Frequently Asked Questions About Tarot

by Solandia

What is Tarot?

Tarot is a set of seventy-eight cards, each featuring different symbolic pictures. A standard Tarot deck is made up of 22 cards called the major arcana or trumps, and four suits of 14 cards - similar to playing cards - called the minor arcana or pip cards.

What are Tarot cards used for?

Tarot cards can be used for practical problem-solving, creative visualisation, meditation, self-improvement, as a tool of understanding, for divination and fortune-telling, even for card games. Some collect Tarot cards simply for the joy of the artwork, while other delve further into research and study of the history of Tarot cards.

Where did Tarot originate?

There are many theories on the origins of Tarot in existence - Ancient Egyptians, gypsies, Atlantis - but historical evidence points to a beginning in the courts of Northern Italy, in the mid fifteenth century.

Why are there so many types of Tarot decks?

Different artists interpret the Tarot symbols in differing ways, each adding their own perspective. There are also so many themes that can correspond with the tarot system - there are thousands of decks available, catering to many diverse interests, from baseball to voodoo. There's a Tarot deck to match just about every interest or belief.

How do I choose a Tarot deck for myself?

It's best to look at a few different types of Tarot decks before you choose one and to find one with symbolism and artwork that suits you. Browse through the thousands of decks that have been rated and reviewed on Aeclectic Tarot.

If you're a newcomer to the Tarot, you may also prefer a "beginner" deck like the Universal Waite, Hanson-Roberts, or Gilded Tarot as the more standard Rider-Waite-based meanings and symbolism can be easier to learn.

Where can I buy a Tarot deck? has a good range of new and popular Tarot decks and books. When you order from Amazon, a percentage of your purchase goes to support Aeclectic Tarot.

Is it bad luck to buy your own Tarot cards?

No. It's an old myth among Tarot novices that your first deck must be given as a gift, or that it's somehow bad luck to buy your own deck. There is nothing wrong with obtaining your own set of Tarot cards -- and that way you can choose a style and art that is compatible with your tastes.

What's the difference between a Tarot and an oracle deck?

A Tarot deck is at least loosely based on the 78 card structure of 56 minor cards and 22 major cards. An oracle deck is any other deck of cards used for similar purposes to a deck of Tarot cards, and may also be called a divination deck, meditation deck, or cartomantic deck.

Where can I learn the meanings of the cards?

For an explanation of the meanings of all seventy-eight cards in a Rider-Waite style Tarot deck, read Thirteen's Tarot Card Meanings.

How do I learn to read Tarot?

The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Tarot or Tarot for Dummies are good books for absolute beginners.

Once you have a set of Tarot cards, read through Thirteen's Tarot Card Meanings and Joan Bunning's book, Learning the Tarot, which has general meanings and keywords for each card, singly and in combination, plus a wide range of tarot information. Practice using your cards. Mary Greer's Tarot for Your Self is a useful resource for becoming more comfortable with your cards.

Where can I get a Tarot reading?

Receive a one-card or three-card free reading with Aeclectic's unique cards.

I have another question about Tarot!

Excellent! Read through the thousands of threads and topics in the Aeclectic Tarot Forum... there are many knowledgeable Tarot enthusiasts there who have written thousands of posts.

Enjoy your journey with Tarot!

© Solandia

Kate Hill is the owner, founder and editor of Aeclectic Tarot, and has reviewed more than 200 decks over the years.

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