Tarot is sometimes also referred to as tarock or tarocchi. Tarot is basically a set of 78 different cards. These cards include four suits of fourteen cards each, one Fool, and twenty-one trump cards. Each set of 14 cards includes 10 pip and 4 face cards. Tarot cards are popularly used in various European tarot card games, such as French Tarot and Italian Tarocchini. However, in the English speaking countries, these cards are basically used for divinity purposes. In this case, the cards are classified into two groups - 56 minor arcana (the pip and four face cards) and 22 major arcana (trump cards and one fool card). The 56 cards of the Minor Arcana consist of four groups or suits, including Cups, Wands, Pentacles, and Swords. Each suit represents a theme. For example, Wands represent the theme for activity, ambition, and jobs. Coins represent the material aspects of life, such as finance and security. Cups or Pentacles focus on relationships and emotions. And, the Sword reflects matters of moral and conflict issues.
In order to perform a tarot reading, the cards are first shuffled and then spread on the desk in a specific pattern, this process is referred to as Tarot Spread. The reader or the subject then randomly chooses a couple of cards one by one. Sometimes, a specific number is assigned to each position in the spread and the cards are chosen in that sequence. But, only one card is chosen at a time. Once that card is interpreted, the reader then moves on and chooses another card. However, some tarot card readers do not choose the cards randomly. Instead, they intentionally choose the very first card in the spread. This card is referred to as significator. Different tarot card readers use different patterns for spreads, such as The Mirror Spread, Star Spread, Tetractys, 1-card spread, astrological spread, 3-card spread, Horse-Show spread, and Celtic Cross.
There are hundreds of choices available in Tarot Decks. Some are based upon mythology, legends, famous artwork, books, and even movies. There is no specific formula to choose the right deck. You can choose the one that feels right for you. If you are still not sure, the best bet is to choose the Rider Waite deck.
Tarot card reading is an intuitive process. The concept is based on a belief that every card holds a specific meaning - something that can be interpreted in a way to gain insight into events occurring in the life of the person (subject). Based on the interpretation, the Tarot reader predicts about the current and the future situations of the person. Most readers also believe that there is a Spiritual force (such as Gaia) that guides these cards. However, some modern readers do not believe in such things. They rather try to give the entire process a scientific look by saying that the cards actually help them tap into the subconscious and unconscious mind of the subject.
The Tarot card readers take great care in interpreting what they see in the cards. The good ones will try to keep things positive even if the card is indicating gloom, doom, and destruction. Instead of creating a situation of panic for the subject, they would rather say things can change at any time in his/her life and that he/she must be very careful.