What is tarot? First of all, a card game. In addition, it is a card game that is used to predict the future. With the use of the tarot, one enters an area that leaves the sensibly perceptible world and opens the world of the fantastic. The fact is that most people like to have a form of safety and grounding when they get involved in these fantasy travels, a cup of coffee in their hands, or the popcorn bag in the cinema. Tarot is a kind of secure map, comparable to the medieval maps, on which, in addition to the landscapes, monsters, fabulous creatures, etc. were also drawn. Tarot cards depict the things that populate the phantasy, similar to fairy tales, dreams, etc.
The 78 pictures that make up a tarot set form the material of human life and dreaming. They reflect the events, feelings and ideas that are important and formative for almost all people.
These images can be divided roughly into two areas, the cards of the so-called great Arkana and the small Arkana. In doing so, the great Arkana depicts the things that affect fate and character, while the images of the little Arkana symbolize the circumstances and the behavior. Within the small Arkana, there are then the court cards which represent the persons, the numbers refer to secular events, and the spheres of influence are represented with the aces.
Origin of the Playing Cards
The origin of the tarot as the playing cards is generally mysterious. In the east, there were cards that existed much earlier than in Europe, but without any indication of who invented the cards and how they came about. It is assumed that the Eastern cards were brought by the Crusaders, but there is no strong evidence that they were the template for the Western cards. From the outset, the basic structure of the cards was uniform, although there were several other card occupations beyond the 22 trumps, so some cards had additional trumps or a different number of court cards. Nevertheless, in spite of different details and modifications, one can say that the basic picture stock has been preserved for centuries in the original form and from 1500 A.D. the tarot cards were standardized. These standards applied not only to the illustrations on the cards, but also to the numbering or the picture names.
This question of origin, however, was not of great interest for centuries. It was only in the nineteenth century that this question was particularly targeted.