The overabundance of information on how to read tarot is actually one of the hurdles we need to overcome on our way to being confident readers.
Like anything, a little bit can go a long way.
These Are the Basic Fundamentals to Learn Tarot
Learn the structure of the tarot deck. It’s structured the way it is for a reason. If we don’t even know how it’s structured, we’ll be very limited with our readings.
There are 78 cards in total. 56 minor arcana and 22 major arcana (arcana loosely translated means “mysteries” or “secrets.”).
The 56 minor arcana — or pip cards — are in 4 suits. Wands (fire), Cups (water), Swords (air) and Pentacles (earth).
Each suit begins with an Ace and goes through the number 10. At that point, it switches to “court cards.” These can be quite confusing for many aspiring tarot readers.
There are 4 court cards in each suit. Generally speaking in most decks they are Page, Knight, Queen and King.
You can think of the court cards as being related to people and human attributes. Pages are often associated with messages since that’s the function Pages had in the old courts. They are the youngest members of the court cards.
Knights are often qualities of movement and action. They are often depicted as being on horseback.
They will operated with the element of their suit. For example, the Knight of Cups will act within the feeling and emotional realm of water.
Queens and Kings are the mature expressions of the suit with Kings being the active dynamic principle and Queens being the masters of the element of their suit.
The Queens and Kings are very often associated with real people (usually over the age of 21-ish) who will show up in a reading. They have an influence on our question and our situation in some way.
The Major Arcana and The Fool’s Journey
The major arcana begins with The Fool card. It is usually numbered Zero. The final card in the major arcana is The World and is numbered 21.
Some older style decks such as Tarot de Marseilles will have a different number assignment for the Fool but that’s another article for another time.
The Fool’s begins his/her journey with unlimited — but unmanifested — potential. If you’ve read anything about the Quantum field then you could use that as a model to understand The Fool. He/She represents the Quantum field of all potential.
This then leads into The Magician card who is an archetype of the Divine Masculine. The active principle. Then comes The High Priestess. She is an archetype of the Divine Feminine who reflects the active principle and brings it into manifestation.
The Fool journeys through all 22 major arcana and finishes with ultimate success and fulfillment at The World.
Of course this journey is ongoing and there are many cycles within cycles within cycles of The Fool’s journey going on in your life. And in different areas of awakening.
In readings, major arcana cards will have more weight than minor arcana cards. They are looked at by some as being “destiny” or life lesson cards — whereas minor arcana are influences that we can change or mitigate in some way.
The main takeaway is to start by learning the structure of your deck. Take it out and make piles of the cards.
Make a pile of Ace through 10 of each suit. Make a pile of court cards divided by suit. Make a pile of the major arcana.
You could even put each pile in order. For example, Fool through Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, etc.
This will support you immensely with internalizing and understanding how tarot works.
And of course, all this and more is covered in detail in our Tarot Energies course. Coming soon!