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Although not certainly known, TAROT is believed to be of very ancient origin. J.F. Vaillent (in Les Romes, histoire vraie des vraise Bohemiens, 1857) stated that the great divinity As-Taroth is of Indo-Tarter origin - Tan-tara or the TAROT is the symbolic expression of the Zodiac . But many learned scholars offer widely varying opinions as regards its real origin - although the origin of TAROT is often attributed to the ancient Gnostics, various countries, religions, and sects were connected with it. Probably it grew and developed through a few centuries; and, possibly its two main sections were developed during two different time-periods; the 22 mystical "Major Enumeration Keys" have Kabala connection (which is a mystical Jewish tradition), while the 56 'Minor Arcanas' might be a later incorporation by around the 14th century by the Italians (it is not a just coincidence that an Italian game of cards is known as Tarocchi ). By around the 15th century, it became very popular in France. By around the 19th century, it attracted the attention of many noted occultists worldwide, and in the last quarter of the 20th century it became very popular around the world. In the Western countries, the subject of "Numerology" was later developed as a mere offshoot of Tarot.

The divine subject of TAROT was probably conceived and developed by ancient Egyptian priests; they had initially recorded their teachings in a symbolic manner for preserving their secrets - which could be understandable only to the real adepts or initiates. The Egyptian word 'tar' means a path, while 'ros' means royal; both combined means the "royal path of life" . Another word of the same language 'taru' means: "to consult for the required answer" . As during that particular time-period their kingdom was in danger of being ravaged by foreign invaders, many people had to migrate to different countries; besides their lives, they also took their faith, culture, learning, etc with them - with which they had considerably influenced various people of their host countries.

It is believed that TAROT is the golden "Key" , which opens the main entrance door of the house of mystic knowledge. It enables the enquirer to decipher the divine intentions in a very unique manner. Its penetrating searchlight is capable of fathoming the immense depth and foreseeing everything what are there beyond the far distant horizon - the people, places, things, events, happenings, etc. It does neither utter a single word nor does it listen - but it perfectly understands, and reveals the true 'picture'. It reads your mind, understands your chief concerns, and offers amazingly accurate replies to all your queries - whether these are religious or secular, mundane or spiritual, complex or simple, it simply does not matter. It is sure to give you true replies, revealing in a subtle manner - which will be perfectly understandable to you in any situation; it will guide you as your most trusted friend; and like an angel, will guard you as a protective guardian.

The process of divination through TAROT chiefly consists of laying of cards in various patterns, which are termed as "spreads"; various kinds of "spreads" consisting of the same or different number of Cards are in use. For consultations of general nature concerning day-to-day affairs, the ancient Celtic Cross method consisting of 10 different cards is relatively more popular; it offers a very comprehensive details about the enquirer's present condition and circumstances - together with information about the past and the expected outcome in immediate- and near- future. There are two other methods wherein 10 different cards are used in the spread. These are: (1) The Modern Maga Diamond method , and (2) The Spiritual Ten Gates of Tarot method (In case of the latter, the additional Mystery Card (Card # 79) is also used).

TAROT has close links with Astrology; each of the 22 Major Enumeration Key Cards bears the symbol of a zodiacal sign and/ or planet , which adds another dimension to the interpretations. Probably evolved on a relatively later period, the Horoscope method consisting of 12 different cards is also very popular with the persons who have good knowledge and information in the subject of Astrology - as the 12 cards of this particular "spread" correspond to 12 different 'houses' of the horoscope, whose corresponding significations can be interpreted with ease and convenience.

A method consisting of 8 different cards is very popularly used for replying to the queries concerned with the affairs of the heart. It is more popularly used in case of 'female' enquirers - as this spread covers the more frequently asked questions, which are of chief concern to the general 'female' enquirers. ... Another method consists of 7 different cards . This offers a reliable picture of the possible outcome expected to happen in immediate future; this method can be depended upon when a person becomes quite upset owing to some recent development, and is really very serious to know about the possible outcome in immediate future - which greatly concerns him/ her. There are 2 distinctly different methods - which consists of 5 different cards only. In these methods, only the 22 Major Enumeration Key cards are employed - while the 56 Minor 'Arcana' cards are removed from the pack before shuffling. This method works very well for minor enquiries of relatively less importance. This spread also offers brief, precise, and honest reply; but the interpretations obtained in this method are like interpreting dreams - as these are expressed in a rather symbolic language; Although these appear as to be the 'hints' to others, these are nevertheless perfectly understandable to the enquirer as he/ she knows best about the person, place, thing, etc he/ she is really concerned about.

For more general cases of relatively less importance, the use of 5 different Casual Methods - each consisting of 3 different Cards - is also quite commonly found. Depending on the nature of query, the corresponding three cards (first, second, and the third) denote: About the Time-periods: Past, Present, and Future. About the Time of the day: Morning to Noon, Noon to Evening, Evening and Night. About the areas of life: Monetary dealings, Profession/ Business, and Love/ Marriage. About the concerned persons: Relatives and very close Friends, Family members staying together, and Acquaintances and Associates. About the objectives: Significator for the issue, Action taken or to be taken, Resolution or Outcome. We have kept the provision for utilizing any of these various methods according to the user's personal choice, inclination, or requirement.

The 56 Minor 'Arcana' cards are classified into 4 categories: Swords, Cups, Pentacles, and Wands . There are 14 cards in each category: from Ace to 10 are called numbered or 'pip' cards, and remaining 4 'face' cards (Valet, Knight, Queen, and King - which are also called court cards. The Minor 'Arcana' Cards are indicative of the "situations" - which lead to events or happenings. In general, the Swords cards have affinity with the 'fire' element; these indicate the person's mental condition and intellectual level , the Cups cards have affinity with the 'water' element; these relate to the person's satisfaction in emotional life , the Pentacles cards have affinity with the 'earth' element; these correspond to the person's physical state and material status , while the Wands cards have affinity with the 'air' element; these reveal the person's capacities and potentials, and his/ her level of attainment in professional career . Thus, it can easily be seen that TAROT covers almost all possible 'aspects' of real life.

The distinct difference between the 22 Major Enumeration Key Cards and the 56 Minor 'Arcana' cards lies in the fact that whereas the former is by nature basically 'spiritual' , and hence indicates the eternal quest of the soul for further development, the latter is functionally 'mundane' - it describes the person's social position and his/ her circumstantial conditions. Nevertheless, these two classes of cards are conjugate complements of each other.

It is very interesting to know the description and meaning of the various classes and sub-classes of the TAROT cards.

The Main Class : The most important class consists of 22 Major Enumeration Key Cards . These are often termed as the 'Trumps suit' also, which is the heart of Tarot. The meanings of each of these illustrations are mystical and complex as well; and their allegorical representations are of various states of being, which in other words signifies the varying stages of spiritual development.

The Minor Class : It consists of 56 Minor 'Arcana' Cards . These in turn are classified into 4 sub-classes of 14 Cards each . Each of the sub-class is further divided into 2 sub-sub classes : the former sub-sub consists of 10 'pip' cards and the latter consists of 4 'face' cards:

The Sub-Class I : This class is termed as the Swords . It has affinity with the 'fire' element . It indicates the nobility and the influential people - who possess temporal powers, and have the tendency to wage war or design intrigues for gaining control over others. If such a card is found in the reading, then it indicates the presence of-, and will offer descriptions of-, the enemies - be it an individual or a group - who may wish to cause harm or try to exploit/ control the individuals for their own benefit. In general, the Swords cards are indicative of the person's mental condition and intellectual level.

Sub-Class II : This class is termed as the Cups . It has affinity with the 'water' element. It indicates the clergy or the priest class - who are concerned about the welfare of their fellow men; they do not hesitate to do whatever they can for alleviating the sufferings of others. If such a card is found in the reading, then it indicates that there are individuals or groups who are quite favorably disposed to-, and will actively assist-, the individual - without any expectation for fulfilling their own interests. In general, the Cups cards are related to the person's satisfaction in emotional life.

Sub-Class III : This class is termed as the Pentacles . It has affinity with the 'earth' element. It indicates the merchant class and the business people - who possess a lot of money, and are fully aware of the power of money. If such a card is found in the reading, then it indicates that such people might utilize their money power and manipulative skills. Their influence might be in the individual person's favor or just the opposite - depending on whether the card is upright (positive) or upside down (negative). In general, the Pentacles cards correspond to the person's physical state and material status.

Sub-Class IV : This class is termed as the Wands . It has affinity with the 'air' element. It indicates the people belonging to the working class. Although in general they do not remain in favorable circumstances, they possess physical strength - and as a united group they are capable of becoming a formidable force to reckon with. If such a card is found in the reading, then it indicates the ability or potential to achieve success even on the face of insurmountable odds; it may even be achieved by switching over from one place to another. In general, the Wands cards reveal the person's capacities and potentials, and his/ her level of attainment in professional career.

The Fateful Cards (among the 22 Major Enumeration Key Cards): Among the Major Enumeration Key Cards, only three cards (# 13, # 16, & 22) are considered to be fateful. Unfavorable results are expected if any such number is repeated thrice (or more) in 12 Cards' or 10 Cards' shuffle. Unfavorable results are also expected all these three numbers appear in the same spread. The problems would be more intensified if all of these three (or more) fateful Cards appear in upside down (or negative) posture.

It is interesting to note that these 56 Minor 'Arcana' cards have correspondence with the modern deck of playing cards, which consists of 52 (+ 1) cards (the 4 Knights are eliminated, and extra 1 added). Among the numbered or 'pip' cards, the Swords became the Spades, the Cups became the Hearts, the Pentacles became the Diamonds, the Wands became the Clubs. Among the 'face' or court cards, the Valet became the Jack, the Knight was eliminated (probably owing to change of socio-political conditions), but the Queen and the King remained just the very same. The 22 Major Enumeration Key cards are considered sacred; these correspond to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Out of these 22 cards, the card no. 22 - which is sometimes alternately denoted as 0 (zero) instead - denoted by "The Fool"; later it became transformed into 'the Joker' as the extra card in the modern deck of playing cards. Normally, the Joker is not used at all; but when necessity arises, it can take the place of any other card! In TAROT , it has been greatly stressed by the saying: 'No one should ever underestimate the wisdom of "The Fool"! It warns you about the great danger that is lying just ahead; one more wrong step, and ...!'

It must be clearly understood that essentially the TAROT interpretations have to be symbolic or metaphorical to a great extent. An interpreter can in practice come to certain expressions for some sensible events/ happenings (but not its precisely particular form); but the 'reading' would appear to be meaningful to the actual enquirer - as he/ she is fully aware of the situation (and the possible repercussions) that he/ she is currently in or facing. It will be obvious from the fact that there are 78 Cards in total - each of which can appear in upright or upside-down positions; thus, there can be 78 * 2 = 156 possible interpretations for each card. Now, just imagine the possible variations in every shuffle:

(1). At the minimum, there could be 3 Cards' spread. So, there could be = (156) raised to the power 3 = 156 * 156 * 156 = 37, 96, 416 variations.

(2). At the maximum, there could be 12 Cards' So, there could be = (156) raised to the power 12 = 156 * 156 * 156 * 156 * 156 * 156 * 156 * 156 * 156 * 156 * 156 * 156 = 207, 728, 070, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 types of possible variations. The staggering astronomical figure is unfathomable beyond doubt!

May the divine grace of TAROT lead us through the right path, guide us in our journey through life, illumine our souls, and surround our lives with peace and harmony, prosperity and happiness.

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