their traditional uses, some cards have slightly more unusual purposes. Tarot
cards are one famous example of this. It has been subject to much controversy,
but it is still a very popular game.
Tarot cards are believed to have come from the ‘Saracen’ region around the 1400s. There are other theories about where they have come from, but many of those are false. These include that
• Tarot cards were brought by Gypsies
• That they came from Ancient Egypt
• A less popular theory states that Tarot cards were an attempt made by the people of Atlantis to preserve their culture.
The origin of the word ‘tarot’ is also uncertain. Numerous theories exist, some linking the word with geographic place names, others much more fanciful. Idries Shah, in The Sufis, hypothesizes that tarot is a derivation of the Arab word turuq, which means “four ways.” (Tarot-Decks.com 2)
A deck of Tarot cards has 78 cards, separated into two groups. These groups are called major arcana (22 cards) and minor arcana (56 cards).
The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards depicting various aspects of the human experience, and the Minor Arcana is comprised of 56 cards (14 cards of four suits each: wands, pentacles, cups, and swords) representing people and situations from daily life. (Allsands.com 1)
Tarot cards used to be nothing more than a special pack used to play an Italian game called tarocchi. Over the years, they evolved into a game associated with the occult.
Tarot cards have not specifically been known as "cards of the devil." That title was given to all playing cards by early churchmen - and had nothing to do with fortune-telling. These protectors of the faith were condemning playing cards because they were used for gambling. (Tarot-Decks.com 3)
Nowadays, tarot cards are used by some people for the purpose of divination. Others play this game to heighten their sense of intuition, or a sense of self-help. According to one website, “The scenes depicted on the cards speak to us on levels from the shallow to the sublime and while the mysteries of the tarot's origin remain hidden, it continues to be a force in the lives of many.” (Allsands.com 2)