The Modern Tarot
The underlying symbology and concepts in the Tarot go back thousands of years. The modern Tarot was revised by the Order of the Golden Dawn for the purpose of working more intimately with the Tree of Life and for spell work. The modern Tarot was created by people who were members of the Order of the Golden Dawn. They designed the Waite-Rider, Morgan-Greer and Thoth decks. The tarot cards that we use at the Esoteric School are the Waite-Rider deck. This deck was created by Arthur Edward Waite with the artwork by Pamela Smith. All three of these decks however were created by magicians for magic. They can be used for:
- Straight divination
- Working the Tree of Life (for doing a great work)
Minor and Major Arcana
The Tarot is made up of Minor Arcana cards in 4 suits and Major Arcana cards which are not in suits. The 4 suits of the Minor Arcana are Wands, Swords, Cups and Plates (or Discs). These match the 4 elemental tools. These cards are also numbered in each suit from Ace to 10 plus the court cards of Page, Knight, Queen and King. Major Arcana cards represent principles, concepts or ideals while Minor Arcana cards represent the many ways those principles manifest in the mundane world.
Wearing the Cards
Whatever you have learned about the Tarot from books and other sources may not be useful when working with the Tarot because the meanings are in the cards themselves. Don't try to memorize meanings of the cards. The Tarot originally was an oral tradition so the writing down of the meanings in some ways defies the tradition. Looking at written down meanings can be useful as a place to start, but you also need to strive to see the meaning of the cards as they pertain to specific readings. One way to practice this is to "wear" the cards. In other words take a card, possibly one per day, and really explore it and get in tune with it. Here's an exercise to get started:
- Pick a card out of the deck. Spend a few minutes really looking at the card.
- Notice the symbols the card contains, the pictures in it and the number of each. Compare what you know about the 4 elements and what symbols show up in the card associated with a particular element. For example, if you see cups in the card, you know to associate that with the element of water and that water is the element dealing with emotions and feelings.
- Really focus all your intention on the card. Listen for the card to "speak" to you. You may see or feel it "come to life", see movement in it, hear words in your mind associated with it or notice changes in the brightness of the colors.
- Absorb the energies of the card and carry this energy around with you for a day.
- At the end of the day note your observations as to how it affected your thoughts, feelings, behaviors and interactions.
Ready to learn more about the magical uses of the Tarot? Check out our Tarot Homestudy Course.
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