Unveiling The Mystery: How To Master The Art Of Playing Medieval Tarot

how to play medieval tarot

Are you ready to step back in time and explore the mystical world of medieval tarot? Drawing inspiration from the intricate symbolism and rich history of the Middle Ages, this ancient divination practice offers a unique and enchanting way to gain insight into your life. In this guide, we will dive into the fascinating world of medieval tarot, providing you with the knowledge and skills to unlock its secrets and embark on a journey of self-discovery. So grab your deck of cards, prepare to unravel the mysteries of the past, and let the medieval tarot guide you on a truly transformative and magical adventure.

Characteristics Values
Deck size 78
Suits Cups, Swords, Pentacles, Wands
Major Arcana 22
Court Cards King, Queen, Knight, Page
Tarot Reading Yes
Theme Medieval, Fantasy
Art Style Detailed, Hand-drawn
Symbolism Rich and Pictorial
Interpretation Deep and Symbolic
Card Meaning Multi-layered and Open to Interpretation
Card Back Design Reversible with intricate patterns
Card Dimensions Standard Tarot Size (approx. 2.75" x 4.75")


What are the basic rules for playing medieval tarot?

Medieval tarot is a fascinating card game that has been played for centuries. It is steeped in history and has its roots in medieval Europe. The game is typically played with a deck of tarot cards, which are divided into four suits: cups, swords, pentacles, and wands. Each suit has its own unique characteristics and meanings. Understanding the basic rules of playing medieval tarot is essential for enjoying the game and gaining insights from the cards.

The first rule of playing medieval tarot is to familiarize yourself with the meaning of each card. Each card in the deck has a specific meaning and symbolism, which can vary depending on the suit and the position in the spread. It is important to spend some time studying the cards and their meanings before playing the game. This will help you interpret the cards accurately during gameplay.

The second rule is to shuffle the cards thoroughly before starting the game. This ensures that the cards are random and that each player has an equal chance of receiving a particular card. Some players prefer to shuffle the deck multiple times to further enhance the randomness of the cards.

Once the cards are shuffled, the dealer deals a certain number of cards to each player. The number of cards dealt may vary depending on the number of players and the specific variation of the game being played. The remaining cards are placed in a stack known as the stock pile.

The objective of the game is to create specific combinations of cards in order to score points. Each combination has a different point value, and players take turns trying to create these combinations. The player with the highest score at the end of the game is declared the winner.

Overall, playing medieval tarot requires a basic understanding of the cards and their meanings, as well as the ability to strategize and create winning combinations. It is a game that can be enjoyed by both beginners and experienced players, and it offers a unique and insightful way to explore the symbolism and meaning of the tarot. So gather your friends, shuffle the cards, and embark on a journey into the world of medieval tarot.


How is medieval tarot different from traditional tarot?

Medieval tarot, also known as the Visconti-Sforza tarot, is different from traditional tarot in several ways. Firstly, the medieval tarot deck has a different number of cards compared to the traditional tarot deck. Traditional tarot decks consist of 78 cards, while the medieval tarot deck has only 67 cards.

Secondly, the imagery and symbolism in medieval tarot cards are different from traditional tarot cards. The medieval tarot deck is known for its intricate and detailed artwork, often featuring scenes from medieval life, such as knights, castles, and royalty. In contrast, traditional tarot cards typically feature more abstract imagery, representing universal archetypes and concepts.

Another difference between medieval tarot and traditional tarot is the absence of major and minor arcana in the medieval deck. Traditional tarot decks are divided into major arcana (22 cards) and minor arcana (56 cards), each with its own meanings and interpretations. However, the medieval tarot deck does not have this division, making it unique in its structure and interpretation.

Furthermore, the medieval tarot deck was originally created for the noble families of Renaissance Italy, specifically the Visconti and Sforza families. This historical context adds a layer of significance and cultural influence to the meanings and interpretations of the cards. Traditional tarot, on the other hand, does not hold such specific historical associations.

Overall, the medieval tarot deck is distinct from traditional tarot in its number of cards, imagery and symbolism, absence of major and minor arcana, and its historical context. These differences contribute to the unique and fascinating nature of the medieval tarot, making it a valuable and sought-after deck for tarot enthusiasts and collectors alike.


Are there specific card meanings or interpretations for medieval tarot?

Yes, there are specific card meanings and interpretations for medieval tarot. The medieval tarot deck is based on the traditional tarot deck, but with elements and symbols that are commonly associated with the medieval era. These decks often include knights, castles, and other medieval imagery to create a unique and immersive tarot experience.

Each card in the medieval tarot deck has its own specific meaning and interpretation that is tied to the medieval theme. For example, The Fool card in the medieval tarot deck may represent a naive young traveler embarking on a journey, while The Devil card may symbolize the temptation and vices that were prevalent during medieval times.

The symbolism in the medieval tarot cards reflects the beliefs, values, and societal norms of the medieval era. The Major Arcana cards often depict allegorical figures such as The High Priestess or The Emperor, which are based on the medieval understanding of authority and spirituality.

In addition to the specific meanings of each card, the medieval tarot deck also follows the general principles of tarot reading, allowing for personalized interpretations based on the positioning of the cards and the context of the reading. This means that the specific interpretations of the medieval tarot cards can vary depending on the reader and the question being asked.

Overall, the medieval tarot deck offers a unique and historical perspective on tarot reading, with specific card meanings and interpretations that are rooted in the medieval era. Whether you are interested in exploring the historical context of tarot or simply enjoy the medieval theme, the medieval tarot deck can provide a rich and immersive experience.


When it comes to medieval tarot readings, there are a few spreads and layouts that are commonly recommended. These layouts are designed to help provide guidance on various topics and situations, and they often incorporate the symbolism and imagery of the medieval tarot deck. One popular spread is the Celtic Cross, which consists of 10 cards arranged in a cross shape. Each card represents a different aspect of the situation or question at hand, and the positions of the cards provide insight into past events, present circumstances, and future outcomes.

Another recommended spread for medieval tarot readings is the Horseshoe spread. This layout is shaped like a horseshoe and consists of seven cards. The first card is placed at the top center, representing the present situation, and the remaining cards are arranged in an arc shape, representing various aspects of the past, present, and future. This spread is often used when seeking insight into a specific question or situation.

For more in-depth readings, a larger layout such as the Tree of Life spread may be used. This spread is based on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and consists of 10 cards arranged in a specific pattern. Each card represents a different sephira, or sphere of existence, and the positions of the cards provide insight into various aspects of the querent's life, including their spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being.

In addition to these spreads, there are also a variety of other layouts that can be used for medieval tarot readings, depending on the specific needs and preferences of the reader and the querent. Some readers may prefer to create their own spreads based on the symbolism and imagery of the medieval tarot deck, while others may choose to use spreads that are specifically designed for historical or themed tarot readings. Ultimately, the most important thing is to choose a spread or layout that resonates with the reader and provides a clear and insightful interpretation of the cards.


What are some tips for beginners looking to learn how to play medieval tarot?

If you are a beginner looking to learn how to play medieval tarot, here are some tips to help you get started.

First, familiarize yourself with the deck. The medieval tarot deck consists of 78 cards, which are divided into two main categories: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards, each representing a different archetype or theme. The Minor Arcana consists of four suits (Coins, Cups, Swords, and Staves), each with numbered cards from Ace to Ten, and four court cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King). Take some time to study each card and its symbolism to gain a better understanding of their meanings.

Next, it is important to learn the basic rules of the game. Medieval tarot is often played as a trick-taking game, similar to other popular card games like bridge or spades. The goal is to collect the highest value cards or to fulfill certain conditions, depending on the rules you choose to play with. Understanding the rules will help you navigate the game and make strategic decisions during play.

Practice regularly to improve your skills. Like any new skill, learning how to play medieval tarot takes practice. Set aside dedicated time to play the game, either with friends or online, to become more comfortable with the rules and strategies. Consider joining a tarot club or community where you can learn from more experienced players and participate in practice games or tournaments.

Finally, don't be afraid to experiment and make your own interpretations. While there are common interpretations for each card in medieval tarot, it is also a personal practice that can be influenced by individual experiences and intuition. As you become more familiar with the cards and the game, trust your own instincts and develop your own understanding of their meanings. This will deepen your connection to the game and allow you to bring your unique perspective to your play.

Overall, learning how to play medieval tarot requires patience, practice, and an open mind. By familiarizing yourself with the deck, learning the rules, practicing regularly, and trusting your own intuition, you'll be well on your way to becoming a skilled medieval tarot player.

Frequently asked questions

Medieval tarot is a type of tarot deck that reflects the style and symbolism of the Middle Ages. It often features medieval artwork and illustrations on the cards, and the card interpretations are based on the customs, beliefs, and themes of the medieval period.

Playing medieval tarot involves selecting a deck of medieval tarot cards and using them for divination and insight. The cards are typically shuffled and laid out in various patterns, such as the Celtic Cross or the Three-card Spread, and the reader interprets the meanings of each card in relation to the question or situation being explored.

The rules of medieval tarot are generally the same as traditional tarot. The deck consists of 78 cards, divided into the Major Arcana (22 cards) and the Minor Arcana (56 cards). The Major Arcana represents the major life events and themes, while the Minor Arcana represents the everyday challenges and experiences. The cards are interpreted based on their symbolism, imagery, and position in the spread.

Anyone can play medieval tarot, regardless of whether they consider themselves a psychic or not. Tarot is a tool for self-reflection, guidance, and insight, and anyone can learn to read the cards with practice and study. While some people may have a natural intuition or psychic ability that enhances their readings, it is not necessary to be a psychic in order to play and gain benefit from medieval tarot.

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