An Introduction To Tarot

 In Culture

Whether one believes in the accuracy of astrology, the calming power of crystals or the entrancement of the tarot deck, one can’t deny that looking for deeper meaning in life is a natural curiosity.


Photo by Rachel Brandt

Tarot is a set of 78 cards originating in Europe around the 15th century. Helen Farley writes in “A Cultural History of Tarot” that, “Originally the tarot were used as recreational playing cards by the Italian nobility in the Renaissance. It was only much later, in the 18th and 19th centuries, that the deck became associated with esotericism before evolving finally into a diagnostic tool for mind, body and spirit.” Like many things of a spiritual nature, the Tarot has come to mean many different things for many different cultures.

We walked through a demonstration with ALIVE Fashion Editor, Sarah Stallmann, who is practicing Tarot. She explained the steps for completing a Tarot reading whether your are placing the cards for yourself or another seeker.


Photo by Rachel Brandt

“As a reader, I need to make sure I’m thinking purely and not dwelling on anything personal. I’m trying to clear the cards for the other person and also clear the cards for myself.” ¬†Stallmann explains that going into the reading with an open mind is paramount, “Be clear about what you want the cards to tell you.”

Photo by Rachel Brandt

Photo by Rachel Brandt

After the reader prepares the cards, the questioner or seeker is then charged with asking a question or thinking of a topic to explore. Stallmann goes on, “After that, the questioner cuts the decks twice and the reader places the cards back in one deck.”

Tarot Cards Rachel Brandt ALIVE Magazine #31DaysOfMovement

Photo by Rachel Brandt

There are many different ways to lay out the cards. Stallmann prefers the Celtic layout, “As the reader places the cards in their preferred way, the reader travels through the cards with the questioner to unearth the meaning and essentially answer the question.”

Tarot Cards Rachel ALIVE

Photo by Rachel Brandt

If you’re ready to try a Tarot reading of your own, Stallmann recommends The Universal Waite Tarot Deck to start your practice. There are also several places to go in St. Louis to get a reading as well, like Tarot Readings by Julie Gordon-Bramer.

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