The Tarot is a deck of playing cards that can be used as a way of divination of present, past or future events. It is formed by 78 cards, divided in Minor Arcana (56) and Major Arcana (22). Arcane comes from the Latin “arcanum” meaning mystery or secret.
The Minor Arcana are the cards divided equally in four suits: swords, cups, wands and pentacles, like in the Spanish playing cards, with a little variation: cards numbered from Ace (1) to 10, plus the characters of the royal family: page, knight, king and queen.
The Major Arcana are cards that represent an image with its own meaning and explanation. They follow the journey of the Fool and show us all the lessons found along the way.
What are Tarot Cards used for?
They can be used as a way of divination, but it can also be used as a form of self knowledge and development.
Whether you believe that things happen for a reason or not at all, if you draw 10 cards out of all of the 78 cards in a deck… You can at least learn something from these 10 cards.
That’s from a Realistic (or rather, statistical) point of view. If you do believe in things happening for a reason, then those 10 cards symbolise what you need to learn at the moment in time you’re using the cards.
From a Spiritual point of view, you can see it as your guides/Universe/your Higher Self telling you, from a different perspective what you’re doing and how it’s going to go down if you continue to do what you’ve been doing.
Tarot cards can also be used as a meditation tool. Whether you’re an expert at reading or you’re just starting, tarot card meanings give you ideas and topics that are applicable to your daily life. While you study/practice, you are learning things about yourself.
Where did Tarot Cards come from?
There are several stories and myths around it. These are a few of what I found…
The Hebrew word “naibes” is similar to the old Italian name for the cards “naibí” as well as to the Spanish “naipes”. These words come from Arabic “nabí” which means prophet. In several languages it actually means magic, clairvoyance and prediction. For many people “tarot” comes from “torah”, which in Hebrew means “the law”.
For others, it comes from the latin roots “rota” (wheel) or “orat” (talk). The most accepted thesis is that it comes from the Egyptian words “TAR” (path) and “RO” (real). However, there is another theory that affirms that the word “naipes” comes from the initials of the person who invented the cards: N.P., someone called Nicolao Pepin.
It is commonly known that the Christian Church is very against. This is because it is “pagan”, as in worshipping something that is not God (according to the main religions).
Types of Readings
Tarot readings start in the belief that cards can be utilised to understand life in a different light. Some say that cards are guided by a spiritual force, others that cards help them introduce themselves in a collective consciousness. There are also people who think that cards absorb the energy of the person shuffling the cards, while others prefer that no one but them touches their cards.
One of the most common methods to read cards are the spreads. There are many, depending on the purpose and the question. The three spread ones are usually present, past and future; or mental, emotional and spiritual state… There is also the Celtic cross, which is a rather extensive reading about the person consulting. There are heart shaped spreads for love questions, path shaped ones for indecision and money shaped ones for money issues.
Another way of consulting the cards is by shuffling until one card or more pops out and read its meaning. It is one of the methods that are most recommended when learning. This way, one can understand one card at a time.
Apps or programmes for the phone are also a thing now and they replicate the spreads with cards and also explain their meaning.