Copyright © 2004 Gene Michael Stover. All rights reserved. Permission to copy, store, & view this document unmodified & in its entirety is granted.
Here is reference material for Tarot cards. I have a glossary, random notes, & links.
If you are beginning with Tarot, I recommend Tarot for Dummies by Amber Jayanti ([Jay01]).
For a catalogue of different spreads, see ``Tarot Spreads, a Catalogue'', by me ([Sto03]).
My own notes, observations, & opinions about individual cards.
Currently2.1, these brief notes are mostly copied from the pamphlet that came with the Thoth deck.
The Thoth deck has unconventional names for some cards. Here is a table to map names from the Thoth deck into the standard names.
|Thoth name||Rider-Waite name|
I think that Adjustment & Lust are more accurate names than their corresponding names from the Rider-Waite decks, but Art and Aeon are confusing, & the changed court card names from Thoth are unnecessary.
A person who influenced Tarot reading & other aspects of mysticism & the occult. A prominent member of the Golden Dawn. Born 1975. Died 1947.
Some web sites with more details include:
Aleister Crowley & possibly other members of the Golden Golden dawn considered a card ill-dignified or well-dignified depending on the cards that were placed next to it in a spread.
The rules for determining a card's ill-dignified or well-dignified status are in Figure 3.1.
Synonym for spread.
The question is what the seeker asks the Tarot cards to help answer.
Some questions are more suitable to Tarot than others.
In [Jay01], Ms Jayanti says that specific questions getting useful answers than are general questions, but I find the opposite is true. In my experience, general queries about life's big-picture issues receive more useful answers. In fact, I find that the answers from Tarot readings are put to the best use if considered as food for contemplation.
Ms Jayanti says that some of the best questions for the Tarot begin with how, why, what, & might. One of her examples is ``Why am I experiencing difficulty finding a new job?''
In [Gra71], Gray makes the interesting & useful observation that most questions fall into a handful of categories. I like that idea, so my list of those categories is:
All books I have seen discuss inappropriate questions for Tarot cards.
Ms Jayanti lists these as inappropriate questions for Tarot cards. I've summarized them in Figure 3.2.
In a reading, the reader is the person who does most of the card-handling & who guides the interpretation for the seeker.
I first read this term in Mastering the Tarot ([Gra71]).
A session in which Tarot cards are interpreted by a reader for a seeker.
A reversal occurs when a card is turned from the deck & placed on the table in a spread upside down. The meaning of the card can be altered in complex ways. There are entire books on the interpretation of reversed cards.
It is customary for the reader's perspective to be considered right side up ([Gra71]), so up side down means the card looks up side down to the reader.
Consideration of reversals have been common at least since the 1970s; [Gra71] mentions them. It has not always been so. Aleister Crowley & possibly other members of the Golden Dawn ignored reversals & instead used a concept of ill-dignified cards.
Personally, I find the idea of reversals less appealing than the idea of ill-dignity. With a concept of ill-dignified cards, the cards in the layout affect each other. Reversals do not take the relative positions of the cards into account as much as does the concept of ill-dignified cards.
Note: Need to find reference to confirm or refute supposition that other members of Golden Dawn ignored reversals. Need to determine when reversals became popular.
In a reading, the seeker is the person asking the question & receiving an interpretation from the reader.
From a business point of view, the seeker is the client or customer of a professional reader.
I first read this term in Mastering the Tarot ([Gra71]).
Depending on the reader & the spread, this card is sometimes chosen & placed on the table intentionally. It represents the seeker & might be chosen for the seeker's birthday, appearance, or other characteristic.
In Tarot for Dummies, Ms Jayanti specifically mentions allowing the seeker to choose the card that he feels represents himself.
The significator is sometimes placed on the table before the spread is made & outside of it. In Mastering the Tarot, Mr Gray says that as the reader, he chooses the significator & places it to the side of the table.
The Tarot cards in their pattern on the table while they are being interpreted.
Note: This is my own definition.Most books use the term & allow the reader of the book to figure it out. I'm looking for a definition from amore authoritative source, hopefully one that will corroborate the definition I have here.
Cards that are sometimes attributed mystical or psychological powers. They are the subject of this article.
A deck of Tarot cards designed by Aleister Crowley & painted by Lady Frieda Harris. They worked on the deck from 1938 to 1943.
It is also called the Crowley deck or Aleister Crowley's deck.
These are random, unordered notes. Most are from [Kap86]. I should figure out how to work them into this article or some other so I don't need to keep them in a list of random factoids.
If I made a deck, I would use the same card names as the Thoth deck does except that I would return to the original names for the High Priestess & the Hierophant. They would be The Popess & The Pope, respectively.
I would use one-word hints on the card faces, like the Thoth deck does.
I would try to use the same symbols as those from the Rider-Waite deck, but it would not have the Renaissance look of that deck. Instead, I'd try to have an abstract look, though not as abstract as the Thoth deck. I would try to use characters from Greek mythology on the cards.
Gene Michael Stover 2008-04-20