Article by Alexis Knipe | Photography by Caroline Cooney | Owl Staff

Archaic-looking cards are spreading patterns across the table. Fantastical drawings, unfamiliar suits, intricate arrangements…What could it all mean?

Tarot reading is looked to by many as a source of wisdom or spiritual guidance. To the uninitiated, however, tarot can seem confusing. What’s keeping readers and enthusiasts across the world intrigued after all these years?

According to the Metropolitan Museum Art’s website, tarot cards most likely originated centuries ago in Europe. The earliest known cards could have been dated to the mid-1500s. However, these were simply part of a card game and were not thought to be associated with any mystical forces. “Reading” tarot cards was a practice that emerged far later.

Interest in the occult blossomed in Europe during the late 18th century. According to Brendan Koerner with Slate, authors such as Antoine Court de Gebelin and Jean-Baptiste Alliette wrote books that connected the game with divination and ancient mythology.

Today, tarot reading is a widely practiced tradition, but can a reading tell someone his or her fortune? Can only a psychic or mystic read tarot cards, or can anyone learn the art? Check out what several experienced tarot card readers have to say.

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