The Strange Apothecary

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Tarot is a system of divination called cartomancy. The tarot can be used for many purposes but historically it fell into two distinct groups: esoteric and exoteric. Esoteric tarot contains within it deeper spiritual truths and was developed mostly within secret societies. Exoteric tarot, though you won’t hear it called that, developed in the wider public domain and has been used to tell fortunes and predict future events in people’s lives.

A tarot deck consists of 78 cards divided into two main groups: the twenty-two Major Arcana cards, or trumps, and the fifty-six Minor Arcana, or pip cards. A further division is then made with the pip cards as they are divided into four suits: Wands/Staves/Rods – Cups/Chalices – Swords -Pentacles/Disks/Coins. Within each suit a further structure can be found beginning with an ace, then cards numbered 2-10, followed by four court cards that display a hierarchy in the following order: Page/Knave – Knight – Queen – King.

  • Major Arcana
  • Minor Arcana
    • Wands/Staves/Rods
    • Cups/Chalices
    • Swords
    • Pentacles/Disks/Coins
      • Ace
      • Cards numbered 2 – 10
      • Page
      • Knight
      • Queen
      • King

Tarot provides help by providing clarity to the elements of your situation that you cannot see. If the picture is incomplete, you cannot possibly begin to form an accurate assessment of what is happening in your life, and more importantly, you cannot make an informed decision about how to take things forward.

Clarity comes through being shown the motives of others (and yourself), their intentions (and yours). Tarot pulls back the veil and reveals what is affecting your life. The beauty of tarot is not just how it can show the who, what, where and when, but also the why. A misconception can exist that a tarot reading is either predictive or psychological, but the reality is can do both, and when it does, a fuller picture can seen in the cards before you.

It doesn’t always seem to! But, over time, and especially if you keep a tarot journal, you will be able to see how the cards have been directing you and talking to you over a particular issue. One of the benefits of keeping a tarot journal is that you can go back over a tarot reading and glean something new or different from it.

Sometimes we are too emotional, too invested or too close to a problem or issue to see clearly what the tarot is trying to show us. We can also, if we aren’t being fully honest with ourselves, mis-interpret the cards and find when we look back over time, that the tarot was right and we were deluding ourselves..

At other times the answers provided in a tarot reading can feel like a slap across the face because of its brutal honesty. I personally find this with the Thoth Tarot and when I’m ready to see the truth of a situation, it is my deck of choice.

In a word, yes. Sometimes so stunningly so that it takes your breath away. At other times a reading can appear nuanced, or more general but as time progresses, details of the reading can be seen to be played out in your own or the querent’s life.

Some say that the future is not set in stone, and I buy into that also. However, with every choice we make in life, every decision we take, narrows our path toward a destination and so can be predicted by the tarot, or any other divination system.

In the Celtic Cross Spread you find a position called the Immediate Future. This position signals that destination or early points on the way towards it.

This most definitely is not true. The old traditions of fortune telling carried with it many superstitions and rituals that were largely baseless but continue to somehow linger on.

You can, and ought to buy your own tarot decks. If someone is going to buy you a tarot deck as a present, you should at least choose the deck you want. This is simply to make sure the tarot deck you work with (for yourself or others) should speak to you. You should enjoy its look and feel and want to pick it up and play with it

This can happen in face to face and email readings where you get to see the cards and if you have any tarot knowledge, you may not always agree with the reader’s interpretation. This does not negate their reading in anyway.

You have to look at it this way: you chose them to do a tarot reading for you either out of recommendation or your gut instinct (intuition). You weren’t wrong about the feeling you had about them so let them do their job and accept their interpretation of the cards.

If you were doing the reading, to arrive at their conclusion, you would be dealt a completely different set of cards purely because you both have a different take on some or all of the cards. To enrich the reading, don’t say they were wrong, simply add some of what you felt strongly about to their reading so you’re not changing it or taking anything away from it, but adding to it.

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