For at least 600 years the Tarot, and
its forerunners, have been with us. It's amazing to
realize that Tarot had already carved out its foundation
well before Christopher Columbus set sail to discover the
"New World" and almost 200 years before his discovery
began to be colonized!
So, what is it that makes the attraction to Tarot so
resilient? What is it that has caused it to become stronger
today than it was over 600 years ago? What is it that makes it
so mystical, so alluring, and so satisfying to a growing number
of so many? Perhaps the answer is as simple as "IT
WORKS TO FILL A VOID!"
A Brief History Of
The oldest playing cards date back to Tenth Century China,
however, the modern Tarot deck has been traced
back to Fifteenth Century Italy and a trick-taking game
called "Triumphs." In French it was called "Tarots." The
earliest documented usage of Tarot cards for playing games
was in the year 1425 with the first basic rules appearing in
the manuscript of Martiano da Tortona.
As previously stated, the oldest Tarot cards to have
survived to the present were produced in the Fifteenth Century.
As their popularity increased they became a vehicle of
expression for artists, historians, and occultists. As a
result, the images began to represent intricate symbols woven
together in specific patterns. Images that included symbolic or
suggestive information taken from larger bodies of knowledge
and then hidden within the pictures. These symbols reflect the
deepest spiritual and emotional meanings that can be imagined.
Meanings which have been understood and shared across
The traditional tarot deck consists of two sets of cards.
One has 22 picture cards and is known as the Trumps or
Major Arcana. The cards are
numbered from zero to 21.
The other set consists of 56 cards and is known as the
Minor Arcana. These cards are
composed of four suits of 14 cards each. They include
Ace through ten plus four
court cards of various names that represent the Page, the Knight, the Queen and the
Today, there are many different tarot decks used in
Cartomancy with many different designs that have been developed
over the years. Yet, with all the variations, the cards retain
their basic meanings. Different reading styles and spreads have been
developed and are designed to answer different questions.
Often the answer to a yes or no question can be more elusive
than a question about how to approach a particular
The Tarot suits are commonly know as Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles. They can also be
known by various other names depending on the deck's country
of origin or its particular style.
The attributes of these four suits vary from source to source.
Some assign the elements of fire,
and water to
them. Others say they represent the virtues of justice,
fortitude, faith, and charity. Still others designate the
geographical directions or locations to the suits.
It is purported that the four suits of Tarot and modern
playing cards originated with a 14th-century Muslim deck. In
the modern 52 card deck of ordinary playing cards:
- Clubs represent the Wands. (These are said to announce
- Spades represent Swords. (These are said to forecast
unhappiness and death).
- Hearts represent Cups. (These are said to foretell
- Diamonds represent Pentacles. (These are said to
It is reported that in the original Muslim deck polo sticks
were used. As Europeans were not yet familiar with polo, they
changed the polo sticks to that of Wands sometimes referred to
While Tarot cards are used throughout much of Europe to play
Tarot card games, in English-speaking countries, where these
games are largely unknown, Tarot cards came to be utilized
primarily for divination purposes. The Tarot used as an oracle
allows one to ask a question, deal the cards in a certain way,
and extract an answer from the spread, images, and symbols.
Part of this ability comes from familiarity with the symbols.
Another element of successful reading lies in the ability to
intuitively select the proper meaning for the particular
question from among multiple possibilities.
The meanings of the figures and numbers on Tarot cards vary
greatly among Tarot readers and advocates, many of whom find
connections between Tarot and Cabala, Astrology, I Ching, Ancient Egypt, and various other occult
and mystical notions.
Does Tarot Really
While there are those who believe, and are convinced, that
there is no justifiable validity to read any cards, (a form of
divination known as Cartomancy), one only has to look at why it
is being done at all.
- First, despite what ones personal opinion of humanity
might be, it is not human nature to continuously do
something that does not work or return a value. That given,
then why do those who use the Tarot repeatedly do it?
- Second, the act in itself is a sign that individuals
feel there is more to be known than they have been able to
get from alternate forms of knowledge. (Sorry "The
Sciences," just because conventional methods have not yet
been able to prove or provide answers to humanity's most
important questions does not mean they are not there nor
that mankind is not supposed to seek them)!
- Third, and those who use the Tarot will understand, it
is a spiritual conduit driven by ones own energies. It can
provide illumination, discovery, knowledge,
self-development, and forebodings! To the highly skilled,
it is a "switchboard" connected to the "Universal
If one views the Tarot as a "tool," is it surprising that
one who has little use for its purpose would get less than
desirable results than one who is frequent and familiar with
its use? Like the universal law and most things in this world,
"you can only expect to get out of it what you are
willing to put into it."
Thank you for visiting Tarotology.com! Enjoy