There are now thousands of types of tarot decks to choose from, Hello Kitty to zombies. A traditional deck has 22 Major Arcana (or trumps) which are the archetypal images. There are 56 Minor Arcana cards, sixteen Court or Personality cards; the Kings, Queens, Princes and Pages, just like modern playing cards. There are four elements or suits: Fire, Earth, Air and Water, with 10 cards in each. There are no inherently negative cards.
The original purpose of tarot cards was to play games. A very cursory explanation of rules for a tarot-like deck is given in a manuscript by Martiano da Tortona before 1425. Vague descriptions of game play or game terminology follow for the next two centuries until the earliest known complete description of rules for a French variant in 1637. The game of tarot has many regional variations. Tarocchini has survived in Bologna and there are still others played in Piedmont and Sicily, but in Italy the game is generally less popular than elsewhere.
"Pull a card and put it under your pillow at night. Let the energy of that card seep into your dreams," she said. "Wake up in the morning; observe the card. Read about what its different meanings are. Is it the major arcana or minor? Is it connected to one of the elements - fire (wands), water (cups), air (swords), or earth (pentacles)? Then notice during the day what happens that might have been a sign from the cards. It's pretty cool when you start connecting the messages."
From its earliest beginnings to contemporary times, mediumship practices have had many instances of fraud and trickery. Séances take place in darkness so the poor lighting conditions can become an easy opportunity for fraud. Physical mediumship that has been investigated by scientists has been discovered to be the result of deception and trickery. Ectoplasm, a supposed paranormal substance, was revealed to have been made from cheesecloth, butter, muslin, and cloth. Mediums would also stick cut-out faces from magazines and newspapers onto cloth or on other props and use plastic dolls in their séances to pretend to their audiences spirits were contacting them. Lewis Spence in his book An Encyclopaedia of Occultism (1960) wrote:
The pentacles is the suit of all things worldly and material. Though we will immediately think of the pentacles as relating to financial matters, we also can understand them as being associated with security, stability, nature, health, and prosperity. The pentacles are of earth element. When we see pentacles show up in a reading, they are usually concerned with your long term future, career, generosity, your household, business investments and your feelings of sensuality. The negative side of the pentacles show up as greed, jealousy, miserliness, and unbridled ambition at the cost of all else.
While the tarot is the most widely known, it’s just one type of deck used for divination; others include common playing cards and so-called oracle decks, a term encompassing all the other fortune-telling decks distinct from the traditional tarot. Etteilla eventually switched to using a traditional tarot deck, which he claimed held secret wisdom passed down from ancient Egypt. Etteilla’s premise echoed the writings of Court de Gébelin, who allegedly recognized Egyptian symbols in tarot-card illustrations. Though hieroglyphics had not yet been deciphered (the Rosetta Stone was rediscovered in 1799), many European intellectuals in the late 18th century believed the religion and writings of ancient Egypt held major insights into human existence. By linking tarot imagery to Egyptian mysticism, they gave the cards greater credibility.
Now that you have grounded yourself, please select the cards we will use for your Tarot card reading. Remember, I shuffle my deck and draw new cards for the Tarot spreads every day, and these cards represent each one as it was laid out in front of me. Please take a moment to pause between drawing your cards, and when you are done selecting your cards for your Tarot reading you will be whisked away to a detailed interpretation of each card and what it means in its position in the Celtic Cross Spread.