Traditionally, tarot readings are performed with a specific deck of 78 cards, which includes the 22 Major Arcana cards and the 56 Minor Arcana cards. However, it's still possible to perform a meaningful tarot reading using a regular deck of 52 playing cards. This practice is known as cartomancy. In this article, we'll guide you through the process of using a standard deck of cards for tarot-like readings.
## Understanding the Correspondences
First, it's essential to understand how the standard 52-card deck corresponds to the tarot deck. The four suits in a regular deck correspond to the four suits of the Minor Arcana in tarot as follows:
- Hearts = Cups (representing emotion, love, intuition)
- Diamonds = Pentacles (material aspects, finance, practicality)
- Clubs = Wands (creativity, action, passion)
- Spades = Swords (intellect, thoughts, conflict)
Each suit contains numbered cards (Ace to 10) and face cards (Jack, Queen, King), similar to the Minor Arcana of a tarot deck. These cards can be interpreted similarly to their tarot counterparts.
The Major Arcana cards, which are unique to the tarot deck, don't have a direct equivalent in a regular deck. These cards often represent significant life events or stages in a person's spiritual journey. Still, you can perform a meaningful reading without them.
## Preparing for the Reading
Before you start the reading, it's important to create a calm and peaceful environment. You might want to light a candle, burn some incense or play soft music. This helps to clear your mind and focus your intentions.
Next, shuffle the cards. As you do so, think about the question or situation you want guidance on. Some people find it helpful to say the question out loud.
Once you feel the cards are sufficiently shuffled, cut the deck. This can be done by splitting the deck into three stacks and then restacking them in a different order.
## Conducting the Reading
There are many spreads you can use for your reading, but we'll start with a simple three-card spread. This spread is versatile and can be used to answer many different types of questions. Each card in the spread represents past, present, and future.
1. Past Card: This card represents past events or influences that are relevant to the question or situation. It can provide insight into the roots of the issue.
2. Present Card: This card represents the current situation or the immediate challenge or circumstance.
3. Future Card: This card represents the potential outcome or future influences if things continue along the current path.
Draw the cards from the top of the deck and lay them out from left to right in the order mentioned above.
## Interpreting the Cards
Interpreting the cards requires intuition and practice. Here's a very basic guide to what the cards can mean:
- Hearts: Related to emotions, relationships, and personal matters.
- Diamonds: Concerned with material aspects, such as work, money, or home.
- Clubs: Connected with actions, creativity, and personal growth.
- Spades: Linked to thoughts, challenges, or conflicts.
For example, if you drew the Nine of Hearts (Cups) in the future position, it might indicate a future filled with joy, satisfaction, and emotional fulfillment, as the Nine of Cups in tarot is often seen as the "wish" card, signifying contentment and the realization of dreams.
It's also important to consider the numerical associations with each card. For instance:
- Aces represent beginnings or potential.
- Numbers 2-10 have meanings that align with their corresponding tarot cards. For example, Fives often represent conflict or change, while Eights often represent movement or progression.
- Jacks can be seen as the equivalent to the Page cards in tarot, representing youthful energy, new ideas, or messages.
- Queens represent the mature, feminine energy within the suit, tied to emotions (Hearts), material matters (Diamonds), actions (Clubs), or thoughts (Spades).
- Kings represent the mature, masculine energy within the suit, representing authority, power, or control.
Remember, the suit and number or face of each card gives you a starting point for interpretation, but the exact meaning can vary depending on the question, the position of the card in the spread, and the cards around it.
## Reflecting on the Reading
After you've interpreted each card, take a moment to reflect on the overall message of the reading. How do the cards and their meanings relate to your question or situation? Do they offer any new insights or perspectives? You might find it helpful to write down your reflections for future reference.
Whether you're new to tarot or an experienced reader looking to try something different, using a regular deck of cards can be a rewarding and insightful experience. Remember, the most important part of any tarot reading isn't the cards themselves, but the intuition and interpretation you bring to them. Happy reading!