Horoscope Space

Horoscope Space

PSA: You Need a Tarot Card Deck in Your Life

PSA: You Need a Tarot Card Deck in Your Life

Tarot decks typically feature two groups of cards: the Minor Arcana and the Major Arcana. The Major Arcana features 22 cards numbered 0 to 21, and they represent the greater areas of life (Death is one of these, but in a tarot reading, it’s more likely to represent transformation than actual death death). The other 56 cards are called the Minor Arcana, and they illustrate the day-to-day trials and tribulations of life. They’re divided into four suits—Pentacles or Coins, Swords, Wands, and Cups. These cards have names like Three of Cups, King of Wands, Ace of Swords, etc.

Tarot actually has a long and fascinating history. The tradition of using cards to playfully predict the future likely goes back to the 14th-century Turkish cards called Mamluk, which were brought to Western Europe. Influenced by these cards, a card game called tarocchi became popular in 15th-century Italy. In France in the 1780s, the occultist Jean-Baptiste Alliette (also known as Etteilla) created a new deck intended for fortune-telling and popularized tarot as a form of divination rather than a game. Tarot became popular in the U.S. in the early 1900s, and the most well-known tarot deck, the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, was first published in 1909.

Thanks to crowdfunding campaigns, indie designers, and, y’know, the internet, we probably have more tarot decks to choose from than ever before. Which is great news when it comes to representation, creativity, and all that good stuff. If you’re shopping for your first tarot deck, pick the one that ~speaks~ to you. You might look for one with beautiful art, one with figures that look like you, or one that reflects your particular interests (like cats, maybe?).

Today, many tarot decks are based on the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, containing familiar names like The High Priestess or The Emperor. Others are based on the Thoth Tarot, created by Aleister Crowley and first published in 1969 after his death, or the Tarot of Marseilles, a French tarot deck first printed in 1709. All three of these decks have 78 cards divided into suit cards and a Major Arcana, but they have some different cards. While most modern-day tarot decks also include 78 cards, some tarot creators add a card or two. Other tarot creators keep the same number of cards but rename some of them, often with an eye to greater inclusivity. For example, the Weaver Tarot uses gender-neutral language, renaming the King cards as Rulers and the Queen cards as Sovereigns.

You can use tarot cards for all sorts of stuff. Think self-improvement, meditation, and decision-making. (See also: hanging with your crew and your rosé collection.) Tarot cards work like a mirror, if that mirror were magic: They reflect your inner wisdom and self to help guide you toward living a better life, whatever that means for you. They’ve even been used in therapy. Um, sign me up. I want to be a self-improvement queen!

Oh, and they’re, um, really pretty. Whether you want to learn to read them (I see you, you self-sufficient star) or liven up your living room, there are so many decks to choose from. Most come with guidebooks showing you how to interpret the cards and do simple tarot spreads, but there are plenty of great tarot books out there if you want to go more in depth. And while many tarot decks follow similar formats, artists are free to interpret and illustrate the familiar archetypes in different ways. BRB while I fill up my cart. Who said you can’t have more than one?

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