Christmas has arrived and thus I have stopped bitching for this year. Instead I'll write about a couple of other topics I find interesting. Starting with card reading, something which I have done ever since I was around thirteen.
Actually I got my first deck of tarot cards on my thirteenth birthday. But I wasn't happy with the "Rider-Waite" deck. It is one of the most renown (and most sold, too, I should guess), but it just isn't my cup of tea. The "Ancient Tarot de Marseille", which I bought about a year later, worked better for me. And it was the start of my collection of tarot decks. Currently I've quite a lot of them - and got one more for Christmas, the "Magic Manga Tarot" which is both marvellously designed and intuitive.
Among my most favourite decks are "The Black Tarot" (quite erotic designs), the "Primavera Tarot" (with marvellous nouveau art designs), the "Dragon Tarot" (your guess) and the "Ansata Tarot" (which only contains the 22 Great Arcana). But my new deck has great chances of becoming one of the new favourites, for various reasons.
Tarot cards can be divided into two groups: the Great Arcana (the big secrets) and the Small Arcana (the little secrets).
The Great Arcana consists of 22 cards, numbered either from 0 to 21 or from 1 to 22, depending on the deck. Some decks start with the card "The Fool" as card no. 0, others start with "The Magician" as card no. 1 and have "The Fool" as card no. 22. Each of the cards of the Great Arcana has a distinct name, for example "The Fool", "The Magician", "Death", "Justice", "The High Priestess" and so on. The Great Arcana are easier to read and, as there are fewer cards in the Great Arcana, easier to learn to read. They all have a distinct meaning and it usually shows in the designs.
The Small Arcana consists of 56 cards (making it 78 cards overall in a deck) divided into four more groups: wands, cups, swords and pentacles. Each group consists of an ace, numbers 2 to 10, a page (or princess), a knight, a queen and a king. In addition, each of the four 'colours' of the Small Arcana symbolizes an element: wands are for fire, cups are for water, swords are for air and pentacles are for earth. If this rings any bells for you: the modern card deck with 52 cards, as it is, for example, used for poker, has been created out of the Small Arcana. The wands became clubs, the cups became hearts, the swords became spades and the pentacles diamonds. The page and the knight have been combined to form the jack. The design of the Small Arcana varies from deck to deck. Some decks, as the new one and almost all my favourite decks, have a design for the number-cards that contains the cards meaning in some form. Other decks (like the "Rider-Waite" or the "Ancient Tarot de Marseille") only put the right number of symbols on the card (for example five swords). The first kind of design is more helpful - and more artful, too, if I might add that. (And hey, this happens to be my blog, so I'll do whatever I want.)
Tarot cards are not the only type of cards for reading, though. There are some others, but, although I own a deck of Lenormand Cards and one of Klipper Cards, I'm not an expert when it comes to reading them. I've concentrated on the Tarot mostly - and I'm quite good at reading, too. These days I don't do it very often, but nevertheless, my success rate has been quite high when I was still doing it regularly.
Apart from the deck of cards chosen, the spread has a certain influence on the way of reading cards. There are various ways of doing that (and even a spread can be done differently). I usually use a spread called "The Dare" in the book I got it from for an overview of my current situation, as the spread shows the past, present and future, including fears and thoughts. It's not useful for answering a question, but if you want to know where you stand and what your situation in life is, it's the perfect spread. The "Celtic Cross" (which I have found in various versions in various books) on the other hand only works for question with a distinct answer like "yes" or "no". There are variations of the spread containing 7 or 11 cards. Seven cards is easier (and sometimes this spread is known as "The Oracle"), of course, but eleven cards is more precise. There are more spreads, a lot more, I should guess, but those are the two I usually work with.
I don't see card reading as a look into the future, though. For me, especially when I'm doing it for myself, it's a way to have a new look at a problem. The cards, with their meanings and their position in a spread, force me to think over a situation or problem, use new angles to find out why this card was lying there instead of somewhere else or (as the "Celtic Cross" doesn't use all cards of the Great Arcana while "The Dare" does) why the card is lying there at all.
And, of course, there are questions I would never answer (or even ask myself). It is unethical to read cards when it comes to things like "when am I going to die". The second book about card reading (and the one that helped me most with it) was very clear about that. Certain questions should not be answered, no matter why they are asked or by whom.
Even when you don't believe in fate, a card reading can open your eyes, not to destiny, but to new facets of a problem or your current situation.