Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

July/August 2016 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

What is the Tarot?

This article was written by Gerald and Betty Schueler on January 07, 2004
posted under Tarot

The Tarot is a deck of cards that is primarily used to foretell the future. Forecasting the future, however, is only a superficial use of the massive powers of the Tarot. The Tarot is a very powerful tool that allows you to look deep inside your subconscious and "see" the direction your life is taking. It is a tool that is inexpensive, easy to use, and entirely reliable—if used correctly. It is a tool whose power has been authenticated through centuries of use.

The traditional Tarot is a deck of 78 cards that is divided into two main sections: a Major Arcana and a Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana is a set of 22 picture cards that is also called the Greater Arcana, Trumps, Atouts, or Triumphs. These cards are symbolic representations of various cosmic forces such as Death, Justice, Strength, etc. Fifty-six cards of the Minor Arcana are divided into "court" and "suit’’ cards. The 16 court cards are comprised of a King, a Queen, a Knight, and a Knave (or Page) for each of the "four" suits of the deck. The remaining 40 cards are divided into the four suits called Pantacles (also known as deniers or coins), Cups (coupes), Swords (epees), and Wands (batons or scepters). The suit cards are numbered from one (ace) to 10 for each of the four suits. The Minor Arcana cards are used to represent people, relationships, finances, action, energies and forces.

The Tarot is the medieval equivalent of today’s highly respected Rorschach test. Robert Wang described the Tarot as:

"A system of enlightenment, a system whose ultimate aim is assisting the individual in understanding his relationship to the Cosmos. It is a system accepted by many respectable sources, such as the school of Carl Jung, which views the Tarot images as agreeing perfectly with the archetypes of the collective unconsciousness."

In simpler terms, the Tarot is an easy-to-use system of self-discovery that allows you to see your relationship to God and the universe.

To use the Tarot cards, one must acccept the doctrine of free will—for if nothing can be changed, what is the purpose of knowing the future? One must accept the concept that each life is a many-branched road rather than a single straight path. Each new path has signposts to guide the traveler. Some paths offer immediate rewards, but end abruptly. Other paths are terribly complex and hard to navigate but promise ultimate fulfillment at the end. Some paths are easily traveled but offer no great prize at the conclusion. Each path has its own set of characteristics and remuneration. It is up to you, the traveler, to choose the desired path as it appears.

The Tarot is your map of life. With it, you can choose the road you want to wander. Instead of being an uninformed victim of your subconscious will, you can gather your inner strength and consciously change the path your life is to take.
Angus Hall states in his book, Signs of Things to Come: "The Tarot is to be respected, but not feared, listened to, but not panicked by."

The Tarot is humankind’s key to self-determination, and with that key, a person can open any door.

"She is indeed more splendid than the sun, she outshines all the constellations; compared with light, she takes first place, for light must yield to night…" —The Book of Wisdom 7:29-30 When we speak of the darkness of our nature we immediately turn our mind towards the shadow of our being—that is, all those emotional states... read this article
The Bath of Self-Care
Protecting Yourself Against Demonic Entities
Seven Ways to Feed Your Witch Power
How to Survive Waking Up
Bring Your Tarot Readings to Life

Most recent posts:
Knowing Our Natural Feminine Confidence & Worth
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Meghan Don, author of The New Divine Feminine. The most beautiful thing for the human being to know...

Modifying Tarot Spreads
Tarot Spreads: Layouts & Techniques to Empower Your Readings teaches a great deal about how spreads work, how they are designed, and how to...

Possession or "Possession Syndrome?"
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Debi Chestnut, author of Stalking Shadows, How to Clear Your Home of Ghosts & Spirits, Is Your...




Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar
84th Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $18.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
Llewellyn's Complete Book of Tarot Llewellyn's Complete Book of Tarot
A Comprehensive Guide

By: Anthony Louis
Price: $24.99 US,  $28.95 CAN
Wicca Wicca
A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner

By: Scott Cunningham
Price: $14.95 US,  $16.95 CAN