What is Tarot?

Short history of the Tarot


It is not known for sure exactly when the images we associate with the traditional Tarot pack were first created.

Much of the symbolism on the cards is found from as far afield as China to the Middle East and into Western Europe.  The first 22 were an Oriental game thought to be an educational one for children. The naibi, as it was called, was the birth place of the major arcana. These are thought to have both Chinese and Indian influences. Incorporating the planets, sciences, muses, virtues and conditions of life they were only considered complete with the adding of seven sins and the five senses.

As the original cards travelled west so they acquired the suits, hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs or cups, wands, coins and swords, before finally meeting and integrating the court cards.

The numbered cards were originally from the Middle East and were the final phase that gives us the finished Tarot we have to this day.

The first official Tarot pack with the full 78 cards, 22 major arcana and 56 minor cards were from medieval Italy.

Tarocco, as it was called, became exceedingly popular but its apparent supernatural ability soon caused superstitions to surround it.

In 1376 in Florence the playing of naibi was forbidden and seen as a form of illicit gambling and frowned upon.

The most popular pack to arrive on the open market was the Italian Visconti pack which in itself has spawned many more of the same family and way beyond.

The Tarot de Marseilles appeared at the end of the fifteenth century and is still to this day one of the most well known packs.

The parapsychological usage of powerful symbolism cannot be under emphasised where Tarot is concerned. The archetypes represented speak directly to our unconscious and subconscious mind managing to impress upon the querent (person having a reading) a feeling of familiarity and common human experiences that once interpreted can give signals to the querent that they find associations with. It manages to incorporate many traditional paths in its tracks. From I Ching to astrology to numerology and the Qaballah and Egyptian Book of Thoth it has gained much respect among many various religious paths and pagan traditions. Concepts that have absorbed much knowledge from both Eastern and Western mystery schools are found in the symbolism of the Tarot. And subsequent esoteric orders such as the Hermetic order of the Golden Dawn and the Order Templer Orientalis took great interest in it promoting it to be a potent source of ancient mystical and spiritual knowledge. Members of these groups often went on to create their own Tarot packs and so a new era of popularity was sown for the ever evolving Tarot. 

Pictures and symbolism are forms of universal language and as such the Tarot has been able to transcend all language barriers and religious differences.

Now today they are taken seriously by many from all walks of life and many differing religious paths.

And they are excellent tools for gaining insight .

There are so many to choose from these days it is an eternal source of inspiration to both students of the mystery and artists keen to interpret them as they see fit. Many modern sets bare little or no resemblance to the original early medieval packs.

The greatest mystery of all found in giving someone a Tarot reading is how they work. How can pulling a few blind random cards both reveal the past, present and future of anyone? How does Tarot manage to be so scarily accurate?

That is a mystery that only through many years of practising it can reveal.

Thank you.

To comply with the law I am obliged to state that my psychic services are for your entertainment only and as the law makers of this country have declared magic and psychic ability impossible we in this line of work have to make this decleration.