The history of Tarot cards is a complex one. Many people have different opinions of how they started out and how they became a form of divination. Personally, I see them as playing cards with a complex meaning, and a way to open up different views for different situations.
It is thought that the cards started out much like our modern game of bridge (I’ll have to learn about this game, as I know nothing about it). The illustrations depicting some of our most complex dilemmas and desires. There are 4 suits in a deck (the minor arcana cards), which are quite similar to a regular game card deck and the trump cards are (the Major arcana) “bigger story” cards.
One interpretation of the cards is that they create a story when played (which is what they do when read for divination). Reference to the game MASH is put forward with “choose your own adventure”.
Here are a few links to different sites that I think give a pretty good in depth overview of the history of the decks.
It is quite clear that their origin and reason for them is under high debate. We believe what we believe, and interpretations will forever be changing and growing. I first started getting into the cards due to the artistry in them. The new age ones definitely change up the original decks, but create completely new symbolism but still have a way of representing every day struggles and life events. When I find myself stuck in one particular mindset, I usually find myself picking up a deck to help with viewing things in a different way, generally in a more positive way.
As I learn more, I will add posts and links. Also if you have any good sources that you find useful, please share! 🙂