Tarot is another mystical art that can lead you to the centre of yourself. You don't have to use it to find the tall, dark, handsome stranger in your life, you can use it to ask more guided questions; such as, how can I deal with this situation? Or, how can I improve a situation or get out of a situation? How can I be the best I can be? How can I experience the truth of existence? The right question will lead you to the right answer.
Tarot, like astrology is a tool; for you to guide yourself to enlightenment; for you to navigate your path to your ultimate wisdom and glory. There is so much happening in our day to day world, using an oracle is a sensible thing to do; so we slow down, take a breath, focus and intuit our deeper wisdom. And like astrology, Tarot is a tool that you need to learn how to use; just as a carpenter learns how to use their tools with skill and thereby creates better chests of drawers, the better you know the Tarot the better you will be able to guide yourself and others.
Although I do give Tarot readings (by Skype) I urge you to really get to learn to use the Tarot yourself. There are other oracles and magical tools, such as iChing, astrology and dreamwork; but if Tarot speaks to you then start to learn to use it and clarify your spiritual path.
SWORDS WITH FIRE
There are a few things you should know: different Tarot readers use different associations. The most common association is Swords - one of the suits - as being linked with Air. There are a few of us though that link Swords with Fire and Wands with Air. I associate Swords with Fire; I was taught that way and though I could change it as most decks have been painted with Swords as Air - I have found a few decks that depict Swords with Fire - I like it better this way.
A.E Waite popularized the Tarot with a deck that had images for the pip cards. His artist, Pamela Colman, drew inspired images for the pips and subsequently his pack became more usable to many more people. Before, Tarot readers would rely on knowing the number symbolism except from the Sola Busca Tarot (1500's) which also had images for the pip cards. Though no-one seems to get the Sola Busca images, they are legends from history. A.E Waite's deck, with its depictions of the Suits was therefore the first deck that told us to think of Swords as Air. It has been said that Waite chose this to hide the secret that the Wands represent Air but now there are so many traditions and its all swapped here and there, who cares any more. It is your choice.
Depending on your tradition choose Fire or Air for Swords. Personally, I think the wickedness and sharpness of the Sword fits in with Fire better, as the swiftness and wit of using the Wand fits better with Air. Also, Mircea Eliade published in Forge and the Crucible the image below: "The Philosophers Egg Under the test of Fire." Clearly, the Sword is Fire.
There is a free course on the Elements under courses and this will help you choose and decipher the Suits in the way that feels right for you.
JUSTICE 8/ STRENGTH 11
I consider that the original placement of Justice as the 8th Card is in keeping with the stages of the spiritual path. I say this because it means Justice comes after the Chariot and essentially the chariot is Will. Once you have found Will it is a double edged sword. Whether you use it or not you will create a reaction. What ever action you choose, even non action, there will be a response. Every action has an equal reaction, whether we see it or not. And Justice after Will reminds us of this profundity.
USE OF TAROT
Although I have mentioned above that the Tarot is an excellent tool for your spiritual path I want to explain more why.
The deck is made up of 78 cards; 22 Trumps, 16 court cards and 40 pip cards. Each of these have a significant link to our human behaviour patterns and psychic growth. They are each like seeds in every moment. They are each relevant and each meaningfully possible. However only the cards that are dealt will be read. And only those cards will be relevant because there can be no other moment than the moment you are in; and it is good to remember this when you use the Tarot. You know the past no longer exists, you know the future does not exist and obviously this moment will go just like all the other moments go, into the unfindable past. The cards that are dealt are the only cards that can be dealt.
The more you know the Tarot cards and the more experience you have with psychic growth then the easier it will be for your agile mind to make the links.
TAROT AS AN OCCULT DOCTRINE
There is a lot of discrepancy and disagreement over the original use of Tarot. The first deck, that we know of, comes from 1442. It was commissioned by Sforza Senior to commemorate the marriage of his son, Francesco Sforza to Bianca Maria Visconti. Bianca was a patron to Christian causes - she had lots of money and came from a passionate, rich, Christian background. 150 years previously Maifred Visconti was elected the Papess of a Christian sect. (Then, in Italy, not everyone agreed with the Pope and so there were other Christian sects.) Maifreda was soon burnt for heresy. This awful incident would have lingered like a veiled threat to the Viscontis. Sforza Senior commissioned the Papess - card 2 in the Tarot - to be painted as Maifreda. Not only that, he had the Lovers painted as Bianca and Francesco, as well as other cards depicting people of their time.
However, the original deck was not numbered. It was numbered some 400 years later by various people who recognized the occult significance of the images. The work ccultists did was amazing; to fit them together as a doctrine and then continuing, to our modern time, of tweaking the images to make a coherent study of occult law means we now have access to some very profound and insightful images that enhance individual power and wisdom.
As the images were easily pieced together to reveal stages of the mystical path it is concievable that these cards were meant to carry this message. With people being burnt at the stake for disagreeing with the Pope and other paranoid fantasies of the early Christians in power, it makes a lot of sense to hide the message in a game. And like all free thinkers, then as now, there is a deep satisfaction of getting one over on "idiots in power". I am sure the Tarot would have been a way to pass on their wisdom of the stages of the path.
it is only in the west that the spiritual path was hidden; it seriously threatened authority and yet ironically, it is the west that is now free to explore and speak out on these matters without fear of death.