Intuitive Tarot: Workshop Hub

+ definitions and tarot structure basics


A tarot deck of the Smith-Waite style has 78 cards (we’ll be using this format since it’s the structure most modern tarot decks use). Some decks that follow this style will have extra cards that artists have added over time (Prisma Visions and Pagan Otherworlds, for example), but the basic structure remains the same.

The Major Arcana: The 22 archetypal cards of the tarot, starting with The Fool and ending with The World.

The Minor Arcana: All the other cards! There are the Aces (which for simplicity I'll sometimes group with the number cards), Number Cards are twos through tens in each suit, and Court/People Cards are the Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings (or whatever your deck calls them).

Archetype: A typical example of a person or thing, or a recurring image/symbol in art, mythology, etc. When I use the term archetype, I’m referring to the fact that the card (usually a Major Arcana card, but not always) is connecting to some symbolic figure that our subconscious understands without understanding why.

Suits: The traditional suits of the Minor Arcana are:

  • Swords: Associated with the element of air
  • Wands: Associated with the element of fire
  • Cups: Associated with the element of water
  • Pentacles/Coins: Associated with the element of earth

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+ Post Workshop Lesson 1


Scroll to listen to the audio file and explore the connection between cards 1-10 of the Major Arcana (The Magician through The Wheel) and the Aces and number cards of the minor arcana. Email me (actual@saragalactica.com) to let me know how it goes/if you have any questions.

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+ Post Workshop Lesson 2


Scroll to view/print the PDF that outlines an activity for getting familiar with the People Cards and a special spread that uses your whole deck split into stacks of number cards, people cards, and Major Arcana cards.

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+ Post Workshop Lesson 3


Scroll to view/print the PDF for a special moon spread for the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio.

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To print files: Hover over the embedded documents below and click on the pop-out icon (looks like a tiny square and arrow in the upper-right hand corner) to open it in a new window. There you’ll be able to download and/or print it (I just ask that you keep these for your personal use only). And if you can’t print it, that’s no problem. Feel free to reflect in your notebook or journal.

 

Pre-Workshop Lesson

 

Workshop Handbook

 

Post Workshop Lesson 1: The Majors + Number Cards


Take a listen to this audio file (it’s just under 10 minutes) to get reacquainted with the concepts. Heads-up for audio-sensitive ears: Some unexpected background noise picked up around four minutes into the recording, so my voice gets a little closer there and you might be able to hear some chatter in the background. Apologies!

Printable lesson + activity:

 

Post-workshop Lesson 2: The People Cards

 

Post Workshop Lesson 3: Learning with the moon

The May Full Moon is known by many names, including Hare Moon, Flower Moon, Planting Moon, Milk Moon, Grass Moon, Mothers’ Moon, Bright Moon, Dragon Moon, and Budding Moon.

 

Hare Moon / “She Who Is Without Shame” by Sara

 
 

Each full moon carries countless names from cultures around the globe. While the names differ, each one describes what’s happening in the area of the world where the name originated when the moon’s light is at its brightest.

This final lesson will allow you to continue to get to know to Major Arcana cards while also performing a special Full Moon reading for yourself. I’d love to know how this went for you if you’d like to share!

 

… And that’s all! Thank you for being part of this intuitive tarot experience. I’m honored to be part of your tarot journey. <3


Learning Resources

You don’t need to know a whole lot about tarot in order to read the cards, but if you like to dive a bit deeper into where the cards come from, how they’ve evolved, and the ongoing scholarship around them, you might like some of these resources. I’ll continue to add to this list as I find/rediscover resources I trust.

Curious to know more about the origins and history of tarot? This article by Collectors Weekly is a great summary if you feel like nerding-out.

Using cards for playful divination probably goes back… To the 14th century, likely originating with Mamluk game cards brought to Western Europe from Turkey. By the 1500s, the Italian aristocracy was enjoying a game known as “tarocchi appropriati,” in which players were dealt random cards and used thematic associations with these cards to write poetic verses about one another—somewhat like the popular childhood game ‘MASH.’
— Collectors Weekly
 

Want to know more about the creation of the Smith-Waite deck? Here’s a brief article from Mary K. Greer’s blog about how Pamela “Pixie” Coleman Smith’s experience in the theatre impacted how she illustrated the card.

 

Pamela Coleman Smith - Photograph by Alice Boughton, Brooklyn Life, January, 1907.

 

On the hunt for useful resource books?

  • 78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack is a classic for a reason. This resources is packed full of information about esoteric symbols, so I encourage you not to get bogged down in it. Instead see it as a well-researched reference book if you’re looking to dig down into the Smith-Waite deck.

  • The Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert is a great deck for folks who like a more elemental approach (it’s honestly one of my most-used decks), but I’m recommending it here because I love just love the guidebook she wrote. I especially like the major arcana journal prompts she included, which would be appropriate no matter what deck you use.

 

This ‘n That:

In essence, there’s no difference between images and letters, except that we’re trained from birth to understand the system governing the order and denotation of letters, while something like ✭ is left more open to interpretation. Perhaps for this reason, a tool like the Tarot deck or the motifs of mythology can help us escape our institutional conditioning, and explore greater depths of meaning in our worlds.
— Eva Deverell