When you pick up a pack of fifty-two playing cards to enjoy a round of poker, rummy, bridge, or any other the other games so familiar to us, you might not realize that the deck in your hands is actually a modern version of the Tarot.
Over the course of many centuries, people have spent countless happy hours socializing and communicating through the use of these ordinary cards. Gamblers have won and lost fortunes, rulers have won and lost kingdoms, men and women have won and lost each other, tycoons have built casino mini-empires, and thousands of books have been written about spades (Swords), heart (Cups), diamonds (Pentacles), and clubs (Wands).
The folklore of the American West (and a myriad of cowboy movies) would be incomplete without a climactic game of five-card draw and an Ace of Spades up the sleeve of the villain! Yet almost no one at the local bridge club, and certainly none of the boys down in Dodge City, can possibly imagine that their simple and emotionally charged pastime is steeped in ancient history and occult symbolism.
After many years of familiarity with the Tarot and much research, I find that the origins of the cards are still a mystery. The symbolism they contain and the esoteric and metaphysical doctrines they represent are much easier to trace. They form part of the Wisdom Teachings, which have their roots in the mystery schools of ancient Egypt and classical Greece.