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The Real Gypsy Guide to Fortune Telling
By Deborah Durbin
John Hunt Publishing Ltd.Copyright © 2014 Deborah Durbin
All rights reserved.
Claims have been made for years that Tarot cards originated in China, India, and Egypt, but their true origin remains unknown. Traditional Tarot cards as we see in most films first appeared in Italy and France in the late 14th century. It is thought that Tarot cards were originally used for playing card games, but studies have shown that Romany gypsies have used them for the purpose of telling people's fortunes for years.
Today there are many different variations of the Tarot deck, from animals to astrology. Regardless of the design and packaging, all Tarot cards will follow the same principles. They all have a total of 78 cards – 22 Major cards (also known as the Major Arcana) and 56 Minor cards (also known as the Minor Arcana). The Major cards are the ones of most importance when doing a reading. They are the ones that you should take notice of because they signal big things happening in your life.
The Minor cards are also known as 'suit cards'. Like a regular pack of playing cards, the Minor cards have four suits: Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles. Each suit has ten numbered cards, plus four court cards (king, queen, page and knight), and represent the more minor or practical dayto-day things and emotions going on in your life.
Have a read through the following information on Tarot cards and see if you can remember what each one means by looking at the key notes that I have included. If you can get hold of a pack of Tarot cards to study, even better. If you can't, you can make your own, which I will show you how to do at the end of this section.
We're going to look at the 22 Major cards first ...
THE MAJOR ARCANA
The Major Arcana are not associated with the suit cards (Minor cards). They are answers in their own right and although you will often get Minor cards within a reading, they support any Major cards that you draw.
All Major cards are picture cards, which often give you a clue as to their meaning. They are numbered from zero through to 21 and represent important and big things happening in your life. Listed below are the 22 Major Arcana cards from a traditional Tarot deck and what they mean.
The Fool card is the first card in the Major Arcana and is often illustrated as a jester who is about to step off a cliff. This doesn't mean you should too, nor does it mean that you should avoid walking near cliff edges, although it does make sense not to. In medieval times, the fool or jester was someone who was a bit of a rule breaker, someone who stood out from the crowd.
You are being reminded that it's OK to be unique – in fact uniqueness is a very good thing. You will be full of ideas and this card tells you to take chances, be brave and be spontaneous. If that guy still hasn't asked you out, why not make the first move? It might not be the kind of thing you would normally do, but what have you got to lose?
The Fool also tells you to believe in yourself and your abilities. It pays to remember that the majority of other people all have hang ups too. They may have six billion Facebook friends or millions of Twitter followers, but deep down they have insecurities just like you. The Fool is telling you that by making a stand and taking chances, you will be the one to reap the rewards.
New beginnings. Starting something new. Going on a journey. Be impulsive. Have faith. Stand out from the crowd. Follow your dreams.
The Magician is a literally a magical card in the Major Arcana and is one of the most powerful cards you can draw. This card tells you that you have magic at your disposal and can use this powerful force to achieve great things.
The Magician is usually depicted as, well, as a magician. It symbolises the magic that is all around us, all of the time. The problem is, not that many people believe it's there.
By magic I don't mean the type of magic you see in Vampire Diaries or Harry Potter. I mean those times when things happen in your life, as if by magic. For example; you could be worrying about an up-and-coming exam and suddenly something just clicks into place and you realise that you do know the answers to the questions, or you're desperate for some extra cash to buy those fabulous shoes and you receive some money in the post from your aunt.
By drawing this card it's telling you that you have the power to do anything you want to. Yes, really. By tradition, the Magician is not afraid to act. He takes risks and focuses on what he wants. This is the message to do the same: focus on what you really want and you'll find a way to get it. Without sounding too 'out there', you only get one shot at life, so why not be the best you can be?
Power. As if by magic. Follow your dreams. Take risks. Chances. Opportunities. Take action. Make an impact.
THE HIGH PRIESTESS
The High Priestess card is a bit like having a big sister looking out for you, (without all the arguments, borrowing of clothes and fights that usually come with having a big sister) and is said to be the guardian of your conscious.
The High Priestess is a bit like having all your female idols rolled in to one. If you think about all the girls and women you would love to hang out with for the day, the High Priestess is just this. She's sassy, independent, kind, caring, fun and knows what she wants in life. When you draw this card it's telling you that you too can be all of these things and that you are being looked after. Get a bit of self-confidence back and you'll soon see that people look at you in a different light.
You don't have to put up with feeling like second best. You're just as important as anyone else out there. If you think that everyone else is having the time of their lives, has more friends than you do, looks better than you do, and is more popular than you are, well, guess what? They're thinking the same things. Really, they are. You'd be surprised at how many other people are worrying about exactly the same things as you are. The High Priestess is a message to tell you to stop worrying about pleasing everyone and just be yourself.
Confidence. Sister. Looked after. Imagination. Power. Hidden talents. Believe in yourself. Be different. Be the real you.
The Empress is another guidance card and again refers to a female in your life, often a mother figure. This could be your mum, a big sister, an aunt, a neighbour or a friend who is always on hand with a cappuccino and a box of tissues to offer sensible advice.
The Empress is also the card of fun and is telling you to not take life too seriously. So often we are told that we should do this or that; we should study harder, we should think about our futures, etc. This is often good advice and the people offering it usually only have our best interests in mind. Sometimes, though, isn't it enough to just live and have some fun? If you spend your whole life with your head down, planning for your future, you tend to forget that the hours, days, weeks, you've been doing this, you've missed out on actually living and enjoying the day-to-day things, such as the sun coming out for an hour, or a great song on the radio.
The Empress is reminding you that whilst we can't spend every day dancing on the beach, we can stop what we're doing and have a bit of fun every day. Choosing this card encourages you to indulge in what you enjoy doing. If you discover what it is you love most doing in the world and you can work out how to turn that into a career, you will never have to really work a day in your life, because it will never seem like work to you.
On a more practical level, this card also tells of riches coming your way. This could be in the form of extra cash, a present or even just a new lippy.
Dance. Embrace today. Live. Fun. Laughter. Presents. Guidance. Motherly figure. Saying no to convention. Living for today.
The Emperor card looks like a stern father figure, sitting on a throne. This is some sort of authority figure in your life. It could be your dad, an older brother or a teacher who commands respect, but who is firm but fair. This person will soon help you out in some way.
This fella is the organiser of the Tarot pack and likes everything to be in order. The message here is to get organised. Clear out your room and get rid of all the stuff that is just taking up space. This doesn't just apply to material stuff; it can also be a sign to let go of people who are no longer helping you. If your best friend of ten years no longer calls you, or is always too busy doing other things to meet for a coffee, let her get on with it and make room for new people to come into your life. If your boyfriend is into his football more than he is you, show him the red card and make room for a new attentive guy to sweep you off your feet.
There's no denying, when you pick this card, changes are ahead for you, which at first might feel uncomfortable, but you'll look back and realise that the changes are necessary for you to move forward.
Father figure. Help from someone. Changes. Let go. New people. New opportunities.
The Hierophant is someone who is described as a holy man and is often depicted in sets of Tarot cards as a priest. In fact, this is a person who holds secret knowledge and is someone you can turn to in times of trouble who will offer you words of wisdom.
These words might not make sense at first, but you can be assured that they will do, eventually. If you've been having a hard time recently or have been wondering whether you're on the right path or not, look for someone (a teacher or mentor) you can trust who will listen, who will not judge and who will offer you advice.
Sometimes by just drawing this card you are being told that a higher power, (such as angels) is looking out for and after you. If you can remember one thing, remember that everything that happens, be it good or bad, eventually becomes history. However bad things may feel, you are being told that it will soon be in the past and that bigger and better things are on the horizon.
On a more practical level, this card indicates new groups and friends coming into your life.
Mentor. Teacher. Help. New friends. Groups. Angels. Protection.
The Lovers card is not just about whether that guy is really in love with you or not. It has several meanings. The image on a set of Tarot cards is usually of a couple holding hands or in an embrace.
The Lovers is often seen as a card of emotions and is a positive sign that those in your life, or coming into your life, love you for who you are. Being a Major card, this is an excellent card to draw, particularly if the question you have asked is about love. It's a happy card and one that gives you a 'yes' answer to a question. Relationships will blossom and will be happy and full of fun and laughter. If you're wondering whether you should go out with a certain person, this card is giving you the green light to go for it.
If the question you ask is about things other than relationships, such as should you go to college, apply for a particular job, or will you pass your driving test, this card is effectively saying 'yes' to you.
This card also means choice between two people. If you are unsure of who you should choose, look at the other supporting cards in your reading.
Love. Passion. Choice. Relationships. Yes. Positive. Emotions.
The Chariot card is usually illustrated with a Roman chariot or cart, being driven by an Emperor-type figure. This is a card of power and a great one if you are looking for a positive response to a question.
The Chariot is a sign of victory and success, so if your question concerns whether a situation will have a good outcome – for example, will you do well in your exams – by drawing this card you are being told, yes.
Another meaning of this card is of being in control of your own emotions. You do have choices in your life. Just as the chariot horses would run wild if the driver didn't control them, it's up to you to make the right choices for yourself and your life. It's only you who has control of your own life and how you feel at any given time.
Some people have endless problems thrown at them, and yet they remain positive that things will eventually work out. Others wallow in self-pity because they're having a bad hair day. There is only one person who can decide whether your mood is bad or good on any particular day and that person is YOU.
In many Tarot decks, the word Abracadabra is written across the chariot. It means things will happen as if by magic – but only if you remain positive. Anything is possible now and you are in control at all times.
Control. Luck. Ambition. Success. Victory. Emotions. Magic.
In traditional gypsy cards, the Strength card is usually shown as someone fighting a lion, but this card isn't about physical strength or telling you to go to the gym four times a week for a good old cardiovascular workout. This card is reminding you that you do have the strength to get what you want out of life, regardless of what obstacles you might be up against.
For example, you may be going through a tough time at school, college or work, you may find you're the target of bullies, or your boyfriend is being difficult, or you're just not getting on with your family. If you pick the Strength card, it's a way of telling you not to worry. Take a step back and look at the situation from an outsider's point of view. I've always had a philosophy that whatever life throws at me, it's never (thankfully) been a life-or-death situation and that it will pass and I will cope.
Whatever the problem, you will have the strength to cope with it. Often things are not as bad as they first appear. When you draw this card you can be assured that you do have strength on your side and you will win through this.
Strength. Victory. Challenges. Obstacles. Free from worry.
The Hermit card is usually illustrated with a person standing alone and the message here is one of withdrawing from things for a while. This doesn't mean it's giving you permission to lie in bed for three weeks, refusing to wash or brush your teeth – that's just disgusting. It's telling you to retreat from those who sap your energy on a regular basis, or constantly use you as a sounding board.
This equally applies to social networks. Whilst Facebook and Twitter are a fantastic way to keep in touch with what everyone is up to, it is very easy to get suckered in to living a virtual world and very easy to get caught up with what's going on in other people's lives and believe that they are all having a way better time than you, when in fact they are just like you. They too have insecurities and hang ups.
By picking this card, it's reminding you to take some time out. Often the Hermit turns up when a relationship comes to an end. When this happens, our instinct is often to go out and find another someone to replace the person we're no longer with. This card is telling you not to do that. Enjoy your own company, do the things you like and enjoy your friends.
On a more spiritual level, the Hermit is telling you that when you switch off from the outside world, the answers you are looking for will suddenly come to you.
Quiet time. Withdrawing. Silence. Time out. Own company.
THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE
This is a great card to turn up in a reading. It's usually depicted as, yes, you guessed it, a wheel, but is sometimes shown as a sundial on some decks of cards.
The Wheel of Fortune is a positive energy card and assures you that as with everything in life, things change. If you've had a run of bad luck, if nothing seems to be going right, then things are about to change for the better for you.
Everything happens in cycles – hence the wheel in the Wheel of Fortune card. When things are down, the only way they can go is back up. Sometimes we have to experience the crappy stuff in order to make way for the good stuff to come into our lives. We also have to experience things in life that result in negative experiences so that we don't repeat mistakes and learn from them. For example; if you put your trust into someone who abuses that trust, you learn not to be so trusting the next time.
The main message in this card is telling you that things are on the up, there is light at the end of the tunnel now, and you are about to have a brighter future.
Good fortune. Good luck. Positive energy. Bright future.
The Justice card is usually illustrated by a judge, dressed in a gown, sitting on a chair, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you are going to be up before the courts!
Justice in the Tarot means that if you've been wronged by someone, they will be found out and 'justice will prevail'. We've all come across someone who is rude or unfriendly or tries to get one over on us. When you pick the Justice card, it's telling you not to worry, that the person will soon reveal themselves for what they really are.
Excerpted from The Real Gypsy Guide to Fortune Telling by Deborah Durbin. Copyright © 2014 Deborah Durbin. Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
From The Author 2
Tarot Cards 3
Tea/Coffee Readings 32
Dominoes and Dice 63
Ribbon Readings 72
Pendulum Readings 78
All Things Angels 81
Crystal Readings 116
The Moon and You 144
Traditional Superstitions 149