The History of Tarot Reading

The History of Tarot Reading

Tarot Reading is an art that stretches far back in our history and in our modern age, most people have heard of it and might even know much of what is involved in a Tarot Reading. And even though Tarot Readers have been doing Tarot Readings for centuries and Tarot Cards have evolved over the years, Tarot Cards got their humble beginnings based on playing cards of the day used for everyday card games and evolved from there.

Read Like An Egyptian?

History of Tarot

Alchemy 1977 England Tarot Deck

While there are certain people who have claimed that Tarot Cards were actually first used in ancient Egypt, but further study shows that this idea was first mentioned by a writer n 18th century who never presented any actual proof. Much more evidence points to Tarot Cards having been developed from European playing cards with similar suits as those found of modern Tarot Cards. In fact, the very first deck we have record of and which has been preserved was created back in 1450 for the Visconti-Sforza family in Italy.

Early Tarot Decks

If you study Tarot Decks, you will find that the earliest decks were actually created by hand and them individually painted, which made them available to society’s upper class and those few merchant barons. And because the entire deck of 78 cards was painted by hand, there were actually very few of the earlier decks created. But then, once the printing press was invented, everything changed. Not only could books be massed produced, but so could Tarot Cards. This meant that many more people had access to them than ever before.

Fortune Telling or Game Playing

While Tarot Cards are often associated with gypsies and fortune-telling, this is not actually how they came to have their origins. In fact, Tarot Readings by gypsies actually began long after the first Tarot Decks and not until Tarot Cards were mass produced. As mentioned before, originally Tarot Cards weren’t used to do tarot readings or fortune telling. They were used to play card games and gamble – usually at Court. And while the games changed country to country, the origins of Tarot seemed to be based in a French card game known as “Tarock” whose rules originally appeared in the manuscript of Martiano da Tortona, which was written before 1425.

Images on Tarot Cards

Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

While there were images on the original Tarot Cards, these images gradually became more elaborate and developed a more symbolic and mystical nature over he centuries. As Tarot Decks became more available and affordable, they became to be used by mystics, fortune tellers and (yes) gypsies between the 18th and 19th centuries. The images became to have specific means and evolved to represent a person’s life journey, or at least certain aspects of it. While playing cards had previously been used in certain circles for divination purposes, it wasn’t until these pictures became as symbolic and intricate that the Tarot Deck became synonymous with fortune telling.

Tarot Decks Today

Nowadays, you can get Tarot Decks at many different places – from book stores to online shops like Amazon. There are now hundreds, or even thousands, of variations of Tarot Decks. There are Tarot Decks with animal themes, Tarot Decks with Fairy or Angel themes and even Tarot Decks with Movie and Book themes. No matter what your interest or passion, you can probably find a Tarot Deck to fit.

Read More About Tarot Reading

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