Learn Tarot

Published on 11 November, 2018 | Holistic Therapy

Brief History of the Tarot

There are many types of fortune-telling cards, but not all of them are Tarot. Although researchers have tried for years to pinpoint the true origin of the Tarot, they are still unsure who created the first deck.  However it is suggested that the tarot originated in Northern Italy in the 15th Century. Written records say the tarot was regularly used to play a card game similar to Bridge. The game was popular throughout much of Europe for centuries and is still played today, particularly in France. If you have ever been to Spain and picked up a pack of playing cards, you will find a similar resemblance to tarot cards.

celtic cross, learn tarot

They are primarily meant to be used for enlightenment and aiding the reader or questioner (this is the person asking for a tarot reading and to raise their unconscious so as to bring into play the most important aspects they need to be aware of at the time of the reading/consultation.

Relationship between tarot and ordinary playing cards

Current Historical Understanding: Playing cards came to Europe from Islam, probably via Muslim Spain, about 50 years before the development of tarot. They appeared quite suddenly in many different European cities between 1375 and 1378. European playing cards were an adaptation of the Islamic cards. These early cards had suits of cups, swords, coins, and polo sticks (seen by Europeans as staves), and courts consisting of a king and two male underlings. The tarot adds the Fool, the trumps, and a set of queens to this system. Some time before 1480, the French introduced cards with the now-familiar suits of hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds. The earlier suits are still preserved in the tarot and in Italian and Spanish playing cards.

The Joker originated in the United States around 1857, used as a wild card in poker and as the highest trump in Euchre. It appears to have no direct relationship to the Fool of the tarot.

Why use the Tarot?

The Tarot are best suited for learning about oneself, and one’s reactions to life’s seemingly never ending struggles, to increase self awareness, and possibly to obtain a new point of view of life itself.  They can help to clarify past events, understand why the events took place, and possibly give some insight into how to avoid making the same mistakes again, or even how to make the good events happen again.  The cards can also predict possible future events.  Sometimes, just knowing ahead of time an event may occur, is enough to change the person’s path and future outcome. The tarot cards were not meant to be feared or evil; but it is human nature to fear the unknown or the unexplained. Today, tarot readers have made themselves available almost everywhere in the United States as well as other countries, and are helping millions of people everyday to cope with life’s uncertainties. Who are we to discount something that benefits so many people so often?

Practical advice

When choosing your cards, make sure you buy a full pack containing a total of 78 cards that has both Major and Minor Arcana’s with fully illustrated pictures to give you a clear indication of their meanings. A card, which shows merely 6 or 7 coins, for instance is difficult for a beginner to understand, whereas cards with pictures, which tell a story, are a lot easier to follow. The pack I personally use is Morgan Greer, and has excellent vivid pictures throughout the deck.

Unlike ordinary playing cards, each suit has four court cards rather than three. Kings, Queens, Knights and Pages make up the 56 cards of the Minor Arcana. In addition to these cards are the remaining 22, which have their own numbers (exception the fool which is 0). 22 Major Arcana.  The word Arcana is taken from Latin and it’s meaning is ‘secret’

The first thing you will need to have is your chosen pack of tarot cards. It has been said that they should be bought for you by someone other than yourself, however I personally find this a myth and prefer to pick my own and you should choose the ones you feel most drawn to. Sometimes they will have a book for you to look through which may show a selection of some of the cards. One of the best ways is to look on the Internet and then you can view the whole pack and purchase your cards.

I also recommend a coloured cloth to wrap your cards in, this will help keep out negative influences. The colour you choose is entirely up to you, and helps with part of the ritual of reading the cards. You may prefer to put them in a wooden box for safekeeping and also to keep your cards in good condition.

Energising your cards

Always treat your cards with the utmost respect and whilst you are first learning the tarot it is best that you do not allow anyone else to hold or play with the cards apart from during the reading.  When I purchase a new pack of cards I find it helpful to sleep with the pack I will be using for readings, under my pillow for a few weeks to absorb my energy and feel closer to the cards.  Get used to the feel and touch of your cards and remember that the cards are yours alone, and should remain special to you. They are going to become your best friends, advisors and reflectors.

In fact you are going to bond with your cards, so much that you will want to carry them with you most of the time. This is not unusual and lots of readers feel at a loss if they don’t have them at hand. You can also view some Tarot Case Studies. 

You will learn to develop your own intuition about each card; however, it is necessary to learn the basics of all the cards before you begin to do any readings and as to what the cards mean.

Shuffling and dealing the cards

You shuffle the cards first then pass them onto the questioner to shuffle. You then deal them straight from the top of the pack, always laying them face down first. Alternatively, you can ask them to cut the cards into 3 separate piles and ask them to select a pile. Try different ways at first until you find a routine that you like best.

Major Arcana 22

The twenty-two cards in this category tend to represent psychological states of mind or people. If when doing a reading you find a predominance of Major Arcana cards and they are basically positive, then this would tend to indicate a psychologically healthy person in general. These cards are very special because they draw out deep and complex reactions. When a Major Arcana card comes up in a reading you know the issues at stake are not mundane or temporary. They represent your most basic concerns, your major feelings and motivations.

Minor Arcana 56

The minor cards, (of which there are 56,) tend to have more to do with material events. There are four suits in the Minor Arcana – Cups, Wands, Coins and Swords, each one representing different types of conditions.  Below are some general guidelines.

Cups – questions relating to relationships, love, romance, marriage, family etc.

Wands/Batons – questions to do with career, schooling, or creative enterprises.

Coins – questions relating to business and money.

Swords – questions regarding problems, sorrows, health.


Court Cards


These are the kings, queens, knights and pages and tend to be in a class by themselves. It is rare that a spread is done that does not contain one or more, and these relate to people. The kings being men, the queens woman and pages tend to be children, however the knights are not so much about people as more about thoughts, so for instance the knight of cups would suggest loving thoughts, the knight of coins, thoughts about business or finance, wands about school or career and swords can be unhappy or bitter thoughts.


The cards also have numbers and later in the course we will learn how these also play and important part in readings.


tarot spreads

These are when you place the cards in certain positions to do a reading. There a many different spreads and you will be learning quite a few as the course progresses. Each spread has a name, such as the Celtic cross, Horseshoe, 7 card spreads, life spreads, 12-month spreads, yes/no spreads for quick questions. We shall learn some of the more popular ones early on in the lessons and then later we shall go into larger more elaborate spreads.

 Choosing your Cards

You will need to choose a full pack of cards consisting of all 78 Cards. Take your time when choosing your cards and if possible try to choose a pack that depicts pictures in all of the cards, including the minor. There are hundreds to choose from and if unsure try and use your own intuition when choosing a pack.

Choosing what colour cloth to wrap your cards in

This is a very personal choice; however colour is very important and below is an idea to help you choose what colour may best suit you.

As an example choose which colour you are most drawn to. Those associated with your favorite colour are likely to be reflected in your own personality and temperament.


If you would like to learn tarot the easy way then  study holistics offer some fantastic courses at low cost prices that you can download immeidately. Their Professional Tarot Diploma course is recommend.


Angel card readings have also become very popular and are a great way to read cards for yourself daily and offer a positive and uplifiting start to your day. If you would like to learn How to Read Angel Cards Free then download your Free Guide to Angel Card readings.

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