The Tarot

An introduction


"Reading the cards" is synonymous with fortunetelling in the minds of many people.


For centuries, people have turned to the little pasteboard picture cards for answers, enlightenment and entertainment. The Tarot has inspired artists, mystics, philosophers, religious and ordinary people to create systems of belief and meanings tailored to it - and in the process create new views and versions of the Tarot to reflect their own beliefs about life and spirituality. The Tarot has been studied by some of the greatest (and most bizarre) minds in every generation. For some, it is a tool for personal enlightenment; for others, a key that unlocks the door to the future.


Some believe that a deck of Tarot cards holds some mystical ability to foretell the future. Others insist that it is only an enabler - that it helps people to unlock their own psychic powers. There are therapists who attribute miracles to the power of the Tarot to offer insight into everyday life, and others who see it as a parlor game, and still others who use it as a prop to help them fleece the unwary and gullible and desperate. What is the Tarot that it inspires so many and varied interpretations and beliefs?

A Simple Deck of Cards

The Tarot is a deck of cards consisting of 22 trump cards known as the Major Arcana and 56 cards of four suits known as the Minor Arcana. Each of the 22 trump cards is given both a name and a picture. Each suit of the Minor Arcana has fourteen cards - ten numbered 'pip' cards from Ace through 10 - and four 'face' or 'court' cards. The court cards are most often named Page, Knight, Queen and King, but in some decks the Page and Knight are replaced with Prince and Princess or another variation. In all, there are 78 cards in a traditional Tarot deck, and over the course of history, each card has become associated with particular meanings and significance.


History of the Tarot >


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