of them shows this tool can be both systemic and versatile.

Quote
Since I know divination can be dangerous for the lack of a better word, I'm very much hesitant to actually try tarot. Could someone kindly explain exactly what Tarot is?

To my understanding, they used to be playing cards until some very rich, very bored men announced that the cards were magickal around 200 years ago. Now it's used to play poker (of a sort, or many sorts) with the Fates.

Now, you can read it as like a story of what's going to happen in the future. But you don't have to. Divination or Precognition is the most popular game played with tarot cards, but it is not the only one-- personally, it's not even my favorite one.

There's another tarot game, that is more like solitaire. The twenty-two trumps, or the major arcana, in order, tell the story of the progression of a human being to spiritual enlightenment. The minor arcana pertain to areas (pentacles, wealth; cups, emotion; wands, motivation; swords, suffering) of human life, how they manifest (five of pentacles, poverty; six of wands, a victory), even who else might be involved (king of swords, an analytical father figure; page of cups, a timid child). A tarotist who is playing solitaire, so to speak, would reflect upon each of these cards as something to process and accept in their personal development.

Sometimes it can be more like playing Go Fish with your patron deity. "Got any nines? Got anything for me?" -- it's not divination, it's not even recreation, it becomes a method of prayer.

Quote
How it is done?


You just take a deck, you shuffle, then you deal or play your hand... and, you might get a trump card, or you might get two cards of a suit that cancel each other out, or you might get a joker. Just like with playing cards, they mean different things, depending on the game.

The cards that you deal out, or your hand, can be dealt in a pattern called a spread. In a three-card spread, for example, for divination: the leftmost card represents "the past", the middle card represents "the present", and the rightmost card can represent "the future", the three are set up in a line. The Celtic Cross spread has eleven card positions for things like "personal desires/motivations," "obstacles, difficulties, or challenges to your present goal" and "home life" and the way it's laid out is kind of complicated to explain. I picked a favorite spread that can apply to anything I ask (whether I'm asking about the future, or kind of using it as a compass to explore myself, or something else,) but some different spreads can answer different specific questions.

You can also read up on-- or better yet, if you can, look up some YouTube video demonstrations-- of the Opening Of The Key tarot spread. That's yet another way to select the cards for reading.


There are many, many different ways for it to be done.


Quote
And if I actually wanted to try, what kind of deck to look for (I understand there are different types)?

I would study the different systems, and then see which one you would most go for. Some people associate wands, the suit of motivation, with cool calculation-- and the deck would do best for those people, to have art that reflects this. To other people, the suit of wands in the tarot, indicates changes and events-- decks with cards that are more dynamic, active, and warmer, would probably serve them better.

There's also the art style, and the deck theme. I'm quite happy with my Shadowscapes Tarot, but other people might find the images too overblown and melodramatic. It has a theme of "Asian and Celtic influences" which is great for the way my spiritual path has been going, but if yours is more, say, guided by a specific animal, then there's a tarot deck that only shows rabbits, there's a tarot deck that only shows cats, and so on, and many others.

I might also advise to just get a deck that you, plainly and simply, like to look at.



And to just read more, whether tarot books, or online articles from tarot blogs, or archives of copyright-expired books on tarot (like Ula provided) ... and browse, lots of tarot decks have the card images up on some site or other (like Auggie linked to,) and some information on which specific system they were based on, what elemental correpondents they use, etcetera.

Hope this helps!
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 01:29:41 pm by Faemon »
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