ArcanaPress promotes the 600-year-old Tarot Tradition, especially the powerful simplicity of its once block-printed images. Tarot books in English rarely address older decks having non-scenic pips, nor do they mention reading methods that predate the English tradition (little more than 100 years old). But historic reproduction decks are now available, and once understood, these charming Tarots will delight and inspire you!

In the United States, the Tarot is known primarily through a 20th century recreation, The Rider-Waite-Smith Deck (and those it inspired); its earlier 500 years of history lies unknown to most Americans.

History: In 1909 a deck of picture cards was published in England; it consisted of 4 suits of 14 cards each, and 22 higher ranking trumps. The cards were designed to be used primarily for divination according to the system used by a metaphysical organization known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. This deck, commissioned by Arthur Edward Waite and illustrated by Pamela Coleman Smith, was rarely seen in the United States until the 60s after which its ever-increasing popularity has continued to inspire other English-style decks. Few people however, realize that the history of the Tarot goes back at least to the early 1400s—a 600-year tradition. It is an enduring legacy.

What is the Tarot? Physically, the Tarot is a deck of two distinct kinds of cards:

1. The Major Arcana (Trumps)—22 picture cards that symbolize the major realities of a person’s life. These are the salient issues or principles that force one to learn and grow through the life experience.

2. The Minor Arcana (Pips)—4 suits, of 14 cards each, a total of 56. The suits represent the realms of life in which the principles of the Major Arcana are experienced. Traditional pips do not have scenic images; they have suit symbols and decorative floral motifs.

But the Tarot is more than a pack of cards; it is a filing system for your own thoughts, ideas, and emotions. It grows as you grow. It can be used for light-hearted games, for storytelling, for creative problem solving, as a memory aid, a meditative or contemplative focus, or as a tool for psychic development and divination. The perceived source of inspiration varies with the individual. For some, it is one’s Higher Self, for others it may be deep consciousness, the Akashic records, master teachers, guides, angels, or the divinity of one’s understanding. The Tarot nourishes the soul – it is a celebration of life!

Historic Cards: Photo-reproductions and careful recreations of historic Tarots are available today, but few are purchased in the United States because the suit cards (pips) lack the scenic images that Americans have come to rely on. With few exceptions, Tarot books written in English reference only the English system,

but a new book is now available…     

                                                                                                                                  Click t“BOOKS” below