The exact origins of Tarot are a mystery. There are more than one theory of where Tarot came from, what brought about the development of these cards and how they were used.
First though, let’s take a look at what we do know about that mysterious deck of cards called Tarot. The Tarot cards were used in Italy as early as the fifteenth century as a popular card game by the more elite or noblemen. This card game is somewhat similar to the card game of Bridge. The card game of Tarot or the modern version of it is still played today, although it is not as popular in Italy now as it is in France.
The standard Tarot deck of cards now today consists of seventy-eight cards. These cards are divided into to major sections called the major arcane and the minor arcane. The major arcane section contains twenty-two cards numbered zero through twenty-one. The minor arcana section contains fifty-six cards. In the minor arcane is divided even further into four sections called suits. These suits are most commonly called Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles depending on the style of Tarot deck you have. Each suit is made up of Ace through ten with a King, Queen, Knight and Page card, again depending on the style of Tarot deck you have you may see the Knight as a Prince or even have a Princess in the suits.
One of the earliest and complete Tarot decks is the Visconti-Sforza, which was created in or around 1450. It was not until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that the cards became the interest of scholars of the occult. These scholars held that the Tarot could be traced to ancient Egyptian times. Makes one think to one’s self “Ah so that is where the name gypsies come from? Their interest and study of the Tarot was fueled by the belief that Tarot was more than a card game played by noblemen.
Now, there are other theories of origins such as the Tarot coming from China and on and on. There is the theory that since the peasants of medieval times could not read the Tarot was developed with all the picture art as a form of language among the common people. This is just my own little personal theory is that a little bit of each went into making what we call Tarot today.
Tarot today has such a rich abundance of different styles and themes. A deck of Tarot cards can be purchased at a variety of places. There is not so much the hiding of the deck of cards to be passed on from grandmother to grandchild of olden times.
The most popular and common use of Tarot today is as a form of divination. This use is very near and dear to my heart because I do use Tarot in my readings as my point of contact or to give clarity to the questions asked.
I look forward to having fun sharing more of Tarot with you.