How Tarot Changed Through History

You will be surprised how Tarot changed throughout history.  Tarot cards are a popular divination tool that dates back to the 14th century. They have changed their appearance many times throughout history, until eventually they formed a deck of 78 cards, which are still used today.

Although Tarot cards have been used in many cultures throughout history, they have not always been as popular as they are today. As the Tarot entered mainstream society, many designers became inspired to create many more versions of the cards, which express their specific intention as well as their unique talent. Before we take a closer look at what made the Tarot so popular both in occult culture and in mainstream society, let’s take a short journey through history. During this, we observe how this divination practice evolved over time and what kind of impact it had on the Tarot deck that we know today.

How Tarot Changed Through History

For someone who’s new to the Tarot and is interested in buying their very first deck or getting their first live or online tarot reading, the endless options of decks can often be overwhelming. You can find a tarot deck in almost all themes imaginable, which can make you wonder which deck is genuine, which one is the original, and which one you should buy.

There are many different narratives when it comes to the origins of the Tarot. They range from ancient mythologies to gypsies and can often contradict one another. In order to get a better understanding of the Tarot, let’s take a trip through its history and get more familiar with how the Tarot evolved into what it is now.

The earliest Tarot decks that we know of showed up in the late 14th or the early 15th century according to some historians. They showed up in Northern Italy were they were first treated as a game, with images of the pope, the empress, death and the fool, which are things that we nowadays associate with the Tarot.

Those same cards were actually the ancestors to the modern game of bridge. As Tarot traveled to the south of France during the renaissance, the deck’s looks began to change as the French started to add images of their own, as well as change some of the meanings.

It was in the 15th century when Marseille became the center of Tarot decks’ production some occultists began to associate the Tarot cards with Kabbalah, the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, planets, zodiac signs and the Earth’s elements. That’s why when many people today think of Tarot, they think of an ancient mystery tool that has always been connected to the celestial bodies, the Earth’s elements, the Hebrew alphabet, different alchemical symbols, the Three of Life and so on. Although the Tarot may not be as ancient as some have though it was, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t insights and profoundness to it.

Although many occult historians still fight about the history of the Tarot, the truth is that everybody has a little piece of the truth. What we mean by this is that we can always find some truth in every theory that’s presented out there. For example: the Tarot deck does have archetypal images, and they can be used to tell stories, which some find to be very powerful and truthful.

What Prompted the Rise of Tarot in Mainstream Society?

As a self-aware species, we constantly strive to discover our deeper meaning and define our existence. That’s why in order to understand ourselves, we often prescribe a deeper meaning to things, which is why some believe that the Tarot cards became such a popular tool for fortune telling and divination.

Although it has had a few rises in popularity, it wasn’t until recently that the Tarot deck saw a huge increase in interest in the mainstream society. The rise of the Tarot, particularly with millennials, has prompted a rise in many Tarot related apps and online reading websites which are here to satisfy the public’s growing curiosity in this mystical art. This easy access to an online reading or the ease of being able to find a Tarot deck in just about any bookstore or many other stores, allowed this tool to become increasingly popular over the past couple of years.

However, these are not the only reasons why the Tarot has increased in popularity over the last few years, especially in mainstream society. In order to understand the rise of the Tarot, we’ll go over a few key things that make it such a popular divination tool as well as some of its main benefits and appeal.

Why Did the Tarot Become so Popular?

The fact that a thing so mysterious and intriguing can offer you a way to find out something about your past, present or future, or give you guidance and advice on a particular situation you’re facing, can be very alluring.

The Tarot can be used in many different ways, for a lot of different eventualities, but some of the main reasons that it’s managed to really draw people in, include:

1.     We’ve Become Increasingly Curious about the World of Fantasy

As fantasy books and movies become more and more popular in mainstream society, they begin to peak everyone’s interest into the unknown and the mystical. They thus opening our minds to things we didn’t think were possible at first. This is particularly true of young people who are just starting to figure out how their intuition works and want to know more about it. That’s why some of them turn to Tarot card readings to help them get in touch with themselves and possibly find out more about their past, present or future.

2.     The Tarot Can Help People Get Rid of Negative Energy

For those of you out there who are often more fixated on the bad than on the good in life, and make it your job to worry about every single thing that bothers you, the Tarot can be a great tool to get rid of those negative, counter-productive feelings. It can help you focus on what’s really important and worth your energy and time. People can also use the Tarot to get more familiar with every aspect of their personality to make way for focusing on the things that need improving and become a better person for it.

3.     People Use the Tarot to Prepare for the Future

A Tarot reading can help you gain the confidence you need to face the future and prepare you for whatever it is that lies ahead. It will provide you with the information you need to face any challenge head on and the wisdom to know which of those are even worth taking on.

4.     The Tarot Will Help You Learn Things about Yourself

You’ll be able to hear and learn things about yourself you might not have known or have possibly suppressed for a long time. Getting to know yourself better is an important process that will help you better handle yourself and deal with other people. Once you become more comfortable in your own skin, you’ll start to see improvement in all of your relationships with others as well. A Tarot reading can help you clear out the negative energy that might be surrounding you, opening you up to many new opportunities and adventures.

5.     It Helps People Gain Clarity and Perspective

One of the main reasons people turn to Tarot is to help them gain some perspective on life and get insight into their current situation. The Tarot helps people make a better decision by bringing new insight into a problem they’re facing. It will give you the confidence you need to face every obstacle head on and come out stronger from it.

6.     The Tarot Can Help Give People Peace

A Tarot reading can help you find inner peace so that you can enjoy your life without fear, anxieties and unnecessary worry. The Tarot can help people overcome many obstacles and struggles they’re going through by opening their minds to all kinds of new opportunities and possibilities they might be missing out on.

7.     The Decks are Beautifully Designed

Last but not least, as the popularity of tarot increases, we see more and more decks being created every day. From abstract, colorful and lively pictures to dark, gloomy, and mysterious ones, the Tarot cards can interest even the most skeptical person and make them take a look. As these new decks flood the market, even those who do not know how to read them, or do not intend to do so, buy them simply because they want to add them to their collection of Tarot decks.

Today we have many different versions of the Tarot out there, including Yes/No Tarot, Love Tarot, Celtic Cross Tarot and so on. The reason why Tarot has remained popular throughout history and has even seen a recent peak in popularity, particularly in mainstream society, is because it is a tool with a specific allure that invites us to go on an introspective journey.

About the Author

This is a guest post on behalf of Marija Krstova from

We hope you have enjoyed this article about how tarot changed through history.


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Posted on 12th August 2019 at 6:09 pm

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