The Tarot Cards
The origins of Tarot are steeped in mystery and it is impossible to be certain where they first came from. There is no doubt that the Tarot cards date back a long way, possibly as far as the 11th century.
The Tarot is closely linked with the modern deck of playing cards which originated in China and Korea. One theory is that these oriental looking cards were transported from the East to Europe, possibly Italy, where the Tarot deck was devised. Other theories are that the Tarot cards were devised in Egypt or India. There are others who believe they just began life with the Romanies.
The Tarot is the most practised art of divination in the World and with every good reason. Many people find they can quickly realise and develop an affinity with symbolic images in the deck. Although Tarot has its origins in Medieval times, the themes and symbols are totally relevant to our modern lives.
During the Renaissance, the Tarot was part of a growing interest in the studies of the mystic arts, such as Qabbalah and alchemy.
It has a definite symbolic and esoteric structure and is capable of being studied to great depth.
The Tarot deck is made up of 78 cards which is divided into the Major Arcana, which consists of 22 cards and the Minor Arcana which has 56 cards. The word 'Arcana' simply means mysteries or secrets.