A Brief History of Tarot Cards

What if the flipping of cards could tell you if true love was just right around the corner? Would you dare to turn them over?

If you’ve been searching for answers with no luck, then maybe it’s time you try something new. You won’t find these answers under an ace of spades, but instead, within a deck of 78 tarot cards.

If you’re curious about what direction to steer your future, you’re not alone. In 2017, tarot-deck sales rose by 30%, leading one to believe that many others are taking their futures into their own hands.

You should know that simply drawing a few tarot cards won’t reveal your truth. These interpretations are best left to an experienced tarot card reader.

Before going any further, let’s dive into the history of tarot cards and how they rose in popularity through the centuries.

What Are Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards, considered by many professionals to be the map of the subconscious, are used to tap into your innermost self and reveal your deepest truths. A tarot card deck contains 78 illustrated cards broken into two main parts: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.

Major Arcana

The Major Arcana contains 22 trump cards, numbered 0-21. Each card has a detailed illustration, such as the fool or the death card, which symbolizes a specific facet of daily life.

These cards contain complex imagery, which psychologists believe are linked to the subconscious. It’s within these cards that you’ll find the answers to your most profound questions and discover future clarity.

Minor Arcana

The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards, divided into four suits: swords, cups, wands, and pentacles. Each suit contains fourteen cards, numbered ace to ten, as well as the princess, prince, queen, and king cards.

Often these cards answer less pertinent questions and can help give insight to daily struggles. The interpretation of any tarot spread relies heavily on the questions asked and the layout of the cards.

History of Tarot Cards

Pizza, cologne, the jacuzzi – like many great things, tarot cards originated in Italy. Contrary to what many believe, tarot cards weren’t initially used as a divination tool but, instead, as an ancient pastime.

The Origin of Tarot Cards

Although evidence of playing cards dates back to 9th century China, this is not the true origin of what experts consider to be tarot cards. Tarot card history goes as far back as the early 1400s, where wealthy Italian families used them as ancient playing cards, much like we use the classic 52-card deck today.

During the 15th century, Italian artists crafted the four-suit tarot cards to play the game “tarocchi.” This game is similar to what we now consider bridge. Towards the mid-1400s, the game evolved to include a permanent set of trump, or triumph cards that outranked all four suits.

At its start, tarot cards were a privilege only few could afford since every card was hand-painted by artists. The invention of the printing press in the mid-1400s brought the opportunity to play tarot cards to the masses.

Tarot Cards for Divination

Fast forwarding 400 years to France and England, tarot cards began acting as a tool in divination practices. Occultists who encountered the cards started to interpret the Renaissance symbolism as having a deeper spiritual meaning.

In 1781, Antoine Court de Gebelin, a French clergyman, published a paper claiming that the symbolism behind the artwork of the tarot card held the key to the wisdom of ancient Egyptian gods. In 1791, the French occultist Jean-Baptiste Alliette, or “Etteilla,” adopted Gebelin’s ideology and designed the first deck of tarot cards for divinatory purposes.

Rising Popularity

Towards the end of the Victorian era, occultism held the interest of many upper-class families. Often, tarot card readings or seances would take place during house parties.

It wasn’t until the early 1900s that tarot cards, for spiritual means, started rising in popularity. This spike is directly related to the publication of “The Pictorial Key to the Tarot” by A. E. Waite.

This book included a pack of tarot cards illustrated by Pamela Coleman Smith called the Rider-Waite tarot deck. To this day it stands as the most popular deck of tarot cards.

A second publication in the late 1900s titled “The Book of Thoth” by Aleister Crowley, with cards painted by Lady Frieda Harris, aided in the tarot cards’ reputation with occultism. It was these two major works that served as the linchpin in tying tarot cards with divination.

No longer a privilege of the wealthy, tarot cards, along with their mystic insight, are available to anyone, anywhere. Thanks to the internet, the secrets of your future are only a click away.

History of the Design

Because the printing press was not yet invented at the origin of tarot cards, only affluent families could afford to hire artists to design personalized tarot card decks, each card more grandiose than the next. These tarot decks were unique to each family, with some artists hand-painting the family members or friends as the triumph cards.

The Italian Renaissance profoundly influenced the art during this period. This is evident through the Christian and medieval symbolism that’s woven into the trump cards’ design.

The historic evolution of Tarot card art over the centuries is something worth noting. As the saying goes, art reflects life, and that’s clearly shown when comparing tarot cards from the 14th and 21st centuries.

Artists throughout the ages have tried their hand at illustrating tarot cards, giving life to brilliantly creative designs. Nowadays you can easily find tarot card designs relating to anything from Harry Potter to Baroque Bohemian cats.

Give Us a Call

Now that you understand the history of tarot cards, aren’t you curious what’s in the cards for you? Whether you’re questioning love, rethinking your finances, or strategizing how to get ahead at work, we have a specialized psychic committed to your needs.

If you have questions about our services or are ready for your live, professional tarot reading, reach out to the Psychics Directory by calling our toll free number (1-866-407-7164). We have dedicated experts available 24/7 to answer all your spiritual inquiries.

Speak Your Mind