The earliest roots of the Tarot deck go all the way back to Imperial China.
    China was where paper was invented, and all sorts of artful uses of paper
    originate from this era. We have evidence of paper tiles or cards that were
    used in domino games as early as the 9th century. It seems the cards
    represented a sort of gaming currency and they were marked like dominos
    as well as with symbols that had assigned monetary values. Over time,
    those symbols evolved into four suits that became the foundation of games
    in their own right. The easily portable gaming cards spread along trading
    routes from Asia though the middle east over the Silk Route or possibly
    through the Mongols (!) and from Persia back to India and also out and
    around to the Levant and Turkic regions. It isn't clear how - and it's
    possible there were multiple entry points - but cards were eventually
    brought into Europe via the Moors and/or Mamluk Egypt.
    And/or maybe the Mongols again.

    By the Middle Ages, decks of painted cards show up in the historical record
    in Europe. There are diaries with references to games and players,
    descriptions of cards and game instructions, and even paintings depicting
    nobles playing cards. There are also the decks themselves, from which
    some cards remain even to this day. Some decks had the four suits that
    clearly evolved from the earliest gaming cards, and then there is another
    popular style of card set called "Trionfi". This sort of card pack features
    allegorical images illustrating religious archetypes and themes, or
    sometimes characters and plot-points from familiar stories, sort of like an
    unbound picture book. Some of the Trionfi images reflected Christian
    pageant iconography which would have been very familiar to anyone of
    that era. Some of the Trionfi sets featured more historical figures or even
    literal interpretations of major life events of actual noble persons.

    While the different kinds of decks were each used for specific games or
    lessons, sometimes the suited decks and Trionfi got mixed together for
    hybrid games or storytelling. Some nobles commissioned decks with
    certain cards reflecting their own tastes, game preferences, world views
    and favorite archetypes - whether including the Trionfi, the suited cards, or
    some of each. All of the cards had values and meanings that had to be
    learned and shared to understand the game or the story. It's easy to see
    how that would evolve into more personal narratives and divination.  

    The standard Tarot deck as we know it today has two parts: the Major
    Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana, also known as the
    Trumps in English, are an abridged version of the Trionfi cards. There are
    22 cards in this part of the deck, including “The Lovers”, “Death”, “The
    World. The Minor Arcana, also known as the Pips, are the numbered suit
    cards. The Minor Arcana are numbered from Ace to Ten; then the court
    cards from Page, Knight, Queen and then King. There are four suits -
    Wands (sometimes called Rods or Staves), Cups (or Hearts), Swords, and
    Pentacles (or Coins, or Disks).

    Each Tarot deck has it’s own flavor, depending on the artist/author. Some
    decks are packed with spiritual symbolism associated with mystery schools
    or new age philosophies. Some decks are fun celebrations based around a
    hobby, an era, or a fantasy genre - there are decks with all cats or different
    kinds of fairies or based on Shakespeare's plays. And some just focus on an
    artistic style or vibe. The same card pulled from various decks can be
    remarkably different.

While the Tarot pack is related to contemporary playing cards, it is more
commonly used for divination and guidance. Cards are shuffled, drawn and put
in a spread of multiple cards that are interpreted together. Individual cards have
traditional meanings that may influence a Tarot reader - or not, depending on
their own experience with the Tarot, their world view and expectations of the
Tarot, the deck, the spread and surrounding cards, and the question asked or
issue raised as the center of the consultation. Some Tarot readers present their
interpretations as set fortunes- as if our fates are written in stone. Other Tarot
readers (this one included) approach the Tarot as a tool for focus, meditation,
and empowered choice-making to create deliberate, active, meaningful life

    Copyright 2007-2017 Bohemian Path Tarot
    All rights reserved
Seven of Rods (Wands)
Aquarian Tarot
The Moon
Sacred Circle Tarot

The Tarot is a pack of 78 illustrated
cards. It has been used for games,
storytelling and divination for
Three of Cups
Llewellyn Tarot
Two of Pentacles
Rohrig Tarot