I was given a set of Tarot cards quite a long time ago as a birthday gift, and have been fascinated with them ever since. I received a reading from a young girl about 30 years ago now, and it was so accurate that it was spine chilling! Here is a short history of what I know about the Tarot for you.
THE STORY OF THE TAROT
The Tarot can reveal your potential! It can tell you about your hopes and aspirations, the present, your past, what you are projecting into your future with your own natural energy `your life force or inner light` and also the possible outcome of your choices. You can `realise` the direction your life is taking, and what to do about it; how to improve your life-style, love life, personal goals and generally how to develop your own ability to make decisions, with hopefully the right choices. The Tarot is simply an objective mirror. The amazing thing about the Tarot is that the cards never lie, only humans lie!!
This seemingly `random` choosing of the cards, is in fact the synchronicity of life itself! as you tap into the universal energy of that moment together! By learning how to work with the Tarot, you will also learn the truth about yourself and how others see you, as you journey on through life. The Tarot cards are like stepping stones, and just like The Fool (the un-numbered card) we may not always get where we planned to go, but it`s often by taking a path we hadn`t intended to go down, that we arrive somewhere that is different! or life changing! It was in fact the Tarot cards that helped me along my journey when I met my husband!
The Tarot has been an important Western mystical pathway for hundreds of years! With connections to alchemy, astrology, Kabbalah, Christian mysticism, numerology and many other esoteric traditions. The Tarot is available to everyone, you don`t need to be a psychic to use them. I like to refer to them as the Beautiful Science!
Nobody is really sure where the Tarot originated from, but throughout the last 300 years or so, historians, occultists and writers have brought a range of ideas, coloured by their own personal view of the Tarot!
Decks of mystical cards have existed in India and the East since biblical times, and were probably brought back by the Knight Templars during and after the crusades in the Holy Land. There have also been suggestions that travelling gypsies from Egypt brought the Tarot to Europe.
Most information sources, including my own research of the Tarot, have found that the first Tarot decks appeared in the early 14th century, arising from a combination of early Italian playing cards, and the set of 22 Major Arcana, the origin of which, still remains shrouded in mystery to this day. In the middle ages, the Tarot was also used to play a game called Tarocchi, later known to card players as `Trumps` and is still played in Europe. The earliest cards were beautifully hand-painted, one of the earliest decks is the Visconti Sforza deck (c1440) painted for the Duke of Milan.
DEVELOPMENTS IN THE 18TH CENTURY
The French occultist and linguist Antoine Court de Gebelin researched the mystical significance of the Tarot during the 18th century. He claimed that the major Arcana was originally an ancient Egyptian set of tablets, tablets of mystical wisdom! remnants of the mysterious Book of Thoth. Gebelin was convinced that the tablets were brought into Europe and hidden by travelling magi (priests who followed the ancient Persian religion of Zoroastrianism) which was practiced during the medieval period. He developed his own Tarot deck using 77 cards plus the Fool. The Major Arcana contained three times seven cards, plus the Fool and each of the four suits of the Minor Arcana contained twice seven cards. That became the foundation for most decks ever since, and that is why we have the lucky mystical number seven! During the 19th century, the French Kabbalist and philosopher Eliphas Levi (1810-1875) suggested that the Tarot was rooted in the sacred alphabet of the Hebrews. In the elitist circles, the intellectual occultists believed that the Tarot revealed powerful esoteric knowledge. By the end of the 19th century, Dr Arthor Waite designed his own radical deck with the help of an artist friend. Waite initiated one of the most secret groups called the Hermatic Order of the Golden Dawn!
THE 20TH CENTURY
Later on in the 1940`s the British occultist Aleister Crowley, designed the `Thoth` deck. Such a controversial character! who was notoriously known for his heroin addiction! and the use of erotic magic in his own cult, the Order of the Silver Star. Crowley believed that the Tarot was of an `intelligence` in itself! and a key to the archetypal world within ourselves! This was a turning point for the development of its more recent psychological interpretation. Since then, hundreds of decks have been designed, and the Tarot has become more than just a fortune-telling tool! It is a map of self-discovery, a mysterious and ancient symbol of all that we are. The Tarot is an art form for divination and fortune telling methods, but most important of all, it is now seen as a very useful tool in the search for self-discovery and psychological awareness.