Tarot cards have been dated back to the 15th century. It was not until the eighteenth century that occultists and mystics used the cards as a means of divination. Divination is the art of discovering spiritual and mental pathways. These pathways can give people the ability to look into the past, present and future. However, with future events, tarot readings are meant as a guide, not a definite answer.
History traces the first known tarot cards back to around 1430 to 1450, in northern Italy. However, playing cards used for divination purposes was not recorded until around 1540.
Tarot readings did not become mainstream until the 18th and 19th centuries. By this time, occultists and mystics felt that tarot cards had specific ties to the dead, as well as spirit guides. When a person participates in tarot readings, it is through the cards that the spirit guide depicts past, present and possible future events. Psychoanalysts such as Carl Jung have stated the importance and symbolism that tarot cards provide.
While tarot cards are often used as playing cards in parts of Europe, in the United States, the cards are used for tarot readings. Tarot readings are designed to take an in-depth look at a particular situation, or to take an overall assessment of the querent's life.
Tarot readings can be done in a number of ways. Brief readings use a smaller amount of cards and are typically a general overview or “quick answer.” Brief readings give a general overview of past and present events, as well as brief insight into the outcome of a particular situation or event. More in-depth readings utilize a larger amount of cards and are geared toward more specific questions or situations. For many people, certain cards hold more meaning than others. These specific cards can be used to help get further knowledge about a person.
Whether a person wants a better understanding of the events leading up to the present, or an understanding of events that will cause a specific outcome in the future, tarot readings are designed to provide these answers.