A Brief History of Tarot
Tarot dates back to 14th century Europe although its history is mysterious. We know artists in Europe were creating playing cards used for entertainment with four suits. These suits are similar to the tarot suits used today: wands, cups, pentacles/coins and swords. In time, the cards were expanded to include triumph or trump cards which we know of today as the Major Arcana. It wasn’t until the early 17th century, people began using these cards for divination.
In 1781, French freemason, Antoine Court de Gébelin, published Le Monde primitif, analysé et comparé avec le monde moderne ("The Primeval World, Analyzed and Compared to the Modern World”). This work includes his analysis of tarot and connects its roots to Ancient Egypt. His work became the basis for the most popular tarot deck of all time, Rider-Waite, created by A.E. Waite and Pamela Coleman Smith; published in December 1909. It’s estimated that over 100 million copies are in circulation today. The first tarot deck released specifically for divination was in 1791 by French occultist Jean-Baptiste Alliette. Although today there are countless tarot decks to choose from, many decide to start their journey with tarot with the original Rider Waite deck as it’s the guide and inspiration for modern decks.
The Major Arcana
The cards in the Major Arcana hold universal lessons to guide us. These cards are highly detailed with lots of symbolism. The Major Arcana cards are numbered 0-21, beginning with the Fool and end with the World. This journey through the cards is often referred to as “the Fool’s Journey” as we follow the Fool through the wild journey of life.
You will want to select a deck you feel drawn to whether it’s the artwork, style or author. Many still choose to begin their journey with the Rider Waite deck due to to its highly symbolic artwork that can be interpreted without using a guidebook; the choice is completely yours! There are so many beautiful decks out there, each with a unique interpretation of the original deck.
We are beginning a Crystals, Herbs and Tarot series every Tuesday on Instagram where I will be sharing the meaning for one card and its crystal + herb correspondences. A deeper look at each card and its correspondences will also be shared here on the blog. I’m looking forward to guiding you on this enlightening journey of the world of tarot!
All my love and blessings,