TAROT WITH LADY HEKATE

2012 – Lady Hekate)0(

Introduction
Legacy of the Divine Tarot Author: Ciro Marchetti Artist: Ciro Marchetti Llewellyn Worldwide ISBN #978-0-7387-1565-0 The “Legacy of the Divine Tarot” was first published as a Special Edition deck, prior to being mass published by Llewellyn Worldwide. It comes as a set, with the traditional 78 cards, the companion book “Gateway to the Divine Tarot”, and a black organdy bag to hold the cards. The box is a cigar type box that opens lengthwise. The cover shows the imagery from the Queen of Wands (which many of you will recognize from Leisa ReFalo’s “Tarot Connection” site). On the back is printed the following: “Step into a lost world from long ago … A world veiled in darkness after a cataclysmic collision that stilled the earth. Millennia have passed and only humankind has survived – through the divine gifts of dreams. Exquisitely rich and magical, this new Rider-Waite-Smith based tarot deck by digital artist Ciro Marchetti takes you into the heart of fantasy. You can use this legacy from ages past to discover what you need for your own life as it guides you toward hope, wisdom, and inspiration.” The 295 page companion book, “Gateway to the Divine Tarot”, is a story onto itself – that also tells the story that is Tarot. The beginning of the story is all about a dream – a dream that it seems must be a reality, as there are physical manifestations of the dream in Ciro’s real environment. From there, we go far back into history, where the third planet from the sun collides with an asteroid. This is catastrophic, but some flora and fauna did survive. One species survived above all others, because it had one distinct advantage over other species – it had the advantage of forewarning. We learn about the Blind Ones, an elite class with great knowledge. They revealed to humankind, to the hour, the time of their passing. A council was called, and the Kings and their courts of the four elements were summoned. The goal was to determine the directions and actions to be taken in the remaining twelve solar orbits.

The Four Kingdoms flourished, and were in balance with their environment. However, they were not always in balance with each other. One realm shared in their activities, but also ruled over them. They were the people that looked beyond the physical to the mind and the universe. The Blind Ones were part of this group of people. They were blessed from birth, and possessed great powers. (Another group came to my mind when I read this – the Bene Gesserit from the Dune Trilogy.) With their guidance, the civilizations that developed after the cataclysm paid homage to their common memories and heritage. The story now moves back to the present, and to correspondence Ciro is having with a gentleman by the name of Gianluca Colombo de Savoy. De Savoy comments on the “Limited Edition Tarot” that Ciro did, and then he sends him prints, along with a handwritten note. The imagery in the “Gilded Tarot” – is it possibly not unique to Ciro? Could he have seen it before, and not remembered it? Ciro is invited to Italy – in fact, it is more of a command performance than an invitation. Once he gets there, he hears a fantastic tale about knowledge shared between de Savoy and a small group of colleagues, and now being shared with Ciro. For various reasons, the time was not right, and this information has been suppressed. Part of this story is about gateways – gateways that are very similar to images in the “Tarot of Dreams”. Ciro had been “encouraged” to visit Italy at a specific time because one of the gateways would be opening, and de Savoy wanted him to experience the museum that it opened into for himself. This is an absolutely wonderful section, showing a great gift for vision and insight into journey work. From this experience Ciro walked away with formative ideas for his next Tarot deck – “The Legacy of the Divine Tarot”. The traditional names for the Major Arcana are used, with the following exceptions: The Hierophant becomes Faith, The Wheel of Fortune becomes the Wheel, and the Hanged Man becomes the Hanging Man. Strength is VIII, Justice is XI. The suits are entitled Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles; the Court Cards are entitled King, Queen, Knight and Page. The presentation of the cards in the companion book is text only. Ciro has presented his own thoughts on the cards, as have contributors Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone, James Ricklef, and Leisa ReFalo. Ciro talks about

the reasoning behind his choices of imagery for the card, while the Amberstones talk about the basic card energy. James Ricklef provides in depth commentary, while Leisa ReFalo covers each card using the following categories: keywords, reversed keywords, description, meanings, elemental attribution, planetary attribution, gifts and advice. At the end of the presentation on each card Ciro has included an applicable quote. In a precursor to the Court Cards, Ciro talks about the Court Cards as templates for royal families. In other words, the Court Cards are flexible! In this deck, they all look directly at the reader, making a strong connection. Ciro gives a general description of each card, and the intent behind the card. Leisa wrote a very comprehensive chapter on how to read the cards. Brief instruction for doing a one to three card daily spread is given, along with a three card Legacy Spread, a seven card Pages (or What is Needed) Spread, a nine card Knights Spread, a five card Queens Spread, and an eight card Kings Spread. There is an appendix with attributions for elements, numbers, planets, and zodiac signs, along with an in-depth bibliography. The cards themselves are approximately 2 ¾” by 4 ½”, of good quality card stock. The backs are reversible, with a dark border surrounding a gold and silver mechanical web (the same back as the Special Edition deck). The card faces carry the same dark border, with the Major Arcana showing the card title at the top of the card, and the card number, in Roman numerals, at the bottom of the card. The numbering and lettering is color coded by element. The Minor Arcana Pips show the suit at the top of the card, and the card number at the bottom of the card. There is a slight difference in style, as the Special Edition used Roman numerals for the pips, while the mass edition does not. The Court Cards carry the card title and suit at the top of the card, with the lettering color coded to the elemental associations. The artwork is digital, very much in the fantasy tradition. The Pips and Court Cards show the same imagery as the Special Edition deck, while there is some difference in the coloring (but not the imagery) in the mass produced deck. The cards that I noticed significant color changes in were The Magician, The Emperor, Strength, and Justice.

Some of the imagery carries through the Major Arcana – for instance, the same figure appears on The Fool, TheWheel, The Hanging Man, and The World. The hourglass that The Fool balances on, and its colored sand, also appears in The Hanging Man and The World. We see The Fool balanced in space, with the Major Arcana cards arching around him. The High Priestess has eyes so pale as to almost not be there. The Emperor, standng under the sign of the Ram, evokes a sense of great power. The Chariot is a winged chariot, while the Hermit carries with him a sense of the hidden (as does the High Priestess). I love that The Wheel shows the same figure (that of The Fool) in all four of its phases. The Hanging Man is suspended horizontally over a horizontal hourglass (indicating that time is standing still). Judgment shows a larger than life Archangel, while The World shows the figure of The Fool, standing balanced on the hourglass of time, with the twelve Zodiac signs circling around him. Ciro has created a beautiful, magickal interactive e site to showcase this deck at www.legacyofthedivinetarot.com. Here members will be able to create and save their own readings, work with the cards and much more! He also has stunning videos on You Tube for The Tower), The Empress, and the Four of Wands. This is a deck that could be used by any Tarot student that had a basic understanding of the cards. It is a deck for collectors, for those that are interested in the theme of fantasy, as well as for those that want to offer their clients a choice of decks that will open up their experience o the cards.

From the Author of this deck

Major Arcana were thought in terms of the Fool's Journey: it begins in the Fool's card, where he lacks almost anything, and ends in the World, where he has self-actualised, and is ready - were he so inclined - to start a new cycle. And as it was the case in the Tarot of Dreams, the depiction of these two cards mirrors this idea.

In the Fool, as a preview of his journey, we find several Major Arcana coming out from his travel box; in the World we find some of the elements from the author's earlier works: specifically, one of his representations of the zodiac.

One more characteristic - which had been well received by the Tarot community - was passed along from the Tarot of Dreams: the change in name of the fifth Major Arcanum, from Hierophant to Faith. In p. 95, Marchetti explains that he wanted "to widen the message to embrace other religions and belief systems. [...] Too often throughout history, [...] differences have been a cause of conflict, prejudice, and war." Here Ciro tried "to demonstrate that despite those variations, the central column of light, and the source of their devotion - their ‘faith' - shines through as the common denominator of all."

As Ricklef then remarks in p. 96, "With its depictions of various religious leaders, however, this card maintains its implications of religious rites, rituals, and dogma; the general concepts of orthodoxy, tradition, and education; the pecking orders inherent in hierarchical institutions; and group identification or initiation."

About the Wheel of Fortune, in p. 110 Marchetti says: "As in my previous decks, I have depicted the Wheel as a physical structure. In this way I

suggest that the Wheel isn't just some metaphysical concept of fate in which we are mere pawns, but one that is in part also man-made. The variation in our personal journey may often be perceived as good and bad luck, and luck may certainly play its part, but in making the right choices we might have some influence in the outcome and a degree of control over our destiny."

Ricklef then rightly remarks that this card does not always mean good luck, rather it is about cycles.

With no need to show monstrosities or horns, this deck's Devil is, on the contrary, appealing, and conveys at the same time the meanings of temptation and chains, and ask a very relevant question: "Is the Devil actually a separate entity or possibly another version of us, the demon within?" (Marchetti, p. 127.)

In p. 187, the artist explains why he put a dog and a cat instead of the usual festive family with the rainbow for the Ten of Cups: "I felt the use of the two animals conveyed the message [of an ideal scene of home comforts] in an effective way. As common pets, they were already appropriate in a domestic scene, but the relationship shown here, between two creatures more often associated with conflict, is in its irony a means of portraying the harmony with which this household is blessed."

In p. 193 we find one of the anecdotes I mentioned at the beginning. Marchetti says: "I avoided what I consider the overused and bland symbolic tarot imagery for this card. I've substituted the traditional heart

pierced by the three swords with this close-up, which I feel better projects this card's emotive message."

And in the Three of Pentacles we find Ciro himself, "albeit with the embellishment of a few additional wrinkles and gray hairs," (p. 213) because the author identifies with the image of the craftsman totally caught up by the creative process.

Court Cards share a few specific features besides the associations with their respective element, which is either easy to guess or clearly visible in each card. "The pages, queens and kings look directly at us, and it's left to us to interpret their gaze." (p. 230)

We can synthesise the contents of pp. 229-233, written by Marchetti himself:

Kings have authority and power that come with the position and title, projected and reinforced by symbolism, ritual and tradition. Hence, Marchetti depicted them "more from a distance [...] in their regal environments, which reconfirm their status and project the suits of their respective realms" (p. 230)

• Even though they are not the ultimate rulers of their realms, the Queens wield "considerable influence and [...] are arguably the true power behind the throne. [...] Their power comes from within, and they project that power without the need of material reinforcement." For this reason, Marchetti chose to use close-ups for them (pp. 230-231)

• Pages "are ambassadors and messengers of their royal courts." As such they are richly dressed and proudly hold the symbol of their suit (p. 232)

• Knights are another matter. "If the kings are the leaders of their suits, the initiators of ideas and new directions, and the queens put those ideas into action, then the knights might be perceived as the enforcers who ensure that those concepts are followed." But since most knights were mercenaries, their personalities were partly muted, as they became subordinate to their function, their uniform. For this reason, their faces do not appear; rather, their flamboyant helmets (worn in the fictional history which acts as background to this deck) take centre stage, each projecting their elemental association and allegiances

The last part of the book, How To Read Tarot, was entirely written by Leisa ReFalo. It includes basic information for beginners, but on the whole I daresay that both this deck and its companion book are more suitable to those that are no longer beginners. Information is summary and exhorts the reader to search somewhere else to further his/her knowledge (and where Tarot is involved, this suggestion is never out of place J). A few spreads with reference to the fictional background of the del Legacy of the Divine Tarot are presented.

I wish to finish this review with a quote from ReFalo (p. 271), as I'm in full agreement with its content: "Your tarot deck can be a wise friend who offers advice, insight, and guidance for the important issues in your life and in the lives of the people you know

A Normal deck of Tarot holds 78 cards The Major Arcana is the first Key in opening our understanding. In Latin the word refers to a major or big secret.

.0 The Fool

Key Words for the Fool Tarot Card Meaning Innocence Beginning Simplicity Fresh Start Blind Faith Entering a new cycle, journey. It is time to move forward, and not look behind. You have what you need, have confidence in yourself. Know too you are not alone on your journey. The Fool is about new beginnings, taking risks, stepping out of your box.

.1 The Magician

Key Words for the Magician Tarot Card Meaning Power Action Awareness Application Resourcefulness

Keep the balance, you need both spirit and mundane, magick, and natural gifting, and skill to achieve your goals. You have tools and you have grown, and will keep growing. It is time to apply your knowledge, and use the tools you have.

.2 The High Priestess

Key Words for the Priestess Tarot Card Meanings Knowing Psychic Oracle Secretive Influential This is a card of intuition as well, Knowledge which is yet not known to you which you have need. The answers are within you. Listen to your inner voice, and have confidence in that knowing. You do not need to look outside for answers but within.

.3 The Empress

Key Words for the Empress Tarot Card Meanings Promise Femininity Abundance Creativity Assurance A business Woman, female leader, Mother This card is about potential and giving birth to that potential with promised results. Hard work, creativity, brings prosperity, good results. This card can also suggest seeking council of a strong woman. Or a promised raise, promotion from a female boss.

.4 The Emperor

Key Words for the Emperor Tarot Card Meanings Strategy Rulership Authority Masculinity Practicality A natural born Leader, it is time to strategize, and use your authority, or step up. Use you leadership ability, as others look to you. This card is about leadership, not bullying. You have greater influence then you think.

.5 Hierophant

Key Words for the Hierophant Tarot Card Meanings Law Holy-Religious, Respect Ceremony, Knowledge, Tradition, Conformity Lover of Tradition, family, and ritual. Education and apprenticeship. Minister,Ministry. This card can indicated a good time to return to school, or getting training. It may suggest an engagement, or marriage.

.6 The Lovers

Key Words for the Lovers Tarot Card Meanings Sex. Love, Health, Union Trust, Passion,Temptation Vulnerability,Communication A Promising romance, a renewal of love, engagement. Partnership based on love and trust.

.7 The Chariot

Key Words for the Chariot Tarot Card Meanings Tact, Skill, Action Control, Focused, Driven, Motion Balance, Physicality Victory though the struggle. Remain focused on the goals during the struggle, hard times. Do not quit.

.8 Strength

Key Words for the Strength Tarot Card Meanings Balance, Strength, Courage Patience, Compassion, Understanding After the battle, the struggle it is time to renew your strength. This is a card about inner strength, power. The Lion does not roam announcing he is king. You are stronger then you think.

.9 The Hermit

Key Words for the Hermit Tarot Card Meanings Wisdom, Humility, Solitude Searching, Detachment, Deliberate, Observation It is time for some alone time, just do not make it a hiding time. The Hermit calls us away to do some introspecting on our self. Wisdom is found in the quiet times as well as in life lessons. Remember we are human beings, not human doings.

.10 Wheel of Fortune

Key Words for the Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card Meanings Luck Chance Change Destiny Revolution Consequence The Wheel of the year, is always moving. Entering a new season for the better. There is a time and season for all things. Your fortune or luck is about to change. No season lasts forever.

.11 Justice

Key Words for the Justice Tarot Card Meanings Truth, Balance, Justice, Equality Congruence , Admission, Examination Accountibility Facing a Legal Issue, this card favors you. This to me is also a Karmic Card. What you sow you reap, time for you to receive the reward of hard work, and dedication. Also ask are you being Just with yourself, and others.

.12 The Hanged Man

Key Words for the Hanged Man Tarot Card Meanings Yield, Suspend, Surrender, Sacrifice Non-Action, Submission, In-Between From the recent hard times, struggle, or even challenge your facing, this card calls you to change your perspective. To get beyond, move forward, you may need to sacrifice your ego. You cannot remain neutral. Flexibility is great to have in life, and will help you in many ways. Be flexible.

.13 Death

Key Words for the Death Tarot Card Meanings Change Exposure Transition Termination Inevitability Endings bring new beginnings. Endings are not always easy but are necessary. Major change . Often when this card shows up in a reading it means the querent has had, or will have a change that is monumental - an ending of circumstances that were dragging on for far too long and the only way to make a clean break is to have a sharp ending

.14 Temperance

Key Words for the Temperance Tarot Card Meanings Merging, Balance, Healing, Blending Connection, Chemistry, Fluidity Moderation Temperance calls us to avoid extremes, do not make haste. Also there is a lot of power in this card, and the "flow" is the source of that power. The Temperance card is a call for us to recognize the flow in our own lives, and observe the nature of energy. When we pull this card in a reading it is an indication that a healing is in need or is taking place

.15 The Devil

Key Words for the Devil Tarot Card Meanings Ego, Loss, Error Addiction, Illusion, Enslavement The ego is a key to understanding the Devil card. Ego tells us we're better than the other guy, or we're not good enough for the glee club. Ego tells us we need external stimuli (drugs, alcohol, food) to be acceptable to society, or feel comfortable in our own skins. Ego tells us we need a new car to get respect or we need to put our spouse in his/her place so we are "on top."When we pull the Devil card in a reading we've got some serious examining to do. We need to consider who or what is in charge of our lives. The Devil is a very loud message stating that we're in danger of giving up our control to our base nature. Or, it's a message that we've already dropped to a level of functioning that is beneath us

.16 The Tower

Key Words for the Tower Tarot Card Meanings Change Eruption Upheaval Exposure Trial Sudden Shift The presence of the Tower card in a reading is nothing to sneeze at. If you've gone through a traumatic shift already, nurture yourself as best you can and learn the lessons that came with the event corresponding with the card. If this card is in your future position take heed of the warning and examine your life The Tower is an indicator of a time of testing and humbling. The Devil card exposes the ego, the tower humbles the ego.

.17 The Star

Key Words for the Star Tarot Card Meanings Hope Promise Healing Guidance Assurance When you wish upon a star….. to me this is a wish card. The Star despite the hard knocks of life there is always hope. Not all is lost. This card is a message that a time of relaxation is here. Think "spa for the soul." Think breath of fresh air. Break time, as well as some better days ahead.

.18 The Moon

Key Words for the Moon Tarot Card Meanings Emotion Intuition Reflection Influence Intuition is key in the Moon card, do not be afraid to listen to your inner voice , intuition. The Moon governs the water of emotions, listen to them.The Moon is also about influence. We must constantly be aware of what is influencing our lives, our decisions, our actions. We must unravel the perplexity of our thoughts and see clear to that which is causing us to move in a certain direction. And when it comes to our higher purpose, we must have the highest intensity of diligence to stay the course and persue the path that leads to expressing our highest selves.

.19 The Sun

Key Words for the Sun Tarot Card Meanings Life Energy Growth Vibrancy Illumination New Beginnings New birth, breakthrough, wooowooo. So often we go through the motions of our lives, wondering if we'll come out of the dark seasons, curious if all our hard work is ever going to pay off. The Sun card is a clearly declares, yes, indeed the proverbial flowers in the garden of life that we've painstakingly cared for are about to come in full bloom

.20 Judgment

Key Words for the Judgment Tarot Card Meanings Honesty Judgment Resurrection Heeding a Call Judgment calls us to be truthful with ourselves, and lives. Resurrect your purpose, calling.The Judgment card comes up in a reading when it is time to heed our highest calling. When we are at a crossroads, and it is time to lift ourselves us and transform our lives. It comes at a pivotal time when we must be honest with ourselves, judge what best action should be taken and rise up to the challenges to embrace our best life.

.21 The World

Key Words for the World Tarot Card Meanings Value Success Achievement Fulfillment Graduation, you have passed your tests, you have come through your challenges well. Promotion time. It means that the project you've been working on will receive the highest acclaim. The counseling you've been undergoing with your lover will lead to a happy conclusion. The rehabilitation you've been going through will have a profound and healthy outcome. The World is a promise of success, and a reminder that the highest value in life is the condition of your own soul.

The Minor Arcana The Minor Arcana consists of four suits – Cups, Pentacles, Swords and Wands. Each suit corresponds with a different element and is representative of different aspects of day-to-day life.
Suit Suit of Cups Element Water Keywords Emotions, feelings, creativity Finance, material possessions, career Power, intellect, thoughts Inspiration, spirituality, idea

Suit of Pentacles Earth Suit of Swords Suit of Wands Air Fire

Each suit in the Minor Arcana consists of fourteen Tarot cards, including ten numbered cards (Ace through to Ten) and four Court Cards (the Page, Knight, Queen and King).The numbered Tarot cards reflect everyday life situations while the Tarot Court Cards reflect personality-types or actual people. The Suit of Cups is representative of the element of water. The Suit of Cups Tarot card meanings deal with the emotional level of consciousness and are associated with love, feelings, relationships and connections. Cups are about displays of emotion, expression of feelings and the role of emotions in relation to others. The Cups Tarot cards indicate that you are thinking with your heart rather than your head, and thus reflect your spontaneous responses and your habitual reactions to situations. Cups are also linked to creativity, romanticism, fantasy and imagination.

The negative aspects of the Suit of Cups (i.e. when the Cups cards appear reversed) include being overly emotional or completely disengaged and dispassionate, having unrealistic expectations and fantasising about what could be. There may be repressed emotions, an inability to truly express oneself and a lack of creativity.

The Suit of Cups traditionally represents the west and autumn. If using an ordinary deck of playing cards, Cups are represented by the Suit of Hearts.

Suit of Cups Personality Characteristics

The people represented by the Suit of Cups (i.e. typically the Court Cards) are emotional, artistic, humane and creative. They are connected with their emotional selves and will draw energy from what they feel within. They are said to correspond to the water signs in the zodiac (Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio) and to water as a symbol of the subconscious mind and reason.

Cups Cards in a Tarot Reading

Should a Tarot reading be predominantly Cups cards, then you can be sure that the client is seeking solutions to what are primarily emotional conflicts, love matters and emotions.

The Suit of Pentacles (also known as Coins or Disks) is representative of the element of Earth. The Suit of Pentacles Tarot card meanings cover material aspects of life including work, business, trade, property, money and other material possessions. The positive aspects of the Suit of Pentacles include manifestation, realisation, proof and prosperity.

Pentacles deal with the physical or external level of consciousness and thus mirror the outer situations of your health, finances, work, and creativity. They have to do with what we make of our outer surroundings – how we create it, shape it, transform it and grow it.

The negative aspects of the Suit of Pentacles (i.e. when the Pentacles cards appear reversed) include being possessive, greedy and overly materialistic, over-indulging and not exercising, not effectively managing one’s finances, and being overly focused on career to the detriment of other life priorities. Often what is required to counteract these negative aspects is a return to nature to ground oneself and rediscover what is truly important. In addition, there may be blockages in being able to manifest ideas and plans resulting in a lack of success. Better goal-setting and planning is required.

When referring to timing in a Tarot reading, the Suit of Pentacles traditionally represents Autumn or years. In a deck of playing cards, Pentacles corresponds to Diamonds.

Suit of Pentacles Personality Characteristics

Pentacles represent the Earth signs of Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Pentacles people (as typically seen in the Court Cards) are practical, careerminded, down-to-earth and generous. They are tactile beings and like to experience the physical, tangible world. They are connect through the senses and seek pleasurable and sometimes indulgent experiences.

Pentacles Cards in a Tarot Reading

Should a Tarot reading be predominantly Pentacles cards, then you can be sure that the client is seeking solutions to what are primarily material conflicts, financial matters and concerns with career and work.

The Suit of Swords is representative of the element of Air. The Suit of Swords Tarot card meanings are associated with action, change, force, power, oppression, ambition, courage and conflict. Action can be both constructive and/or destructive, sometimes resulting in violence. This suit can also mean hatred, battle, and enemies, and of all the suits, this one is considered to be the most powerful and dangerous.

The Suit of Swords deals with the mental level of consciousness that is centred around the mind and the intellect. Swords mirror the quality of mind present in your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs. Swords themselves are double-edged and in this way the Suit of Swords symbolises the fine balance between intellect and power and how these two elements can be used for good or evil. As such, the Swords must be balanced by spirit (Wands) and feeling (Cups).

The negative aspects of the Suit of Swords (i.e. when the Swords cards appear reversed) include anger, guilt, harsh judgement, a lack of compassion and verbal and mental abuse.

When referring to timing in a Tarot reading, the Suit of Swords traditionally represents Winter or Spring, or months. In a deck of playing cards, Swords corresponds to Spades.

Suit of Swords Personality Characteristics

Swords represent the Air signs of Aquarius, Libra and Gemini. Swords people (as typically seen in the Court Cards) are intelligent, thoughtful, rational, logical and excellent communicators. They are rational beings and like to experience the world by understanding and analysing what is

occurring around them. On the flipside, Swords people can be ruthless, domineering, confrontational and rigid.

Swords Cards in a Tarot Reading

Should a Tarot reading be predominantly Swords cards, then you can be sure that the client is seeking solutions to what are primarily mental struggles, conflict and arguments, and decisions which must be made. Also, there could be many arguments or even violence at present. While Swords can carry with them many negative or very strong, forceful messages, Swords serve also as a warning to be more cautious of what is occurring around you.

How to Read the Cards In most people's minds, "Tarot card reading" means a woman in flowing robes, leaning over a small table in a candlelit room, foretelling impending doom.But that's not really what Tarot cards are about. In fact, they're not even really meant to tell your fortune or future. According to The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, "The most powerful sources of information come from within; the Tarot aids in coming in contact with one's Higher Self." s with most things on this path, ask seven people how to do a reading and get seven different answers.The most important thing to remember is that there is no wrong way to do a reading. As long as your intent is pure, you will get what you need to know.What is suggested here is merely a guide. You will develop you own style fairly quickly.

You probably noticed that most Tarot readers will spread a cloth over whatever surface they are doing readings on. This serves two purposes. On the practical side, it keeps your cards clean. On a psychic side, the color you chose to use can help with the vibrations of the card. I tend to like black, as it doesn't interfere with energies. Others like blue, yellow or purple for divination and psychic ability.

Here are some elements of set up you might consider:

Some readers start by purifying their space, even smudging it. Clothes can be draped over surfaces where readings are to be done Appropriate gemstones can be spread about Appropriate incense and candles lit Some meditate ·Some readers go through a whole ritual before reading, including casting a circle and calling quarters Some light candles and incense and play soft music. Others do nothing but pull out the deck. Do what feels right to you, whatever connects you to the energy of the universe or puts you in the "groove" to do readings. The one thing I suggest, if it is possible is to do a quick smudge of the room to rid it of any energy that might interfere with a reading. And it's always a great idea to ground and center and take a few deep breaths before beginning.

You do want to make sure you won't be interrupted when doing a reading so turn off the TV, the phones (your client's cell phone) and shut the pets out. Make sure the atmosphere is at a comfortable temperature. And make sure you are dressed comfortably. You can't concentrate on a reading if your top is constricting your breathing. Drawing cards

Once you have everything set up and are focused, it's time to begin. Take out your cards. As you shuffle them, it is important to concentrate on what it is you want to know. It is better to ask open-ended questions as opposed to yes or no questions. The clearer the question, the clearer the answer will be. Keep questions simple. Focus on the experience rather than the outcome. Make sure your question is specific and it is worded to represent exactly what you want to know. If you don't have a specific issue to address, you can ask for general guidance or what you might need to know for the next week or that the spirits/deities tell you whatever it is you need to know right now. Just be sure to concentrate.

When you feel ready to do the spread, stop shuffling.

Whether or not you cut the deck now and how you do it is up to you.Some people will then deal out cards from the top of the deck. Others fan them out and randomly draw cards. Others still will use a pendulum to choose cards. The choice is yours.

A point of note: If a card or cards fall out when you are shuffling, put them aside; they usually jump out for a reason and should be included in your interpretation.

(If you are doing a reading for others, you need to decide their level of involvement. Will they do all of the above? Will they only shuffle or cut the deck? Will they even touch the cards at all?)

Remember, you cannot draw a wrong card.

If you are doing a spread, you might want to look at it as doing two readings. The first reading is the card in relation to the position it occupies in the spread. The second reading is how the cards relate to each other. Each reading tells a story about someone's life. It is your job to piece it together.

When doing a reading, if something is unclear, don't be afraid to pull more cards from the deck for clarification. Or, when you finish the first reading, you can reshuffle the deck and move on to a clarification readings. Some readers will keep the initial card that raised the question as the focal point for the second reading.

Also don't feel limited by a spread or a deck. There have been times when I would switch decks mid-reading. I've done 40+ card readings. Go with your gut. You'll know when a reading is over; you'll either feel it or you will find the cards repeating themselves or all of the sudden the new cards won't make any sense. Choosing a spread

Again it is up to you if you use a spread or not. Spreads are nothing more than a way to organize your cards. It doesn't impact the reading. You could get the same reading by randomly throwing out 10 cards as you would

doing the famous Celtic Cross.The more readings you do, the more comfortable you will be. You will begin to develop you own way of laying out the cards, be it spread or random.

Whether you do an intuitive or by-the-book reading, be sure to pay attention to any Major Arcana and any multiples of number or face cards or of suits.

If you feel stuck, don't be afraid to add more cards to the spread for clarity or to set aside the card that is troubling you and do a second spread with that one as your focal point.

Trust your instincts and remember there is no wrong way to read the cards. A word on reversals:

Whether or not to use reversals is a decision you must make for yourself. There are six general schools of thought on this issue.

1. There is no need to use reversals since the entire spectrum of emotion and action is already covered in the 78 cards.

2. Reverse cards mean the exact opposite of the upright meaning

3. A reversed card signals that the energy of the upright card is blocked or may be delayed in some way

4. A reversed card has the same meaning as an upright card but special attention should be paid to it.

5. There is no reverse definition but a reverse card signals to use the negative, extreme aspect of each card's meaning (as I am sure you noticed throughout the lesson, each card offers a spectrum of meanings).

6. Reverse cards can indicate direction as if an action or event or emotion is coming or going, past or present. This is especially true of cards that signify movement such as the knights.

7. (unofficial) any combination of the above. I find my reverses work differently in each situation.