For all of recorded history, mankind has longed to lift the veil of the unknown. Humans have an innate desire to explore both inner and outer realms and realities. We also long to know the future, to be able to have some warning or insight as to what is headed our way, both in our personal lives and on the global stage. What awaits humanity, society or the future of our very planet? Mankind has developed, or uncovered, many methods by which this exploration can take place. History tells us of ancient shamans, wizards, goddesses and oracles who probe the mysteries of existence with runes, fortune sticks, tea leaves, palmistry and crystal balls. Here at Bookmans we are not immune to the charms of crystals, pendulums or talismans but we prefer to leave the rabbit’s feet to another era. Let the bunnies keep their feet. Luckily folks have many other alternative methods by which to explore their realities. One such method is the ancient practice of reading Tarot Cards.
tarot cards
The history of tarot cards is rich and varied, covering multiple cultures. Common thought puts the origination of tarot in the mid-15th century. It wasn’t until the 18th century however that it became widely used for divination purposes. Originally known as as trionfi then later as tarocchi, tarock, they are also related to tarotology/cartomancy. The variety of terms that refer to the practice is indicative of the wide geographic range in which tarot exists.
Whether used as a game or for divination, tarot can be seen everywhere from France and Germany to Egypt and Arabic countries. The practice was especially popular in Italy where the oldest cards can be found. These surviving treasures are from 15 different decks painted in the mid 15th century for the Visconti-Sforza family, the rulers of Milan. What tarot precisely IS and how it is used is as varied as are the countries in which it’s found. Throughout history to present time, the variations, styles, techniques and interpretations of tarot remain very eclectic. Simply put, tarot cards are a pack of playing cards painted or printed with highly symbolic allegorical imagery.
These playing cards have four suits, which vary by region. The suits each have 14 cards, 10 numbered and four face cards. These basic cards are accompanied by 21 trump suits (also known as the major arcana) plus a fool card making a total of 22 additional cards. These cards are then laid out in a varied of patterns, or spreads, to then be interpreted by the reader. The reader decides the meaning of the cards not just by the meaning of each card individually but also by the relationship the cards have to each other and where the cards are within the spread.  These interpretations are also dependent upon which cards are being used and under what system of thought the reading adheres to.
One of the most well known and more widely used tarot decks is the Rider-Waite deck. There are however, an almost endless variety of tarot decks today. The choices one has are plentiful and they range not only based on meaning or symbolism as it is associated with a particular religion or belief system, but also by aesthetic considerations. Let’s have a look at a few options for choosing your very own tarot deck and the books recommended to accompany them.
Literature fans will enjoy the Lord of the Rings deck with artwork from the celebrated works on film and in print. Maggie Stiefvater has released The Raven’s Prophecy Tarot based on the Raven Cycle and Ballad. Julia Jeffrey and Barbara Moore have created the Tarot of the Hidden Realm. This deck is perfect for Faery fans. The evocative artwork has elemental symbolism and a decidedly Wiccan/ Pagan feel. In addition to variations on traditional tarot, Bookmans has many Oracle decks. These decks are very similar in practice to tarot, but focus more on mediatation. Oracle decks, like many tarot, cover many languages, religions and preferences. Toni Carmine Salerno created the Magdalene Oracle, and Bookcraft has the African Proverbs 1 and 2 as well as a kid’s set. For foreign languages we have Sibilla Dell’Eros and Names of God in English, Spanish, French and Italian. Taschen has a beautiful Say a Little Prayer prayer card set. Each 10 card pack is brightly colored and the set features prayers for the following religions: Hinduism, Confucianism, Shinto, Kabbalah, Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, Brazilian Candomble, Buddhism and Islam. We also have The Animal Power Meditation Kit by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner.
This is but a very small sampling of merchandise available to you at all of our Bookmans locations. Be sure to pick up some titles in our Tarot book section. Many interesting and informative titles include Tarot and Psychology: Spectrums of Possibilty by Arthur Rosengarten, Ph.D., Living the Qabalistic Tarot by Amber Jayanti, Tarot Cards for Fun and Fortune Telling, plus many titles for beginners and experts alike.
Ask yourself, What did I learn today? What does my future hold? What issues in my life are holding me back? These questions and more can be stumbling blocks to progress and happiness. Unlock yourself and learn a new skill with the many varieties of tarot, meditation and oracle cards available at all of our Bookmans locations, the answers are right at your fingertips and you can buy them with our famous Bookmans Trade Credit!! If you are curious about Tarot and would like your very own complimentary reading, check the Events page. Each location occasionally has guest tarot readers in our stores, local folks who can help you understand the fascinating world of divination.