The Tarot is a deck of 78 cards, divided between a Major and Minor Arcana (meaning secrets), which is used in divination. The Major Arcana contains 22 cards, that represent the "journey of the Fool". The Minor Arcana contains 56 cards, that consist of four elemental suits, which represent the lesser aspects of the Fool's journey.
The word tarot is a mystery in itself, but author Paul Breau theorizes that it is a combination of words. One of which may be torah, the Hebrew word that means "laws". Another possibility is being an anagram for the Latin word rotas, which means "wheel" and implies "changes". Together, one may speculate that the Tarot is the laws of change.
During the 13-1400s in Northern Italy, the Nobles used to play a game called tarocchi, which was simmiler to the game of "Bridge". These cards had relatively the same suits as the Minor Arcana and had also been used to tell fortunes
It was not until 1781, that the Tarot had truly captured the interests of those who practiced the occult. A French mason named Antoine Court de Gebelin wrote the first deck to be associated with Egypt and the Qabbalah, as well as other ancient images; which is why Tarot's origin remains quite obscure. In the year 1909, William Rider and Arthur E. Waite published the first contemporary deck, known as the Rider-Waite Tarot. This version had been adapted by occult societies, such as the Hermetic Order and Golden Dawn.
Franz Bardon and Eliphas Levi, in particular, used the Tarot as the source of their Hermetic wisdom, each page representing a page of the Book of Wisdom Levi spoke of in Transcendental Magic.
- “As an erudite Qabalistic book, all combinations of which reveal the harmonies preexisting between signs, letters and numbers, the practical value of the Tarot is truly and above all marvelous. A prisoner devoid of books, could in a few years acquire a universal science, and converse with an unequalled doctrine and inexhaustible eloquence.” - Eliphas Levi