Playing cards are thought to have originated in eastern Europe, Egypt, or Asia, but it appears that the Italians added the 'Face' cards, and subsequently, the Tarot cards known as the Major Arcana. In the same way Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit have evolved over the years, so have the Tarot cards, though the Tarot cards have had a 500-year headstart.

So originally, the cards supposedly weren't used for 'readings' and 'psychic predictions.' They were just a game. From Italy, the cards traveled west through Europe and found a whole new appreciative market in France, and then in Great Britain. Perhaps it was in France, home of Nostradamus, when the cards took on magical and mystical purposes.

back next