What are Tarot Cards?
At the beginning of my journey into esoteric exploration I was confronted with countless questions. One of which was, “What are tarot cards?”. After some years reading tarot cards professionally, I feel confident in answering that question. First though, we need to explore some of the history of tarot cards.
A brief history of tarot
When you research tarot, you will find a lot of conflicting information about where they originated, their original intent and when they were first used. Due to its nebulous history, I’ve resolved to stick with my gut. With this in mind, I find this story offers the most plausible answers to those questions.
Being that playing cards likely originated in China, and then slowly moved west, we have a logical starting point. Tarot, much as it is today supposedly first surfaced in Milan, Italy in the 15th century, however this lacks the feeling of truth to me. An earlier eastern origin of tarot is more likely.
Original intent of tarot
Another common thread you will find in the history of tarot is that they were initially only a card game. This also seems to lack logic and another more sensible explanation exists. Up until recent times the majority of the population was unable to read. However, the symbolism of the cards was a great method for sharing knowledge with an illiterate population. It’s my understanding that they began as teaching tools and then devolved into a playing card game.
What are tarot cards today?
Eventually, tarot transitioned from a teaching tool, to a game, to a tool for divination. To me, they possess the potential for all of the uses throughout their lifespan. They are a game to those unaware of the power they hold, a tool of divination for those with some awareness and a teaching tool for those with deep understanding. While I do use tarot for divination purposes I infuse the wisdom the hold as a teaching tool into every answer.
The history of tarot is as mysterious as the cards themselves. Likely moving from the east to the west and transforming from teaching aide to game to divination tool it’s easy to see how the facts can get lost in the shuffle. Regardless of the history of tarot, they command respect with the potential they possess in the hands of those versed in their ways.
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