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Tarot 101: A Beginner’s Guide

It’s beautiful to witness the curiosity surrounding Tarot rise among Latinx spiritual seekers. Tarot has come a long way since the days my abuela would read for clients in her backroom when being a professional Tarot card reader was still stigmatized and considered dark and unprofessional. Tarot is now rightfully being recognized as a tool for positive spiritual advancement. If you’ve been told you have to be psychic to read tarot, please note: that is an outdated outlook on this ancient esoteric art. Anyone at any level or with any ability, psychic or not, has equal access to the knowledge of tarot. What matters is the approach. Coming from good intent, gratitude and wanting to encourage your personal spiritual enlightenment will allow you to develop a wonderful connection with the Universe through your personal tarot deck.

You’re here because you’re wanting to either draw accurate personal spreads on yourself or simply want to understand tarot better and how it can be utilized as a tool to integrate into your personal healing. I spoke with Latina Tarot YouTuber, JJ Constellation, who shared insight into some of her personal tips and tricks for those who are seeking to gain a basic understanding of tarot for uses such as personal spiritual development.

“Tarot is an amazing tool. It helps you gain insight into your subconscious. It’s very therapeutic,” JJ Constellation says.  Whether you’re a novice or looking to go pro, tarot lovingly embraces all. This is the Beginner’s Guide to Tarot — for you!

How to Choose a Deck

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Page of pentacles & 7 of pentacles 🙌🏾 I am hearing you are evaluating wether to keep investing in a job / or career. I am hearing if you tried everything human possibly to try to make it work. Sometimes you need to cut your losses and walk away. ☺️ Someone has been waiting for the right time to reach out and they have. I am hearing evaluate this person’s motives. Question if you wish to keep investing in this relationship. I feel like you can start fresh and with a better foundation. ☀️ You have all the tools to execute your vision. You have determination and perseverance to see something through. It’s all a matter of mindset. Think abundance. 💜 Be patient you are at the beginning of building your empire. You will get to be a queen or king of pentacles. You need to start somewhere. Keep your eyes on the price . 🦃 Someone message to you is grounded and honest am hearing. 🙏🏾 Be careful of your time. Where are you investing your time. Is in productive things ? Is it helping you achieve your dreams? If not , changes need to be made. 🔥 The path is long and arduous and will require lot’s of patience and investment of time and energy. With all that being said the rewards will be successful. Blessings #tarot #tarotcards #tarotreading #tarotreadersofinstagram #pickacard

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Ready to get a deck but hung up on the old myth that your first deck should be a gift? If you’re hesitant to purchase your own deck for yourself, don’t worry. Many of us have gone through that confusing state of whether or not you should magically hope to be gifted a deck by someone. The answer is, it’s up to your own personal practice. Do you gravitate more towards wanting to pick your own deck instead of risking someone gifting you a deck you might not like due to its lack of illustrations? It’s perfectly fine to purchase a deck for yourself – first deck or not. I purchased a deck for myself when I first began to dabble in tarot. Since then, I have been blessed to be gifted a variety of decks by many amazing people.

You might be wondering how does one go about picking a deck? My recommendation is to always follow your intuitive hunch. It doesn’t hurt to go into a shop with a specific deck in mind, but it’s equally eventful to see which tarot deck just tugs at your heart. If a particular deck constantly grabs your attention or gives you this unexplainable feeling of “this is the one!” – chances are, that’s the deck is meant for you at that moment. There might be instances where you find yourself not automatically clicking with a tarot deck for various reasons. Give yourself the opportunity to build a loving relationship with that deck. I’ve had decks that I didn’t automatically connect with until later on in my practice. That is something that definitely occurs.

Let’s say you have no clue what deck you want or where to purchase a deck. This is where you can always lean on the classics. There are many decks up for sale online and even via Etsy. The options are plenty and soon you’ll find yourself excited to collect. Ready to get your hands on a deck, but not sure which decks are beginner’s friendly? No worries, we’ve got you!

“Any Rider Waite copy is my recommendation,” shares Tarot YouTuber JJ Constellation. “Some of them are Smith Wait Tarot Deck, Morgan Greer Tarot Deck, or The Radiant Tarot deck. Ultimately, use the one that you feel called to.”

Books Can Be Useful

 

Aside from dedicating time on YouTube studying and watching the style of other readers, you’ll likely want some tangible material to read that can assist you with navigating the basics. Much of learning the art of tarot is a mixture of intuition, storytelling and grasping the symbolism and meanings behind every card. Amplify your progress by formulating a solid foundation of what the elements and suits represent within tarot. This critical knowledge will create a bridge of better understanding of how the divine is trying to communicate with you through the cards.

If you’re someone who enjoys learning through written formats, you’ll find it useful to purchase books that offer in-depth instructional advice on how to comprehend tarot as a tool. Here are some books that have assisted JJ Constellation in her journey that she recommends: “Tarot Wisdom” by Rachel Pollacks, “Learning the Tarot: A Tarot Book for Beginners” by Joan Bunning and “Tarot 101: Mastering the Art of Reading the Cards” by Kim Huggens.

Understanding the Major Arcana

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✨BE ORIGINAL – Don’t steal people’s content✨ I can’t believe I have to post about this, but the copying of people’s work is NOT okay! One of the most common things that happens here on Instagram is that people will steal memes and graphics and cut off the credit to the original creator. I recently reposted an amazing image on my story of the definition of bruja from the @moradolens page and it had the tag removed! Listen, if someone makes something cool and you want to repost it, just LEAVE their name on it so their creativity and effort is acknowledged! It takes me over an hour to make a graphic, edit a photo AND write the caption, so when I see people removing my tag it makes me angry. Sometimes people will go as far as to copy your own words and make a graphic of their own. For most of us spiritual healers, those SACRED WORDS. Those are words from spirit, and they are very important and chosen for a reason. I know that in the past I have seen people steal my work and not credit me and I’ve had my friends tag that person and report them for stolen content. If you feel like you I’ve been wronged or stolen from, comment on the page, have your friends comment until the post gets taken down or reposted with CREDIT TO YOU! @brujathadon gave me a great tip which was to write your Instagram handle somewhere on the meme where nobody can take it off without ruining the content. If your using Canva to make graphics make sure your Instagram handle is very close to the text you type! And if someone is just gonna remake that meme and repost, fuck them! Let’s all stay accountable and give creatives credit where it’s due! I’m telling you, it takes me 1+ hours to make a good post and I hate when people steal from me! And lastly, if you use artwork please make sure to tag the artist in the picture and in the caption! Let’s create accountability in our community. Also this stunning collage is by @thebrooklynbruja and features a photo done by me by @solerika I love the creative collaborative energy! Much love y’all’ stay real. #bruja #brujas #brujasofinstagram #brujeria #spiritual #crystals #newage #prayer #tarot #tarotcards #witchesofinstagram #magick #witchcraft

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In Tarot, every card brings something to the table (pun intended). Developing an understanding that all cards offer noteworthy substance when you conversate with the Universe is a big first step towards being able to connect with the tarot.

However, there is a bit of some hierarchy that exists. Understanding what the Major Arcana cards represent can be a great starting point. These cards make notable appearances when comprehending the messaging around the inquiry you’re divining for.

“The way that I memorized the major arcana in the tarot is by astrology. I found it was very helpful to link them to an astrological sign or planet,” says JJ Constellation.

They’re called majors for a reason. Usually, when these baddies make an appearance it’s because there are some fated energy shifts going on in your life. Major Arcana cards can come through as positive or negative. It truly depends on the energy you have surrounding you at that moment in life and how you’re intuitively perceiving what the cards are speaking.

These cards are the meat of your sandwich. Meaning, when you pull out one or several Major Arcana cards, these will help you glue your story together. It could be helpful to focus on these cards first when you perform readings for yourself or others. Intuitively hone in on them to see what are some key points they offer in order for you to guide yourself through the spread.

There is a total of 22 Major Arcana cards to get acquainted with. Often times these cards will represent challenges, lessons, and opportunities that could require some further exploration.

Understanding the Minor Arcana

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At 7:22 PM I finished a project almost five years in the making. I began work on my tarot deck in August of 2014, not a small endeavor but one I gave myself permission to walk away from if I ever lost the passion for it or no longer had the space for it in my life. I worked on it between other projects – commission work, comics, running a monthly event. I worked on it while I re-routed my creative career into tattooing – another major undertaking. I worked on it through break-ups and finding new connections, through personal upheavals and growth. I learned to read tarot and deepened my understanding of the cards in no small part due to the work I put into creating my own deck. And it never lost its magic. . And now it's done. It hasn't hit me yet, even if my drawing callus is the size of a small shallot. The work, of course, is not yet over. I still have to draw the back design, and then it is on to the logistics of editing the booklet, designing the deck, getting a quote and a sample from the printer, and putting together the Kickstarter. While I do all this, I will still be posting the Coins and their interpretations on my Patreon. So stay tuned! . But for now, I am going to take a break and celebrate the Harvest with my family this week. 🌾🍂🧡 . #art #illustration #penandink #watercolor #traditionalart #queerartist #tarot #fyodorpavlovtarot #queer #minorarcana #suitofcoins #fyodorpavlov #postraphaelite

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Just because they’re titled the Minor Arcana doesn’t mean these cards should be taken for granted. Quite the contrary. These sets of cards provide clarity when it comes to our daily behaviors, choices or what I like to call, our everyday energy. Within the Minor Aracana make the four suits, which are the cups, pentacles, swords, and wands.

When asked the significance of working with the Minor Aracana, JJ Constellation shared her perception of it, “I feel it’s very important to know the suits in the tarot because it provides you with a foundation.” She further explained, “Plus it’s the basics of tarot and it’s important to know the basics. It will make memorizing the meanings easier.”

I personally enjoy associating the suits with the four basic elements in alchemy. By doing so, this assisted me with further deepening my bond with relaying the messaging that can be illuminated through the cards. Think of cups to be associated with water and emotions, pentacles can be amplified by Earth and 3D energy, swords are adaptable like air, and wands are fiery and passionate.

Assembling your Major Arcana pulls (the meat of your sandwich) with your Minor Arcana pulls (the toppings and condiments) become a fun intuitive game you develop as you go along practicing by way of performing readings for yourself.  The Minor Arcana can form a kaleidoscope of sorts. They paint a picture and add structure to the message that you’re needing to interpret at that moment.

Flagship Cards Sun

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This coming Thursday is Mindfulness day and because my work as a spiritual guide and as an artist it's so rooted in ✨mindfulness ✨I thought of celebrating 🥳 🎉here with you and it will also serve as a come back conversation since I've been away from my IG family for a while. . The celebration starts with two things: 1️⃣Telling you what mindfulness is not (it's easier than telling you what it is) . ➡️ Trying to achieve a special state of mind: Mindfulness allows for mind states to naturally surface and be noticed, but it doesn't force them to change. . ➡️ Going into a trance: Rather mindfulness is about being alert and attentive to what is happening. . ➡️ Thinking positive thoughts: Positive, negative and neutral thoughts may all come to mind and are regarded equally. . ➡️ Distracting yourself or imagining you are somewhere else; Rather than taking your mind off or away from actual circumstance, mindfulness involves attending to what it's happening even when it's unpleasant. . ➡️ Religious: The essence of mindfulness is accessible to everyone regardless of faith tradition. . ➡️ Complicated or farout: On the contrary, mindfulness is returning to a very simple way of being and relating to yourself, others and your circumstances. 2️⃣ Do a live session on Thursday Sep 12th at 7:30pm PST (LA time) To talk about specific mindfulness case studies and analogies for self growth. Any questions for that day are welcome! DM me or comment below. ❓ Do you have any tips on how you apply mindfulness in your life? One of my go to tips is to practice "Inclusivity" which means to not resist the seemingly negative parts of lives because it will persist. Instead include them in as part of the whole. It doesn't mean you agree with it but it does mean that you trust that regardless of the circumstances the universe is always for you and not against you! 🥰 . Estoy emocionada de verlos por aquí de nuevo! . * the material above is taken from one of my favorite books from @mindfulness.coaching.school | Leaves falling gently by By Susan Bauer-Wu

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All cards are important when learning to read the tarot. However, the Sun card really sticks out as a highly positive card. If you’re seeking a positive outcome or likely even a yes from the Universe when inquiring about a specific question in your spiritual path then this is the card, you’ll be happy to receive. The Sun card is powerful because it illuminates the positive aspects within the reading. The Sun wants to shine light towards being able to see the glass half full rather than half empty. Finding an optimistic outlook in whatever your circumstance is the message derived from the spiritual Sun card.

Flagship Cards Death

Notoriously misunderstood. Off the bat, you take its name literal. However, this a card widely feared for lack of appropriate awareness for what it symbolically represents. The Death card can be drawn when you’re experiencing a spiritual death and rebirth. A moment in life when you’re defying all odds and rising from the ashes of who you once were. An automatic draw of The Death card doesn’t mean you’re going to physically die. Besides, an important intention to set with the tarot is the understanding that you do not wish to receive knowledge about yours or anyone else’s literal death – unless that’s your thing.

Spreads

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⁣The Spiritual Compass Spread is a deep and soulful spread, designed to help you get to the core of your inner being. ⁣Before you start this reading, take a moment to center yourself. Find a quiet place and, holding your Tarot cards, gently close your eyes. Take a deep breath in and let go of the troubles of the day, replacing any tension with relaxation. Turn your attention inward. Give yourself permission to spend time with yourself. ​1. Where are you in your life right now?⠀ 2. Where do you want to be in the next month?⠀ 3. Where do you want to be in the next year?⠀ 4. Where do you want to be in the next five years?⠀ 5. Who have you become?⠀ 6. Who do you want to be?⠀ 7. What do you really want from your relationships?⠀ 8. What do you really want from your career?⠀ 9. What do you really want from your spirituality?⠀ 10. What can you do to unlock your creativity?⠀ 11. What can you do to contribute to the community?⠀ 12. How can you live in tune with your own interests, principles and beliefs?⠀ 13. How can you connect with your sacred path?⠀ 14. What is your greatest talent or potential?⠀ 15. How can you get from here to where you want to be?⠀ 16. What is your first step?⠀ ​Look out for where any Major Arcana cards fall. In a spread like this, they will be particularly powerful in their message. Record your Tarot reading in your Tarot journal. You will no doubt come back to this reading time and time again as a way of checking in with yourself. It might be a Tarot reading that you do on an annual basis or when you are in need of some spiritual direction and insight.⠀ If you want this to be a super powerful and insightful reading, you might want to take out all of the Major Arcana cards from your deck and only use these cards for the reading.⠀ Simply shuffled and select the cards from the 22 Majors, just as you would if you had a full deck. You’ll find that you are drawn now to the powerful life lessons that are unfolding in your life now and in the future.⠀ ⠀ To end the reading, close your eyes and give thanks to your inner self and the Universe for offering you guidance through this very deep, spiritual reading.⠀ Happy Tarot'ing⠀ #biddytarot #tarot⠀

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Some folks prefer not to use spreads when reading. You will figure out what you prefer eventually, but spreads are a great way of getting your feet wet. A tarot spread can be as simple as a two-card spread or as robust as the Celtic Cross.

In my personal journey, I didn’t start off with the Celtic Cross as I felt it was too complex, to begin with. Traditionally, the Celtic Cross is one the original spreads Tarot tends to get paired up with when it comes to jumping into this world.

You might want to stick with simple spreads if you’re a novice seeking to perform intimate readings for yourself. I personally enjoyed starting off with three-cards spreads to represent past, present and future energies of the intention I was seeking clarity on.

Another thing to note of importance is that the Tarot is always based on the way you perceive it. Everyone can perceive the same message differently. You can draw one spread and receive a variety of “answers” dependent on the person reading the energies of the spread. The way you formulate the question you’re asking is very important as well. When turning to tarot for guidance, it can be helpful to refrain from yes or no questions and lean more towards open-ended questions.

Working reversals into your spreads and readings off the bat might save you the hassle of having to integrate them later down the road. You can opt to not read when cards turn up reversed instead of in their upright position. Use your gut feeling when it comes to that. When I began reading for myself, I automatically kept reversed cards as they appeared in my spreads. I gravitated towards keeping these cards because it felt right for me. Reversals offer their own set of meanings and interpretations. If you choose to opt-out of utilizing reversals no worries. This doesn’t make your reading any less powerful.

The Biddy Tarot offers simple and fun spreads via her Instagram that you might want to check out. Another great resource for spreads can be found within the guidebooks of the decks purchased. Those spreads are usually thought out by the author and illustrator and can magnify the energy of the cards you’re working with.

Setting the Energy of Space

Now that you have an introductory understanding of the vast opportunities you can tap into through good use of the tarot, you’ll want to practice setting the energy of your space. Be mindful of the energy you’re bringing with you into your readings just as much as the energy you’re intentionally trying to tap into. If you had a challenging day at work you won’t want to bring in that negativity with you. Maintaining good auric hygiene is highly productive when divining through the arts. Setting the energy of your space is something of a vital priority for all who practice tarot, whether professional or not, this is a habit you can benefit from.

There are various methods you can use when setting the energy of your space. When you set the energy in the space you wish to perform tarot you cleanse it from the energy that is not serving you of your highest good. You work with specific air or water elements to create a positive or neutral energy field, so you can welcome in the energy you’re intentionally seeking to co-create with. Think of setting the energy of your space as a means of prepping the room for your guests. You clean it up, make it comfortable and inviting. The same goes for setting the intentional energy field you feel most at ease tapping into your intuition when working with your tarot cards. Often times, this is done so that one can bring in specific energies such as Angels, Deities, or Spirit Guides. Reminder, these energies come through when you offer them permission to do so in a conscious manner. Otherwise, if you seek to only utilize your intuition when using tarot, you do not have to worry about any energies bombarding or party crashing into your readings.

To set the room, you’ll want to incorporate an air element as mentioned earlier. Thnk of air elements such as incense, ocote, palo santo, or sage. You’ll want to light that air element and work the smoke around the space you which to make sacred. Reciting a positive and protective mantra aloud or in your mind is a great way of consciously creating a safe space so that you can be at ease and release any dense or stagnant energy lingering in that space. Work the room and state this mantra as needed until you feel you have set the energy according to your comfort level.

Be advised, when purchasing your air element of preference, it is recommended to head into your local metaphysical shop to be sure you’re purchasing ethically sourced sage and Palo Santo. You might also want to avoid purchasing any low-quality sacred herbs and woods such as these that tend to circulate Amazon.

A common water element I use to cleanse and set my space before working with my cards is Florida Water. I enjoy splashing some Florida Water in the palm of my hands before I begin. This is just a personal practice and you will learn what you gravitate towards in your personal spiritual practice with tarot. 

You might even feel called to light a candle or several. The element of fire is sacred and can be used as a means of cleansing your aura, room and can further assist you with tapping into reading the cards on a more intuitive level.

From there, you can begin to conduct a reading for yourself. There are several rituals or practices you can develop along the way that you might want to incorporate with your cards and that is completely up to you. That’s where you begin to personalize your journey.

Final Word

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The eye in the opened right hand is a sign of protection and represents power and strength as it deflects the evil eye. This creation came through today as lately I've been in need of energetic protection. I've always been better at cosmic communication than most human communication. The truth is I have a very low tolerance for bullshit and as i'm getting older my willingness and ability to cut things and people loose without being apologetic or explanatory isn't taken lightly by others or without a surge of toxic energy in my direction. Sometimes when you speak the truth it brings out the darkness and that's ok with me. #hamsa #hamsahand #protection #evileye #cosmicart #digitalart #cosmic #cosmicconnection

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Once you become familiar with the tarot, you’ll realize that thoughtful detail and intention exists in the curation of its essence. There’s no denying the possibility that this ancient tool was crafted with the purpose of being a spiritual conveyer. How can you get the most out of tarot? Treat the art with respect, and appreciate it as a messenger for those of us seeking guidance from a power much greater than us. The tarot exists as a means of not so much fortune-telling, but rather to strengthen your connection to your intuition and to the Universe. Nothing to be feared, yet much to be gained.

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