The Tarot: History, types and how to throw it

The tarot

Tarot cards have caused curiosity and attraction to many people throughout history. His mystical drawings and designs recreate scenes through decks of playing cards that have been used to predict the future through interpretation queries. Its use has become a type of fortune telling.

What are tarot cards?

It is a deck of cards with a series of graphics that are used to interpret the past, present and future of the client. In fact, for some people their spiritual power is of such magnitude that they are used as a guide for all their daily situations. Through a print run or query, we seek to understand the reasons why a certain circumstance is going through and its possible solution, in order to achieve our purposes.

The history of tarot

The origin of the Tarot has always been surrounded by a halo of mystery. Legends have even been invented and it has been related to ancient cultures of the world. The truth is that the hypotheses that gain greater force point to its being popularized in XNUMXth century Italy. However, traces of very similar card games have been found in China and India centuries earlier, but their exact use is unknown.

Similarly, the meaning and etymology of the word "Tarot" is also not clearly established. It is believed that it possibly derives from the Hebrew, Greek, or perhaps Eastern dialects.

Returning to 56th century Italy, we stumble upon the ancestor of the Tarot cards. It was a deck of XNUMX popular cards used in the game known as "Tarrochi", which were probably the inspiration for what we now know as: Major Arcana.

Other researchers argue that the origin of the Tarot cards is related to the gypsies, and that it was they who spread their popularity on the European continent during their wanderings. This statement is based on their survival to the Inquisition, which makes a lot of sense, let us remember that the gypsies did not represent objectives of interest to the Holy Inquisition. In such a way, that their esoteric practices survived and are part of the popular knowledge and imagination, until today. However, there is a record that by the time the gypsies arrived in Europe the tarot was already known.

Actually the Tarot cards spread throughout Europe with great force. In the beginning they were used by the upper class, becoming banned in some places. Therefore, the oldest specimens have been recovered thanks to the fact that they were jealously preserved.

His designs were entrusted to artists who painted them by hand, even being considered works of art. For the sixteenth century, its greatest popularity is centered in France, especially in Marseille, where they were manufactured in greater quantity. From that time on, they acquired nomenclatures and numbers, adjusting to a more defined order and filling with greater symbolism.

The Tarot as a mystical and divinatory tool

Divination tarot

During the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries, due to the intense rise of the new spiritist movement, the Tarot became a fashion in Europe, especially in France. The knowledge of the Spiritist doctrine in the company of mystical stories that surrounded the origin of the letters, such as: that they came from ancient Egypt, hand in hand with the mystery that surrounded the gypsies who flooded the streets with their use, marked the beginning of his mysticism.

It is from that moment, that many people begin to affirm that they were capable of interpreting the messages encoded on the decks of those cards. It should be noted that the relationship of the Tarot with ancient Egypt lacks historical support, it is believed that this legend was an invention of the time to turn the card game into a more attractive element and give it a mythological character. Either way, those statements had an effect on the collective. The Tarot was imbued with a personality that caused a sensation of secrecy and great mystery.

It should be noted that the use of cards as a divination tool is not an exclusive act of that time. There is evidence that common playing cards were previously used as a divination oracle. Therefore, the use of Tarot cards for this purpose was hardly natural.

During the last decades of the XNUMXth century, information emerged linking secret societies with divinatory practices through the use of the Tarot. By then, that secrecy became occult and began to radiate a sense of fear and suspicion among people regarding its use. As we can see, the letters themselves are not the cause of that sensation, it is the responsibility of those who made use of them.

Finally, the Tarot ended up becoming popular in the nineteenth century, with the rise of Hermeticism, since renowned characters participating in that movement made use of the Tarot cards as an esoteric and mystical element. The premise of the use of the Tarot for such purposes was promoted by characters such as Eliphas Lévi, considered by some to be the true founder of the most contemporary schools of Tarot, in addition, he was responsible for relating the interpretation of the cards with the Kabbalah and with the four elements of alchemy.

With the passage of time, they also began to be linked with other practices such as astrology, numerology, among others belonging to the New Age.

Learn more about the mystical arts: What is Mediumship?

How many cards does the Tarot have?

The first group of Tarot cards that is known had the 10 commonly numbered cards, with the exception of having only kings as representation of the court and only 16 trump cards.

Subsequently, a variation is introduced that presents a deck of 14 numbered cards with four suits, and 22 trump cards. By the year 1457, the Trionfi deck, which had 70 cards, became popular.

Ending with the style that is known today that has 78 cards, divided into major and minor arcana:

The 22 major arcana or trump cards: They are used for esoteric interpretation, since the arcana represent images with loaded symbolism. Some more contemporary also have names and numbers.

The 56 minor arcana: They are divided by four different suits, which in turn are numbered from 1 to 10, accompanied by the characters of the court (Jack, Queen, King and Knight). The sticks are interpreted as the predominant social levels in the Middle Ages: the sword refers to the nobility; the cup to the peasants; the rough to the clergy; and gold to merchants.

Types of Tarot cards

There is a great variety of Tarot cards. This is because each of them responds to different times and cultures, therefore, their symbolic meaning can also vary. Below we will break down just a few of the most popular:

The Gypsy Tarot

it is believed to be one of the oldest. Its origin dates back to Central Asia. It was taken to Italy by the gypsies and later to France. It has 22 major arcana that do not have numbers and its images refer to activities of the gypsy customs. The minor arcana are divided into 4 suits that represent the 4 gypsy tribes: the gypsies, the manush, the gypsies and the rom, identified by symbols such as: coins, knives, music and pots or containers.

Visconti-Sforza Tarot:

It dates from the year 1450. Its drawings are attributed to the art of Filippo María Visconti and it was created for the wealthy Sforza family.

Mantegna Letters:

It is believed to have been created in 1460 and is a representation of Renaissance society and the Middle Ages. It shows the coexistence between the bourgeoisie, the miserable, the nobility, the church, and the gods, with a marked influence of astrological, theological and philosophical symbols of the time.


The alchemistic tarot belongs to the beginning of the XNUMXth century. His art has the style of the Renaissance. It tells stories related to society, the Greek gods, and biblical stories. The author of this deck is said to have been illuminated, as he is the first to add color to his images.

Etteilla Tarot:

It was manufactured by the famous French occultist Jean-Baptiste Alliette, better known by the pseudonym "Etteilla." It dates from moments before the French Revolution. It is the first game of tarot cards with an esoteric intention. It has astrological characteristics and Egyptian symbology, to which a premonitory sense was attributed with greater intensity than in previous decks.

Tarot of Marseille:

The Marseilles Tarot is the most popular of all the decks. Its use has extended to the present day. It dates from the early XNUMXth century. His letters have drawings with a medieval style, identified by Roman numerals and the name of the letter in French. It is believed that its popularity is due to its great color and its simple symbolism that makes it easier to interpret.


As its name indicates, it is inspired by Egyptian culture. His drawings are described as extremely realistic images. Its division with respect to the arcana is different from the usual, therefore, its style of interpretation also presents marked variation.

Rider Waite Tarot

The deck of Rider Waite Tarot It is also very popular and known today. It dates from 1903. Its author is Edward Waite, who was a renowned occultist who was inspired by his beliefs and spiritual doctrines for the creation of this deck of cards. It is divided by 22 major arcana, accompanied by 56 minor arcana. Its design is loaded with a strong symbology that allows its interpretation with greater ease.


This contemporary deck dates from 1944, it was very popular in the United States in the 70's among members of the hippy movement. Its author was Aleister Crowley, who is recognized for his marked esoteric influence. He was a founder of the Order of the Templars in England and a member of the Brotherhood of the Rosicrucians.

In short, there is an uncountable variety of Tarot decks. Among them we can mention: the classic Tarot, of Micchiate Florentinas, of the Witches, the erotic Tarot, of the horoscope, of the past lives, the light of the seers, of the family constellations, the oracle of Wicca, the oracle of wisdom , Dalí Tarot, Pulp Fiction Tarot, Celtic Tarot, Mayan Tarot, Kabbalah, Karmic, Astrological, Osho Zen, among many others.

How do you throw the Tarot?

Tarot spread

The connection with the Tarot cards as an oracle of divination is a practice charged with mysticism and spirituality. Therefore, it must be performed with the respect and solemnity worthy of any ritual. The most common method of throwing the cards is to turn over a number of them that have been shuffled and placed face down, on a table, at random.

The position in which the letters are placed is what will allow us to understand what subject they are talking about, and proceed to the respective interpretation. The tarot reader will choose between the classic positions, or some other that is inspired by his spiritual guides to position them, and from there he will make his prediction.

What is needed?

The spiritual world is open to all human beings. We are all able to interpret the Tarot cards. The most important thing to be able to do this is to choose a deck of cards and begin a spiritual education through it, which will allow us a gradual development until we reach a more fluid and accurate interpretation. 

How to choose the cards?

It is important when we are going to start in the world of fortune telling to have a broad knowledge of what the world of Tarot means. The first thing we recommend is to investigate the different types of cards that exist, their history, style and time. This type of information will allow you to get an idea of ​​the style of the deck and to be able to identify with which of them you have the greatest affinity. Remember that all this is a spiritual process and the tarot reader must vibrate in tune with his divination cards.

In the world of Tarot there is a premise that says that each tarot player has his deck "that the deck calls you" therefore, when choosing your deck the best is to let yourself be carried away by your impulses, she will speak for you from the beginning.

In another sense, people usually start using the Tarot de Marseille or the Tarot Raider, since its reading is much more stimulating due to its intense symbolic load. But, as we have said before, it is best to choose from the heart and spirituality.

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