Tarot: The new modern essential for uncertain times

Tarot cards come with a rich history. Initially, these mystical cards were used to play games, but their powers of divination and intuition were discovered several centuries later. Today, also, websites have devised their own unique formula for an online tarot reading.

Before we delve into the subject further, let us understand what tarot cards are and how their reading works. Part self-help, part spiritual guidance, tarot is fast becoming the problem-solver for uncertain times.

International tarot expert Alice Grist explains how we can all unlock its powers

The cards can guide you to become amazingly intuitive and to understand the power you have over your life.

They tell it how it is and they don’t pull their punches. If you are happy with your lot and don’t fancy changing, growing, or flowing with life, then maybe stop reading now. For the tarot cards are megawatt tools of self-help, self-love, and self-growth.

A modern form of divination, the magic of the cards is found not in the paper they are printed on, but in the hearts and minds of the people who hold them. They tap into the ancient intuition that each one of us holds.

People want answers and purpose, to make sense of their lives and feel something magical within themselves. They want to know that everything will be OK; that they will survive, be successful, fall in love, and be healthy and happy.

Although the tarot cannot directly give you this, it sure can prod you in the right direction, while assisting you to overcome the hurdles that have previously held you back. Tarot cards provide the seeds to build a more spiritually connected life.

Get a deck and start a lifetime journey that will enlighten, empower, and very often amaze you.

The Sun brings power, The Moon change – and Death isn’t what you think. The 78-card deck is divided into two sections.

Here’s what they represent:

The Major Arcana

There are 22 cards in the Major Arcana. These ‘trump’ cards, made of major characters and life themes, are numbered 0 to 21, usually in Roman numerals. The numbers themselves contain meanings that you may find reflect important numbers in your own life.

They stretch across all meaningful experiences and speak to individual character and personality.

Some of the Major Arcana cards will remind you of yourself, while others will cause you to recall life events. Some may remind you of characters you’ve encountered in reality or in films and books. As you peruse the Major Arcana, it is good to jot down notes.

A few words written down to define each card from your perspective are the start of a real connection with that card.

The Major Arcana contains all of life, so while there are human characters within it, such as The Empress, The Hermit, and The Magician, there are bigger subjects such as The World, The Star, and Death. These cards are like onions, with layers of meaning.

You won’t be able to pierce that vast depth straight away; you’re not supposed to. Aim to think of a handful of things that each card makes you see/feel/recall/understand.

The more time you spend with these big characters and themes, the more you’ll discover about yourself. As the ‘archetypes’ of human existence, they reflect all the roles that a person undertakes in life.

The Minor Arcana

The rest of the tarot deck is known as the Minor Arcana. These cards represent the gritty detail of life – they really assist us in getting to grips with our life situation and the minutiae of our emotions, actions, and thoughts.

They consist of four suits, each containing 14 cards and each representing a different element. The suits are Wands (fire), Cups (water), Swords (air), and Pentacles – also known as Coins in some decks (earth).

Each suit of the Minor Arcana has individual themes and qualities.

Wands (batons) speak to us of growth, creativity, dreams, and ambition. They also speak of the fears and furrows that halt our creative endeavors. They are about the passion we need to embrace, control and own as we navigate our way through life.

Cups represent feelings and relationships. Some say they are the suit of love, but they are also the suit of passion, hope, tears, and fears.

Swords are representative of choice, decisions, and the realm of thought. They are about boundaries as they represent limitations. Swords speak to creating mental clarity and fighting through difficulties toward truth.

Pentacles (coins) represent abundance (or the lack of), money, work, and the material world. They show us our attitude towards work and our ambitions and dreams for our careers. They offer guidance on attracting and manifesting what we desire and the work that this entails.

 The Fool is about breaking rules and crossing boundaries. This card challenges us to live. He reminds us constantly that we must take the leap, often before we are ready, and that rules and limitations will only weigh us down.

The Fool asks us to reject overthinking and step into the unknown.

The Magician represents the ability to take skills, beliefs, and dreams and meld them into something you desire. The Magician asks us to recall times when we made amazing things happen. He asks us to dream big and to use what we already have in order to reach where we desire to go to.

The Empress She is all about the way we nurture our lives, the people in them, and the wider community. Compassion, empathy, and guidance are within us all to be given out. She keeps her boundaries; she knows when to say no.

More importantly, she knows the love that flows when she finds it appropriate to say yes.

The Emperor is searching for safety and power and is preoccupied with being on top. He’s an inspiring leader, but his negative side shows we can become so consumed by the goals that we fail and become unwilling.

When this occurs, we must take time out to reconnect with what really matters in life.

The Lovers This encapsulates love and lust – which can be wonderful or horrible. It focuses on codependency – that unhealthy reliance upon another person to make you happy – and warns that sexual compatibility isn’t the same as mental compatibility.

It’s the card of affairs and no-strings sexual connections.

The Hermit insists that we are the expert in our own life and asks us to dig deep inside ourselves and get to know his wisdom through our intuitions and instincts. This card represents a fantastic time for self-discovery and for growth.

Wheel Of Fortune People come to the tarot looking for very specific answers: what does my future hold?

Should I marry/divorce/have children/travel? This card reminds us that even as we make our plans, they come undone easily. Anything can happen; the only way to be in control is to recognize that control is an illusion.

Justice is about balance. This is a big card and a huge concept. The Justice card acts as a reminder to release control over other people and what we think of them. It asks us to place faith in things working out as they should.

The Hanged Man is a reminder just to ‘be’ in the situation one is experiencing. So be present where you are: take it all in, learn what you can; then regroup, rejuvenate and await better circumstances.

This indicates a great time for working on yourself and the immediate world around you.

The Death Death speaks of endings and beginnings. It is not a card to be afraid of, but rather one to be welcomed. Often in life, we cling on to old ways or situations that no longer make us happy.

Death can be a welcome friend as she sweeps in and removes these obstacles to our happiness.

Temperance This speaks of patience and taking our sweet time. All kinds of possibilities reside within you. Yet to invoke that potential most powerfully, you must be patient, calm, and measured. Do not be pushed or rushed; commit to the long haul.

Great things come to those who wait and slowly apply themselves.

The Devil This card reflects our inner turmoil. He is not an evil force waiting to pounce; he is our inner world getting ready to drag us down. This scary card is the one I least like to pull. He tells me that a person is suffering.

Yet there is a glimmer of hope, which lies in recognizing that all of this is in our power to turn around.

The Tower mirrors to us the chaos and drama we sometimes find ourselves mixed up in. It reminds us to keep standing – that you were here before this situation arose and you will be here after it. Provide shelter and support to loved ones who are not naturally as strong as you.

The Star is a turning point, speaking to our ability to make the worst situation better. It asks us to be vulnerable – we cannot pretend anymore. Becoming our most honest selves promises a happier existence.

Not everybody is up for the challenge. If you are, the Star is telling you that it will be OK.

The Moon This reflects the eerie quality of change.

Sometimes the transformation is full of joy and wonder. Other times, it can leave us reeling as we try to adjust to new ways. The Moon speaks to that in-between space where we are no longer what we were but are not yet at the next level of who we are becoming.

The Sun This card gifts us big doses of power and self-understanding, which can thrust us onwards to great things. It usually shows up when a person needs a reminder of what they can achieve.

However, too much time in the Sun can leave us weary and burned out. Getting the balance right is important.

Judgment. When Judgement arises in a spread, events are unfolding that are outside the control of the person is reading for.

It is an awakening: we are called upon to grow, to rise up beyond what we were. Ask yourself, ‘Am I building or destroying?’ as you form your opinions on others and make your moves.

The World This helps us recall our fundamental power. The World asks us to make bold moves, knowing that this is the point of our life. The card arises not for silly choices, but for huge, life-altering things.

Every time it shows up, it bellows a reminder that the world is ours and we ought to start believing that.