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What is Tarot?


The Tarot is a deck of cards that is primarily used to foretell the future. Forecasting the future, however, is only a superficial use of the massive powers of the Tarot. The Tarot is a very powerful tool that allows you to look deep inside your subconscious and "see" the direction your life is taking.

Tarot cards are pictorial representations of events and energies that we are likely to encounter in life, such as determination, patience, new beginnings, leaving things behind, joy, togetherness, heartache, reflection, decision-making and many more. Tarot decks normally contain 78 cards, 22 of which are referred to as the Major Arcana and depict the major changes on our path through life. Tarot is a tool to explore consciousness, past lives and potential futures.  It is a tool for personal analysis, transformation and transcendence.  The archetypes and images trigger our unconscious.  Every card or spread has a story to tell of a journey to be taken or a situation understood.  

A traditional tarot deck consists of 78 cards. The 78 cards are subdivided into the Major Arcana, which consists of 22 fully illustrated cards that are numbered Key 0 to Key 21, and the Minor Arcana, which consists of 56 pip (numbered) and court cards. Some tarot deck versions do not contain illustrations on the pip cards; they look similar to the deck of playing cards we use today for games like poker: Ace through Ten. The court cards of the tarot are the Page, Knight, Queen, and King, though there may be different names for the court cards, such as Princess, Prince, etc. The Minor Arcana are divided into four suits, generally named Wands (Clubs), Cups (Hearts), Swords (Spades), and Pentacles (Diamonds). Like the court cards, other names may be used depending on the tarot deck.

TAROT HISTORY


The Tarot cards first origin is unknown and still debated. A popular theory is that the first Tarot decks were spread across the world by migrating Gypsies, and into Europe, where they were developed. A few suspected origins of these Gypsies include: India through way of Arabia, Syria and Egypt. Many also speculate that the knowledge of mysteries were adopted by European warriors (some being The Knights of Templar), on their journeys through the east.  As it remains, threads are drawn from the history of Tarot through almost every culture.

The Tarot has a fragmented history that intrigues historians, scholars, hobbyists, and spiritualists alike. Drawing on the concrete facts that are available, we will attempt to briefly explain the origins of the Tarot, and trace some of its milestones through the centuries.

The designs of the 22 cards in the Major Arcana can be traced back as far as 1440, when the first known deck appeared in Italy. The 3 decks called the "Visconti Trumps" are generally regarded as the "forefathers" of the decks that are widely available today. It is believed that they were originally created as a game for Nobles. It is not until centuries later that the cards reemerged, this time as a tool of divination. In the latter half of the 15th century, the card makers in Marseilles, France began to standardize the Trumps.

The rebirth of the Tarot, and its beginnings a means of divination, are attributed to Antoine Court de Gébelin in 1781.He believed it was Egyptian in origin, and that it contained mystical knowledge that had been purposefully encoded in the symbolism of the Trumps.  By the mid-nineteenth century, Eliphas Lévi had expanded Court de Gébelin’s work by joining it with the Jewish mystical system, the Kabbalah, although he did not abandon Egyptian symbolism in his deck.

The Tarot Deck?


There are many varieties of Tarot decks, and there is no standard number of cards across all decks. While the types of cards, the suits and their meanings are the same, the illustrations vary greatly. Decks are based on various themes such as nature, animals, fantasy, dragons, etc.

What is Tarot Reading?


During the course of a Tarot reading, the cards are laid out in a spread which reveals a story about the issue sought. The seeker has only to present his issue by asking the right question which may pertain to any aspect of his life (relationships, career, education, spiritual guidance etc.). Tarot then unfolds the story, bringing to light the underlying fears/hopes of the seeker, pin pointing blocks/patterns that typically recur in the seekers' life and also highlighting the attitudes/reactions of all those involved. The cards empower us with a complete understanding of the build-up to the situation (the past), the pillars shaping the present and all factors that affect the ‘Now’. The story then unravels the direction in which one is headed in the future, based on the actions and attitudes of the 'Now'. 

If the outcome suggested is not desirable, the Tarot cards also provide us with guidance on how we can bring about changes in our life to avert the undesirable future possibility. 

Tarot is a great tool to tap into your subconscious. You are encouraged to be more aware and more perceptive of yourself and what surrounds you, simply through the nature of tarot itself and by the mechanism of the reading. The basic meanings of the cards are really basic life situations. Your intuition guides your interpretations of the cards through the help of your subconscious surfacing information you are already known, but are now aware of. You intuitive reaction to tarot cards is your subconscious sending you a message. Alerting you to what you need to focus on.



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