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With 78 different cards, it is true that there is an almost infinite number of possible readings to be derived from a simple Tarot deck. That can make readings a complicated matter even for experienced readers. It is even more difficult for novice readers that may have trouble keeping all of those interpretations in mind as they are going through it all. However, when it comes to interpreting symbols in Tarot cards, it is easy to get up to speed with a little bit of practice and study. You can still practice your readings without necessarily knowing the meaning of each and every card.
You may feel limited in your readings for others until you have got a grasp on common Tarot card symbols and their meanings. How to read Tarot card symbols is one of the most important aspects of Tarot. However, it is more than just memorization. Some symbols are derived from numerology. Some are historical symbolic meaning. As well as astrology, spiritual symbolism, and even the colors represented in your deck. Not to mention seasons, natural elements and emotions. Some decks may come with instructions and a cheat sheet for the symbolic meaning. In general, you will need to develop your own approach if you want to get more out of your readings.
What Tarot Deck Are You Using?
However, the number one influencer on the symbolism derived from your readings remains in the deck that you are using. Tarot decks typically have vibrant imagery and other symbols that indicate or suggest certain meanings over others and that can play a large role in your readings. One of the most popular Tarot decks is known as the Rider-Waite deck which is based on the Latin Tarot and is one of the oldest decks in existence.
Other modern decks may play up certain imagery or themes. The cards are all the same cards that you will find in any Tarot deck. Instead of the traditional depictions, a modern deck may draw symbols from dream interpretation, numerology, Jungian psychology, psychic symbols and even the basic meanings of colors. However, the cards are always the same 78 cards.
The Difference Between Personal and Collective Wisdom
Before you can start interpreting symbols in Tarot cards on your own, it is important to know that there are two sources that you will be drawing on in your readings. One is known as collective wisdom while the other is called personal wisdom. Basically, collective wisdom is the meaning that readers have historically used to understand and derive insight from their readings. On the other hand, personal wisdom is concerned with our own personal experiences and how they affect our perception of the world around us.
In practice, that means what one card may suggest historically is not what you may derive from it according to your personal experience. That is okay. In these instances, you will need to decide which interpretation is more relevant for the reading. The great thing about Tarot card symbolism is that you can draw on just about anything as long as the energy feels right. If you want to rely on traditional interpretations, go for it. If you want to develop your own or go with what feels right on the spot, you can do that too.
Most readers rely on a combination of both. However, it never hurts to expand your knowledge and add more to your toolkit as a reader. It will make for more insightful readings and it will also give you more things to draw from if you find yourself getting stumped during readings.
Reading Tarot Symbols
The best place to start when interpreting symbols in Tarot cards is to go with what you know. Memorizing 78 different cards and symbols is not going to happen overnight. You may need to rely on your intuition and gut to help you through those first few readings. Luckily, the imagery on most Tarot cards lend themselves easily to on-the-fly interpretations. Which can help you to get up to speed quickly while you are still learning those traditional meanings. Tarot is a lifelong pursuit and there will always be something new to assimilate.
Once you have become comfortable with your own interpretations, you can start to branch out into other interpretations. Keep in mind that as you go through a Tarot deck, you will start to see common symbols. Many cards feature castles, landscapes, and clouds prominently. So, it may help to brush up on common Tarot card symbols and their meanings to help inform your readings. Fortunately, you can look up or download Tarot card cheat sheets that will give you an easy way to reference meanings if you’re stumped.
Listening to Your Own Intuition
No matter what other people say; or the general interpretations of Tarot cards, it all comes back to your personal connection with the cards. And maybe even the mindset of those that are coming to you for readings. A castle may mean strength and security to someone else. However, it could mean being closed in and losing your freedom for yourself. They are both correct. It is up to you as the reader to interpret the symbols that you see in Tarot cards. Whatever they are you can use them to build your understanding and insight.
When comparing and contrasting different cards that may have similar symbols, the symbolism can become even more important. For example, one card with a castle may leave things up in the air and up to interpretation. However, two or three cards with castles is a trend and it must be addressed in the reading. Aside from the common interpretations of security or feeling stuck, a castle could mean family or return home or even trouble at home if it is The Tower with a crumbling castle depicted on the front.
Some readers may eschew it all. And therefore just decide that they want to incorporate other symbolism and meaning into their Tarot readings. If you are not a fan of the traditional meanings; and you want to engage in a refreshing new take on Tarot, it is up to you. Readers draw on everything from religion to astrology. Some turn to numerology as well as personal experiences and even pop culture. It all depends on what kind of insights you are deriving from your readings and what you are getting out of it. As long as it is enjoyable and you are having fun, it’s all fair game.
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