Have you ever plucked petals off a daisy to find out if someone had a crush on you? What about flipping a coin to make a decision? Did you ever close your eyes and point at a random spot on a map while asking, “Where will I live when I grow up?”
Great! You’re already familiar with some of the basic principles of tarot!
Tarot cards are a practical and fun way for witches (and non-witches) to tap into their power and explore their spirituality. This seventy-eight card deck can be used in a variety of different ways such as decision-making, meditation, communicating with your intuition or familiars, personal development, spell work, and guidance on what the future holds.
Though there are traditional ways of drawing and interpreting tarot cards, tarot reading is an art, not a science. Intuition is the biggest factor at play when working with this magical tool. Because of this, the more familiar you get with the tarot meanings, the more you can experiment and discover new ways to use tarot cards in your witchcraft!
The earliest forms of tarot are rumored to have originated in the 1400’s as an Italian card game called “Il Triofos”.
Around the same time, a similar game was played in the Middle East which contained suits that are very similar to the modern-day tarot card suits: cups, swords, coins and polo sticks.
One of the first documented card decks used for divination came from Spain in the fifteenth century. This forty-nine card deck was designed for fortune telling around the subject of love.
In 1909, the famous occultist Arthur Edward Waite commissioned a deck of tarot cards to be illustrated by artist Pamela Coleman Smith. These seventy-eight drawings make up what is now the most widely used tarot deck in the world, the Rider-Waite deck. The cards in this deck are highly detailed with vivid imagery. Many new tarot readers are drawn to this deck because they feel the illustrations convey the card meanings clearly and intuitively.
Since then, hundreds (if not thousands) of tarot decks have been designed by people all over the world. Some decks follow different themes like mermaids, fairies, animals, astrology, sacred geometry, cartoon characters, and mythology. Other decks take the Rider-Waite deck and reimagine the images in a contemporary way.
How are tarot cards different than oracle cards?
Tarot cards are different than oracle cards because a tarot deck has a set number of cards—seventy-eight—divided between the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. Every Tarot deck follows that same structure, and the cards hold universal meanings throughout the tarot community. Oracle decks can contain any number of cards, with cards specific to each individual deck.