The origin of the Tarot cards -- which are actually cards with
attractive pictures -- continues to remain vague despite considerable
research. According to conservative estimates, they are at least
500 years old. Some scholars, however, place them in the 1st century
after Christ. Others aver that they originated from the religious
rituals and symbols of the ancient Egyptians. The earliest documented
set of Tarot cards is rooted in the second half of the fifteenth
century and was painted in Italy. The Renaissance had already adopted
the Greek Gods and the Greek philosophy, which is why it is Greek
mythology, moral, spiritual and mystical elements which form the
backbone of Tarot cards.
The images and imagery portrayed on the cards reveals hidden things
which would not be discoverable through purely 'rational' means.
The Tarot cards have much to tell you. The Tarot pack is set of
cards which may be used either for divination, or as a philosophical
machine for answering almost any kind of question put to it through
a medium or someone familiar with its powerful symbolism. The images
on the Tarot, and the interest in predicting events through symbols,
dates back to ancient Egypt and even older civilizations, right
across the world. Tarot may have travelled to Europe from the Middle
East at the time of the Crusades, in the 12th century. The earliest
surviving Tarot deck, however, comes from 14th century Italy, where
an Italian nobleman had a deck hand-painted as a present for his
daughters' marriage. Tarot cards show the major themes of life,
and what we can learn about ourselves.
Each card is called Arcanum, which means 'mystery'. The pack consists
of two quite different, though not totally unrelated, groups of
cards, totalling 78 in number. In addition to 22 major cards known
as the Major Arcana, there are four suits of cards -The Suit of
Cups (symbolizing water), The Suit of Wands (symbolizing fire),
The Suit of Swords (symbolizing air ) & The Suit of Pentacles
(symbolizing earth) -- which form the Minor Arcana.