A Brief Tarot Card History

A Brief Tarot Card History

Tom Tadfor Little, a Tarot historian, says that traditional playing cards first appeared in Europe in 1375. They had come from Islamic societies, where they were used for centuries. These cards weren't, however, Tarot cards. He says that there is no evidence that Tarot cards have been created at this time, contrary to many claims that ordinary playing card evolved from the original Tarot deck.

The cards that most likely derived Tarot cards from the Tarot were not mentioned until 1440. A letter from the Duke de Milan requested several decks "triumph" cards for use at a special event. This letter distinguished triumph cards from regular playing cards. However, it is clear that the first Tarot decks were designed as a game. There were four types of suits, each with cards from 1 through 10, and court cards that included a page, king, knight, and queen. The deck also contained 22 symbolic picture cards, which did not belong in any particular suit. The decks could be used to play a game similar to bridge called Triumph. 21 of 22 special picture cards that were used in triumph were permanent trump cards. It quickly spread to other parts of Europe. Around 1530, people began to refer to the game as "tarocchi", which is an Italian translation of the French word Tarot.

The occult found Tarot cards in 1781. The symbolism of the cards was more important than the trump cards at that time. The cards were used as divination tools, and occult writers wrote extensively about the "the Tarot." The Tarot was then incorporated into occult philosophy.

Some believe the Tarot cards were created in Egypt. They are believed to be the only "book" that survived the great fire that destroyed ancient Egypt's libraries. According to this theory, the cards can be considered the hieroglyphic keys to life.