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Tarot Plain & Simple: The Only Book You'll Ever Need

Tarot Plain & Simple: The Only Book You'll Ever Need

by Leanna Greenaway


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Tarot is a popular form of divination that has been used for centuries. By following the guidelines set out in this book, you will come to understand how easy it is to master the art of reading cards. Many people struggle with the many different tarot books available today—they can be difficult for the novice to follow, and many present differing interpretations of the cards. This guide brings tarot into the 21st century, making the card meanings relevant and easy to understand and follow.

Tarot Plain & Simple offers modern and up-to-date interpretations for all 78 cards. Once you know these basics, you'll be able to easily branch out into more advanced and complex tarot books. Throughout this plain and simple book, the author discusses various card groups for interpretation, focusing mainly on the Celtic cross spread.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571747709
Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 10/01/2017
Series: Plain & Simple Series
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 1,086,822
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Leanna Greenaway has her own monthly column in Take a Break's Fate & Fortune magazine. As their resident witch, she answers reader's questions and offers quick and easy spells to combat problems. She is the author of Practical Spellcraft and Wicca Plain & Simple and the cofounder of the Psychic Study Centre. She lives in the south of England.

Read an Excerpt


First Steps on the Path of Tarot

Tarot is a popular form of divination that people have been using for centuries. By following the guidelines set out in this book, you will come to understand how easy it is to master the art of reading cards. Many people complain that many Tarot books are contradictory or too difficult to follow — and with thousands of different card interpretations in circulation, it is not hard to see why some people struggle. This book brings Tarot into the 21st century, making the card meanings easy to understand and follow. For the moment, try to forget anything that you have already picked up from other manuals and focus on the meanings set out inside these pages.

Although Tarot is primarily traditional, I offer modern and up-to-date translations for all seventy-eight cards. Afterward, you can adapt other people's interpretations where appropriate. Throughout the book, I present exercises to help you learn how to interpret groupings of the cards. To be successful in completing your knowledge, try not to skip through the book, but look at it more as a teaching manual with each chapter taking you through the process of learning Tarot.

Obviously, you will need a pack of Tarot cards, preferably ones that you choose yourself. Be sure to obtain a relatively traditional deck that has full illustrations on all the cards rather than just a collection of Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles. This book is illustrated with the Rider Waite Tarot, a classic and universally used deck. A Tarot deck is comprised of seventy-eight cards: twenty-two Major Arcana cards and fifty-six Minor Arcana cards.

How you store the cards is important. Purchase a small wooden box and a length of silk. Each time you have finished with your cards, wrap them in the silk and pop them away safely in their box. Some readers like to familiarize themselves with their cards and frequently bring them out to shuffle them. Another tradition is to place them on the highest shelf in the house as this is supposed to produce a more powerful influence. You could go one step further and put them under your pillow at night.

Choose your deck carefully because even after many years of reading, you will always prefer to revert to using your old faithful deck.

Am I Psychic?

We have to go back to the beginning of time — to an age when humanity's main goal was to survive. The ancients relied on their instincts because without them they were vulnerable to danger. Many were so in tune with their natural instincts that they could predict things such as weather patterns and earthquakes. The Druids and Pagans worshiped the land, studied moon phases, and became familiar with the seasons. This helped them to recognize the best time for planting and harvesting crops.

Unfortunately, much of this natural intuition has been swept away by the busy high-tech side of life. We are so consumed by technology and materialism that we have lost touch with our inner selves and the world around us. To be "psychic" means to become more in touch with your innate intuitive abilities. Get back to the basics and fill some of your spare time with meditating and reading spiritually orientated literature.

When we compare ourselves to how our distant ancestors lived, we have without doubt lost our way. But we are finally starting to realize the powerful influence of our inherent abilities. We all maintain a certain degree of psychic ability, and with concentration and dedication, we can light up the spark that lies within us all.

Tarot is the key to unlocking the psyche. Like anything that you want to achieve, the more you practice Tarot, the better you become. If I were to start an apprenticeship in plastering walls, after time I would begin to master the art. It's the same with Tarot: once you begin to understand how it works, after a while the cards will enhance your psychic flow and open your mind to a higher plane.

If you have suppressed your psychic flow, you can use the Tarot to jumpstart it and to guide you. Even the best clairvoyants do not wake up psychic every morning. Anything can cause our vibration to be blocked — a poor night's sleep, stress, or even too much concentration. Even if you are not a natural psychic, the Tarot will always predict a situation, so your challenge is to learn how to interpret the cards in order to give a precise account of them. The Tarot's accuracy is spectacular and many skeptics eat their words after someone has given them a reading. Because of this, more people are finally accepting the Tarot as part of everyday life and they are consulting readers on a regular basis.

How Does the Tarot Work?

Many Tarot card readers believe in guides or guardian angels. These are our spirit companions who watch over us throughout our lifetime. There are two different types of guides. Firstly, some believe that loved ones who have passed over will continue looking out for us and that they give comfort in times of stress. Secondly, there are the guides from the hierarchy. These spirits have reincarnated through many lifetimes in order to perfect their souls, making them capable and practical in guiding us through our life. They are known as "The Divine Beings" or spirit helpers who visit our subconscious minds and bring messages via our dream sleep.

They appear as male or female, and they are expert in steering us through certain situations. Therefore, we may have more than one guide, as throughout our lives we face many different circumstances. Some people have been lucky enough to see or speak directly with their guardian angels. Mediums do this often because they can easily create the channel of communication. A medium opens her mind to receive messages from the other side, and the Tarot does the same for those who learn to read it. The reader must interpret what the cards say and then communicate the message to the client. In many cases, some readers feel an urge to say something that is not apparent in the cards. Some use the term "vision" but it is mostly a strong feeling that the reader experiences that relates to the person for whom they are reading.

When we open ourselves to being psychic, we cannot really take the credit for the information that we relay. Without our guides assisting us, we would not be able to correspond at all. By opening our vibration, we become like a telephone line. One can describe it as being similar to tuning into a radio station. If you are mediumistic, it may take a while before the voice is clear enough to hear. If you are anything like me, you won't hear the voice of your guide speaking to you at all. This is because, for some of us, they communicate only through our subconscious, making us feel confident in our predictions. Sometimes, you may just say the first thing that pops into your head; then, low and behold, astound your client with your accuracy. Guides work beautifully with the Tarot, warning or foretelling of future happenings and giving advice through the cards. When a person shuffles the Tarot, they are not aware of the fact that they are transporting their vibration onto the cards. It is important to encourage the client to shuffle the cards for a good two to three minutes, and to concentrate on their problems while doing so. This will push the unseen energies into the cards, thus making them easier to read.

Upright and Reversed Cards

The majority of Tarot readers use the cards only in the upright position but sometimes a card accidentally lands in the reversed position. When this happens, there is usually a good reason for it. I have not gone into great detail about Reversed meanings, but I have given brief reversed interpretations for all the cards.

In some cases, it is worth looking at the upright and reversed interpretation as this shows both sides of a person or a situation — and often that is what is wanted.

A Few Tips to Help You Along the Way

Throughout this book, I will refer to the person you are reading for as the querent or the client.

Only read for the same person once in three months. Too many readings may confuse the querent.

Never allow someone else to conduct a reading with your cards. Only you can use your deck.

Never read for anyone if you are ill or upset. The reading may be thwarted and result in inaccuracy.

Even if the querent's cards look dismal, or if the client seems depressed, try to emphasize the positive because when a person is in a healthy frame of mind, she will find it easier to undertake complicated matters.

Don't make things up. Always say what you see. If something negative arises in a spread, follow it up with something positive, and give helpful advice on how to tackle the issues.

When performing a reading, have a source of salt nearby or light a candle. If you decide to become professional and to read the Tarot for strangers, you will get a colorful mix of individuals who will visit you. The salt and candles will help to protect you and keep your area cleansed.

If you are female and reading for clients in your home, never let a stranger into your home without someone being there. However "spiritual" you may feel about reading the Tarot, it is just common sense to take social precautions.

Most people who visit you will have problems, and some desperate people come to Tarot readers as a last resort. Many find comfort in a reading and use it as a crutch to keep going through problematic times. Always keep a list of useful phone numbers on your table — therapists, doctors, prevention hotline numbers. With the best will in the world, you will not be able to help everyone — nor should you try — and sometimes counselors who are specialized in certain fields can make all the difference to a troubled client.

It is always a good idea to get an answering machine. Clients will telephone you at all hours wanting to follow up on their reading or inform you if something predicted has occurred, and you will have no private life if you allow this to transpire. If you use a mobile phone, and if it's possible, have one phone for your clients and one for your own personal use.

A Note to the Reader

This plain and simple book is intended to help a beginner get a good start in the art of Tarot, so it is fairly basic and very straightforward. I have included some of the traditional meanings behind the Tarot, but for the most part, I have tried to show a newcomer to the Tarot how to interpret the cards in a way that is meaningful to people who are struggling with the problems of modern life.

Rather than focus on spreads, I have included a number of exercises throughout the text that will help you hone and sharpen your skills of card interpretation.

I hope my book encourages you to learn, use, and enjoy the Tarot. I've added some tips and advice, from my own experience, for those who wish to read for others, or who may even want to go on to read professionally. Most importantly, I hope you will enjoy reading for yourself and your loved ones whenever you need a little guidance.

I have used the female gender throughout this book. This is not for any political reason but merely because I am a woman, and in my practice more women than men will seek out a Tarot consultation. It also makes a nice change!


Basic Card Facts

Nobody knows the origin of Tarot, and there is much mystery as to where it originated. In the 18th century, Egyptology fascinated many people, so they believed that the Tarot began its life in Egypt. We know from historical records that people used the Tarot in the Renaissance period. A deck of Tarot dating back to the 1400s was found in Milan in Northern Italy. The pack was painted for the Visconti family and was later reproduced under the name of "Visconti Tarocchi" However, the surviving decks were commonly French designs, and it was then thought the Tarot had been imported to Italy from France. If you would like to know more about the history of the Tarot, I highly recommend you read Tarot Mysteries by historian and Tarot reader Jonathan Dee.

Tarot has changed considerably over the centuries. Many of the earlier decks were very basic, and now they are far more detailed, with pictures more inspirational to the reader. Cards were adapted to avoid associations with the Catholic religion, changing "The Pope" to The Hierophant or The High Priest and "The Papess" to The High Priestess. In addition, the order in which the cards are placed has been modified throughout time. For instance, "The Fool," which is traditionally the first card numbered 0, originally sat at the end of The Major Arcana, making it card number 22. This occurred with many of the adaptations of Tarot. There are thousands of different decks in circulation, so some interpretations will have been adjusted differently from others.

Tarot is more popular now than ever, and it is used on a far wider scale, thus making it interesting to people from all walks of life. Initially, many used the Tarot as a card game, but it has also held a mystical and supernatural interest for centuries. It was once felt that only a few privileged individuals possessed the gift to read Tarot, but this is untrue. We all possess the ability to tune into our psyche and we are all capable in foretelling the future. While some people are born with psychic ability, others can learn to develop it. Every one of us is born with a sixth sense, and we all possess the power to tap in to our subconscious and to coordinate it.

Structure of the Tarot

There are seventy-eight cards in a deck of Tarot.

• Twenty-two are Major Arcana cards and fifty-six are Minor Arcana cards.

• All twos in Tarot represent choices and decisions.

• Apart from the five of Wands, fives tend to be bad news.

• All eights symbolize good luck.

• All Pages represent children from birth to fifteen, and these can be either male or female.

• Knights represent young men aged from between fifteen to twenty-nine.

• All Queens represent females aged over fifteen.

• All Kings represent males aged over thirty.

• The word "Reversed" means the card is upside down.


The Court Cards

The Court cards are the Kings, Queens, Knights, and Pages and they are the trickiest cards to understand. Each has its own personality, hair, and eye coloring, and each has its hang ups. Some students find the Court cards very hard to assess in a spread, because these cards do not always represent people. They can also signify situations.

Age Ranges

Kings are men aged over thirty years of age

Queens are women over fifteen years of age

Knights are young men between fifteen and twenty-nine

Pages are male or female children aged from birth to fifteen


The ideas here are traditional, so you can make use of them if you wish or you can go by the character of the Court card rather than any specific hair, eye or skin color.

Cups: blue to hazel eyes, light to brown hair

Wands: blue-green eyes, fair skin, fair-red hair

Swords: dark eyes, dark hair, olive/black skin

Pentacles: any color eyes, brown/black hair

If I do two spreads for the querent and the focus of the reading is her husband, he may appear as one King in one spread and another in the next. The first Court card might symbolize the person while the second indicates the outcome of the situation, perhaps the way that the husband is changing or the way that the partnership is evolving.


Before you start a reading, you can select a Court card that you feel resembles your client. This becomes the significator. You can read cards without selecting a significator, but then you have to work out whether a card that appears in the spread relates to your client or not. For example, say you are reading for a blue-eyed woman of thirty-three years and the Queen of Swords appeared in the spread, this would alert you to the fact that this is not the querent, because this Queen is traditionally dark haired and dark eyed. In this situation, you must tune into the Tarot and look at the surrounding cards to establish a story. If there is no apparent link between the Court card and the querent, it is probable that the card refers to a forthcoming situation.

For each of the Court cards, I have provided a card meaning when the card represents a personality, and a card meaning when the Court card represents a situation.

A Clever Tip

Where the Court cards are concerned, it is worth looking at both the upright and reversed meanings, as even the nicest person can have an occasional off day and behave badly, while even a nasty person can be lovely when in the right frame of mind.

Birth Signs and Timings

Twelve of the Major Arcana cards have a birth sign attached to them. It is important that you learn these, as it is the only way you will be able to add timings to your readings. The predictions that you make will usually take around six to twelve months to come about, so using the birth signs helps you to pinpoint a time.

Major Arcana Card and Birth Sign Correspondences


Excerpted from "Tarot Plain & Simple"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Leanna Greenaway.
Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

1. First Steps on the Path of Tarot,
2. Basic Card Facts,
3. The Major Arcana,
4. The Suit of Cups,
5. The Suit of Wands,
6. The Suit of Swords,
7. The Suit of Pentacles,
8. Reading the Cards for Others,
9. Answers to the Exercises,

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