Tarot cards, sometimes called “the book of divination of the gypsies,” are known traditionally as a deck of 78 cards with various pictures on them. They have been used for hundreds of years to reveal hidden truths about and foresee the future of the person receiving the card reading. Tarot card decks come in many varieties-one online tarot card encyclopedia lists 70 major varieties of tarot cards ranging from “Tarot of the Cat People” to “Halloween Tarot” to “Dali Universal Tarot” designed by the famous artist, Salvador Dali. There is much speculation over the origin of tarot cards. The origins of tarot are unknown, however some people believe the images on the deck of cards came from ancient Egypt, China and India. Tarot decks first appeared in history, in Italy and France in the late 15th century as part of a popular game.
Psychics use tarot cards for divination, ie foretelling the future. The questioner can have a specific question or issue in mind, or may ask for a more general reading. The tarot deck consists of 78 cards, 22 of which are the major Arcana. These are characters which have particular traits or characteristics, for instance the Lovers represent love, sex and emotions. The other cards are divided into four suits, similar to the standard playing card pack. These suits are wands, cups, pentacles and swords. They have four court cards per suit, the King, Queen, Knight and Page.
The reader relaxes themselves; either they or the questioner shuffles the cards. The reader lays them out in a spread; these differ depending on the nature of the reading. The reader then turns over each one and interprets it according to the position in the spread and which way up it is. Reversed cards usually have a negative meaning. Each person usually has their own intuitive-based understanding of what the images mean. The general meanings are given in the instructions that usually come with a tarot pack. Often the personal and general meanings are similar. This corresponds to Carl Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious and working with archetypal images which are symbols which are common to all cultures, ages and religions and therefore seem to point to some sort of inherited common understanding.There are different decks available using different images, for instance the Voodoo deck or the Dragon deck. It is even possible to get a Lord of the Rings deck.
Tarot is a particularly popular tool for psychic readers and is also accessible to the layperson as tarot cards and instructions can be bought online, in bookshops or new age shops.