Nobody knows for certain where the Tarot cards originally came from but they seem to share the same roots as playing cards and the game of chess.
There are claims put forward that China, India, or even Egypt is the birthplace of the Tarot cards.
It is more than likely that influences from all these places, and a good many more, have been drawn on by the early card designers. It is probable that the tarot packs now used in
psychic readings which finally emerged, more or less in their present form, in the fourteenth century, were developed from those which were carried by the travelling people and gypsies during their periodic westerly migrations.
An early card game which called Tarocco in Italy and ‘Tarot’ and in France used the now familiar format of four suits of cards, numbered from Ace to 10 with figures of King, Queen, Cavalier and Page. The suits were in the familiar form of Cups, Staves (Rods or Wands) Swords and Coins (Pentacles) although the names changes lightly from one country to another, or even from one area to another. This game actually used the 22 Major Arcana cards which were used as trump cards; the only one which still remains in playing card packs is the Fool which is called the Joker.
There is an account of Tarot cards being used for fortune-telling in the fourteenth century French court, when a gypsy was brought in to entertain the King. She was strangely able to describe many personal details of the people around him and tell him the future events with such accuracy that fortune-telling by cards became tremendously popular. So much so that the King became throughly fed-up with it and banned the cads from the court altogether.
Since then Tarot cards have gone through a number of phases of popularity, and banishment over the years, and are at the moment extremely popular. The image that they have of being slightly dangerous in some unspecified way, only serves to increase the ever growing attraction. In fact, Tarot cards are not in the least bit dangerous, as they rely only on intuition of the tarot reader, to work out the possible multitude of meanings. of each and every card.
And if the reader treats them with respect butdoes not worry too much about any one particular reading, then they can be entertaining, informative, and a useful guide to future actions.