ArcanaPress promotes the 600-year Tarot Tradition, especially the powerful simplicity of its once block-printed images. Why? Although seldom thought of in this way, the Tarot is really a remarkable cultural artifact. The four suits were associated with segments of society and realms of experience, but even more fascinating are the 22 images that became trumps for trick-taking games. Different stylistic representations of their themes through the centuries, are a testament to their continued relevance.

Some think this series was assembled from random unrelated images of the 15th century, but the images depict issues that each person faces in life, and they are arranged in a sequence of importance. It is likely that a similar set of inspirational images existed, and someone realized that it would make a perfect set of trumps if added to playing cards.

English speakers today, know the Tarot primarily through the Rider Waite Smith Deck, once called The Rider Pack. Published in London in 1909, it introduced a new Tarot tradition based on teachings of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an English metaphysical school. At its publication, the Tarot in general, already had a long history in continental Europe, but few Tarots of any kind were seen in the United States until the 1960s when this new English-style deck with its altered card sequence and illustrated pips quickly caught on.

So far, the oldest documentation found for the existence of the Tarot in general, is mention of a luxury deck commissioned at great expense for an Italian Nobleman in 1440.This tells us that the cards were already well known, desirable, and certainly existed in a simpler inexpensive form for commoners.

The Tarot has two distinct kinds of cards:

1. The Major Arcana (Trumps)—22 picture cards that symbolize the major realities of life—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. Each suit represents a  realm of life in which the principles of the Major Arcana are experienced. Traditional pips have suit symbols and decorative floral motifs, not the scenic images found on English pips.

But the Tarot is more than a pack of cards; it is a filing system for your own thoughts, ideas, and emotions. It can be used for games, storytelling, creative problem solving, a memory aid, a meditative or contemplative focus, or as a tool for psychic development and divination. The perceived source of inspiration varies with each 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. Tarot nourishes the soul – it is a celebration of life!

Photo-reproductions and careful recreations of historic Tarots are available today, but books in English rarely address European-style decks with their non-scenic pips. They don’t teach the simple, enjoyable reading methods that predate the English tradition,

but a new book is now available…     

                                                                                                                                  Click “BOOKS” below