What Is Tarot? Unlock the Powerful Secrets of the 78 Cards

Tarot can inform choices in your life. Whether you’re a “What is Tarot?” beginner or you have a specific question in mind you want an answer to, here’s why tarot cards might work for you.

Tarot has fascinated people for centuries with its esoteric images, divinatory powers and hidden knowledge. Beyond its enigmatic allure, Tarot is a powerful tool that can offer profound insights into your life path and help you navigate difficult decisions.

If you’re new to Tarot, you might feel hesitant to try it. We understand because we were, too! After all, there’s a card called Death in the deck, and another named The Devil. While you’ll quickly learn that Tarot is symbolic—Death, for example, is a powerful card about transformation—the messages of the cards can inspire deep reflection and insight.

What is Tarot? The origins of Tarot

The origins of Tarot can be traced back to the 15th century in Europe, where it emerged as a deck of playing cards. Over time, Tarot evolved into a mystical system, incorporating symbolism, astrology and esoteric wisdom.

Tarot draws inspiration from various spiritual and philosophical traditions. This rich tapestry of archetypal imagery can speak to the depths of the human psyche, help you see what’s in your human blind spots. In other words: Tarot is here to help!

Tarot for beginners: How Tarot Works

A traditional Tarot deck consists of 78 cards, divided into two main categories: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana

The Major Arcana comprises 22 cards (numbered from 0 to 21), representing significant life themes and transformative experiences. These cards portray archetypal figures such as The Fool (card 0), The Magician (card 1), and The High Priestess (card 2), each carrying a unique symbolism and wisdom. 

The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Each suit corresponds to different aspects of life and offers insights into specific areas, such as creativity, emotions, intellect and material matters.

Tarot and the language of symbolism

Tarot communicates through the language of symbolism. It employs intricate imagery and evocative illustrations. Each card holds a multitude of meanings and invites intuitive interpretation and personal reflection. 

Tarot card decks: Which are commonly used?

The three most common decks used today are:
1. The Tarot of Marseilles (a playing card pack)
2. The Rider–Waite–Smith deck (written by mystic A.E. Smith and illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith)
3. The Thoth Tarot deck (developed by occultist Aleister Crowley and artist Lady Freida Harris)

Hundreds of other decks have been created since. Many merge esoteric disciplines like I Ching, Kabbalah and astrology with Tarot. Almost any deck you choose will help you understand what is Tarot.

What happens in a tarot reading?

Tarot readings involve selecting cards from the deck and arranging them in meaningful spreads, reflecting the questions or concerns of the seeker. Through careful analysis of the cards’ symbolism, combined with intuition and knowledge, a skilled Tarot reader can unlock deep insights and offer guidance for navigating life’s challenges and opportunities.

You can use Tarot to
– answer a question
– deepen your insight into a confusing situation
– guide a decision when you’re at a crossroads

For more on this topic, see our article: Is It Good to Get a Tarot Reading? 7 Reasons Why We Think So!

Empowered tarot: Beyond fortune-telling

While Tarot is often associated with divination and fortune-telling, it can be used as
– a tool for personal empowerment
– a mirror, reflecting your inner landscape and shedding light on your subconscious desires, fears and potential paths
– self-reflection; for personal growth and a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you

Tarot readings can provide clarity, guidance and validation.

You can make informed decisions, tap into your intuition and cultivate a sense of empowerment.

Tarot: The bottom line

So, what is Tarot? Tarot is more than a deck of cards. Tarot is a transformative tool that holds profound wisdom and guidance. It allows you to explore the depths of your psyche, unravel mysteries and gain valuable insights into your life. 

Whether you’re seeking answers, self-discovery or spiritual connection, Tarot invites you to embark on a journey of introspection and self-awareness. Embracing the magic of Tarot can open doors to a world of self-discovery, personal growth and the realization that you have the power to shape your destiny!

Select a Tarot card from the dropdown below to learn its meaning!