The cards depict the hierarchies of life using what's called the major arcana or the major issues faced by everyone in life (like judgment, money, security etc..) these are like face cards in a regular deck. From there each of these major hierarchies are broken down into 10 sub hierarchies.
Believe it or not life actually has an infrastructure, but what's fascinating is that most people follow it out of order.
It's in trying to organize your life into a manageable state that the lessons come in.
Suffering often happens when were "mixed up". Tarot cards show us the structure and where our path is, so we can organize our actions and reactions with more power.
How does this hierarchy work?
It would be like in my spring cleaning family deck (example above) saying that there are two major arcana cards MOM and DAD then their are the ACE's such as older brothers or experienced family members who are in charge of the younger kids. Below the aces are different "characteristics" or suits.
The suits (cups, pentacles, swords and wands) are the defining of the motivations of the actions. So Joey of cups is like saying what joeys character means say hes responsible and loving, mix this with the suit of cups and you have the emotional side of Joey's character.
This again is over simplifying the cards structure. I want to give you the concepts not the exact definitions of the cards.
You have your kids in the family that are energetic those in the tarot are the wands or "movement" energy and such.. Then you have the sweet kids the hearts or in tarot the cups "suit". You have your intelligent kids those in tarot are the swords or intellect and moral fiber, then you have your entrepreneurial kids those would be the pentacles in tarot or money, finance, and security.
in tarot there are many more dynamics than you'd find in a family, because it encompasses the entire spectrum of life. They break the deck down into the following hierarchies or threads: (this is only a very basic idea of the dynamics involved, they go much deeper but to keep this simple I'll show you the top layers of meaning).
Ace(1)-9 = this helps to create time, hierarchy of order and degree of intensity
King, queen, knight, prince, princess = these are like the major personalities of life, king would be like the head of household.. a king of pentacles is like the leader of money/material possessions or security, competent and wise and it continues through the different sub hierarchies of the deck below.
The "face cards" would be:
Queen: competence intuition
Knight: sudden change (depending on what suit i.e. knight of pentacles is sudden change in finance or security, also depending on the surrounding cards that give clues into what kind of financial or security change is involved).
Ace: usually the beginning of something, i.e. in ace of cups could be beginning of new romance (cups are water or emotions flowing)... new job (with hefty raise if the 3 of pentacles is near)
Wands = actions and movements, ambitions, work,
Pentacles = money, security, finance,
Hearts/cups = emotions,
Swords = intellect, morals
These are very over simplified definitions (useless if you don't realize the cards meanings, timing etc...) but I wanted to wet your appetite for decoding them by showing you how the hierarchy works. Decoding each of the face cards for example is a complex process as they are timing indicators, person indicators, and can depicts events or vocations that are associate with their astrological correlation: they mean more than one thing depending on cards around them and your question).
What do the numbers mean in astrology (newspaper? and tarot?)
The major and minor arcana aren't distinct like the maturity of a family member although the numbers leading to the cards do depict a maturity much like age (in one aspect of the cards meaning).
Progressively from ace (1) to 9 a growth of a sort is happening.
The meaning of the numbers will give you more insight into what the newspaper horoscope means when it says "Today is an 8". It's based on numerology, as are the cards numbers.
In reality the cards utilize many forms of fortune telling technologies. Numerology, astrology, and so on..
In numerology according to Author of the tarot bible the numbers mean:
- one = The Number of actions. Single minded. Independent. The number one informs you that you need to be innovative, and motivated to succeed in your plan
- Two = The number of negotiation. Cooperative and laid back, this number is telling you to adapt to circumstances to fulfill your dreams.
- Three = The number of communication. Express yourself through creative outlets and your life journey will benefit from fun loving relationships.
- Four = The number of realistic thinking.If you are practical and self reliant you will have the motivation to achieve whatever you set out to do, and can turn any situation to your advantage.
- Five = The number of creative adventure. it is time to be more outgoing, exploring and questioning of others' motives. The expressive side of your nature will enable you to make changes to suit you.
- Six = The Number of the protector. It is time to be of service in some way to bring out your nurturing side. However, six also reminds you not to let others decide your future for you.
- Seven = The number of mysticism. On your life journey you will encounter many people involved in healing. You have an extraordinary talent for understanding the world. Listen to your intuition for the answer to a current dilemma.
- Eight = The number of ambition. Right now you have a secret inner drive for success and power and you'll feel cheated if you don't achieve material results. Plan ahead. Sort out finances and the results will be equal to your goal.
- Nine = The number of vision. you have extraordinary vision for the future but following things through will be hard, you must try to avoid making promises you can't fulfill, then you will gain the top prize.
The numbers, the suit, the picture on the card, and the place in the hierarchy (i.e. a face card, a lower or major arcana card, like queen vs 3 of pentacles) all network and mean something on their own but when mixed with where they land in the "spread" and what cards land near them or in other key spots in the spread, these things mean different things.
Learning the tarot deck is as amazing as learning to fly a helicopter.. it takes knowledge, balance and intuition to keep everything meaningful.
The cards are read differently between many different people however their is a basic infrastructure. Think of it like art.
There is a basic way to learn to draw, to paint, to make buildings or sculptures, but once you learn the basics the rest is personalized by the person and incredible insights come out in that persons understandings of the tools and the magic is really in the person not the tools.
The paintbrush didn't paint the painting, the painter did.. the insight didn't come from the tools it came from the persons mind.
To discover balance in your life learn to exercise your intuition, conscious and unconscious mind through tarot reading. You can do your own readings for insight or you can use the cards to help others see what you "feel" intuitively.
I believe we can read the energies of others and the cards are often stacked based on the focus of energies of the shuffler. Because you're both focused on the same result while they shuffle and you deal your synergizing energies to make the reading happen.
The answers and questions still come from your mind and watching of the others body language to some degree. The cards just give you a way to structure the intuitive information your both feeling. In the end the cards are just pictures, the answers come from your intuition and accessing the subconscious minds of the two people doing or receiving the reading. A reading is also, as you'll notice, not quiet time. Talking and discussing the images is likened to a session with a psychiatrist (and may include "ink blots" which are a form of tarot card developed for psychotherapy (psycho=mind therapy is self explanatory).
You can find a lot of books and online courses that will give you the rich detail about this you need if you Google the term learn tarot, but for this hub I'm focusing mostly on the circle of life of the major arcana.
What's fascinating about a tarot deck is that it's like taking the fundamentals of life's infrastructure, and compressing it all into a very detailed yet simple set of 78 pictures.
When you shuffle the deck your literally shuffling the meanings of life into a random order and placing them into a spread or order predetermined by you.
You may not believe it but when you shuffle the cards- if you looked at them first before shuffling- your mind actually acts like a card "mechanic"- someone who can place the cards in any order while shuffling because they have incredible focus and hand eye coordination).
The mind and hands can stay in sinc, especially if you've seen the cards and what order they are in BEFORE you shuffle. It's less random that way. The answer to your question is likely already in your head so this helps you put the cards in to the right order to tell you! Learning the cards and how to use them do many amazing things.
The cards just give you scenarios to work with, almost like an abstract painting only with much more precision of context. It plays your emotions into context, your thoughts into more lucid form, and helps you to guide into what your thinking, like those ink blots the psychologists use, only these ink blots are far more complex and easier to interpret. Learning the cards helps you in many areas of living:
- Teach you the infrastructures of life
- Train your intuition and your conscious mind so your subconscious and conscious mind communicate more clearly and decisions are made more wisely
- train you to make decisions WITHOUT needing the cards at all eventually
Your just trying to get an idea of how to react to a decision. In your mind you have answers you aren't consciously accessing and the cards make your mind probe for those answers more intuitively. It's like exercising your intuitive mind to link up your conscious mind and subconscious information.
It's not unlike when you see a Pepsi commercial a thousand times and find yourself at the store buying a Pepsi- your subconscious mind took over when you asked "what do I "feel" like drinking today?". The only difference is your brain is doing this pluck n show in the form of cards that instigate an aha moment.
Law of Synchronicity
Nothing happens "randomly". The law of synchronicity states even seemingly random events are done with precision. (Google synchronicity for more on this law).
They say nothing we do is actually beyond our perceptions, not even shuffling cards. If you look at each card just before you shuffle them your mind knows where each card is, and what each card means (for more accurate results).