History of the Tarot Cards

November 27, 2017

You may be surprised to know, the earliest known tarot decks were not designed with mysticism in mind; they were actually meant for playing a game similar to modern-day bridge. It wasn't until around the late 18th century that the tarot cards began to be used as a true divination tool, in the form of Tarotology.

 

Even though tarot cards have been traced by some occult writers to ancient Egypt or the Kabbalah, there is no documented evidence of such origins or of the usage of the tarot cards for divination before the 18th century.

 

Jean-Baptiste Alliette, or "Etteilla," was the French occultist who popularize the tarot cards as a divination tool to a wide audience in 1785. He was the first professional tarot card reader known who made a living by card divination.

 

Etteilla used a traditional tarot deck, which he claimed held secret wisdom passed down from ancient Egypt. Etteilla’s claim echoed the writings of Court de Gébelin, who allegedly recognized Egyptian symbols in tarot-card illustrations.

 

While the tarot deck is the most widely known, other decks used are oracle cards, angel cards or just plain playing cards.  

 

Like common playing cards, tarot decks have four suits. Each suit has 14 cards, 10 cards numbering from one (or Ace) to 10 and four face cards (King, Queen, Knight, and Jack/Page). In addition, the tarot deck has a separate 21-cards known as “major arcana” and a single card called the Fool.

 

The 78-card tarot deck has two distinct parts, The Major Arcana (major life events/situations) AKA the trump cards, consists of 22 cards without suits:

 

  1. The Magician

  2. The High Priestess

  3. The Empress

  4. The Emperor

  5. The Hierophant

  6. The Lovers

  7. The Chariot

  8. Strength

  9. The Hermit

  10. Wheel of Fortune

  11. Justice

  12. The Hanged Man

  13. Death

  14. Temperance

  15. The Devil

  16. The Tower

  17. The Star

  18. The Moon

  19. The Sun

  20. Judgement

  21. The World

  22. Fool

 

The Minor Arcana (minor life events/situations) consists of 56 cards, divided into four suits of 14 cards each; ten numbered cards and four court cards. The court cards are the King, Queen, Knight and Page/Jack, in each of the four tarot suits.

The four suits are swords, batons AKA wands/rods or staves, coins AKA pentacles or disks, and cups.

 

There are many different tarot decks on the market created and designed by many artists, It is not uncommon nowadays for people to collect these beautiful cards.

 

True Love Cards:

A deck to help you with your love life! Do you have questions about romance, relationships and love? Would you like to meet that special someone or bring the joy back into your current relationship? These cards have been created to guide you in matters of the heart. Instructions included. BUY IT HERE

 

Dreams of Gaia Tarot Cards:

The philosophy of the Dreams of Gaia Tarot is simple: to seek, to feel, to grow, to heal. This deck will strengthen your connection to your divine self, while helping you to identify and heal past experiences that hold you back from living to your fullest potential. Learn to recognize when times of growth and change are approaching, and face them with confidence and a sense of anticipation. Learn when to take action, and when to be still. Learn to trust in your intuition. Embark on this extraordinary journey of undoing, of being, and becoming, and be inspired by the knowledge that all that manifests in your future is born of choices you make today. BUY IT HERE

 

Celtic Tree Oracle Cards:

Tune in to the trees and access their age-old loving guidance. Based on ancient Celtic wisdom, this oracle deck helps you become familiar with the signature energies of the trees and more connected with nature. These cards are steeped in Celtic cosmology, which honors the cycles of the seasons and teaches reverence for all living creatures and respect for our Mother Earth. From the author of the bestselling Healing Power of Trees, this unique oracle invites you into the beautiful and sacred world of nature's miraculous wisdom-keepers.

BUY IT HERE

 

Tea Leaf Fortune Cards:

Tea Leaf Fortune Cards set offers an innovative system for reading with 200 beautifully illustrated cards depicting the traditional tea leaf symbols. The 98-page guidebook explains how to divine fortunes using tea leaves or Tea Leaf Fortune Cards. Follow a few simple guidelines, and you can immediately read your fortune. Set includes 200 rounds, symbol cards; drawstring pouch; and 98-page illustrated guidebook.

BUY IT HERE

 

The Gospel of Aradia Cards:

Aradia has many faces: she is depicted as the daughter of a goddess, as the leader of a resistance movement, as the ‘first witch,’ as the embodiment of the Divine Feminine, and, at times, as a mere mythological legend.As we delve into the mythos of Aradia, we realize that regardless of who she is, we can still glean so much from the powerful stories that form her legacy. Aradia courageously spoke her truth, compassionately assisted others, and unflinchingly searched her own soul along the way. Through this deck, her energy comes to you now to help you do the same. Walk hand in hand with Aradia, as she guides you along your pilgrim journey, transforming the obstacles in your way into unique opportunities for spiritual growth and blessing your path with her extraordinary magic and wisdom.

BUY IT HERE

 

Native American Oracle Cards:

Tap into the collective imagination of Native American inspired imagery and symbols. The stylized artwork in this exciting deck provides a unique entry into your own spiritual work. From divination to journeying between worlds, this oracle is sure to help you understand more about yourself and the nature of our world.

BUY IT HERE

 

Radiant: Rider-waite in a Tin:

One of the most popular tarot deck loved by beginners and all. The brilliantly colored tarot deck that has been popular for decades is now presented in a charming keepsake tin. For Radiant Rider-Waite, the artwork of Pamela Colman Smith has been updated and enhanced with a vibrant palette of colors, bringing new energy and radiance to the familiar scenes of 78 cards. Radiant Rider-Waite s brightness and subtle shading highlight the traditional symbolism that readers rely on for insightful readings. The card backs feature a star-filled deep, blue sky. Radiant Rider-Waite® Tarot includes an instruction booklet with an Introduction by Stuart R. Kaplan. Cards in this pocket-sized deck measure 2in x 3.5in.

BUY IT HERE

 

Shadowscapes Tarot Cards:

Beautiful deck of floating mermaids and dancing fairies; This mystical deck is based on the Rider-Waite system.Stephanie Pui-Mun Law's exquisite watercolor artwork blends Asian, Celtic, and fantasy themes inspired by fairy tales, myths, and folklore from cultures worldwide. Also included with this enchanting tarot deck is a pocket-sized booklet with snapshot interpretations of the cards' symbolic meanings by the artist and unique spreads by award-winning tarot expert Barbara Moore.

BUY IT HERE


Alicia is a professional Tarot Reader; Read her bio here, or book an appointment with Alicia here. She also teaches Tarot Cards at The Red Lotus.

 

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