The basics of Tarot cards and their fascinating history

Tarot cards

Nowadays, Tarot cards are associated with witchcraft and clairvoyance due to their widespread use in the occult arts. However, few people know that Tarot reading is a centuries-old art and the standard 52 card deck is, in fact, just a simplified version of the Tarot deck. So what are Tarot decks really about?

The beginnings of Tarot cards

Contrary to popular belief, Tarot cards haven’t always been used for divination. Recorded history estimates that Tarot cards reached in Europe in the 14th century from Turkey or Egypt. Their initial purpose was that of playing games similar to those we play today using the 52 card deck. The initial version of the Tarot deck featured four suits: coins, cups, wands and swords.

A couple decades past until French and Italian noble families commissioned custom-made Tarot decks depicting courtiers and royals, thus giving birth to the deck we use today, or, to be more precise, a rudimentary version of it. As time passed, both its meaning and form have evolved. The deck took on different shapes as it reached new parts of the world, turning Tarot reading into the diverse practice it is today.

The basics of Tarot reading

The Tarot deck is split into two arcana: the major arcana and the minor arcana. The major arcana is composed of  22 trump cards, 21 numbered and the Fool, and the minor arcana features 56 cards, amounting to a total of 78 cards. More than a means of peeking into the future, Tarot reading is an instrument of self-reflection. It allows you to search the unknown depths of your soul and listen to your inner voice. So how do you get started?

First, pick a deck. The Rider-Waite Tarot deck is the recommended choice for beginners, but you should see what deck you are drawn to and pick the one that speaks to you the most. You might want to begin with a one card reading or a three card reading. You will first want to learn the symbolism behind each card in order to interpret it.

The major arcana are the more powerful ones, a single major arcana can change the entire course of your reading. Minor arcana are typical omens, influencing the symbolism behind the major arcana and representing the energy surrounding our day-to-day life.

This might all seem very complicated, but don’t panic. Your Tarot deck will probably have some basic instructions inside the box. If, and the chances are very slim, you don’t get instructions, you can search the meaning behind every book online. You are bound to come across a lot of helpful websites.

So should you do it?

It is worth giving a try. No matter your faith or stage in life, Tarot cards can help you navigate your inner self and give you an insight into what may come next for you. Even if you don’t believe in divination and a higher meaning to life, Tarot cards may help you get a fresh perspective on life’s daily ups and downs.

Interested in magic? Check out this article!


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