Tarot cards have always had a hint of mystery to them. Their origins are kind of clouded in a bit of mythos too. Though historians have managed to put together a story giving tarot its history and origins.
Historians have traced tarot starting as far back as the late period of the 14th-century and the start of the 15th century. It consists of the four familiar suits that we still use and know of today. The swords, cups, coins, discs, and wands/staves. Only these cards would not tell your guidance in life but were used as playing cards for a new type of game that is similar to the bridge, which was often played by the upper-class since each deck was commissioned and hand-painted. This was costly to do.
First seen called carte da trionfi or card of triumphs it was then in 1530 in Italy around this time that the name tarocchi was seen to appear as a reference title to the game. The Germans called the game tarock. The French called it tarot and thus tarot is the word we use today.
But when did the discoveries of tarot and its divination powers get revealed?
It was not until the end of the sixteenth or start of the seventeenth century did tarot start its divination journey in France and England where it caught the eyes of others that happened to see the stoic imagery and spiritual symbolism in them.
It was then in 1791 where Jean-Baptiste Alliette, a French occultist created the first official divination tarot deck. He even had created a book earlier to accompany the cards under the pseudonym Etteilla. In this book, it is explained how Tarot could be used for this purpose along with what each card means, its purpose. As you know this is the setup of the tarot we use today.
When the Victorian era breech occultism and spiritualism was all the rage and so tarot became an interest for bored high society groups and it was not uncommon for an upper-class family to have a deck and host parties doing readings and seances.
1910 brought another change to the tarot deck with the unleashing of the Rider-Waite deck and book Key to the Tarot that featured a 78 deck with it. This is pretty much the style of tarot decks we see today, though the Thoth deck is quite well known too.
As a result, tarot is a sacred art. Each card is painted and designed to combine to tell a person’s soul story when placed out in a spread to help guide one’s mind and spiritual journey.