3 Answers

  1. The origin of tarot cards from a historical point of view is quite a complex issue. What we know for sure is that the first known decks appeared in Europe during the Renaissance (XV century), and in their structure they were quite significantly different from modern ones. Prior to this, if there were such decks, then historians have no evidence of their existence.

    The idea of the Egyptian origin of the tarot goes back, as far as I know, to the XVIII century, in particular, to the writings of Cours de Gebelin. And the attempt to link all this with Kabbalah (that is, with Jewish mysticism) and even to the XIX, in particular, to the works of Eliphas Levi. This, by the way, was organically combined with the Egyptian theory of the origin of the tarot, given that in the esoteric literature of that time, an important place was occupied by the story of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, who were supposed to take with them some of the secret knowledge of the ancient Egyptians who influenced the Jewish mystical tradition.

    It was in the 19th century that the synthesis of various forms of Western esotericism (Kabbalah, tarot, astrology, alchemy, grimoire magic, etc.) was made, which gave rise to modern Western esotericism (some authors use the term “occultism”to refer to it).

  2. The exact origin of Tarot cards is not known for certain. According to many experts in the field of history and religious studies, they most likely came to Medieval Europe in the XV century AD. But as it often happens, such an “attribute” that is particularly popular with some people should have a special history. So there are suggestions that these maps are part of the knowledge transmitted to us by the Atlantean proto-civilization, others believe in later civilizations, such as Egyptian or Babylonian. Others tend to believe in a Kabbalistic nature, as if it is connected with the first Kabbalists who tried to pass on their knowledge and sacred experience through maps, it is not surprising that here we are talking about Jews. But it's more like muddy water. Here, the order and meaning of the cards themselves, the name and components play a very important role. So, for example, astrology, one of the foundations of the Egyptian priesthood, could play an important role in this issue, such cards as (Star, Moon, Sun) chosen by the Egyptians thousands of years ago should have received their places in the deck. So there is no exact answer to this question, since the cards themselves were long persecuted by the church fathers, they were banned and their use was considered a “Diabolical ghost”. In any case, there are more legends here than historical facts. And modern playing cards, according to historians, could originate from Tarot cards, in any case, Europeans treated these cards as some kind of pleasant and profitable business.

  3. It is generally believed that the prototype of the 78-card Tarot deck was the so-called “Visconti-Sforza Tarot” – 4 decks made by an unknown artist of the XV century. commissioned by the Duke of Milan Filippo Maria Visconti and his son-in-law, Duke Francesco Sforza. The cards were used for everyday play. Of the elements that will go into later Tarot deck, you can select the allegorical paintings, formed the basis of the “major Arcana” Tarot, among which “moderation”, “power”, “wheel of fortune”, “world”, “death”, “tower”, “the devil,” “court,” and soe; court cards: king, queen, knight and page (and one of the decks additionally features a knight and a female rage), and the division into suits: wands, swords, cups, something similar to “pantacles”. If we compare the images on these cards with images of later decks, for example, the “Marseilles Tarot”deck(XVIII century), or the later “Rider Waite Tarot”(a classic Tarot deck implicitly containing the system of occult knowledge of the creator's school, the figurative structure and symbolism of which was carefully thought out by occultists of the XIX century), the continuity of the latter becomes obvious, since structurally most of the images remained without significant changes.�

    The occultists themselves have long adhered to the legendary story and considered the origin of the tarot and the “book of creation” (Hebrew Sefer Yetzirah) to be simultaneous. There was a definite reason for that. “The Book of Creation” is a fundamental Kabbalistic work, according to which the world was created by means of 22 Hebrew letters. In it, the author also develops the astrological symbolism of the Hebrew alphabet, which will later be borrowed by representatives of the Western European occult tradition. Occultists have tried to rework the Tarot in order to link it to the “truths” revealed in the book of Creation. However, this connection did not appear immediately. In the eighteenth century, the occultist Cour de Geblin, writing his encyclopedia, made the first attempt to correlate the arcana of the Tarot with the Hebrew letters (volume VIII, “The Primitive World: a Study and Comparison with the modern World”), and in the same work he makes the erroneous assumption that the tarot implicitly contains the secret wisdom of the Egyptian priests. This delusion is a child of its time, since that era was marked by a general interest in the East, and Kur found “Egyptian wisdom” in everything. Meanwhile, there is no scientific evidence for the origin of the tarot from Egypt. Historically, the tarot is intertwined with Kabbalah only in 1856 in the “Teaching and Ritual of Higher Ceremonial Magic” by Eliphas Levi.

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