The most popular version of the Tarot was established in 1910, by the artist, Pamela Colman-Smith. She worked under the guidance of occultist A.E. Waite. The Waite deck was the first tarot deck to included symbolic imagery on all 78 cards. The tarot’s symbolism is based on archetypal elements and metaphors, so its imagery has a universal appeal. With that being said, the imagery of the tarot has its roots in many different philosophical and religious backgrounds. The complete tarot deck has 78 cards, 56 in the minor arcana, and 22 in the major arcana. There are 16 court cards which are considered to be part of the minor arcana. There are four suits in the minor arcane: Cups, Swords, Wands and Pentacles. Each Suit is connected to one of the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. They are also connected to the four directions: North, South, East,West. The imagery of Tarot reflects an association to these elements. This enables the tarot reader to identify the key areas in a person life. Cups represent the dream world, the unconscious, feelings, and relationships. The wands represent fertility, the career, and creativity. The Swords represent reason, life challenges, the mind and truth. The pentacles represent the material, financial, and ethical aspects of a person’s life. There is a king, queen and knight to every suit as well. They are referred to as the court cards and each one has an astrological sign associated to it. This adds, yet another, level for interpretation in tarot card readings. To be helpful, here are the astrological associations. I often encourage people to identify their sign and the associated tarot card meaning. This can offer tremendous insights into ones strengths and vulnerabilities. Aries: King of Wands Taurus: Queen of Pentacles Gemini: Knight of Swords Cancer: King of Cups Leo: Queen of Wands Virgo: Knight of Pentacles Libra: King of Swords Scorpio: Queen of Cups Sagittarius: Knight of Wands Capricorn: King of Pentacles Aquarius: Queen of Swords Pisces: Knight of Cups There are 22 tarot cards in the Major Arcana. I believe the Major Arcana reflects where one is in his or her life’s journey. The first half of the Major Arcana identifies the transition from child to adult and all of the challenges we must face as we progress into a deeper level of maturity and spirituality. The second half of the Major Arcana reflects our personal and spiritual world view. In most tarot card readings, the second half of the major arcana typically points to a more inward-looking stage in our development and, please keep in mind, this does not always happen in procession. In fact, in some areas we are still the “fools” while in other areas we can be the “The Hermit.” They key to identifying tarot card meanings is not always literal. Often it requires one to attach their own experiences to each of the tarot cards. Now that you know a little about the Tarot cards, we can now look at what you can expect from your first few tarot card readings. Most readings typically consists of shuffling the deck, drawing a set number of cards and placing them in a specific configuration. This configuration is referred to as a Tarot Spread. There are hundreds of Tarot Spreads in use today, but most psychic tarot readers will favor some more than others. After the cards are pulled and placed, the tarot reader will begin to interpret the symbols of the cards. Often, they will point out the implications of the past, what is happening in the here and now and what will influence your future. You may ask a question and the tarot cards can be drawn for specific areas of your life. The configurations they are placed in add to the complexities of their meanings. The tarot’s power lies in its ability to distinguish a person’s path through the intuition or psychic ability of the reader. On a final note, should you be getting an online free tarot reading, the tarot reader will have to pull the cards for you. They will place them in a spread that they feel offers them the most insight. Some tarot readers will be heavily influenced by astrology while others will be more influenced by their intuition. In some cases, the reader will be solely dependent on their psychic abilities. In these types of tarot card readings, the cards often can draw up a mental picture or feeling for the reader who then interprets its meaning. Either way, trust the cards can do their job and ask a lot of questions.