Tarot cards consist of twenty-one trump cards, the fool and extra face card for every suit. Several parts of Europe use the deck to play games, but this is less popular in English countries where the deck is commonly used for divination.
Tarot cards find their history back in the dawn of cards in the 14th century. Speculation denotes that they were founded in Islamic countries, but the first historical news of them is their banning in the dominantly Christian area of Bern, Switzerland. Early tarot decks, however, featured only sixteen trump cards, as compared to the twenty-one that are featured in modern decks.
The modern tarot deck is separated into what is commonly called the major arcana or trump cards and minor arcane or suits of cards. The trump cards or major arcana consist of twenty two cards, all without suits. These include the Fool, the Magician, the Empress, Justice, the Wheel of Fortune and others. The minor arcana consists of four suits of cards; swords, staves, cups and coins. Today, staves are often called wands, but rods or batons are seen as well. Coins may be called disks or pentacles in some tarot decks.
Every card has a different meaning, depending upon what the card’s suit is, and if it is part of the Minor or Major Arcana. All of the Tarot cards are numbered, so each card serves a reader with a specific numerological value which can be interpreted during divination practices. Furthermore, the meanings of the cards evolve depending upon where the cards appear in a reading, as well as what kind of card layout is used. The cards are read both singularly and together to get a complete reading. The most popular layouts are the three card spread and the Celtic Cross.
Face to face tarot readings are interactive in a sense that the reader allows the person to determine which face down card is interpreted by the reader. Face to face readings are commonly found in the streets of many different places in the English-speaking world. In England, there is a going rate of £12.50 per person, but the price drastically decreases depending on the number of people paying for the service. Some offer the service in the comfort of one’s own home, while some offer it on the street for cheaper rates as well.
There is a purist belief that face to face readings are significantly more accurate than other types of readings such as e-mail readings or phone readings, but of course the general destiny of these beliefs is to be completely unfounded like all other astrological arguments.
Alternative tarot card reading methods include phone and online readings. While there are free Internet sites to read your fortunes, they are only for show or offered as a gimmick. On the other hand, professional tarot card readers offering their services over the phone can cost about £5.00 per reading. Card reading over the phone offers a different approach to commercial tarot card reading, since the customer can have a hotline to know his fortunes on demand. Card reading allows people to have their fortunes checked every morning, which is both convenient and lifestyle altering.
Tarot card reading is seen as a trivial activity today, but many still hold extreme opinions about these cards. Either these cards come from the devil or are legit guide to your fortunes. Whatever value we afford to these cards, there is no question that they reflect a peculiar angle to our history and culture.