What every Newcomer tarot reader should know about the history and myths of tarot?

Here is the advice of 45 experienced reader and educators of tarot and a few beginners. The contradictions are meant to foster understanding and respect for alternative views.

History is based on facts and therefore can communicate only what could be demonstrated with signs or carefully deduced from an in-depth comprehension of the facts, the culture, the span and also the people. New facts can totally change what was previously thought to be true.

Myths are false stories that reveal some sort of inner Truth. That Truth is frequently not what the myth conveys on its own surface. A person called them”the Great Imaginings behind this Earth” But, they could lead us along paths which aren’t real or can even be harmful, for example when they become”rules” that unnecessarily restrict our expertise.

It’s been said that history is accurate on the outside but a lie about the interior (for instance, we’ll never know what people actually felt and did). Whereas a fantasy is a lie on the outside and true on the inside (however, differentiating the fact it points to can be tricky).

tarot card

There are two kinds of tarot myths:

Stories of tarot’s roots (mostly romantic and mystical stories with excellent inner significance),

“Rules” that should be followed only if you find them useful and meaningful.

We actually know quite a bit about tarot background:

Playing cards (as shown below) appeared in Europe and spread rapidly about 60-75 years before the Triumphs were added to the deck. For the first 350 years’Il Trionfos’ were known almost exclusively for playing games similar to whist or bridge as attested to by several frescos and text references.

While there are really so infrequent signs early on that both playing cards and tarot reading online were used for divination and personality delineations (in poems called Tarocchi Appropriati), accurate”reading” practices were not widely known before the late 18th century. Similarly, the notion of Tarot originating with either Jewish or Christian Kabbalists or together with the Cathars has not a shred of evidence, even though both were known to exist in Milan through the span.

There’s still a lively debate regarding the etymology of this plural word Tarocchi to the deck and Tarocco for the match (that was shortened at least two decades afterwards in central Europe into Tarot, Taroc or Tarock). My favorite origin story is that the root of Tarocchi is very similar to this for the Sicilian Blood Orange, Tarocco, that includes a skin that is paired. This makes it look like the forged gold leaf backgrounds of early court decks, in the Arabic word for’forged’ (taraqa) describing a design technique used on gold and leather.

Please read Sherryl Smith’s Tarot History Chronology, TarotL History Info Sheet and my post: “Origins of Cartomancy (Playing Card Divination).” The serious student will want to check out trionfi.com, Cultural Association”Le Tarot”, the Tarot History Forum and Tarot History & Iconography in aeclectic, Amongst Others.

The advice given here concerning the importance of history by our board of tarot experts (and a few newbies) wasn’t easy to organize. I have done a ton of condensing and of consolidating of similar statements. Personally, I was originally intrigued by the myths as they encouraged my interest in esoteric studies and in performing readings. It was only after that I came to truly appreciate the vital importance of history and how it adds great depth my comprehension of the significance of the cards. Factual history adds to our understanding; it doesn’t subtract from it.


  • Just beginning to read ? No, it is not important to understand tarot history and myth.
  • History is not essential for novices. Myths and archetypes work even if you don’t know how or what their history is. They are classic, that is, relevant to all times. Newbies want the Magic first!
  • Too much delving to the traditional side of things stops a lot of people from picking up a deck and gaining tremendous advantage. Stress and overwhelm is far too prevalent.
  • No knowledge of the history of Tarot is needed to begin developing a relationship with Tarot. Everyone can start to utilize and have their intuition stimulated by the pictures of their cards.
  • in the long run, when a person reads or is performing a reading, the brain must open and the reading has to come together in the cards along with the spread (not in the background ).
  • History isn’t relevant. All you need to understand is that tarot works.
  • History is a story, but it is not really about NOW.
  • Let’s talk to us in how it will. History is something different.
  • Stick with what you DO know; do not require the past or on external forces to inform you.
  • The history or myth, true or erroneous, is NOT what provides the Tarot its own power. Its universal and detailed nature does.
  • Dwelling in the past, while educational, can also be a total diversion and also take you away from the current. History is often confused and distorted, nobody knows for sure what really happened. History is incidental.
  • As the history and roots of the tarot are still unknown and each foreword of almost every tarot instruction book has another take on it, it’s not vital that a newbie understand the roots.
  • Since the origins are muddy and because the influence of several cultures is evident even in the first decks, anybody who claims to understand THE source of the Tarot should check their facts.
  • Too much information could be overwhelming. References to’this deck or that deck’, the several correspondences and so on, sounds somewhat OCD and geekish. The concept that to become an adept reader requires this meticulous in-depth understanding is off-putting.


It provides you a basis and understanding of the Tarot as you create a connection with the cards.

  • Do the study on the background in addition to the myths. It offers you a better knowledge of Tarot, and the more you understand the Tarot, the greater your readings will be.
  • All students should read the TarotL History Information Sheet.
  • Knowing your roots provides a feeling of base and equilibrium –such as the difference between a mobile home and a castle.
  • It is like purchasing a creepy old house & NOT asking about previous tenants. It’s important to be aware of the history proper.

Much of what folks consider to be background is actually myth. However, you won’t know the difference if you don’t understand the background.

  • Anyone with Tarot (even though entirely unconsciously ) without at least a basic comprehension of its own history and its historic context is definitely missing an integral part of its charm, richness and character.
  • Every man or woman who chooses to utilize a magical instrument… owes it to hirself to do enough research to understand completely what the instrument is and is not.
  • it’s simply common sense on a magic and religious level to understand what you are linking yourself to, and exactly what it will and will not do.
  • Recognizing the background and the myths allow tarotists be more mindful of their spiritual capacities.
  • When anybody begins to strategy Tarot with any amount of dedication and seriousness, then it is a good idea to dig a bit deeper.
  • With any other instrument, you’d read the instruction manual and directions.
  • Knowing the history and myths offers you a deeper understanding and, when you are trying to understand, you want to understand as much as you can.
  • When you have a reader that DOESN’T understand the history sitting down to read for a customer who DOES understand it, the reader’s credibility might be called in to question.
  • If you are going to give it to the public, you should be educated about the origins and history.
  • A foundation in history reveals the facts vs. the customs and myths, among the tarot reader may then select.
  • Tarot isn’t merely a means of divination; it’s a game played today by many individuals to entertain themselves. This information is important because it makes us conscious of tarot as complete, of all its possibilities.
  • History reminds us not to be too serious about something whose first creations were as a match.
  • Tarot history becomes more a study of the culture and mindset of the people of the time. We will never know just who modeled for the art or exactly what the artist was trying to communicate, or if he (or she!) Put some inside joke or insult within the portrait. But, we can know something about the cultural backdrop in which these pictures were made, and how people generally seen themselves, God, others, and life.
  • There can be a massive disconnect when we apply our contemporary cultural understanding and meaning to those images without also hauling the very best understanding of the originating culture’s understanding and meaning into the mix.
  • It will help to”make it” first in the original context before bringing this understanding into the modern context.
  • One’s experience of Tarot will not be as full and complete as it could be without the study, the novels, the explorations into cards as well as also the collections of decks.
  • By showing us the marvelous and mysterious innovation of this ancient tarot, it invites us to keep making history together with the Tarot. Wouldn’t we need people a 100 or even 200 years from now to know a little about how we used Tarot here in the onset of the 21st century?


  • Newbies really wish to do it”right” and could be informed by badger folks all way of tarot rules, much of which are unnecessary for readers.
  • someone might falsely believe, by way of instance, that it’s required to lower the deck in a specific way or the reading is not valid.
  • The tarot does not have to be granted to you as a present! I despise that myth!
  • obtaining a deck is a private option. When I waited for somebody to get me a deck, then I wouldn’t have one yet today!
  • There are people who insist the only way to cut the cards is with the left hand. Will an amputee not ever be able to have a reading?
  • Many myths of origin have been dispelled as untrue.
  • A conversation (and hopefully rejection) of a number of the more silly or frightening myths would be most welcome.


  • though the myths are, for the most part, maybe not true, they still have an effect on Tarot, its meanings, and how it is used.
  • The actual history of how tarot started isn’t the main thing, but instead the principles involved, the requirement for people to tell their own story.
  • The Tarot is a grand narrative of the soul, and seekers beginning to research that Tarot should understand the role of every card, and it’s part in the grand stage of the soul.
  • Many of the”rules” surrounding Tarot originated with a few true purpose at the time, others appear to be “magical” in nature. Use rituals which help make your sitter comfortable and open to the market.
  • I am starting a”myth” that you should *always* provide their cards for their beloved deity or Higher Power.
  • Concerning the”principles,” fantasy is more important than history, for the mere actuality that you don’t have to follow the myths [rules]. They tell what NOT to do. Everybody needs to find their own manner.

The Middle Way

  • Follow your interests. If it contributes to myth and history, go for it, if not… wait.
  • It’s about both: research and jump in and utilize your intuition/imagination to do readings.
  • Don’t teach history in a reading. At the moment to moment of the session, it isn’t applicable unless it pertains to the customer problem. The artwork on the cards is the most important.
  • There isn’t any definitive approach to tarot. Initial ingorance can function to one’s benefit. Early intrigue can evolve into a lifelong fascination with tarot that includes history, myth and lore.
  • It’s good to get just enough background to pique your interest, and wonderful to have the”actual” history unfold slowly through additional studies.
  • Initially I was not very interested with this type of history, but now I think that it’s quite important to understand just how, when and tarot was created.
  • Never hurts to understand it. There are readers who normally gravitate toward this stuff and others who do just as well not understanding the mythological background.
  • Academic/historical analysis, for this particular novice ought to be considered as just one’module’ inside the learning program. Just a little bit of background could be fascinating.
  • There is really a need to comprehend where these images have come from. Every newbie reader needs to know a bit of how these pictures have evolved.
  • What someone new to the Tarot needs is background details. If a few myths are brought to the table, nice, but there is so much standard things to get under the belt. Principally revolve around the deck, its composition and its uses.
  • I think beginners should learn how to examine a deck and carry out divination and after that, go to the myths. They might never get to the tarot’s divinatory activity.
  • The myths should be reviewed, then retained or lost –as every individual is a person.
  • Most of the things newbies will read about the history, is really fantasy, mystery and lore. Truth isn’t the same as reality; facts change. In the long run, a individual has to pick their own fact.
  • you are feeling enriched and free to experiment when you know there are an assortment of items to use and sample. It prevents you from getting bored.
  • The more you learn, the more shades of meaning and subtleties open up for your comprehension and use. It’s like giving a painter more colors and brushes to use. Every serious Newbie should understand that there is an almost endless palette of alternatives to choose from.
  • History can show how tarot archetypes have been interpreted by other people, so in this respect, soak up as a number of takes on these archetypes as possible, until the information all awakens, disappears, and also the character remains.
  • It’s always a good idea to know as much as possible about the background and symbolism of items. Tarot vision is somewhat ambiguous, and the reader can read into it whatever gains their attention. But, the cards have intended meanings, and if you know them, you can filter out (or take ) meanings you get from the subconscious which don’t fit.

It’s still tarot, and specifically definable as a book of spiritual wisdom in picture form. It is open to interpretation, but has a real history and traditions that surround it. Make certain students understand it’s historical roots along with wings that soar in the future.

  • Only learn the history if it’s your reading style to use the background of their cards to make up their meanings.
  • With a few newbies, tarot could be likened to handing a fighter a calculator; they will see it as a shiny toy, perhaps not realizing all of the wonderful things it can tell you and help you figure out. With others it can be likened to handing the Rosetta Stone to some competent archaeologist: it unlocks a whole new universe of information.
  • It’s good to keep a pupil mindset or”white belt mind” regardless of knowledge or knowledge.
  • There is the background that’s based on factual evidence: geological, archeological, etc., and there is background as recorded by people who invent, misinterpret, embellish and totally lie. By’studying’ history, one might accumulate information or opinions, but not necessarily facts or the facts. The history of Tarot is no exclusion.
  • There is a saying,”History is written by the winners.” Just because it may have been unwritten, doesn’t mean it did not happen.

Added Advice from Contributors

The most important thing is that you feel comfortable.

  • Be responsible for what you’re doing when you telephone in guides and spirit helpers. If you do not know something about it, just don’t go there.
  • Many people today get too hung up on how they believe that they should translate a card instead of letting the deeper layers of awareness aid to guide them through the nuances of meaning. Core meanings are fixed in the mind whether one knowingly knows it or not.
  • It is especially helpful to be aware of the connection between Tarot and modern day playing cards and that it is possible to do a reading using a deck of cards.

But maybe not symbols need to be put in stone.

  • Find a deck which has a symbolic system with which you feel comfy. Many people are unable to use the same deck!