What is Tarot?
Tarot is the art of reading information from a deck of special cards. However, it is a complex and difficult art. It is not enough to spread the cards on the table and read their meaning. Many more factors are important – the order, the distribution, the relationship between the cards. If the fortune teller is a person who really knows it, you can learn a lot. Cards can give answers about not only the future, but also the past and present. They can reveal something that was previously unclear, but unfortunately they are often used by fraudsters, which increases the number of skeptics of this difficult art.
At the source
Not only is the art of tarot card divination itself mysterious, but also its origin is a great unknown. What is certain is that centuries of different traditions have contributed to its origin – some derive tarot from the teachings of ancient Egypt, others from Indian or Chinese culture, and still others link it to the Kabbalah. It would be most correct to say that the tarot we know today was formed from each of these sources, and their multiplicity is precisely what makes it such a difficult yet mature art. Indian tradition is confirmed by the fact that the cards come from there, also so tarot in some way owes its form to the Indians. Before the cards reached Europe they appeared with the Persians, and then with the Arabs, and so they made their way to our continent. The Arabs called them na’ib and that’s also how card games were referred to in Europe – naib. It was from them that the tarot proper slowly emerged. This occurred in the 15th century, because from this period we already know the first decks, not naib, but tarot. It is worth noting that he himself was also originally a game – called tarok (tarocco), and also triumphi, trionfi or ronfa. Originally, the path from game to divination was through interpreting individual cards, identifying them with a particular person. One drew a card and it symbolized the person drawing the card. People quickly developed a deep understanding of the symbolism of individual cards in order to provide information on them.
Cards are not equal to cards
The oldest and most famous decks are the Visconti-Sforza Tarot and the Mantegna Tarot. The former consisted of 86 cards, and the latter of only 50. The former contained typical figural cards, such as a king, queen, but also images of ladies of the court and, for example, the three theological virtues. Mantegna’s deck was much more symbolic, although also far from the modern tarot. There were cards showing planets, muses or sciences and types of the human condition. With this deck, the spiritual development of man could be depicted. Other known cards could show the signs of the zodiac or the elements. It was not until the 18th century that the number of cards was clarified to 78, which is as many as we know today. In the case of tarot, however, the word cards is not used, but arcana, which from Latin means initiation. They are divided into the Minor Arcana, of which there are 56 and are divided into four colors: the Bulls, Chalices, Denarii and Swords, and the Major Arcana numbered from 0 to 21. This tarot was called the Tarot of Marseilles and was published by Jacques Viéville.