A Brief History and Facts About Tarot Cards

A Brief History and Facts About Tarot Cards

17 Jul, 2019 / Tarot

Since the past decades, the internet is flooded with Tarot cards and its readings. The mystic art is trending with more and more Millenials taking interest in it. People are using tarot cards for guidance, foretelling, spiritual healing and for getting answers to all the questions that are boggling their minds. And, certainly, Tarot cards has not disappointed them.

Tarot Card Reading has emerged as the major and powerful tool for predictions and tapping into situations with intuitive power. But do you know the reality was different when they were originated? The history of tarot cards is as fascinating as the archetypal images on the cards. The story of its evolution is tickling and unfold the various truth that is still hidden in the layers of bygone.

Let’s uncover these layers of tarot cards history and unveil the mysterious facts about tarot cards.

History of Tarot Cards


The word “Tarot” is said to be derived from an Italian word “Tarocchi” which depicts playing cards. And from here the history of tarot cards began.

According to ancient texts, Tarot cards shows its first presence as playing cards in northern Italy in the 1440 century. The cards were then used only for playing and were not used for divine readings.

These cards were engraved with images and titles with no numbers unlike the present set of playing cards. At times, the cards were customized and only be seen in the games of wealthy families. One such example is the tarot deck of Milan’s Visconti Family where the triumph cards were painted for members of the nobility.

Tarot As A Tool Of Divination

Till the 17the century, Tarot was never used for divination. The first evidence of tarot as a divination tool can be witnessed in the records of Bologna in the early 1700s. In the mid of late 16th and 17th century, people started associating imageries with specific meanings and began reading it for divinatory purposes.

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According to some tarot readers, Jean Baptiste Alliete- a french occultist first used Tarot card reading publicly for divination in 1791. It was him who made Tarot cards popular in Europe for foretelling and gave tarot cards’ history a new turn.

Tarot Cards’ History With Kabbalah

The History of tarot cards is closely related to an ancient esoteric method of Judaism called- Kabbalah. In 1781, Antonie Court de Gebelin, a french freemason and former protestant minister, connected Tarot cards with the Kabbalah practice done by Egyptians priests. He described that the history of tarot cards starts from Egypt from where the secrets of Tarot cards have been taken to the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. According to De Geblin’s work, the symbols of tarot cards are derived from the legends of Osiris, Isis, and Egyptian Gods. However, this theory is not supported by modern tarot readers due to a lack of evidence.

Modern Rider- Waite Tarot Deck And Its Origin


By the end of the 18th century, the Victorian era had come to an end with the rise of Tarot cards occult. The cards have become the main part of house parties of the European upper-class families. And with the arrival of the printing press, this trend was popularly adopted by the European mass.

In 1909, the first modern outlook of tarot cards has been introduced as Rider-Waite. The deck was devised by a British occultist - Arthur Waite with the artist Pamela Colman Smith.

The cards of the Rider-Waite deck are inspired with Kabbalistic symbols and Sola Busca artwork. It was Pamela Smith who first used human figures and chose characters as representative images in the minor arcana cards.

Rider-Waite is the oldest and most popular deck that was readily available in the U.S. It has inspired generations for tarot cards reading and laid a great impact on the modern artwork of tarot decks.

Interesting and Mystic Facts About Tarot cards


With more than 600 years of tarot cards’ history, many interesting stories, myths, and facts have come associated with this mystic science so far. Out of these, some are true and some are false. Here are some major and important facts that you must know as a tarot card beginner or reader.

  • In the older deck, the titles of the cards were different than the modern tarot. Such as- Major arcana as The Trumps, High Priestess as the Popess, Hierophant as Pope, Pentacles as Coins, Wands as Staves or Batons, Minor Arcana as the Suit Cards.
  • There are different types of tarot card decks available for reading tarot cards. Each deck with specific imagery and specific concept. However, the tarot card meanings of every deck remain the same.
  • There is a tarot card derived from your birth date called Birth tarot. It is a special tarot card readings that personalize the card according to the reduced number obtained from the summation of your month, date and year of your birth.
  • Each Minor Arcana depicts certain issues of life such as Cups- Emotional blockage, Pentacles- Monetary and Family issues, Swords- Disturbances and conflicts, Wands- Career and Ambition.
  • Major arcana cards represent the important breakthroughs, changes, events, and phases of life while the minor arcana signifies the daily life’s challenges and possibilities.
  • Tarot Card reading is mostly done in a specific position pattern of cards called tarot spreads. Each tarot spread specifies and interprets a specific situation, thus the querent is always advised to choose the right tarot spread. Some examples are 3 spread reading, Celtic Cross reading, True Love Spread reading, Career Path Spread reading, Success Spread readings, etc.
  • The Minor Arcana cards look similar to playing cards. It comprises 14 cards in each suit where 2 to 10 are termed with numbers while the 5 cards are named as Knight, Queen, King, Ace, and Page.
  • Tarot Card can be used anytime, anywhere with the help of tarot deck and tarot card reading apps. A tarot card beginner must choose major arcana for learning tarot cards.
  • Anyone can read and learn tarot cards without having any specialization and spiritual powers. You just need to tap into your intuition and refer the   best guide for learning tarot cards.
[xyz-ips snippet="online-tarot-guidance"] Finally! Tarot cards are a source of guidance and intuitive tool to predict past, present and future events. It works on your intuitions and gives the power to change the future in the hands of the querent. Tarot cards are for everyone and only practice of these can make you skilled to uncover its magic. So, keep learning and explore what your Tarot wants to say!
Written by

Shreya Sharma

Being qualified as an engineer, Shreya Sharma never thought that her sideline will one day become her profession. She is an excellent imaginator and a profound daydreamer. She finds great interest in sitting under the sun, reading fiction work while sipping on some coffee. Presently working as a content creator, she pours her heart out in providing content for blogs, technical posts and websites. She aims to walk on a boulevard that has blooming flowers of peace and prosperity

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