The Tarot is an ancient divination tool, and one of my favorites to use during readings. I use the Thoth in my work and love the beautiful symbolism and colors of this deck. The deck is divided into two main groups, the Major arcana and the Minor arcana. The major arcana has 22 cards in it numbered from 0, the Fool, to card 21, the Universe. These cards represent the "major" teachings or universal principles and laws that we all experience in different aspects of our lives and at different times.
Included in the minor arcana cards are the Royalty cards; the Knights, Queens, Prince and the Princesses. The Thoth deck is a little different here with the royalty cards. The Writer Waite deck has the King, Queen, Knight and Sage. Whichever deck you use, understand that the "people" cards in the tarot represent your mastery at certain levels of consciousness. For example the Swords always indicate activity occurring on a mental level of consciousness; Cups reveal our emotional expressions of consciousness; Wands represent our spiritual and intuitive aspects of consciousness; finally, the Disks represent our external reality of finances, relationships, health, creativity, and career. So if a Royalty card shows up in a reading, it indicates some level of mastery (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual) that you are developing or have mastered at this time.
The Minor arcana takes us through life's many opportunities and lessons to experience our life mentally, emotionally, psychically and intuitively. The minor arcana in the tarot represent the Ace through Ten cards in each suit (Swords, Cups, Wands, Disks). Swords will always indicate the mental state of consciousness. Any time a sword card appears in a reading it indicates our mental level of consciousness and the quality of the mind that we are experiencing at the time of the reading in our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. The cups often mirror our emotional state of being, our responses and reactions to emotional situations that have become automatic and habitual reactions to situations. The wands represent our energy or life force, intuition, perception and insight. Wands represent the spirit of who you are, your own truth and authenticity of who you really are. Finally the Disks (Pentacles) are always indicators of what is going on in your external world; your work, health, finances, relationships and creativity.
The cards kind of tell a story so to speak of your journey and where you are at any given time in life. The tarot helps to guide us, warn us, bring in more awareness, and helps us to not miss out on opportunities when they do arise. These cards help to spark initiation and growth. In the Thoth deck, there are thirteen challenges or negative states that one can experience. Six of them are mental challenges (thoughts, attitudes and beliefs): 3 of Swords/sorrow; 5 of swords/fear of defeat; 7 of swords/the sabotaging mind; 8 of swords/interference, confusion and doubt; 9 of swords/self-cruelty thru thought; 10 of swords/fear of ruin. The next three challenges come from the heart and our emotional state of being. The first is the 5 of Cups/disappointment; 7 of cups/indulgence; and the 8 of cups/indolence or overextending ourselves. The wands challenge us energetically, intuitively, and spiritually: 5 of wands/strife , anxiety or frustration; The 10 of wands/oppression. Next we experience the disk's challenges in relationships, finances, work, health and creativity: 5 of disks/worry and the 7 of disks/fear of failure or success.
So all together we experience six mental (swords) challenges around our beliefs, attitudes, and thoughts. Three are emotional (cups) reactions to thoughts in the mind that represent our responses, reactions and difficult feelings, two (wands) affect the energy or vision or how we saw the experience, and the last two (disks) affect our outer reality in work, health, finances, and our creativity. These thirteen challenges or tests are aspects of our Shadow. The Shadow represents the fearful and negative aspects of ourselves that are difficult to own but need to change so we can evolve.
The Thoth tarot also incorporates the zodiac signs into the deck as well as the elements. I could go on and on about how sophisticated this deck is and how detailed and concise your readings can be. Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris really created a beautiful deck to help us to divine our lives. You can get as deep as you want into these cards or not. But I love the balance of this deck in all the negative and positive aspects, as I feel it does represent real life situations, both good and difficult and helps us to overcome them and evolve into the beings we came here to become.