You may have heard people say the 22 trumps were grafted onto a pack of playing cards for gaming purposes. Actually, the 22 trump cards and the four suits were always a set. You need 78 cards to play the game of Trionfi/Tarocchi/Tarot. The 22 trump cards were never sold separately until occultists put them on a spiritual pedestal while scorning the suit cards (minor arcana) as a vulgar fortune-telling tool.
Many contemporary French and Italian tarot books discuss only the trump cards. If they deal with the minor arcana at all, it’s with a few lines for each card in the back of the book, as if the author were embarrassed to be caught talking about them. Read more
If you want to learn how to read with the Tarot de Marseille while immersing yourself in tarot’s early history, this is the book for you. The heart of the book is an in-depth examination of each trump card accompanied by a web of historic associations illustrated with numerous examples of medieval and renaissance art. The book features the 1650 Noblet deck restored by Jean-Claude Flornoy, but each chapter offers illustrations of numerous decks for comparison; so the book works easily with any TdM. Read more
I firmly believe that intuitive tarot reading should rest on a solid foundation of study. Read books, take notes, visit forums, compare decks, take more notes. Then let it all sink into your subconscious mind. Trust that during your readings you’ll know what to say without having to rummage through your mental file cabinet for memorized keywords.
Brigit at Biddytarot.com recently posted a brilliant tool on her blog at http://www.biddytarot.com/blog/tarot-card-profiles that will help you study your cards in depth. In her blog post “Rapidly Deepen Your Tarot Knowledge with Tarot Card Profiles”, she provides a form to fill out that will help you think about each card from all angles. Print out 78 copies of the PDF file she provides, put them in a notebook, and you’ll have a personalized book of card meanings to go with your deck.
Here’s how I answered the questions on Biddy’s form for the Two of Batons from my favorite deck, the Avondo Brothers version of the Tarot de Marseilles.
On New Year’s Day I picked up my free readings for the week over at EnchantedSpirit.com (more about them below). One of my favorite features, “Tarot Treats”, delivers a card for the week on Sunday that I like to work with throughout the week.
My New Year’s Day card was the Ace of Swords – the perfect talisman for someone who has just resolved to do more writing and blogging in 2012. So far this week I’ve used two of my favorite techniques with this card.
I shuffled just the minor arcana of the Soprafino deck while asking for a message about how I can support Ace of Swords energy in my life during the week. When the deck felt well-shuffled, I went through it card by card until I found the Ace of Swords, and pulled it out along with the cards on either side of it. This gave me a spread where the cards work together synergistically rather than being compartmentalized into separate spread positions. Then I took the sum of the three cards (10) and found the corresponding trump card (Wheel of Fortune) to give me the theme of the reading. Read more
Do you want to start reading with the Tarot de Marseilles (TdM) or some other historic deck, but you aren’t sure how to pick the right one for you? In the Cartomancy section I gave a run-down of decks by category and style, but I didn’t talk much about the actual selection process. Here’s how I go about evaluating a deck as a possible reading companion. Read more
A comparative tarot reading starts as a short spread using two to five cards from a deck you’re familiar with. Once the spread is laid out, you add the same cards from one or more different decks to get an alternate view of the reading. Read more