All about Tarot

Published on 25 November, 2012 | Simply Tarot

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.

They are primarily meant to be used for enlightenment and aiding the reader or questioner (this is the person asking for advice from the tarot) 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’

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