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Tarot Cards Explained - A History Lesson

Tarot cards and tarot readings seem to be everywhere. Have you ever wondered about tarot, what it means and where it came from?

My name is Leslie and I am an intuitive tarot reader. I have been practicing tarot formally with clients for about 8 years now. In this video, I’m going to explain the history of tarot and how it proliferated throughout the globe over the centuries.

Tarot cards are an important instrument used by spiritual practitioners, psychics and intuitives all around the world to help bring guidance to those seeking it. People – who generally are the seekers have questions like, will I be married, will I have children, will I find a career, will I find the love of my life. And tarot is a catalyst to help the practitioner bring the message the seeker needs into the material world.

Looking back in history, tarot cards originally were intended to be used as card games versus the divination tool that it is seen as today. The earliest record of these cards date back to the Tang Dynasty, from 600 to 900 AD, and were similar to our modern-day dominoes or mahjong than of playing cards.

But at the same time in history in Korea, Korean shamans were shooting divinatory arrows made with bamboo and feathers and were believed to reveal the future and expose hidden knowledge. These arrows morphed into silk card strips that had 8 suits: men, fish, crows, pheasants, antelopes, stars, rabbits and horses, and each suit was numbered 1 through 9.

So, who came first? The Tang Dynasty or the Korean Shamans?

Well, there’ a debate on who the original source was, but it is agreed that they originated in the East.

So, what happened next?

The cards were then brought to the Islamic societies, and the cards created in Egypt consisted of four suits – polo sticks, cups, swords and coins… similar to the suits we see today.

It was around 1440 during the Italian renaissance that tarot cards in the form that we’re familiar with came to be – seventy eight cards split into Major and Minor arcana.

When did they start using tarot as a divination tool?

Even though, the Korean shamans did use the system for what seems like divination at the start, it was known as a game. Tarot used for divination didn’t really appear until the 1700s.

Starting in the early 1900s – it was about 1909, the well known Rider Waite Smith deck was born, and from that specific tarot system, the tarot card market has grown to where there are with hundreds of millions of tarot decks sold and many tarot practitioners and artists are developing various decks based on their interpretations from this original tarot system.

Today, this form of divination is associated with Wiccan, pagan, neo-pagan and other alternative faith practices. Though it’s important to note that the tarot is NOT exclusive to these faiths. It is used in many walks of life, and by people of all religions.

Tarot is now used by many holistic health practitioners, counselors, therapists and even life coaches, and no longer is seen as just for occultists.

Where do you see tarot going in the future?

Even over my short history using tarot, I have seen it grow to be known by name in the general public. There are still many skeptics out there, but more and more people are awakening to their own intuition and realizing that through tarot, they can see that they knew the answer all along. Yes, they are the seeker, but eventually with opening their intuition, they too become the spiritual guru.

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