As the thirst for all things mystical, spiritual, occult and witchy expands into the mainstream, tarot cards are experiencing a huge, almost cultish following. Tarot cards are a form of divination, which literally means working with the divine, or your higher self, which is the ultimate purpose of tarot cards, just like yoga. We’ve broken down everything you need to know about them, from types of decks to what each card represents.
The fraudulent medium Ronald Edwin confessed he had duped his séance sitters and revealed the fraudulent methods he had used in his book Clock Without Hands (1955). The psychical researcher Tony Cornell investigated the mediumship of Alec Harris in 1955. During the séance "spirit" materializations emerged from a cabinet and walked around the room. Cornell wrote that a stomach rumble, nicotine smelling breath and a pulse gave it away that all the spirit figures were in fact Harris and that he had dressed up as each one behind the cabinet.
My stance on psychics hasn't really changed since then, but I also consider myself a fairly open-minded person and love having my views changed when enough solid evidence is presented to me. What if there really was something to psychics, but my mom had just chosen a bad one? What if she had just been asking the wrong questions? What if Malaysian psychics were just sketchy? So many people have turned to psychics for so long that there must be something to it all, right?
There are now thousands of types of tarot decks to choose from, Hello Kitty to zombies. A traditional deck has 22 Major Arcana (or trumps) which are the archetypal images. There are 56 Minor Arcana cards, sixteen Court or Personality cards; the Kings, Queens, Princes and Pages, just like modern playing cards. There are four elements or suits: Fire, Earth, Air and Water, with 10 cards in each. There are no inherently negative cards.
Psychometry is a form of psychic reading in which the reader claims to obtain details about another through physical contact with their possessions. Psychometry readers often ask the subject for their favorite and most meaningful objects, such as wedding rings, glasses, car keys, etc., for the reading. The belief is that objects which are in close proximity to a person for extended periods of time hold some of that person's 'energy'. This method has been used in attempts to locate missing persons.
Like common playing cards, the tarot has four suits (which vary by region: French suits in Northern Europe, Latin suits in Southern Europe, and German suits in Central Europe). Each suit has 14 cards, ten pip cards numbering from one (or Ace) to ten and four face cards (King, Queen, Knight, and Jack/Knave). In addition, the tarot has a separate 21-card trump suit and a single card known as the Fool. Depending on the game, the Fool may act as the top trump or may be played to avoid following suit. These tarot cards, without occult symbology, are still used throughout much of Europe to play card games.