Tarot is a system of divination and fortune telling using a deck of cards.
Playing cards first appeared in Europe late in the 14th century, most likely coming from Egypt. The first known tarot cards were created in the 15th century in northern Italy to be used in trick-taking games called “triumphs” (later called trumps in English). The English/French word tarot derives from Italian tarocchi, whose origin is unknown. Later, tarot cards become associated with mysticism and magic.
Cartomancy is the act of fortune-telling or divination using a deck of cards. There are many different tarot decks used in cartomancy, with the meanings of the cards varying greatly from reader to reader.
The Skeptic’s Dictionary puts it well: “There is a romantic irresistibility to the notion of shuffling the cards and casting one’s fate, to putting one’s cards on the table for all to see, to drawing into the unknown, to having one’s life laid out and explained by strangers who have the gift of clairvoyance, to gamble on the future, and so on. Centuries of scientific advancement and learning have not diminished their popularity…”
The James Randi Challenge offers $1 million to the first person who can prove a paranormal claim under controlled conditions and this offer remains unfulfilled. Although many people claim to possess extraordinary abilities, only a minuscule portion of them dare to come forward and be challenged. One has to wonder why. In any case, those who do always fail to deliver on their claims.
Various tests of the validity of tarot readings have taken place under controlled scientific conditions, and no one has ever achieved a better outcome than what one would expect from random chance. In the study titled “Testing the Validity of Tarot Cards” (2004) by I. Ivtzan and C. French, the participants failed to distinguish between “real” tarot readings and readings based on a random collection of cards. Ironically, believers in Tarot fared worse in this task then the non-believers.
There is no evidence to support that tarot cards are anything other than a simple deck of playing cards.