Tarot Readings are a form of divination using a specialised deck of cards that outlines potential outcomes and looks at the influences surrounding a person, event or both. They are a personal form of guidance and it should always be remembered that the future is subject to change as you have free will and can only focus on the possible outcomes.

The origins of the Tarot deck are steeped in mystery but we do know it originated from cartomancy which is where playing cards were used as a form of divination but in regards to Tarot who designed them, where they came from or when they first started is unknown although many myths and legends surround them.

The earliest known tarot decks weren't designed with mystercism in mind they were designed as a card game similar to modern day Bridge. They first entered Europe in the late 14th century. The oldest surviving Tarot Deck was owned by the Visconti Sforza family who were rulers of Rome These forms of deck were only used by the priveledged and rich as at this time they were handpainted. They were used in a game called Tarocchi Approriati, where random cards were dealt and they used the symbology within the cards to make up stories.

The divinitary use of the Tarot really took off in the 1700's. In 1791 Jean Baptiste Alliette (Etteille) wrote a book on the art of reading the cards as a form of divination. Etteille was the first to issue a full tarot deck with 78 cards two main sections, the major (greater secrets) and minor (lesser secrets) arcana. Etteille was a french Occultist who first bought the idea of the four elements and astrology into the deck. He is the first known person to have made a living out of reading tarot as a form of divination and thanks to his book – A way to entertain yourself with a deck of cards- made tarot more accesible and popular.

With the event of Industrial revolution and the invention of the printing press, tarot decks became more affordable and accesible and during this period became a popular parlour game. The real resurgence of tarot occurred in the 19thcentury alongside the interest of the Occult, magic and the esoteric. In 1909 the Rider Waite Tarot became available and is still one of the most popular decks printed today.

There are literally hundreds of decks now available covering every form of genre, symbology, historical and pop culture and it can be hard to decide what deck to choose to work with. My opinion is that choose a deck that you feel intuitively drawn to, one that symbology you resonate with, go with your gut feeling. There is a train of thought that you shouldn't purchase your own deck, personally I don't agree with this point and don't see that it matters either way, if the person is buying it for you and they know you well then they will probably choose wisely and the chances are you will resonate with it.

When learning to read a tarot deck the best place to start is with the little book that comes with them. Learn the general meanings first, if you try to learn the whole 78 cards off by heart you will end up losing the intuitive side of yourself so start by giving yourself a general over view about what each suit means and the various stages the cards take you through. There are loads of myths surrounding how to attune your energies together from sleeping with the deck to kissing the deck once you've finished working with it. One thing I do know for sure is that you do need to treat the deck like a sentient being much in the same way we talk about crystals, be appreciative and show gratitude after each time you work with the deck and you will soon find you begin to understand the deeper meanings behind each card.

Next time I shall delve a little deeper in what the Major and Minor Arcana teaches us.

For a interesting and indepth discussion on Tarot have a listen to the show done with Ashley Mortimer and Steve Ward.


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