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About Tarot

A few frequently asked questions about tarot cards briefly answered...

What is tarot?

Tarot is a type of card deck (or card pack, outside the USA) that consists of 78 cards. In a set of tarot cards there are 22 "trump" cards (numbered 0 to 21) and 56 "pip" cards separated into 4 suits (like a standard deck of playing cards).

There is a huge variety of tarot cards available, from classic decks like the Rider-Waite Tarot and the Tarot de Marseilles, to playful versions like the Steampunk Tarot and the Halloween Tarot. There are even tarot decks based on popular culture, like the Dark Shadows Tarot, the Penny Dreadful Tarot, and the Lord of the Rings Tarot.

People use tarot for many things  playing the tarot card game, meditation, deep spiritual growth, connecting with the divine, as well as divination. Most people associate tarot cards with fortunetelling, but that only a small part of the world of tarot.

Where did tarot come from?

Tarot developed as a card game in early to mid-15th century Italy. Only the richest families could afford such a luxury item, as the cards had to be handmade and painted by a commissioned artist. Many of the earliest surviving tarot cards feature Catholic iconography and Christian symbolism. To this day, tarot remains a popular card game in many European countries, particularly France.

Can anyone read tarot cards?

You don't need to pursue a career as a fortune teller or psychic to benefit from tarot cards. They are a wonderful tool for developing a better understanding of yourself. Many counselors and psychologists use them in their daily practices to help people get in touch with their true feelings. They can also help you gain insights and make better decisions by allowing you to tune in to your intuition.

Are tarot cards evil?

You might have heard someone say, "Tarot cards are evil!" or "Tarot scares me!" The people who say such things have probably never even seen a deck of tarot cards, much less know anything about them. It's only human to fear what you do not understand.

There is absolutely nothing evil or scary about tarot cards. They are simply a bunch of cards with pictures on them, like any other card deck. 

Tarot was created by Catholic families in a deeply Christian Europe. The earliest reference in Christian literature of tarot cards being "evil" is when they were used for gambling. Many tarot decks - from the first to modern decks - contain Christian symbolism 

In America the influence of the Puritans has led many modern Protestant and Evangelical denominations to denounce tarot as evil, but they still celebrate Christmas which the Puritans outlawed as too Pagan.

Almost every bookstore carries tarot cards these days. Many people collect them for their stunning art alone. Some of the best illustrators alive today have provided art for tarot decks. Tarot cards are simply a tool. The intent behind their use belongs to the individual alone and every tarot reader we've ever met has been a kind, generous, loving person who genuinely wants to help others.

How prevalent is tarot in pop culture?

Tarot card decks are appearing on TV and in the movies more and more everyday. Perhaps you've seen them on television series like BonesCarnivale, Penny Dreadful, or The Simpsons. Visit our Tarot in Film section to find a list of movies and television programs where tarot cards and tarot card readers have been depicted.

After viewing some of those films/videos, you might like to try a tarot reading for yourself. Anyone capable of reading a 6 to 16 page instructional booklet can learn to read tarot cards. If you decide you want to own a deck, please consider buying your first deck of tarot cards from us. We carry a wide variety of the most popular decks available.

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