The reading of the future goes back as far as the earliest written records. The cards have been used for as long as they have existed. The special tarot cards are first traced back to fifteenth-century Italy. ‘The tarocchi’ was a parlour game for the elite. In 1432 the cards were denounced and anyone using them was deemed to be in league with the Devil; people nevertheless still continued to produce and use them.

In seventeenth and eighteenth century France interest in them flourished and in 1856 Levi made the first connection with the Kabbalah, linking each of the 22 major arcana cards to the Hebrew alphabet. The tarot then developed within mystical orders from thereon. In Victorian Britain, the magical Order of the Golden Dawn attributed great significance to the tarot, furthering its fame. Arthur Edward Waite who joined the Order of the Golden Dawn in 1891 had the greatest influence on modern tarot. He commissioned artist Pamela Coleman Smith to draw pictures for the 78 cards, thus making the famed Rider-Waite tarot deck. By the 1960’s tarot had reached a wider audience, infiltrating modern society so people from all walks of life could own and use the cards.

The modern tarot pack contains 78 cards, including 22 major arcana cards. Each card has many symbols within it but contains an overall basic meaning and essence which is different when reversed. Meanings vary too, according to each card’s position within a spread and according to which cards surround it. Modern psychologist Jung used this pictorial ‘book of life’ rich in symbols with his patients. He believed in synchronicity (nothing being a coincidence) and that the archetypal images tapped into a collective unconscious. Western Tarot sees life as a series of stages from birth to death within which there is much possibility for change and illumination. A reader is a mistress of a beautiful and complex art of the language of the soul.

The 22 Major Arcana

There is a thinking in primordial images, in symbols which are older than the historical man, which are inborn in him from the earliest times, eternally living, outlasting all generations, still make up the groundwork of the human psyche. It is only possible to live the fullest life when we are in harmony with these symbols; wisdom is a return to them.” ― C.G. Jung

Synchronicity takes the coincidence of events in space and time as meaning something more than mere chance…” Jung

© Michelle Chaso 2015 – All rights reserved