The History of Tarot: A Journey Through the Ages

Image by Keith Gonzalez from Pixabay

Tarot cards are one of the oldest and most mysterious tools used for divination. This is because little is known about their origins and how they were used in different societies across the globe over time. The history of Tarot covers many centuries, with records showing that it was first invented in Northern Italy during the 15th century. Many believe that these cards were used for gaming purposes before evolving into a tool for fortune-telling. It’s also believed that Tarot was heavily influenced by many different cultures, including Egypt, Greece and even the Vikings! This article takes a look at several theories about the origins of Tarot.

Ancient Origins: The Golden Age of Tarot

The history behind Tarot cards can be traced back to Ancient Egypt. In fact, the first known record of these cards was found in a set of “books of the dead”. These books were written on papyrus and were designed to be placed in the tombs of noble people so they could be read in the afterlife. The Egyptian cards depicted a variety of different subjects, including people, animals and even plants. Each of these subjects had a different meaning and was used for different purposes. These cards were most likely used for fortune-telling, but could also have been used for healing purposes. There’s also reason to believe that the early Tarot cards were influenced by the Greeks. Many of the images depicted on the early Tarot cards resemble those found on Greek coins. This includes the images of people, animals, and depictions of gods.

Medieval Origins: The Dark Ages

The history of Tarot cards during the Dark Ages is less clear. This is because there are very few records that date back to this time. It’s believed that Tarot cards were used to play a variety of different games during this time. People often used the imagery depicted on these cards to tell stories. There are also records that indicate many people used the cards as a form of divination. Unfortunately, there are very few records that tell us more about the actual cards themselves. This is because the cards were often recycled and repurposed for new games. The only thing we do know for certain is that the cards were made from parchment. This suggests that the cards were made from animal skin and designed to be worn out over time.

Renaissance Origins: A New Light

The history of Tarot cards experienced a revival during the Renaissance. During this time, there was an increased interest in fortune-telling. This may have been because the people living during this era were full of uncertainty. People were uncertain about their futures and also feared what would happen if they didn’t have children. This is because the Black Death was wreaking havoc across Europe, killing millions of people. Because of this, people were eager to know their futures so they could plan accordingly. This is believed to be the reason why people started to use Tarot cards for fortune-telling. These cards evolved over time, featuring a variety of different images, including those of ancient deities. Many of the deities depicted on these cards were from Greek and Roman mythology.

19th Century Revivals and Re-imaginings

The history of Tarot cards continued to change as we entered the 19th century. During this time, there was an increased interest in fortune-telling. Many people were curious to know their futures so that they could plan accordingly. People used a variety of different tools for fortune-telling, including Tarot cards. At this time, there was no standard set of Tarot cards. Instead, each person had their own set of cards that they used for divination. These cards varied widely in terms of the imagery depicted on them. Some featured images of dragons, while others depicted scenes from nature. This lack of standardization was eventually resolved when various Tarot card creators created their own versions of the cards. This included the French occultist, Etteilla, who created one of the most popular versions of Tarot cards. Other creators followed suit, creating their own standard sets of Tarot cards that are still used today.

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