Explanation, Zodiac and History
In this section I will briefly explain what tarot is, how the cards relate to the zodiac and about the history and origins of tarot.
What is Tarot? – When people refer to Tarot they are usually referring the Tarot Deck of Cards, which is traditionally a set of 78 pictorial cards. The deck is made up of 22 Major Arcana cards or Trump cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards or Pip cards.
The 22 major arcana, which are named and numbered from 0 to 21 represent the Fool’s journey, the journey of life. They indicate the major events, partners, mentors and life changing experiences.
The 56 minor arcana cards are divided in to four suits, usually wands, cups, coins and swords or something similar like rods, chalices, pentacles and daggers. They indicate the everyday situations, people and events on the journey of life.
Like normal playing cards they can be called clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades and are also numbered from Ace to 10 and have Court cards. But tarot cards have an extra court card which is usually called the Page or Princess, then the Knight or Prince (Jack), Queen and King.
Each suit corresponds to many systems such as the four elements of fire, earth, air and water, the four points of the compass, the 12 signs of the zodiac and much more.
Tarot and the Zodiac
Each sign of the Zodiac has a corresponding Major Arcana card. Each suit has a corresponding Element. Each Element has a corresponding group of Zodiac signs.
Aries (March 21 – April 19) – The Emperor – Wands – Fire
Taurus (April 20 – May 20) – The Hierophant – Coins – Earth
Gemini (May 21 – June 20) – The Lovers – Swords – Air
Cancer (June 21 – July 22) – The Chariot – Cups – Water
Leo (July 23 – August 22) – Strength – Wands – Fire
Virgo (Aug. 23 – Sept. 22) – The Hermit – Coins – Earth
Libra (Sept. 23 – Oct. 22) – Justice – Swords – Air
Scorpio (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21) – Death – Cups – Water
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 – Dec. 21) – Temperence – Wands – Fire
Capricorn (Dec. 22 – Jan. 19) – The Devil – Coins – Earth
Aquarius (Jan. 20 – Feb. 18) – The Star – Swords – Air
Pisces (Feb. 19 – Mar 20) – The Moon – Cups – Water
There are many myths surrounding the history and origins of the Tarot. No-one knows exactly where Tarot Cards came from. Some theories suggest that the Tarot Cards were created in ancient times, in Egypt, China or India.
The first known documented tarot cards were created between 1430 and 1450 in Milan, Ferrara and Bologna in northern Italy. The decks were known as “carte da trionfi”: “cards with triumphs,” also called Tarocco. The earliest game that we know was played with this deck is called Tarock.
The cards were used to play a new type of card game that was very similar to bridge. This game had 21 of the special cards serving as permanent trumps. These could be played regardless of what suit was led, and outranked all the ordinary cards. The game became known as the Game of Triumphs and was popular especially among the upper classes of society.
Tarot remained a simple card game for several centuries and only became widely associated with cartomancy (fortune telling by interpreting cards) in the 1780’s after cartomancy with normal playing cards became common in France.
Nowadays most people believe that a tarot reading is just about predicting the future but the future is not set in stone and everybody has freewill. Using Tarot as a divinatory tool should be able to help and guide you on your journey of the here and now, to the future. It is often about how to deal with things that are going on in the present, to enable you to reach a future that you desire. That is why most spreads concentrate on Past, Present and Future, readers will look at your past to see what got you to where you are now, how you are currently dealing with life and events and offer suggestions how to move forward in a positive way.
Love & Light