The underlying symbol and concepts found in the Tarot go back thousands of years. For instance, in the early Christian Church, around 600 AD, the priests had little memo cards with pictures on them.
The gypsies also used similar cards. The old emerald tablets in Egypt also had pictures of plates and discs. These concepts are very old but they are at the root of modern day tarot card meanings.
However, the modern Tarot is brand new, revised by the Order of the Golden Dawn to work more intimately with the Tree of Life and for spell work. It ís a development of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and is, in our estimation, the major advance in magical practice within the last 2,000 years.
The word Tarot is a disguised word. It was originally spelled ìRota, I which means wheel, because the deck represents all phenomenal experience, the wheel of life. We use the Tarot as a living form that is tied into the existing Universe. In essence, the Tarot is a simulacrum of the Universe.