Tarot Reading: What Are Tarot Cards? (+ Get A FREE Tarot Reading)

Almost everyone has heard of tarot cards! But if you’ve never had a reading then you might know very little about how tarot really works. Perhaps you are even a little nervous about tarot cards because they’re an unknown. Similarly, you might be wary about the possibility the reading could tell you something significant about your future. As it turns out, many people gain huge benefits from a tarot reading. In this way, it’s well worth developing a deeper understanding of how this ancient, mystic practice can help you improve your life.

This guide will explain the nature and details of tarot readings. For example, we’ll explore why (and when) you might want a reading. Plus, discover what you can expect to learn from tarot. In addition, we’ll look at how the process works, and consider some of the meanings of relevant cards and spreads. Throughout, we’ll also consider how online tarot readings work, and why they might be right for you.

What Are Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards come in decks of 75. Every card carries not only a different image but also a range of different symbolic meanings.

In the simplest terms, there are 22 Major Arcana cards. These indicate information about our overall journey and purpose.

Comparatively, there are 56 Minor Arcana cards that symbolize the smaller, more transient parts of our lives. You can then break the 56 Minor Arcana cards into a group of 16. These show 16 psychological traits that we might embody during any period of our lives.

People use tarot cards for an incredibly wide variety of purposes. For example, you might ask for a reading that helps you make a decision, form a plan, learn about your deeper feelings, or figure out how to move past a place in which you currently feel stuck. A reading invariably prompts self-reflection and growth, facilitating new, more creative thinking about existing problems.

The History Of Tarot Cards

Tarot cards first emerged sometime around 1440, largely in Northern Italy. Although tarot card decks can look markedly different from one another, all of the imagery derives from common sources. The very first tarot cards were based on symbols derived from a wide range of myths, writings, and plays in the medieval period. At this time, tarot cards were also used for games such as trinofi and tarock.

Decks that were created in the 19th century onwards also include imagery from astrology and Kabbalah. In contemporary tarot practice, it can be hard to connect some of the card images with these original decks. However, there is always some symbolic link. Expert tarot card readers experiment with a range of decks. Eventually, they typically find one that best connects with their interpretive inclinations. Then, at the point of doing a reading, the tarot card reader is better able to use their intuitive understanding to make contextual sense of the deck.

How Do Tarot Cards Work?

If you’re new to tarot, you’re likely very curious about how these cards are supposed to work.

For example, if you book a free reading, are you going to get free tarot predictions?

Will you find out something frightening, like information about the end of your life or an indication of impending doom of some sort?

Unfortunately, these types of questions reflect a widespread, mistaken assumption that the cards are imbued with a kind of psychic power. Others may believe that tarot will offer concrete facts about the future. This is one of the reasons why the cards often intimidate many people. We may be scared to engage with what these cards could reveal. Consequently, this means that we miss out on a potent source of insight and inspiration.

In truth, while there is an undeniably mystic element to the tarot process, it isn’t really designed to predict the future. Rather, a tarot reading helps you to tap into your deepest intuitions, changing your perspective and generating valuable knowledge about how you can approach manifesting your dream life.

Each tarot card carries sophisticated, nuanced imagery that makes a direct link to your subconscious. This taps into your most profound desires and bypasses the restrictive, more logical part of your brain.

In doing so, the cards can help you understand yourself and your life in entirely new ways. This process can often kickstart a positive process of transformation. If you’re using the Law of Attraction to manifest goals, the very act of having a tarot card reading can create a clearer, more vivid visualization of what you want to achieve.

What Can You Learn From Tarot Readings?

In principle, you can use the tarot cards to learn about absolutely anything in your life, whether it concerns your history, your present, or your future. However, if you’re thinking about having your first reading, you might feel like you’d benefit from some inspiration on the types of issues that are commonly brought to a tarot card expert.

Common examples include the following:

  • Careers: You might be asking yourself if you should leave your job and pursue a new career. Or, perhaps, you’re curious about the prospects for starting your own business in the near future.
  • Family dynamics: You might be debating whether to have children (or have additional children). Or you might be trying to navigate through a tricky family dispute, or just want to get a clearer perspective on the complex relationships in your family tree.
  • Personal development: You might want to cultivate a particular trait, such as self-confidence. Similarly, perhaps you wish to figure out your core values. Or, you want to explore the ways in which an issue from your past might be holding you back in the present.
  • Abundance: You might be weighing a wide range of factors in order to figure out how to best attract more wealth into your life. Alternatively, you may be trying to understand why this has typically been difficult for you in the past.

Tarot Card Meanings

Each aspect of the tarot card deck is linked to different elements, symbols, aspects of life and negative possibilities. However, Tarot card meaning can vary enormously between readings, given the position of the cards, the other cards that are placed nearby, and the intentions of the person asking for a reading (as well as the interpretative leanings of the reader).

Sometimes, they function as a kind of “yes or no oracle”, giving you the answer to simple questions. For example, they may answer a tricky decision you have to make. At other times, the cards may tell you a complex story that provides an overview of your past, present, and future, thereby facilitating self-knowledge. This is one of the reasons why people often develop a habit of having regular readings, even when they have no massive issues in their life.

So, while a tarot card meanings list can certainly provide you with a general sense of the role each card may play, it can’t realistically account for the many different ways in which context will subtly impact on meaning. Let’s take a closer look at each category of cards. There are unifying features that connect each distinct aspect of the deck. You should also be encouraged to familiarize yourself with the general meanings. Consequently, this can help you get more out of your tarot card readings.

The Major Arcana

Also known as the trump cards, the major arcana cards all depict clearly defined archetypes. They work through a linear narrative from The Fool (at number 0) to The World (at number 22).

These cards are core to tarot readings. They track the typical spiritual journey that humans take from the point of ignorance to eventual enlightenment. Each major arcana card carries an important lesson and connects the reader with a particular stage of a person’s self-development.

Interestingly, some tarot card experts will occasionally conduct readings exclusively using cards from the major arcana; this should give you an indication of their richness and power.

Major Arcana Cards

  1. The Fool
  2. The Magician
  3. The High Priestess
  4. The Empress
  5. The Emperor
  6. The Hierophant
  7. The Lovers
  8. The Chariot
  9. Strength
  10. The Hermit
  11. Wheel of Fortune
  12. Justice
  13. The Hanged Man
  14. Death
  15. Temperance
  16. The Devil
  17. The Tower
  18. The Star
  19. The Moon
  20. The Sun
  21. Judgment
  22. The World

Suit Of Wands

The 14 cards in the suit of wands are traditionally linked to the element of fire. As such, all of these cards have some connection to your passions, your potential, your strength and the things that inspire you in life.

In some readings, these cards also relate to your fundamental, primal energy. A suit of wands card can suggest a creation of any kind.

You may also often see the suit of wands cards in readings that relate to making concrete plans or taking action after a period of reflection. Where they play a more negative role, they can be read as suggesting impetuousness or directionless.

Suit Of Wands Cards

  • Ace Of Wands
  • Two Of Wands
  • Three Of Wands
  • Four Of Wands
  • Five Of Wands
  • Six Of Wands
  • Seven Of Wands
  • Eight Of Wands
  • Nine Of Wands
  • Ten Of Wands
  • Page Of Wands
  • Knight Of Wands
  • Queen Of Wands
  • King Of Wands

Suit Of Cups

The 14 cards in the suit of cups are all related to the sphere of emotions, as well as to the unconscious mind and gut feeling. As such, they often appear in useful positions when a relationship issue (either platonic or romantic) is the focus.

They can also tell you a lot about your inner life and the role it is playing in restricting or facilitating the development. The suit of cups cards has a connection to the element of water. They can sometimes indicate something important about a problematic disconnect between the person’s inner life and their outer actions.

Suit Of Cups Cards

  • Ace Of Cups
  • Two Of Cups
  • Three Of Cups
  • Four Of Cups
  • Five Of Cups
  • Six Of Cups
  • Seven Of Cups
  • Eight Of Cups
  • Nine Of Cups
  • Ten Of Cups
  • Page Of Cups
  • Knight Of Cups
  • Queen Of Cups
  • King Of Cups

Suit Of Swords

Also containing 14 cards, the suit of swords is linked to the element of air.

While all of the cards carry a distinct meaning, they tend to relate to themes around truth, goals, communication, reason, and intelligence. Consequently, it’s unsurprising to see sword cards appear in spreads that relate to a question on how to make tricky decisions, how to balance different competing interests or whether to go with your heart or head.

When they appear to indicate something negative, cards from the suit of swords often tell you that you need to exercise more empathy and understanding in your treatment of others.

Suit Of Swords Cards

  • Ace Of Swords
  • Two Of Swords
  • Three Of Swords
  • Four Of Swords
  • Five Of Swords
  • Six Of Swords
  • Seven Of Swords
  • Eight Of Swords
  • Nine Of Swords
  • Ten Of Swords
  • Page Of Swords
  • Knight Of Swords
  • Queen Of Swords
  • King Of Swords

Suit Of Pentacles

Finally, the suit of Pentacles (or coins) includes 14 cards that bear a connection to the earth element. They relate to material pursuits in our lives, and to our worldly concerns in general.

Understandably, they often link to matters about financial abundance (or the lack thereof), but their symbolism can also be much broader, including themes around stability, health, and personal security.

When they appear in a reading, they typically tell you something about your long-term goals or investments, either at work or at home. In the negative, they can relate to jealousy or to an uncontrolled ambition that is leading you to live an unbalanced life.

Suit Of Coins/Pentacles Cards

  • Ace Of Pentacles
  • Two Of Pentacles
  • Three Of Pentacles
  • Four Of Pentacles
  • Five Of Pentacles
  • Six Of Pentacles
  • Seven Of Pentacles
  • Eight Of Pentacles
  • Nine Of Pentacles
  • Ten Of Pentacles
  • Page Of Pentacles
  • Knight Of Pentacles
  • Queen Of Pentacles
  • King Of Pentacles

Getting A Free Tarot Reading At Trusted Tarot

While you might not previously have considered the possibility of having your tarot reading done online, this can be just as useful as having a reading in person (as well as more convenient). And, as a bonus, it’s possible to get an online reading for free. While you might initially worry that a free tarot reading could be less informative or in-depth than a paid reading, rest assured that this is not the case.

Trusted Tarot has received more than 50,000 five star reviews for their free tarot card reading service, and have deservedly become one of the world’s leading Tarot resources. If you’re looking for a reading you can trust, you can feel secure in the idea that Trusted Tarot will deliver results. For example, say you want a free love tarot reading that helps you find your way towards the right partner. Free love tarot reading spreads can be given with a minimal amount of information from you and will be speedily delivered. With an intuitive, easily navigable website and no assumptions of prior knowledge about tarot spreads, Trusted Tarot is as useful to the beginner as it is to an experienced tarot customer.

Tarot cards reading is an art. It’s natural that you want to ensure that you’re working with an expert who sees you as a real person and not merely a faceless entity on the internet. All of the Trusted Tarot tarot card readers are experienced, thoughtful practitioners who want to help you get the most out of their service. I’ve found they can be relied on to fully concentrate on the target question when they provide a reading. In addition, if you’re curious about other processes that can help you make decisions and manifest your dreams, Trusted Tarot also provide information on horoscopes, biorhythms, and runes.

How The Online Tarot Card Reading Works

In many ways, an online tarot reading works in the same way as the one you would receive in person. You need to provide vital information about yourself so that the reading will be accurate.

On Trusted Tarot, you’ll be asked to share your name, your date of birth and your star sign. This all allows the reader to see your astrological chart. In turn, they should get a sense of the kind of basic traits you might have, as well as the types of challenges you might meet.

Next, you get to choose ten cards (just as you would if the deck was in front of you). Then you provide your email address so that you can receive the report on your free tarot reading. These reports are highly detailed, helping you get the most out of the reading.

The reading is not randomly generated, as it might be on other sites. Rather, your assigned reader shuffles a deck of tarot cards each day. They then upload the information about their order to the site. This process ensures that your reading actually reflects the order of a real, physical deck of cards. The deck is derived from an original deck of Tarot cards from the early 1900s.

Choosing a Good Question

In order to get the most out of your tarot reading, it’s vital that you spend some time clarifying the question you want to ask or the issue you want to explore. While the above gave you an indication of the types of topics that most people focus on when they ask for a tarot reading, it’s well worth learning how to distill those topics down to something that works well with a tarot spread.

Here are some of the best tips for tarot readings:

  • Choose something about which you don’t already have the answer. You won’t be guided by the reading if you come into it with a prior decision in mind. For example, if you’re wondering about family relationships, ask “How can I improve my relationship with my brother?” rather than “How can I get out of having to have dinner with my brother?”
  • Add detail, but not to an excessive amount. Try to find a broad way to look at a specific problem, in other words. To use another example, choose the question “How can I find a career that balances all my values?” rather than listing all of those values and interests, as that’s too much detail.
  • Try to focus on yourself, not on someone else… even if you think that this other person might be primarily responsible for the challenges you’re currently facing. So, if there’s a conflict with your spouse, for example, ask what role you play in the conflict rather than asking why your partner doesn’t listen.
  • Adopt an attitude of neutrality and openness to the outcome of the reading. This is an extension of the above advice to choose an issue about which you don’t have a pre-conceived notion. It’s simply not useful to ask for a reading only to confirm your preexisting beliefs or desires.

Your Tarot Reading Explained

So, how does your reading work, and how can you best interpret the information? As you choose cards, the image associated with each one will be revealed, and in the reading report, they will appear in the appropriate position to help you understand how they relate to your current issues and goals in life. The meaning of every card will be explained, along with an indication of how it may connect to your past, present and future.

Every reading is distinct, tailored to the individual, and there are so many factors in play that it would be almost impossible to receive the same reading as anyone else.

If you feel ready for your own, personal tarot reading, click here now.

One of the reasons why these tarot card reports are so insightful is that each report lists a range of key interpretations associated with each card. Plus, that meaning is uniquely influenced by where the card sits in the order of cards you chose.

You can also see a close-up image of the card, allowing you to tap into your own interpretations of its meaning. Often, people find that the pictures evoke unexpected feelings and thoughts. This subconscious response adds an extra layer of significance and usefulness to the reading.

Tarot Summary

In sum, tarot cards are often viewed as mysterious or foreboding in nature. However, the reality is that they are a powerful, useful tool that just about anyone can benefit from using. Rather than predicting the future, they help you use your gut instincts, intuitions, and innate creativity. In turn, this helps you to learn more about your current situation. This can be especially helpful when you need to make a hard choice about the direction you need to choose.

Whether you’re worried about your career, trying to choose the right partner, starting a new business or coping with a loss, the cards can offer the clarity you need.

While you may not have considered getting an online tarot reading in the past, you’ll now have a better understanding of why this is a fantastic, straightforward option that provides the same accuracy that you can expect from a face-to-face reading.

At Trusted Tarot, you can get a comprehensive, free online tarot reading from a highly trusted and world-renowned source that is conveniently available whenever you need it. Many people find themselves coming back for regular readings as their life circumstances and desires change; each reading can offer fresh guidance about new events and challenges you might face.

Start Your Free Tarot Reading! Click Here Now…

The post Tarot Reading: What Are Tarot Cards? (+ Get A FREE Tarot Reading) appeared first on The Law Of Attraction.

Choose 5 Tarot Cards To Discover The Meaning Behind Your Current Situation

Card 1: Current Influences Four of Wands Your present position. This card reveals influences, and shows the general direction of the reading. Peace and security follow in the wake of the Four of Wands, usually in the smaller aspects of your life. Do not let the limited scope bring you to underestimate the joy that simple successes can bring, however: This is a card of good endings and fresh starts. Its presence should be welcome if you are beginning a new relationship or a new phase of one, such as marriage or engagement, and is especially good for those about to move residences. Key interpretations: Celebrations and happiness Completion Harmony New beginnings Pleasure In this position, the card reveals: Some creative victory is near at hand. Card 2: Obstacles Six if Swords Immediate Influences. This card reveals the nature of the obstacles immediately before you. Your mental focus can put you on track to leave your current troubles behind, leading to better times ahead. It is important to face your problems from a mental standpoint, thinking through them. There is still trouble ahead for you, but the worst is over. Key interpretations: A journey Better future Escape Left over challenges Travel In this position, the card reveals: You can expect an improvement in your well-being due to a change of position or environment. Card 3: Past Foundations Six of Pentacles Recent influences or events in the past from which your current situation has arisen. Success in your life is bound up in generosity. This may mean your prosperity will arise from your investment in others, perhaps a financial investment, or maybe advice and support for a friend. This card can also mean the reverse, that your success will arise from the generosity of someone else. The two are, of course, not exclusive, and drawing this card suggests you naturally lean towards kind acts and charity. Key interpretations: Distribution Donation Favour Prosperity Solvency In this position, the card reveals: There is joy and possible wealth in your future, and your past fairness is at the root of it all. Card 4: Past Events The Heirophant (Pope) Reveals a recent influence or event which is coming to an end. Depending on your nature, the Heirophant can mean very different things. At its root, it represents doctrine, but doctrine can come in the form of teaching and guidance or rigid authority. Where it appears in your spread is also important, as it is most often indicative of your own approach to the moral, religious, and social conventions of the world. Considered wisely, it helps show the path towards fulfillment. Key interpretations: Approval Conformity Consent Good advice Marriage or Union In this position, the card reveals: Learn from your past. Experience is your best teacher. Card 5: Goals and Destiny The Hermit Shows your desired goals and aims, and reveals the best outcome that can be achieved in your current situation There are times in every life, when one must step back and carefully examine their situations and decisions. Finding the Hermit in your spread suggests this is such a time for you. You are in need of a period of inner reflection, away from the current demands of your position. This retreat can be physical, or a search within. Only a deep and honest introspection will lead to a solution, however. Key interpretations: Detachment Guidance Solitude Sour-searching and introspection Thinking and reflection In this position, the card reveals: Your self-sufficiency and comfortable relationship with your own beliefs will lead you to happiness. Card 6: Future The High Priestess Reveals a new influence that will soon be brought to bear in your life. Your identification with the High Priestess suggests you possess inherent good judgment, in the form of strong intuition. She may indicate that reason should take second place to instinct. Your head must trust in the wisdom of your heart for a change. Yet, she is also an aide by nature, and her presence in certain parts of your spread could be indicative of someone close to you coming to your rescue with their own intuition. Intuition is most effective at seeing what is hidden to the senses, so the High Priestess may also come as a warning of concealed facts or influences that are, or will be, important to you. Key interpretations: Feminine influences Insightful Mystery Understanding Wisdom In this position, the card reveals: There is a potential for your actions to bring you real rewards, but only if you maintain discipline and motivation, even in the face of attempts to dissuade you. Card 7: The Querant (you) Nine of Cups This card reveals your negative feelings, and provides additional information about how you feel in your present environment. This card is a very powerful positive indicator for you! It represents a lasting or powerful contentment in your life. While nothing is permanent, somewhere along your life’s path you can expect to be truly happy. It is heavily tied to creative endeavour and good wishes for the future. Key interpretations: Complete Fulfilled Generous Pleasure Satisfaction In this position, the card reveals: You will need to tap in your spiritual energy to fuel a creative effort. Card 8: Friends and Family The Emperor This card shows your influence on the people around you, and their influence on you. It also shows how they fit into your home, work, and surroundings. Counterpart to the Empress, the Emperor signifies a powerful influence, generally male in nature. This can also include concepts in your life historically considered masculine, such as leadership and authority, self-discipline, and stability through the power of action. Its positive influences suggest you may be on a path to advancement or promotion, but it can also be neutral. Often a companion to those destined to take on greater responsibility, it may indicate change or loss that necessitates you stepping forward to shoulder a greater burden than you have in the past. Whatever the driving force for the change, it indicates you may possess an uncommon inner strength that will compel you act and to lead. Key interpretations: Authority Father figure Masculine influence Rational Stable In this position, the card reveals: Your instincts to protect and help those your care for are admirable, but a leadership role also demands that you know when to step back. People who depend too greatly on your strength will sap it, and fail to find their own. Card 9: Hopes, Fears, and Ideals The Star Your inner emotions. The Star’s presence signifies a period of respite and renewal for you. This renewal may be spiritual, physical, or both. It is a particularly positive sign if you or someone close is recovering from illness or injury. It is a light in the darkness, illuminating your future and your past. Key interpretations: Calm and serenity Destiny Hope Opportunity Renewal In this position, the card reveals: Harmony in your life is being held at bay by your reluctance to make a decision. Card 10: The Final Outcome Seven of Cups This card reveals the final outcome to your question. It’s the product of all the other influences shown in this spread. This card speaks strongly to your inner self. It is trying to tell you something about your unconscious or the realms of your imagination. Your hopes, dreams, and unrealized aspirations are all fair game to the Seven of Cups. It speaks of a deep confusion, or a lack of understanding of your true motivations by your conscious mind. It is time to look carefully at your own motivations and reexamine your goals, but it is also a risky time to act upon your conclusions. Key interpretations: Confusion Dreams and ambitions Speculating Decision Temptation In this position, the card reveals: Your goals are attainable, but will require constant effort from you, and a willingness to be honest to yourself. When all else fails, fall back on pragmatism and keep moving forward as best you are able. Source: Facts’nPranks

Wes Anderson Tarot Cards Are a Whimsical Way to See the Future

Do you ever wish Jeff Goldblum could serve as your mystical guide in life? It’s now possible—well, sort of. His Alistair Hennessey character from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) appears on one of the new Wes Anderson-inspired tarot cards sold by Champion Productions.

As spotted by Nerdist, the “Wes Oracles” set includes 32 illustrated tarot cards designed by UK-based illustrator Brett Jones. Each of the characters from Anderson’s oeuvre denotes a different theme that will supposedly pop up in one’s future. Hennessey’s card represents success, obviously. (He has a pretty sweet boat and is a knight in Portugal, after all.)

Atari Kobayashi from Isle of Dogs (2018) stands for faith, M. Gustave from The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) represents escape, and Richie Tenenbaum from The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) gets the not-so-coveted depression card. No word yet on who was chosen to represent death and lust, among other symbols—some ominous, some fortuitous. However, we are happy to report that Steve Zissou, one of Anderson’s most beloved characters, will be included (on the revenge card, of course). The cards, priced at about $13, are available for purchase on the company’s website.

Champion Productions, a new gift-making company, previously released a few jigsaw puzzles with different Goldblum characters on them (including his famous shirtless scene from Jurassic Park). Sadly, those puzzles sold out. We can only hope that the company will keep the Goldblum theme going as it continues to release new products.

A gif of the different tarot cards on offer

​Millie Bobby Brown‘s Eleven has always been the best character in Stranger Things—so much so that even when the story focuses on one of the series’ other characters, audiences still can’t help but wonder what’s going on with Eleven. It didn’t take long for the Duffer Brothers, the show’s creators, to realize this—which meant they had to change their plans for her story arc.

In Stranger Things: World Turned Upside Down, a new companion book, the Duffer Brothers explain in the foreword that both ​Eleven and Steve Harrington, another beloved character, were originally going to be killed off in the first season.

“Eleven was going to sacrifice herself to save the day,” Ross Duffer reveals in the book, according to Esquire. “That was always the end game.

“But once we realized that the show was potentially going to go on longer than one season, we needed to leave it more up in the air, because deep down we knew the show just wouldn’t really work without Eleven,” Duffer continues. “And at that point, we knew how special Millie was. If there was going to be more Stranger Things, Eleven had to come back.”

As for Steve, the book explains how his character was just supposed to be a bad guy who died in Season 1, but actor ​Joe Keery‘s popularity in the show made the creators change their minds.

The Duffer Brothers also reveal other major details about the series, such as that the original script for the pilot being called “Montauk,” and the Upside-Down first being referred to as the Nether.

We’ve heard plenty of rumors regarding the third season of Stranger Things, but we won’t know much for sure until it returns to Netflix next summer.

Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is a masterclass of cinematic art and a defining chapter in the horror genre in and of itself (even if Stephen King thinks otherwise). Since its release in 1980, the film has become something of a cultural milestone, with its iconic and terrifying visuals being referenced in every facet of pop mythology.

Everything from the creepy twins to the memorable rug decor has become famous, but there is perhaps no image as instantly horrifying as the elevator doors of ​the Overlook Hotel opening to reveal a river of blood rushing down the halls. It’s an image that has haunted the nightmares of many a filmgoer and was so impressive that the studio focused the film’s marketing almost exclusively around the shot.

Kubrick’s longtime assistant, Leon Vitali, recently revealed in an interview just how the shot was managed. “We spent weeks and weeks and weeks trying to get the quality and of the blood as natural as it could be,” the 70-year-old filmmaker told Yahoo!.

“The consistency was also quite important, because we were pouring out hundreds of gallons of the stuff,” Vitali continued. “And then, of course, there were the mechanics of it, because if you have that much pressure ​inside something like an elevator, it’s going to blow if you’re not careful … I tell you, it worked in a way we never thought it would work… It was such a violent volume of this red liquid coming at you; those of us who were in there thought, ‘My God—we’re doing to drown!'”

​Kubrick himself was apparently so anxious about the exhausting shot that he helped construct the elevator mechanism and positioned four cameras with different focuses and different frame rates, but left the room before the actual shot was done, unable to watch if something were to go wrong.

Miraculously, the shoot went off without a hitch and it became Kubrick’s favorite scene. He reportedly watched it over and over in glee afterwards.

Are Tarot Cards Black Magic?

May 14, 2017

Tarot cards have an aura of mystery around them, as a way of unlocking and divining the future through supernatural means. But are they actually black magic, or magic at all?

A little bit about tarot.

These cards have gone through many phases in their (admittedly not entirely transparent or linear) history. They’ve been used for gaming, but mostly they’re used for something like fortune-telling—receiving a tarot reading is usually an attempt to decide one’s future.

Those who say tarot cards are dark magic recognize that the spiritual dimension of our world is real, and it is not to be taken lightly. In the Bible, Ecclesiastes 7:14 reads…

“When times are good, be happy;
but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
anything about their future.”

As a tarot reader who was raised Catholic (and has had my cards read my Catholic tarot readers) I believe tarot can be virtuous. Tarot is an exercise to discover the choices you have from the person who would know the possible paths best—yourself. No more and no less.

What happens during a tarot reading.

Usually a reading will start the querent (person asking the question) shuffling, cutting, washing, or just firmly hitting a deck of cards while thinking about the question they want to answer. The tarot reader will then deal out cards in a pattern or layout (known as a spread) face-down. As the cards are turned over, the reader or psychic will find answers for the querent based on the card’s meanings and positions in the spread.

This is the point where the “magic” happens: the querent will then interpret the cards for themselves. They’ll connect their own dots, ask for varied meanings, and make their own decisions based on what they see.

Tarot has nothing to do with black magic.

During a tarot reading, you never connect with any third-party spirits except for the one you are always connected to. The only difference is you are more in-tune to listen while you are searching for meaning in pictures in front of you. In fact, some tarot readers say there is nothing mystical about the tarot spreads either. They say they’re just snapshots—unable to affect anything before or after them.

What do you think? Are tarot cards a way to tell the future or are they a tool for introspection, or something in-between?

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Two Sixteenth Century Essays on the Meaning of Tarot Cards

Around the year 1565, two men on opposite sides of northern Italy wrote down their thoughts about the moral lessons in the tarocchi deck. In the 1980s, both essays were discovered by playing card researcher Franco Pratesi, and were recently published in Italian and English as Con gli occhi et con l’intelletto: Explaining the Tarot in Sixteenth Century Italy. Generous footnotes and introductory material by Ross Sinclair Caldwell, Thierry Depaulis and Marco Ponzi put the essays in their historical context. This extremely important book shows us how a typical, well-educated Christian of the time would have seen the cards, without the distractions of occultism and Egyptomania that came a few centuries later.

Let’s look at each essay separately.

Francesco Piscina wrote Discorso in his early twenties while a law student in Piedmont. The material was presented as a public recitation then published by a local press. Only two copies exist, in a library in Piedmont and in a private collection. Piscina tells us his ideas came to him suddenly while watching a lady play the game of tarot — much like De Gebelin two hundred years later saying he was suddenly struck with the idea that the tarot trumps are Egyptian hieroglyphics while watching ladies play the game in a Parisian drawing room.

Piscina wanted to discover the moral lessons conveyed by the inventor of the game of tarocchi. To know this, the proper order of the cards is paramount, because the story in the trump sequence depends on knowing which cards are trumped by other cards. Piscina uses the trump order that was common in Lombardy and Piedmont and evolved into the Tarot de Marseille, with several exceptions that show the deck was still in flux in the sixteenth century.

While discussing the World card, he mentions the symbols of the four Evangelists in the corners as proof that the trumps are teaching us to be good, conventional Catholics. But we don’t know of any World cards from that time that contained the four Evangelists. They don’t appear until the Tarot de Marseille pattern emerged one hundred years later. Did he know of a TdM-like deck that’s lost to us? He discusses the Bagatto is an innkeeper, not a juggler or craftsman. I wonder if this is an old, possibly local, tradition that’s lost to us but emerged into the light of day with the soprafino Bagatto raising his wine glass. (Or is he just a cobbler who drinks on the job?)

Piscina admits the essay was written on a whim, and it reads as if he were speaking off the cuff, giving us a range of interpretations along with his own. This is a bonanza for historians, as we can get a sense of how the cards were interpreted by others, rather than being stuck with just one person’s idiosyncratic ideas.

Piscina devotes only two long paragraphs to the suit cards. He divides the suits into two categories, a common practice that survives in our red and black suits. He interprets the suits as two types of war and two advantages of peace.

At the end of his essay he does some wordplay on Taroccho, showing us the word means a fool or an idiot. It makes sense that the game may have been named after the most powerful and active card in the game.

The second essay is called the Anonymous Discorso. Presumably, it was never published, but five handwritten manuscripts are distributed among various libraries. From textual analysis, it seems the author was from central Italy and he used the Ferrarese card order, with a few variations.

The author’s aim was to fill a gap in the literature of moral interpretation of games by giving cards their due. Nearly half the essay is devoted to the suit cards, where the anonymous author follows a long tradition of finding moral allegories in the four suits.

He starts by telling us that games were originally idle pleasures, but they evolved into vices that fuel our greed when we play for material gain. The designer of the game wanted to teach us that all is vanity; that worldly possessions and pleasures evaporate, and we would be better off contemplating God.

The four suits depict lust for money, glory and gluttonous pleasures, with greed for riches underlying it all. He divides the trump suit into two sections with the Devil as the pivot. Trumps below the Devil show the usual human situation, inflamed with passions and heading for hell. Cards higher than the Devil show us the way out of entanglement in worldly vanity by contemplating God and rising to heaven.

These two essays are unfiltered voices from tarot’s distant past. They bring to light what certain thoughtful people of the sixteenth century read into the cards. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Franco Pratesi for discovering these rare manuscripts, and to Ross Sinclair Caldwell, Thierry Depaulis and Marco Ponzi for their dedication to tarot history, making it possible for all of us to read these essays.

I strongly recommend reading the review of an earlier edition of this book by the late Michael J. Hurst. He puts these essays in their context of the long history of finding allegory in the four playing card suits, as well as in dice, chess and other games. He also provides a translation of the first discourse we know of, from 1377, on the moral meaning of playing cards.


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Il Bagattello and Il Mondo cards from Tarocco Soprafino di F. Gumppenberg, Milano 1835. Il Meneghello, Milano, 1992.