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  • Writer's pictureC. M. Ramsburg

Basics of Tarot

Today we will learn the basics of tarot! Tarot cards have been around since the 1400s. Tarot cards act as a tool to reflect the reader's soul. Below we will delve into the origins of tarot and how to use them in your everyday life!

Welcome to Ramstrology, the astrology blog written by Aries Ram, C. M. Ramsburg! Ramstrology delves into various Zodiac systems to highlight their diverse cultural influences. In this blog series, you'll learn the basic principles of astrology that are found in my YA Fantasy, SON OF THE SUN.

History of Tarot

Tarot cards were first invented in Italy in the 1430s. Modern tarot decks are based off Venetian tarot. A standard tarot deck consists of 78 cards, with 22 major arcana and 56 minor arcana cards. Tarot decks contain four suits, similar to regular playing cards. Tarot decks weren't commonly used for fortune-telling until 18th-century France. Tarot is used to evoke discussion and reflect the soul, not to foresee a fixed event or future. One's first tarot deck is traditionally gifted to them by another practitioner, but this is no longer a requirement for practicing tarot. Tarot in practice is an art, not a science.

Knight of the Night, C. M. Ramsburg

"It’s tradition that one’s first tarot deck is gifted to them. Your father gave me this one. He saw my potential."

How to Use Tarot

Tarot is a tool for self-reflection and awareness. The cards pulled are interpreted by the reader, evoking a personal discussion with themselves or the one they are conducting the reading for. Tarot readers use intuition to interpret the cards pulled. It is important to remember that all readings are up for interpretation and tarot cannot foretell the future. Below we will discuss how to conduct your own tarot reading.

You will first need a tarot deck. The most popular tarot decks are the Rider-Waite deck and the Mary Hanson-Roberts deck. You can also find a large variety of unique decks in bookstores, Etsy, or many online stores, so take some time to research and find the best deck for you. Once you have your deck, there are several different "spreads" to keep in mind before conducting your reading. Some popular card spreads are one-card, three-card, six-card, the ten-card Celtic Cross, the 12-card monthly spread, and a goal's spread. You can ask any question or focus on any aspect of your life for the cards to interpret. For example, the three-card spread can have a card representing past, present, and future. You can also make these cards represent mind, body, and spirit. Meanwhile, each card represents a month in the upcoming year in the 12-card monthly spread. It is also a common practice to do a one-card daily spread to start your day. Tarot is an art and how you choose to interpret them is solely up to you.

Before beginning your reading, you must find a clear location with positive energy. You should have nothing on your table besides your cards and 1-2 items that carry positive energy, such as crystals. You may also burn candles or sage in the area you are reading. You should meditate to clear your mind before the reading, focusing solely on the question you want answers to. Once you're in the proper mindset, you must shuffle your deck. Many practitioners have individualized rituals for shuffling, like shuffling exactly six times. After shuffling, pull from the top of your deck to fill out your spread. Examining the cards, use your intuition to interpret what they may be telling you. You may refer to a guide if you don't know a card's meaning. Keep in mind if a card is flipped upside down, it often means the opposite of the card's meaning when pulled right-side up.

Knight of the Night, C. M. Ramsburg

“Stacy cleared the tarot deck by shuffling it exactly 10 times, staying true to her ritual."

Major Arcana

There are 22 major arcana cards. These cards usually indicate a major theme or event in your life. They differ from the 56 minor arcana cards that are divided into four suits. There are 14 minor arcana cards for each suit, counted from 1-10 with court cards, like kings and queens. Major arcana are powerful and highly regarded. While all major arcana are important, I will highlight six popular major arcana and their meaning below!


Despite common misconception, Death rarely symbolizes a physical death. Death signifies a significant change or transition. It symbolizes the end of one thing and the beginning of another. If your tarot question is about your career and you pull the Death card, it could indicate a new career path or job. If the Death card is pulled upside down, this can indicate you are resisting change that may be beneficial to you. You should consider what change you're resisting and why.

The Hermit

The Hermit is usually depicted as a cloaked figure standing atop a mountain. This card represents the long journey to the top. Your work and achievements will be rewarded with heightened awareness and knowledge. If you pull The Hermit, it is likely telling you to focus on soul-searching. You must trust your intuition and journey alone to find your answers. If the card is pulled upside down, it suggests you are living an isolated and lonely life that can only be improved if you reach out to others and surround yourself with positive influences.


The Judgement card depicts someone reaching toward the heavens, often in a graveyard. This card often indicates your desire to move forward, but you must be absolved by yourself or someone before doing so. If you are struggling to forgive yourself, you will struggle to find the new beginning you are looking for. If Judgement is pulled upside down, is is your inner-critic that is holding you back from your future or goal. You must remove self-doubt before moving forward with confidence.

Wheel of Fortune

Wheel of Fortune indicates a moving cycle, such as one's life cycle. This major arcana often symbolizes good fortune, karma, and destiny. This card may represent a turning point in your life or goal that will enhance your journey. If the Wheel of Fortune card is pulled upside down, it can symbolize bad luck and karma. You may be resistant to change and breaking the positive cycles you should be fostering.

The Sun

The Sun, like in astrology, represents positivity and warmth. The Sun card indicates a successful and flourishing outcome to your aspect in question. The Sun promotes a fun and carefree approach to what is troubling you. You should foster a bright and optimistic outcome. You should also be conscious and present in your life. If The Sun is pulled upside down, you may be overly optimistic and naive to the aspect in question.

The Moon

The Moon major arcana is the near opposite of The Sun card. Similar to astrology, The Moon card represents the subconscious, illusions, and intuition. If you pull The Moon card, you may be fostering a fear or anxiety toward the aspect in question. You may be overly emotional and allowing your subconscious to control your decision making. If you pull The Moon card upside down, you may be repressing your emotions. You must release your fears in order to move past them.

Knight of the Night, C. M. Ramsburg

“Death rarely indicates a physical death. It’s a major arcana, symbolizing a large transition. It indicates the end of one thing, and the start of another.”

Keep the Magic Alive by following C. M. Ramsburg on social media and subscribing to her author mailing list! Comment below if there's an astrology topic you'd like to read more about.


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