Tarot cards

Tarot cards blog !

The origin of Tarot cards is uncertain. The first Tarot decks are claimed to have been created in northern Italy, in Milan, Ferrara or Bologna between 1410 and 1430 by adding additional trump cards to the existing four suit decks. The new decks were called triumph cards. A written statement in court records in Ferrara from 1442 is the first evidence of their existence. The oldest surviving cards have been hand painted in the fifteenth century for the Visconti-Sforza family, who were the rulers of Milan. One of these decks was called Cary-Yale Tarot or Visconti-Modrone Tarot. It was painted for Filippo Maria Visconti by an anonymous painter between 1442 and 1447 and is now in the Yale University Library of New Heaven. Another old deck was probably created by Bonifacio Bembo in the mid fifteenth century to celebrate the rule of Milan by Francesco Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti (his wife). It is claimed to be the most famous of the old Tarot decks.

At the beginning Tarot cards were a privilege that only upper classes could afford. Some governments prohibited the playing of cards, but Tarot cards were exempted from these laws.

With the invention of the printing press more decks were produced. The most famous deck from that time is Tarot de Marseilles. The cards were also named tarocchi.

The first esoteric Tarot deck was designed by a French occultist Alliette (pseudonim Etteilla). He added astrological meanings and egyptian motives and text, expressing divinatory meaning to some of the cards from the previous decks (Tarot de Marseilles).

Until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Tarot was not associated with occultism, mysticism and magic. In 1781 a Swiss clergyman and Freemason Antoine Court de Gebelin published Le Monde Primitif, which was a study of the religious symbolism and its survivals in the modern world. According to Gebelin’s theory, Tarot meaned royal road, a road to wisdom (from Egyptian tar – royal and ro – road). As he believed, the Gypsies were the descendants of the Ancient Egyptians, as they were the first to use Tarot cards for divination. There are no proofs to support his theory, however many people still identificate Tarot with Book of Thoth.

Many people believe that the true founder of most Tarot reading schools was Eliphas Levi, who introduced a new interpretation of Tarot cards. According to his Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, they were strongly connected to Hermetic Qabalah and the four elements of alchemy. He accepted the Gebelin’s Egyptian theory.

The significant moment in the Tarot cards history was the publication of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot in 1910. It was designed by the two members of the Golden Dawn. It consisted of 78 cards with images of symbolic scenes and is still very popular in divination.

Tarot cards also inspired the creation of Oracle card decks, although they are neither numbered, nor strongly connected to the traditional Tarot decks in interpretation. They picture angels, fairies, goddesses and animals.

Tarot cards are used for game playing, as well as divination. The rules first appeared in the manuscript of Martiano da Tortona before 1425. The game is sometimes called Tarock. The traditional esoteric decks are ill-suited for playing.

The divinatory meaning of Tarot cards is more common. They are believed to be guided by spiritual forces. Some claim that they just help us to look into our unconscious. All in all, Tarot cards reading is supposed to help people and guide them.

Each Tarot card has its own symbolically expressed meaning. In fact, there are several Tarot meanings for each card. The reader has to determine the Tarot card meanings depending on its location in the spread.

A lot of painters have created many decks, but there are some elements that they have to place in the picture so it would be proper.

The Minor Arcana consist of Ace-through-Ten and four face cards: Page, Knight, Queen and King. They are divided into four suits: Pentagrams, Swords, Wands and Cups. Pentagrams and Page correspond with Earth, Swords and Knight with Air, Wands and King with Fire and Cups and Queen with Water, the four elements.

There are also Major Arcana, consisting of twenty two cards, one of which is numbered zero. They are supposed to show in the Tarot readings where you are in your life journey. The Major Arcana cards are: the Fool, the Magician, the High Priestess, the Empress, the Emperor, the Hierophant, the Lovers, the Chariot, Strength, the Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, the Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, the Devil, the Tower, the Star, the Moon, the Sun, Judgement, the World.

In order to read Tarot cards, the subject or a reader has to shuffle the deck and lay it out in a spread. Tarot meaning for each card is being found successively. Depending on the card’s position, the reader finds the proper interpretation. One card usually the first one the significator, represents the subject’s question.

The spreads that make finding Tarot cards meaning possible are: Celtic Cross, Horse-shoe, 3-card spread, 1-card spread, Astrological spread, Tetractys, star spread, The Mirror Spread. The most popular is Celtic Cross, in which five cards form the cross, another four are placed vertically beside the cross and one – the significator – is in horizontal position across the central cards of the cross.

The reversed position in Tarot cards reading is interpreted as the opposition of the upright one. Some claim that Tarot cards in reversed position have just more intense, though the same meaning as the basic one.

People have always been fascinated by Tarot cards. They were even used to compose poems in the sixteenth century. Carl Jung was very interested in Tarot symbolism and recognized archetypes in the individual cards. Another psychologist, Timothy Leary, noticed that the Major Arcana show human development from a baby to an adult. This shows that Tarot is something more than a divination tool. As there are many different designes of Tarot decks, there are also many interpretations of the cards and how they depict human nature. Each painter adds something new, his or her own point of view to the picture on the individual cards. And don’t forget that although there are some meanings attached to the cards, Tarot speaks differently to everyone.

One Response to “Tarot cards”
  1. Darren Jay says:

    Hi, Ive just seen a lovely pack of tarot for sale on EBay. Made in 1935 Thomson Leng were the publishers. They are a really interesting pack and I would like to know if anyone can give me any information about them please?

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