Brief History Of Tarot Cards – Know about the history 

Guide, Psychic Reading, Tarots

Tarot cards have been used since ancient times both to entertain and to try to get a glimpse of the future or guidance about a particularly troubling problem. A tarot deck is a higly symbolic entity, each of the 78 cards having varying meanings depending on its position on a spread and even the design of the indivial tarot cards and how it affects the person reading them. In some cases, tarot decks have become highly priced works of art, designed to be admired rather than used. It’s no wonder that the history of the Tarot cards always fascinates us.

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The First Card Games

Playing cards arrived to Europe at the end of the 14th century, probably thanks to the Mamluk Egiptian empire, coming from China. The decks had 52 cards, split on four suits called Swords, Staves, Coins and Cups, with 10 numeric cards and three court cards, the King, the Knight and the Page. Some variations exists: Spanish decks use clubs instead of Staves for example, and some late card decks had a Queen for each suite increasing the total to 56 cards. It’s on the 56 card decks that modern tarot decks are based on.

The First Tarot Decks

The earliest surviving Tarot deck is dated around 1440, and comes from Milan in northern Italy. It consisted of the regular 56 cards, plus 22 trump cards that would go on to become the Major Arcana. The order, names and imaginery of the Major Arcana are inspired by Christian teaching works, the Triumph of Death. Most tarot decks of this period follow the same style, with few exceptions such as the sola Busca tarot deck.

The Tarot As A Game

During the 16th century tarot decks were popular on most of Europe, but they were considered a game. The meanings of the cards were purely descriptive of their images. Until late, in 1540 when Francesco Marcolini published in Venice what could be considered the first known document about tarot as a divinatory tool. The images on many tarot decks evolved and lost of their religious connotations, as befitting the humanist spirit of the century.

Modern Tarot Decks

Around the middle of the 18th century the game of Tarot grew into its modern incarnation, based often on surviving French decks inspired by the Milanese style of the 15th century, the Tarot de Marseille. Regular tarot decks got meanings and became a well known divination tool, and on 1770 the first professional cartomancer, Etteilla, wrote the first book dedicated to it. He and another two french writers created Tarot as its known today, giving meanings to cards depending on their own interpretation of the artwork. They also created a detailed history of the origin of the Tarot, giving it an air of ancient wisdom and secrecy to back it up.

20th and 21st Century

The last hundred years have represented a huge evolution for Tarot, both in terms of understanding and the development of new decks with different styles. Popular among the New Age community, Tarot has become a tool for meditation, a game for some and a tool for personal growth, no longer hidden as a secret known to few but available to everybody, in the form of free tarot card readings online. Spreads such as the celtic cross tarot have become useful tools to learn more about ourselves and for some a way of asking for advice to a higher self, while others just enjoy the beautiful artwork and attention to detail of pipular tarot decks.