What is Tarot?

Tarot cards have been used for centuries to help individuals gain insight into their lives and the world around them. While the origins of tarot are somewhat murky, it is believed that the cards were first used as a game in 15th-century Italy, before eventually evolving into a tool for divination.

The first known tarot deck was created in the 15th century in Italy, and it was called the Visconti-Sforza tarot. This deck was commissioned by the Duke of Milan and featured 16 trump cards and four suits of cards, similar to a modern playing card deck. The images on the cards were inspired by medieval allegories and Christian symbolism.

Over time, the tarot deck evolved to include additional trump cards, bringing the total to 22. These cards are known as the Major Arcana, and they represent significant archetypal forces or energies. The remaining cards in the deck, known as the Minor Arcana, are divided into four suits (Cups, Pentacles, Swords, and Wands) and represent more specific aspects of life, such as emotions, finances, intellect, and creativity, which will be explained in a little bit.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, tarot became associated with various occult and mystical practices, such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Theosophical Society. These groups used the tarot as a tool for spiritual exploration and self-discovery, as well as for divination.

Today, tarot cards are a popular tool for self-discovery and personal growth. By consulting the cards, individuals can gain insight into their past, present, and future, as well as receive guidance on a variety of issues, from relationships and career to spiritual growth and personal development.

If you’re interested in using tarot cards for yourself, there are a few key things you should know. First and foremost, it’s important to approach tarot with an open mind and a willingness to explore new ideas and perspectives. While the cards can provide valuable insight and guidance, they are not a substitute for professional counselling or medical advice.

To get started with tarot, you’ll need a deck of cards. There are many different types of tarot decks available, each with their own unique imagery and symbolism. Some popular decks include the Rider-Waite deck, the Thoth deck, and the Marseille deck.

Once you have your deck, it’s important to take some time to familiarize yourself with the cards and their meanings. While the traditional tarot deck consists of 78 cards, most readings only use a subset of the cards, known as the “Major Arcana” and “Minor Arcana.”

The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards that represent significant life events and archetypes, such as the Fool (representing new beginnings and innocence), the High Priestess (representing intuition and mystery), and the Tower (representing upheaval and change).

The Minor Arcana consists of four suits (similar to playing cards) that represent different aspects of life, including emotions (cups), intellect (swords), creativity (wands), and material resources (pentacles). Each suit consists of ten numbered cards and four “court” cards (page, knight, queen, and king).

To perform a tarot reading, you’ll need to shuffle the cards and lay them out in a specific pattern, known as a “spread.” There are many different spreads to choose from, ranging from simple three-card spreads to more complex spreads that involve multiple cards.

As you lay out the cards, it’s important to focus on the question or issue you’re seeking guidance on. You can then interpret the cards based on their position in the spread, their individual meanings, and their relationship to one another.

It’s important to remember that tarot readings are subjective and open to interpretation. The same cards can mean different things to different people, depending on their individual experiences and perspectives.

When interpreting the cards, it can be helpful to consider the symbolism and imagery used in the deck, as well as your own intuition and personal associations with the cards. You may also want to keep a journal of your readings, to track your progress and reflect on your insights over time.