What is tarot?

The Tarot is a deck, with which it was played in the old days, but which is currently used mainly as a divinatory method, through cartomancy, where the individual to consult chooses, specifically and randomly, some cards for the reader or cartomantic interprets them.

Through the Tarot people seek to clarify their affairs concerning the past, present and future, although it is also used to interpret dreams, premonitions and message (See the Meaning of all Tarot cards).

Origin and history of the Tarot

It is believed that it first appeared as a game of cards in Italy during the 15th century. According to Giordano Berti, an Italian historian, the inventor of these letters may have been the Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti, who in 1415 invented a card called the XVI Heroes, in which some historians believe to find symbols identical to the found in the Tarot that began to be known in Italy at that time.

However, other historians point out that this card is inspired by other ancient games from Asia, specifically from China and India, where by 1120 similar games existed, which in some cases were already used for divinatory purposes.

Gypsies and Christians

Some theories suggest that the history of the Tarot owes the Roma people to have brought this divinatory method from Europe. It is even credited to Roma having spread it across the European continent.

However, some specialists in symbology point out that the Tarot is full of symbols of Christianity and the imaginary of the Medieval Age, such as the philosophy of the Naibis, Kabbalah, Alchemy, Astrology and Numerology, so its creation it probably did happen in Europe during the Middle Ages.

In this sense it is only left to hold fast to the true fact that puts us back in Italy and in the fifteenth century when this card was already known. From there he moved to France, and then to Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Belgium, but at that time it was only a card game, it will have to wait until the eighteenth century for it to begin to be formally used as a divinatory method.

Of Jewish origin?

Just as there is such a range of theories about its origin, the same is true of the etymology of the word Tarot. On the one hand, some specialists associate the word tarot with the Hebrew théraph which are “tables of the Jewish oracle”; there are also those who claim that on the contrary it comes from the Latin terere which means “to shuffle”.

Other theories have also been proposed that point to the word Tarot linked to the Arabic word “tar” meaning “enemy”, or as dictated by the theory of the Swiss cleric Antoine Court de Gébelin perhaps the word tarot may be related to two Egyptian words: tar (road) and rog (real) so it could be translated as a real path, even though Egyptologists have not been able to find any reference to the Tarot within the culture of the pharaohs.

Over the years several card designs emerged around the world, including The decks of Charles V, Colleoni’s, Brera’s, Minchiate’s, Erriula’s, Visconti-Sforza’s, Marseille’s decks (which is the most popular and well-known in the world , is believed to have originated in France around the 17th century).

There is also Egyptian tarot, Gypsy and Classic. We also found the Tarot Rider-Wite- Smith Tarot, also known as the Rider tarot, which was created by Arthur Edward Waite in 1910 and printed by the Rider Company, from which he inherited his name, is now one of the best known. Likewise, dogmatism was laid a little behind and the birth of new cards originated.

Actually, that whole story where universal archetypes can be identified allows the creation of a tarot deck of cards. In this sense, at the time there are the Tarot of the Lord of the Rings, the Tarot of One Hundred Years of Solitude, the Tarot of the House of the Spirits, among others.

Tarot Cards

However, beyond the card designs, the tarot structure does not vary, so basically the Tarot consists of a total of seventy-eight cards, which are divided into two groups of arcane (a word that some specialists say can be translated from the Latin arcanum as “secret”): majorand and minor.

Each of the cards has a meaning and is related to a number, a letter, an element, and an aspect of life. However, within the reading of the Tarot each card also varies its meaning depending on the cards that accompany it and the order in which they appear, so the reading is given by the combination of cards, rather than by the individual meaning of each of the decks.

Within the older arcanes, also known as atouts (triumphs), twenty-two cards can be counted which in correlative order would be: The Wizard, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The High Priest, The Enamorados, The Cart, The Justice, The Hermit, The Wheel of Fortune, The Force, The Hanging or Hanged, Death, The Temperance, The Devil, The Tower (or The House of God), The Star, The Moon, The Sun, The Judgment, The World and The Mad.

In some decks the card of El Loco isn´t numbered, while in others it represents the number zero. For their part, the lesser arcane make up a group of fifty-six cards, divided into four suits (gold, sword, cups and bastos) each contentiously of fourteen cards that include the numbered one to ten plus four characters of the court: queen, king, knight and Sota.

Image source: amoresdeamoryriqueza.com

What is tarot?
Source: curiosities  
August 25, 2019

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