Tarot reading as an art and a science has been around for a long time. Originating in 15th Century Northern Italy, tarot cards were used for games initially, and packs at the time were made up of a normal deck of cards with the addition of 21 trump cards, 4 queens of each suite and a fool.
The original date of the use of this deck of cards or “tarocchi” deck is uncertain; however “The Oracles of Francesco Marcolino da Forli” in 1540 illustrates a simple form of divining from the coin suite of a standard pack of cards.
Later works by authors from Europe show the basic divinatory meanings of the cards, as well as the system for laying out the cards. In 1781 Antoine Court de Gebelin attempted to set out the history of tarot divination, as well as the detailed use of tarot to foretell the future, but unfortunately much of this is speculative. Whilst he alleged to be able to follow the tarot back to ancient Egypt or various other sources there is no proof of the tarot being used in practice in such places.
Tarot reflects the symbolism of the Middle Ages, and people at the time would recognise the images portrayed on the cards, many of which may look somewhat mysterious today.
However tarot cards were not generally accepted as a method of divination until the 18th and 19th Centuries, when their use by secret societies, mystics and occultists brought them into much more regular use.
Interest in tarot developed much more widely in the 19th Century, starting in Napoleon’s time and particularly as a result of the Hermetic Revival where other occultists took a greater notice.
It is generally credited to Eliphas Levi that the tarot system we know today was brought into the English language and his method of divination is still very much in use by many people.
1910 saw a major increase in tarot with the publication if the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, which included symbolic images relating to the meanings to be divined from the numerical cards. 20th Century marketing ensured that these particular tarot cards have remained probably the most generally used even to this day, although a great variety is still to be had.
Tarot reading has also improved with the times and divinations by experts have now become increasingly available from specialists on the internet.
This ability to go straight to the experts has revolutionized the psychic possibilities available to most people, and more and more people are going directly to the web for a tarot reading rather than relying on less expertise locally, indeed many people use this service daily.