The deck of cards known as Tarot actually combines two sets of cards: the 22 Major Arcana or Trumps and the 56 Minor Arcana or suit cards that more closely resemble standard playing cards. They are primarily used as a tool of divination to obtain answers to specific questions. It is thought that the unconscious mind of the querent will be drawn to those specific cards whose interpretation relates to the question at hand.
The best known deck is The Tarot of Marseilles (or Tarot of Marseille or Tarot de Marseille), which was revived by A.E. Waite and the members of The Golden Dawn, a spiritual/esoteric lodge that flourished at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Today there are about 100 different decks to choose from.
Read my advice on Choosing A Tarot Deck – soon to follow!
© Delia O’Riordan