standard deck of 78 cards.
The history of standard playing cards goes back hundreds of years, with origins in Romany gypsy culture. Prior to the invention of the printing press, the legend is that the gypsies first used pieces of leather with hand-painted symbols to tell fortunes. In the 1300’s, in Spain, the first cards were called “naibito” which means “to foretell.” Playing cards were used to tell the future before they were used to play games.
There have always been four suits, but they’ve been modified by every culture since. The original suits were: Cups, representing faith; Money (coins or pentacles), for charity; Swords, for justice (karma); and Clubs, for strength in the face of adversity.
During the 1500’s, about the time that the tarot cards started to be used for playing games, the French adopted spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds, in basically the form you see them today.
There is a common design on the back of every standard deck. The face of each card has the suit and numbers except for the “court” cards on which the only artwork is featured in pictures of the Jack, Queen, King and the more simple, yet powerful, design of the Ace.
In 1903, Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith (Pixie) met at the now famous mystical society known as the “Order of the Golden Dawn.” Waite was a scholar and researcher who also served as the Grand Master of the Order. Smith was an actress, set designer and artist.
In 1909, the scholar and the artist collaborated on a project to interpret the symbols handed down from the gypsies to show their original meanings. They were so successful that the cards quickly became the most famous in the world.
Waite’s interpretations of the symbols came alive with Smith’s unique ability to turn basic ideas into full scenes on each card. The 78 card tarot deck includes detailed artwork for numbers and suits, as well as the minor and major arcana.
Pamela Colman Smith’s contribution was often overlooked. Even though her scenes are some of the most recognized in the world, the deck was named the “Rider-Waite Deck” after Waite and W. Rider, the man whose company published the cards.
Colman passed in 1951. In the last 20 years or so, her images on the tarot deck, as well as some of her other amazing art, is finally being acknowledged.
Any standard 78 card tarot deck, shuffled before each reading, offers an unlimited amount of alternative interpretation. Today there are hundreds of published decks with distinctly different artwork. From the ancient gypsies to the “Order of the Golden Dawn,” the tarot cards have passed through Spain, France and England in their journey to bring light where there is darkness.
Many Advisors on Psychic Source use the tarot as a tool to enlighten those who seek the truth. It is with respect for the power of the tarot that I promise “More will be revealed” to those seek the truth.
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