Apr 1. 2020

What are tarot cards and how do they work?

Tarot cards are one of the most popular methods of fortune-telling. A lot of people ridicule them, even though some find them very valuable for providing life guidance. Whatever the case, one thing is clear - their history goes far back.

What are tarot cards and how do they work?

Where do they come from? Some people believe they originated from ancient Egypt or the Jewish spiritual teaching of Kabbalah. However, the evidence for that is lacking, and so it’s more likely that they emerged sometime in the middle of the 15th century in Italy, where the game Tarocchini was created. Its players were handed cards and based on their thematic associations they wrote poems.

Tarot cards could have come from a game similar to today’s Bridge. For wealthy Italian families, artists used to create hand-painted cards with symbols like cups, swords, wands and pentacles. Modern cards also have these symbols, and the number of cards stayed the same as well - 78 cards to be exact. In other European countries, tarot cards arrived in the middle of the 18th century.

As we have mentioned, there are 78 cards in the tarot card deck divided into major and minor arcana, grouped by their symbolism and layout. In the major one, there are 22 cards which represent essential life and spiritual lessons. In the minor arcana, there are 56 cards that reflect the trials and tribulations of our everyday life. They are further divided into 16 court cards representing our personality characteristics, that we can show at any time - we are talking about kings, queens, knights and pages. The rest of the minor arcana consists of 40 numbered cards of four colours - cups, swords, wands and pentacles. They represent the situations we come into contact with on a daily basis.

How do they work? They help us visualize the stories of our lives. It is some kind of a mirror to our souls that motivates us to use our inner wisdom in a way that will lead us to deeper connections. Each one of the 78 cards can reveal our spiritual lessons and then guide us on our path.

There are countless variants of reading - they differentiate with the focus, as well as the number of cards, and form in which they are being read. For beginners, it’s ideal to say a question to yourself and ask the cards to answer it or outline a possible solution for the situation. Then, you can start working with more cards - perhaps five of them - where each one of those will represent a different aspect of your life.

If you are planning to read the cards for somebody else (with their permission), we are getting into the spheres of the collective consciousness. With a bit of practice, you will be able to intuitively receive various messages and know how to help the specific person.