The Tarot is a system of divination that uses a set of 78 cards that uses very specific symbolic images and archetypes to predict future events or reveal the meaning of current events. The Tarot consists of 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards. The 22 Major Arcana have very specific images and ideas on them, while the 56 Minor Arcana resemble more modern day playing cards, with four Suits, (Swords, Wands, Cups, and Pentacles, which are also magickal ritual tools) and which are numbered from 1 to 10, and have four "royal" cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King).

The History of the Tarot[]

The Tarot itself is usually attributed to Thoth, the Egyptian god and Ascended Master who taught writing and magick. It is said that the 78 Tarot cards are on the walls of the Hall of Records hidden beneath the Sphinx.

There are no written records, however, of the Tarot before 14th Century Italy. Because of this, the Tarot is often believed to have come from Gypsies (so called because of their supposed origins in Egypt). Some early Tarot decks that have been found date back to the 1500's.

Modern day playing cards are derived directly from the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. The Joker that is included in most playing card decks is directly descended from the Fool card of the Tarot.

Major Arcana[]

The first 22 cards of the Tarot are called the Major Arcana, and they represent major archetypes. Normally, each of the 22 Major Arcana cards are correspondences for each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. As such, they also represent the 22 different pathways of the Tree of Life.

  • 0. The Fool - this is typically the first card of the Tarot, and is labelled as number zero. The whole of the Tarot, then, can be sometimes seen as the journey of the Fool.
  1. I. The Magician
  2. II. The Priestess
  3. III. The Empress
  4. The Emperor
  5. The Hierophant
  6. The Lovers
  7. The Chariot
  8. Justice
  9. The Hermit
  10. The Wheel of Fortune
  11. Strength
  12. The Hanged Man
  13. Death
  14. Temperance
  15. The Devil
  16. The Tower
  17. The Star
  18. The Moon
  19. The Sun
  20. Judgement
  21. The World

Minor Arcana[]

There are four "suits" in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot, each of which represents a different Classic Element. There is usually some discrepancy as to which suits are which element, occasionally, but for the most part, it is generall accepted that Pentacles represent the element of Earth, Cups represent the element of Water, Wands represent the element of Air, and Swords represent the element of Fire. Some schools of thought may reverse the elements of the last two symbols.





Reading Tarot Cards[]

This particular tarot spread is called the Celtic Cross

When reading Tarot cards, it is typical to lay them out in a manner called a "spread". A card in a certain location within this layout or spread has a certain significance to the reading. Usually, the first card that is chosen in a reading will represent the querant, who is the person that the reading is being done for. This card is called the significator, and is usually chosen from the court cards of the Minor Arcana. The querant then shuffles the deck and then cards are laid out in the given spread for the actual reading.

Different Tarot Decks[]


See Also[]


External Links[]

The Tarot : Major Arcana

0. The Fool, I. The Magician, II. The Priestess, III. The Empress, IV. The Emperor
V. The Heirophant, VI. The Lovers, VII. The Chariot, VIII. Strength, IX. The Hermit
X. The Wheel of Fortune, XI. Justice, XII. The Hanged Man, XIII. Death
XIV. Temperance, XV. The Devil, XVI. The Tower, XVII. The Star, XVIII. The Moon
XIX. The Sun, XX. Judgement, XXI. The World

The Tarot : Minor Arcana

  • Cups - Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Page, Knight, Queen, King
  • Wands - Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Page, Knight, Queen, King
  • Swords - Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Page, Knight, Queen, King
  • Pentacles - Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Page, Knight, Queen, King

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