A quick answer would be that it's a deck of 78 cards; 22 of them are the major arcana and the other 56 are the minor arcana.

But a TAROT is much more than that. It's similar to a beautiful labyrinth, with clues that remain hidden. An instrument for spiritual development. Much more than an instrument for “guessing” or a code of symbols. I perceive and feel it as an infinite beam of meanings that have to be lived, and that only reply to you if you near them with respect and love.

The origins of the Tarot are unknown, and there are two theories that have prevailed over the centuries:

a) It comes from India and its antiquity goes back in time to unknown ages.

b) It comes from Egypt, as in 1964 the major arcana were found engraved in the underground tunnels of Luxor and Karnack.

Nevertheless, although knowing its origin would be positive, the role it can represent for us and the knowledge that each of its cards transmits is more important. Through them we can understand the enigmas of our own life, as the Tarot is a practice of analogue thinking: a royal path (TA=path ROT=royal) that nears us to the understanding of our structure. It's also a magic door that gives you the entrance to the interior knowledge, by means of the stimuli it triggers at an unconscious level.

It's surely a symbol, which makes you conscious about your position and your task in the World where we've decided to come. The Tarot immerses you in a far away world, out of the daily life that surrounds us, because it moves rituals, symbols, myths, and imposes without obligation a conversion of ourselves. It joins us with the Universe and softly makes us see the correspondence between the Universe and us through a symbolic analogy; that is why symbols are essential to bring us near the Tarot.

It makes us see that everything is in everything; let's take, for example, the XIX arcane, the Sun; when it appears as the first card it's telling us psychologically that we have the will to live, ambition, harvest, nobility, courage, generosity, authority, government, Father, and it's from that reading onwards that we follow the message of the remaining cards, that as living beings, speak to us, show us paths, open or close doors for us, if we not only look at them with our eyes, but also with our heart.

Each one of the cards of the Tarot represents phases of an initiation system that takes you to spiritual illumination. In the esoteric tradition, each major arcane has a path assigned in the Tree of Life, so those 22 ways are subjective paths which you can climb until you find yourself or find the Father.

But every path demands an effort; nothing is given for free but Love. Knowing and improving oneself constantly is the path of reconciliation with the divinity, with the essence we are.

The translation of the word Tarot, besides “royal path”, is also related to the Hebrew word Torah: the Law related with Light and fulfilment. It we reverse the letters from Tora to Orat we find the verb “to pray” (in Spanish): to ask for imperatively, and if we look for the word in Latin, we see it means Rota: Wheel. Father Konstant, also known as Eliphas Levi, ascribes it to Enoch, a word that in Hebrew means Initiate.

Personally, I think it's a way, a path, and that's why I think the first translation, “royal path”, is valid, the same as the meaning of Torah, as it would be the fulfilment of light, to reach the internal light hidden in each one of us, a light that gives us clarity to walk but that doesn't blind us or avoids that we advance.

When we study each arcane, we learn the symbolic relation, the number, the colour, the aspect of the figures, their position: standing up, sitting down, fallen down, etc., their relation with the Kabalah, with music, with Astrology, and to which path they belong:

Active, solar, exterior………………… dry path

Passive, lunar, interior………………… wet path

To each one corresponds a path: action or contemplation. Both are genuine means to reach the centre.

Dry path: Arcana: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.

Wet path: Arcana: 0, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21.