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What is Tarot?
We as humans have the power to write our own destiny, even though some things may be preordained for us. However, we have always strived to look for answers to our unending curiosity and are allured to grasp the uncertain nature and mysteries of future. Hence we derived tools such as Astrology, Palmistry, Numerology and Tarot to dwell in the mysteries of the unknown and in turn better understand ourselves. Let us try to understand all about Tarot so that we have a basic understanding about it and can confidently venture in the realm of divination and prophesy. Tarot serves as a mirror of our soul and tries to reflect the possible set of answers for the questions that we have been seeking. Even though our future is not written in stone but in sand, which is flexible and can be changed according to one’s actions and free will, Tarot helps to understand these choices we have before us. It gives us insight to various situations that we have been facing in our everyday lives and tries to give us a fresh perspective about them so that we may arm ourselves with better knowledge to deal with such situations.
Tarot is basically a set of 78 cards, that is divided into two major categories, the major arcana and the minor arcana. The word ‘arcana’ means secret knowledge which we try to seek through the Tarot cards. Neither of the two arcana of the Tarot cards are important over the other. Its just that the cards of the major arcana depict the major events of our life while the cards of the minor arcana depict the finer or minute details of our life. The first set of cards or the major arcana are also known as the Trump cards. There are twenty two major arcana cards in total, with twenty one cards without suits number from 1 through 21, and a 22nd card, known as ‘The Fool’ which is sometimes given the value of zero. The second set of cards are known as minor arcana and are fifty six in number. The consist of four suits of fourteen cards each. Upon further sub classification, the fourteen cards in each suit consists of an Ace, nice cards numbered 2 to 10 and four court cards.
There are various theories surrounding the origin of the Tarot cards. However, the exact source of origin of Tarot cards are not completely known. Scholars who have researched extensively on Tarot’s history have found that Tarot was initially a card game being played in Italy during the fifteenth century. The oldest of the Tarot cards belonged to the Visconti family, the rulers of Milan. But its still not known since when and how did the Tarot cards started to be used as a tool of fortune-telling. Since times immemorial, ancient civilizations like that of Egypt have been using images drawn on cards to foretell events through symbolic representation. Some scholars believe that Tarot cards made their way to Europe from Middle East through the trading caravans or through the Crusades. But even after such elaborate theories, none of them have been able to prove themselves accurate enough and the exact origin of Tarot cards as a tool for fortune-telling is still shrouded in mystery.
Tarot not only does provide information to us about our future, it helps us to construct a create a future which is more consistent with our expectations. It tries to analyse the situations which we are facing currently so that we gain a better understanding of them and consequently try to act on them in such a manner which proves beneficial to us. Thus, Tarot is more than ‘fortune-telling’ and it is more of ‘fortune-creating’.
How do Tarot cards work is a mesmerizing question. There is a pattern in the way the cards arrange themselves so accurately and then give us most vivid and relevant accounts of the situation or question that we are facing. Various theories from quantum mechanics to synchronicity have been used to describe the manner in which Tarot cards work. However, the most plausible explanation may be that Tarot establishes a connection between us and our collective universal subconsciousness which always directs us in the right path. Tarot is not merely a science which can be derived mathematically and proved by the laws of cause and effect. However, it is just another realm of reality that allows us to dwell deep into the very basic connection of our soul with the universal energy which providence has provided to everyone. It is how conscious we are of this energy within us that will allow us establish a connection with the creator and help us to deal with testing situations tactfully.
Tarot is thus a tool for self guidance and a medium through which one can pay attention to things which need our insight. All of this aims and ensures that through a better understanding of ourselves and the different kinds of situations that we face during the course of our life, we come out as strong individuals who lead a happy, fulfilling and a meaningful life.
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TarunSagar Maharaj
Jain Ascetic since the tender age of 13 years. He says I want to set Mahavir free from the temples and that’s the only reason I had stopped to talk…Read More