The process of reading tarot cards dates back to centuries ago. In The Game of Tarot, Michael A. E. Dummett writes that, while the first complete deck appeared in 15th century Italy, using the cards to divine one's future and inner self only came into vogue in France, in the late 1700s. Others suggest that tarot has roots in ancient Egypt (although its supposed source text, the Book of Thoth, offers little evidence of this).
However they got their start, tarot cards are old and mysterious in origin, and they're loaded with meaning. It may take a practiced hand and mind to assess their true significance, but newcomers shouldn't find them inaccessible: In spite of its storied past, tarot reading can be easily adopted — as long as the adopter is ready to learn.
The first step to becoming a competent diviner is to select a tarot deck and connect with it. Touching the cards and using them every day is said to help form this relationship, but there are other, more specific ways to commit yourself to the cards' development. Charging them by leaving them under the sun and moon, sleeping with them under your pillow, and even cleansing them with salt is said to help you get to know your cards.
Whether you're seeking your first taste of spiritual guidance or you just want to expand your collection, there's a tarot deck out there for you. Ahead, we've rounded up some of our favorites. Happy reading.