What is Tarot: A Brief Introduction

Tarot decks are comprised of 78 cards, divided up into two groups, the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Majors are comprised of twenty-two cards numbered zero through twenty-one. Their titles may differ from deck to deck. The Minor Arcana is divided into four suits, much like a typical deck of cards. The suits are typically wand/staves, pentacles/coins, swords, and cups/chalices. Each suit has ten numbered cards, one though ten, and four court cards, typically labeled: Page, Knight, Queen, King.

Tarot is typically used for fortune-telling, insight, direction, healing, growth, and more. Typically this is done by shuffling the deck and laying out cards in a pattern called a spread. Spreads can be chosen based on the question or inquiry that the client, or querent, has. Each card has a picture on the face of the card and full of symbolism. To reach an answer for the querent, the symbolism may be read but this is not the only way to read Tarot. Many read the cards intuitively as well. And these are not the only ways to read Tarot! One of the best things about Tarot, is that anyone can learn to read Tarot. You don’t have to be psychic or special.
Anyone can learn!

A Brief History

Tarot started out as playing card; additional trump cards, twenty-two to be exact, were added to the common four suited playing card deck. Tarot was know by other names such as, tarocchi and tarock. The name that has stuck with this deck, comes to us through France. I have seen multiple dates attributed to when the occult link began with Tarot cards, but they have all been within the 1700s. Around 1909/1910, from what I have read, the Rider-Waite deck, illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, came into existence. This is one of the most recognizable Tarot decks today. With the growth in popularity of Tarot, many other decks have started coming forth, including theme decks. Which, for me, are really fun to collect!

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