Hi, I'm Aero, and I believe tarot is for everyone! :)
Tarot is a tool for divination that anyone can use. I'll show you and we can learn along the way~
What is Tarot?
Tarot is a type of divination with cards, or cartomancy. It originated from the 15th century in various parts of the world, and has origins in several other card games as well. It's vague because no one really knows its exact origins - some sources cite tarocchini from Italy as its origin, while others believe it came from elsewhere in the world via older card games and types of cartomantic divination.
The Tarot is typically a deck of 78 cards with specific meanings. There is a 56-card section called the Minor Arcana and a 22-card section called the Major Arcana. The Minor Arcana is made up of four suits, which are commonly called Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles (or Coins), but are also known as their base element counterparts of Water, Fire, Air and Earth respectively.
The Cups, Wants Swords and Pentacles were named from the famous Rider-Waite tarot deck, commonly used as the 'default' tarot, and one in which many decks are modeled after (like my Men Plus Monsters Tarot Deck!)
The 'characters' in the tarot are classical archetypes that are near-universal tropes, such as the King, Fool, Hierophant (holy man), and Magician. While the aesthetics and suits may change, or even the structure of the decks themselves (we call these Oracle Decks!), cartomancy and tarot are enduring ways of getting advice from the energies beyond ourselves.
There are other kinds of cartomantic decks that are tarot-adjacent called oracle decks, and these are usually more custom-made with a specific kind of intention for each card unrelated to the tarot. I've seen nature-themed ones as well as self-help ones, so these are for more specific interests.
Why Should I Read Tarot Cards?
It's fun! Tarot reading can be enlightening. It can show you a suggested path to your future goals. It can give you clarity on times past. Tarot can help you see what you were oblivious to, remind you of what you're capable of, give you the mental tools to forge ahead to victory. Tarot can make you laugh, think, and ponder - while entertaining and opening you up to possibilities previously unknown.
Much like astrology, it is gentle guidance from the unknown forces outside yourself, whether magickal or spiritual, or simply from some interesting coincidences that sure make a lot of sense in the current context when one thinks about it...
And much like astrology, they are not fate, but simply the suggestion of one's path. The wise make their own luck, and fortune favors the bold.
What Do I Need to Read Tarot Cards?
Oracle decks or tarot decks, one thing holds true. All you need is a deck to read cards. You can add crystals, plants, flowers, an altar cloth and other things if you want, but all you NEED is a deck. Read any way you feel comfortable - these are your energies you're working with.
You can read your own cards. Have an open mind about what the cards are telling you, or if you're unsure, ask a friend to help with an unbiased opinion. But you can do it yourself.
I say this as an autistic person (i.e disabled person) who has gone through life without knowing what I was, but having to figure out my own way through situations - do what is right for you personally. That is the correct way.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Do I have to be a professional to read my own cards or divine others' cards?
No! I believe that everyone has, if they so desire, the ability to tap into their own intuition and psychic energy to divine for themselves or others. Like anything, it is an ability one must hone. But I believe anyone can do it!
Professionals may be able to give you greater insight into your readings, as they have studied the tarot (or your other divination tool of choice) extensively. If you are doing daily readings for yourself or for entertainment, you don't need anything or anyone other than yourself telling you that you can read tarot and a willingness to learn the meanings of the cards either with a guidebook, through research, or through personal experience with the deck :)
Are tarot decks from professional tarot readers the only valid type of deck?
No. Whatever you connect with is the important part of divination. Tarot is a tool and the one reading it is the diviner. The accuracy is up to how much you personally connect to the cards - if one isn't working, I suggest either using a different deck or getting to know it better.
This happened to me and my Celestial Oracle Deck: when I first started using it, I had no idea what it was trying to tell me. Later when I began using it for weekly readings, I realized how it wanted to 'speak' to me, and was more easily able to read what it meant for me personally. Now I use it on a regular basis! Sometimes it just takes some readings to understand what's going on with the cards.
Do I need a 'serious' deck to have accurate readings? (i.e. one with abstract imagery, or one without popular characters)
In my opinion, whatever deck you connect to is the one that is right for you! :) A certain mindset might believe that only certain people, tarot deck concepts, and types of practice are 'worthy' of being 'real tarot' or 'real tarot readers'. The coolest thing about cartomancy is that YOU are the reader who determines the cards' meanings! Where the cards came from, what they have on it, or even what you read with only has meaning when YOU give it meaning! It is a freeing concept and I encourage you to embrace that.
There is someone on TikTok who reads the 'Sesamerot', a makeshift cartomancy deck that is essentially an oracle deck made of Sesame Street flashcards. Yes, really. You would be surprised at the sagely (yet entertaining) advice they give with each reading with it though. The deck doesn't have the Rider-Waite suits, so it is an oracle deck, but each card has clear meanings to him. Their readings are entertaining, but it's really the reader who makes the meanings come to life. Their advice is often wise, but that is because the tarot is a medium, a tool for divining. The cards themselves have a message, and the person reading them interprets it.
HOW DO I CHOOSE A DECK FOR MYSELF?
If you connect to an anime deck, a poker card deck you're using as the Minor Arcana minus the Knights, a makeshift oracle deck, etc., it is a valid deck to use!
Choose one that you connect with :) The content isn't as important as its meaning to you.
I make many beginner-friendly decks, and one of my most popular ones has a campaign right now to reprint it - check out my Men Plus Monsters Tarot Deck if you're looking into getting a tarot deck.
Thanks for reading, and I'll have more to say in this series :) Next time: Overview of the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana! Happy divining, <3 Aero