Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Why should we bother learning tarot history anyway?

The tarot evolved from cards brought to Italy in the 1300's.

So... who cares? How does that affect me?

The problem with the tarot is that the centuries of lies, myths, and superstitions have done their best to destroy any factual evidence of the tarot's origins, and it is only recently that scientific analysis and the ease of long-distance communication among many sources throughout the world has shed light on what really happened long ago. We can now easily talk to someone on the other side of the world who has a scrap of information that acts like a missing puzzle piece in our quest to find out "the Truth" (note the capital "t").

This may seem basic, but this instant information age we live in is only a decade or so old. Even now many are only slowly coming to the internet, even as the web is 18 years old. Stepping back to the 1960's when all we had were phone lines and snail mail, or worse, in the 1700's, 1800's and early 1900's when we had things like horses and ships to carry mail, there was little to no chance of assembling all of the parts of history together on ANY arcane subject with any great accuracy. Try as we might, the facts were simply too diverse, too widely scattered for us to understand how things originated without being served large doses of opinion, superstition, and outright misinformation. Simply put: for the longest time (literally "centuries") people believed in all kinds of garbage we laugh at today. Unfortunately their beliefs about the tarot are resurging in popularity as more and more faux authors and faux tarot scholars discover the ease and lack of expense in reprinting public domain texts. These "wannabe authorities" print the lies and mistakes people made throughout history in an attempt to make easy money and get laid at cocktail parties.

All of that nonsense stops here (and I will name names--some of them QUITE FAMOUS if I have to). The reason we learn tarot history, even a little, is to protect us from the mistakes, lies, and superstitions of idiots and those too lazy to do any level of actual research. If you are assaulted by an angry xian who says that the tarot is demonic (because they think so--and thus they know more than "God") you can reply that the Church NEVER had any problem with the tarot, and that there is more Christian iconography in the tarot than there are in any other card decks in the world. In fact, there are several flavors of Christian tarot, from saints, to angels, to Jesus decks. But you have to do a little research to know this.

Similarly, if someone tells you that the tarot came from Babylon, Egypt, or Greece, and you have not done ANY research, you will get sucked into the beliefs that the tarot came from Atlantis, and that hieroglyphs are coded tarot messages. This may not sound like much of a damper to your abilities, but when you start trying to force the tarot images into meanings that have nothing to do with their design, you will join the millions of people who have fought and lost the battle of mastering the tarot. This problem has been going on throughout the centuries as people try to make the tarot "cool" by adding useless information to it. Simply by knowing where the tarot came from (um... Italy, then Switzerland, Spain, and France) you can easily understand why the images are there and what they mean. The images of the tarot are simply a reflection of life during that time period. In order to read the cards accurately we must transpose new understandings ("technology," and social advancements such as Democracy) over the archaic images of feudal lords and peasants with barbaric technology.

I cannot strongly enough recommend Robert Place's book on the subject. It is that good--and it is a quick read. It reveals the scoundrels and some of the thieves in the tarot, the historians who tried, and failed, to find the true history of the cards, and how the cards evolved from dice rolls. I don't run around recommending tarot books, so I do hope you will try this one out. At least read the free parts on Amazon and decide for yourself:

The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination

A simple perusal of the tarot's evolution will show you WHY we have the meanings we do today, and how the order of the cards has changed several times, meanings have been purposely altered on the whim of one man's ego and another man's zealotry. Knowing these things deepens your relationship with the cards. It makes you see them for what they are, and not as some "mysterious oracle" the aliens gave us.

Trust me--I do this for a living. And my only concern is to scrub the crap out your head that people keep piling on.

Okay, thanks for reading. More later

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fun new tarot game! (helps you LEARN)

I have been working on several new tarot games that make learning the tarot fun. I want to post an easy one here. I hope you will incorporate this into your practice with the tarot, as it will build your skills very fast on several levels. It is not enough to know the meanings of the cards. It is essential to know how cards interact with each other in spreads and how the circumstance and question involved shape the meanings of each card.

These easy games will help you do exactly that. Let's start out with one that you can practice alone, or play with friends. If I get enough comments I will make it a priority to post the rest of the games here as well. As always, these are based on the information in my book The Easiest Way to Learn the Tarot--EVER!! if you have any questions on that.

This game is called "Friends and Enemies."

This game is super-easy, but it takes a little thinking. The purpose of this game is to remember the images of the cards and to compare and contrast cards. All you have to do is pick a random card from your deck. If you are a new student, or at the beginning of your tarot journey, you may find this game easier if you just work with the "minor" Arcana for now.

The first variation of this game is called "Friends" (or Who likes me?)

Look at the image on the card. Get a feel of what is happening in the picture. Are people fighting? Are they being friendly to each other? Maybe they are alone and lost in thought . . . Just enjoy getting inside the picture as if it is happening right outside your window. 

Now try to match it up with any other card in your deck. Find the card that (you think) best matches it in meaning or general similarity (example, the 3 of Swords and the 9 of Swords both indicate despair, or great disappointment/sadness; whereas the 3 of Cups and the 4 of Wands show people having fun, celebrating; also the 7 of Coins and the 9 of Coins show people on a farm or vineyard). That's it! Work through the deck until you run out of matches and start again.

If you this variation gets too easy try "Enemies," where you try to find cards that have either the exact opposite meaning or are completely incompatible (like the 3 of Swords and the 3 of Cups).

It helps to lay out all of the cards in rows on a table, or even the floor, so you can quickly look over all of the cards, rather than thumbing through your deck, one card at a time. Full rules for the game will appear in the forthcoming book Advanced Tarot Secrets, but for now that is enough to get your practicing and having fun.

Here are a few examples:

Card one: The Star (Who likes me?)

Card two: The World (reasoning: Both have naked women--OR--they are both happy fun cards whose meaning is ridiculously positive)

Card one: The Magician (Who likes me?)

Card two: The Chariot (reasoning: Both cards are autonomous. They both hate to be told what to do and like to be in charge of their domain--OR--They are both alpha males)

Card one: 9 of Swords (Who likes me?)

Card two: The 4 of Swords (reasoning: They both have people in bed--kinda)--OR--The 5 of Coins (reasoning: Misery loves company) 

See? Easy! :-P

Please let me know what YOU think.

Friday, February 3, 2012

100% free tarot lessons (from the experts)

Hey, just in case you didn't know (because I keep forgetting to put the links up here), we have a free tarot course. This is a unique course where you will learn things you just can't find anywhere else--or else I wouldn't waste my time writing them out or recording them in podcasts. If you want to really learn the tarot, you need to do this--and it is free. 

Can you buy the book? Yeah, if you want to, but the course is free if you have an aversion to spending money--and it proves how much I love you (we give you REAL instruction--not sales pitches). So:

Just a quick head's up. The new tarot podcast is already up but I have been waiting on an interview with the video tarot course lady to put out the new set of lessons. I may have to interview someone else if she takes much longer. If you have not signed up for the free tarot podcast, article and blog lessons, and eventual tarot videos (all of this is free) please do so at:  www.easytarotlessons.com. This is my preferred format to help all of you learn faster.

If you have signed up, the new newsletter will be arriving shortly. In the meantime here are links top the first four. All of them are packed solid with tarot instruction you simply will not find anywhere on the planet:






Again, thanks for being here. If you need ADDITIONAL help I do teach "one-on-one" for $25 a week. Details are here: http://easytarotlessons.com/tarot_training_from_experts.html

It helps me pay the rent, and I really do cram your head full of tarot goodness, but I would not recommend you take a private lesson until you have the book. This way we don't spend your lesson covering things you can learn from the book--we can instead really get you learning the fun stuff.

If you have not seen the testimonials you will be blown away. My ONLY goal 
is to cram your skull full of high-value tarot information. But never stop learning and practicing. And don't forget that we have new tarot games in the forums--these make learning the tarot fun!

Hey, thanks for reading. I will post a new blog lesson soon. The new deck, and my apprentices, are eating up all of my time right now.