Tarot Cards are said to be a modernised version of part of The Book of Thoth, which originated from Egypt. They were brought into the West by the Romany gypsies who had spent some time there on their travels. The form that we know today dates from the Middle Ages, the earliest known pack was in the mid fifteenth century. It is closely tallied with the Kabbalah and Hermetism.
There are 78 cards altogether. The Major Arcana has 22 Cards and feature stages in the progress of an Initiate. The Minor Arcana has 56 which are very similar to the normal pack of playing cards only with 14 in a suite instead of 13. The cards are shuffled and a certain number taken out and put in a specific order called Spreads and the Reader translates the symbols with her understanding. Clairvoyance often comes in to help her decide how translate these symbols.