The illustration on some decks did double duty, providing divinatory tools and scientific knowledge, like the Geografia Tarocchi deck from around 1725. “The Geografia are extraordinary cards, almost like a little encyclopedia of the world with the oracle imagery peeking out at the top,” Matthews says. “The actual bit that you read from is just a cigarette-card length. So for example, the hanged man just shows his legs at the top of the card, while the rest of the card has information about Africa or Asia or other places on it.”
I think fiction novels from a Catholic author or with a Catholic subject have their place here. Although Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory tells the story of a whiskey priest in 1930s Mexico, the story is really about sin, grace, and redemption. G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown Mysteries feature a clever priest-sleuth and a spiritual lesson in every story. And, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is a masterful epic with Catholic symbolism at every turn. Willa Cather wrote quite a few books; among them, Shadows on the Rock and Death Comes for the Archbishop have strong Catholic influences and characters. Louis de Wohl’s historical fiction novels breathe life into heroic saints.
Even the earliest known tarot decks weren’t designed with mysticism in mind; they were actually meant for playing a game similar to modern-day bridge. Wealthy families in Italy commissioned expensive, artist-made decks known as “carte da trionfi” or “cards of triumph.” These cards were marked with suits of cups, swords, coins, and polo sticks (eventually changed to staves or wands), and courts consisting of a king and two male underlings. Tarot cards later incorporated queens, trumps (the wild cards unique to tarot), and the Fool to this system, for a complete deck that usually totaled 78 cards. Today, the suit cards are commonly called the Minor Arcana, while trump cards are known as the Major Arcana.
Every spiritual lesson we meet in our lives can be found in the seventy-eight Tarot cards. And when we consult the Tarot, we’ll get shown the exact lessons we need to learn and master to live an inspired life. It’s like holding up a mirror to yourself so that you can access your subconscious mind. Tarot allows us to tap into the wisdom and answers that live in us all.
Just as in any profession, mediums have specialties and areas of expertise. Unlike Allison Dubois in Medium, I don't work with the police in solving crimes. Or, unlike Melinda Gordon in The Ghost Whisperer, I don't help tormented souls cross over. Over the years, it has become very clear that my job lies in working with souls who have happily crossed over to the other side and, for the most part, are at peace. Sure, they may have regrets or unresolved issues, but they're not haunted or lost. Oftentimes, it's the living that are not at peace. The main goal of your deceased loved ones and spirit guides is to assist you in moving on, free of grief and struggle, so you can fulfill your life lessons and enjoy your time here on earth.
The Christian spiritual life is a journey that doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Christianity requires a community to exist in and teachers from whom to learn the faith, and features a cloud of witnesses cheering us on (Heb 12:1). The Holy Spirit animates the Church and, among other things, gives her the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, fortitude, good counsel, and fear of the Lord, piety. We have an obligation to build on those gifts sealed in us at our confirmation: and one of the most effective ways is spiritual reading. By reading good spiritual books, we can build on each of those seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. In addition, we can come to know the saints better, sit at their feet, and learn from their writings.
The Tarocco Siciliano is the only deck to use the so-called Portuguese suit system which uses Spanish pips but intersects them like Italian pips. Some of the trumps are different such as the lowest trump, Miseria (destitution). It omits the Two and Three of coins, and numerals one to four in clubs, swords and cups: it thus has 64 cards but the ace of coins is not used, being the bearer of the former stamp tax. The cards are quite small and not reversible.
In a reading, for instance, if you are skeptical, the messages might not be quite as clear as they could be if you were more open-minded. If you are fearful or angry, this low mental energy could inhibit the clarity of the messages. If you are on medication or abusing drugs or alcohol, your mental and emotional clarity could also affect the clarity of the messages.
Other good starting points in studying the intellectual side of the faith are Frank Sheed’s Theology for Beginners and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Catechism is probably thought of more as a reference book, and it certainly is useful for that—but it also contains a tremendous amount of spiritual wisdom. In pondering the mysteries of our faith, we can better make connections between what the Church teaches and why the Church teaches it.
Additional Tarot Definitions are still available. For those of you who have studied tarot yourself or are simply after further detailed analysis of each card. The wonderful soul Avia Venefica from Tarot Teachings has graciously donated her interpretations. All brought to life by the exquisite tarot cards provided by Aquatic Tarot and Ciro Marchetti
The Burning Question reading is for times when you have a question that needs to be answered immediately—a burning question, if you will. A card symbolizing the question is placed at the center of the spread with the remaining six cards placed around it, suggesting the shape of a flame as it clings onto an object. Spread created by veteran tarot reader Laura Mead-Desmet.