What is Tarot?
Tarot is an ancient system of interpreting a pattern of cards randomly drawn from the deck's 78 traditional images to gain insight and achieve greater control over issues involving relationships, opportunities, and life changes. Tarot is over 500 years old, with roots that go back to antiquity, making it a western repository of ancient wisdom. Modern playing cards are a subset Tarot's 78 cards.
The history of Tarot symbols is a study in the western Mystery Tradition. Legend would have it that Tarot came out of China, India or Egypt, travelling across the north of Africa into Spain. Modern tarot scholars date Tarot back to 14th Century Italy and France, around the time that it became possible to print cards.
How does Tarot work?
A tarot deck consists of 78 illustrated cards that you lay out in a 'spread.' Each card is an archetype -- symbolic of an energy or spiritual truth, its relevance determined by its position in the spread. While focusing on a single topic, the questioner selects the cards. The cards selected reflect aspects of the individual's situation in order to stimulate the intuition toward greater insight and creativity.
There are so many possible outcomes that tarot readers spend decades mastering the skill of interpretation. Books are one resource, but they can only help so much.
The careful use of Tarot taps both the subconscious and the superconscious Mind, the center of our psychic abilities. Anyone can gain insight from the intuitive stimulation of Tarot, even a total novice. But a gifted reader of Tarot is far more than someone exercising innate psychic abilities. An appreciation of the history and spiritual nature of the Tarot archetypes demands a well-educated understanding. By bringing you this element, Tarot.com lets you give yourself in-depth and accurate readings right off the bat. It is an excellent way to support your own intuition.
Is a live reader necessary for a real Tarot reading?
A personal Tarot reading from a gifted live reader, who lets you pick your own cards, is the best. But it's hard to know if any given reader really knows Tarot and they can be expensive (up to $6//minute). Giving oneself an authentic reading is a different thing. Until Tarot.com, it was really impossible for most people, but now it's easy (and inexpensive).We receive many emails from professional readers who use Tarot.com to give themselves readings.
What kinds of questions is Tarot good for?
Tarot is excellent for receiving clarity on problems or issues that logic can't handle (most of the important ones in life!). Relationships, negotiations, work dynamics, office politics, family matters, spiritual well-being, forks in the road, what-if scenarios ... Tarot gets asked every question under the sun!
Even though having your question spelled out in words can help you during the interpretation phase, don't worry if you can't find words for your issue. If you can feel it and imagine it in any way while shuffling and picking your cards, the cards will be apt and well worth studying. Because it is structured to report on "energies" active in the current situation, whether you have a question in words or not does not substantially affect the fall of the cards.
Tarot is not designed to handle certain kinds of questions. Questions asking for data or a yes/no answer are not suitable for a Tarot reading. Ask for understanding and advice about some situation or issue.
How important is using the right deck?
Thanks to modern production and distribution technologies, there are hundreds of Tarot decks available to anyone today for a modest price. Tarot.com will soon offer over 50 choices of decks, which you will be able to flip between at will. Most people will come to choose a favorite deck. All the decks on Tarot.com are good, with a reasonable connection to classical tarot tradition, so you really can't go wrong.
What about spreads?
There are hundreds of spreads, with tarot users creating new ones all the time. A spread is the layout of the cards, with a category of meaning assigned to each position. The creation of useful and powerful spreads is an art. Tarot.com offers three free 'sampler' spreads. In addition, there are 25 new 'custom' spreads that provide readings with the requisite level of detail for a full Tarot reading.
How were the Tarot interpretations devised?
Tarot.com delivers a classical Tarot reading by Tarot scholar Christine Payne-Towler, a bishop of the Gnostic Church. She took a year out of her life to compose Tarot.com's interpretations, based on her 30 years of research. Working with the historical unfolding of Tarots from the early 1400's to the present, Christine grounded herself in the Continental interpretations,, which predate the Rider-Waite deck and provide the foundation upon which all modern decks are built.
Looking at each card across ten different decks, and then analyzing how the principle of that card plays out through every possible position in a wide range of spreads, Christine created the most comprehensive body of Tarot interpretations that has ever existed. This depth of historically grounded Tarot knowledge is not available anywhere else -- and thanks to the skillful use of technology, it couldn't be easier to access!