Understanding The Tarot

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The origins of Tarot cards, who first designed them, where and when and for what purpose, remain vague and elusive; despite the many attempts through articles and books to shed light on the subject. At one time or another writers on the subject of the Tarot, have assigned the invention of the cards to a wide range of sources; such as the religious rituals and symbols of the ancient Egyptians; others suggest that they spring from the mystery cults of the Mithras in the first centuries after Christ. Still others find similarities with pagan Celtic beliefs, or with the romantic poetry of the Holy Grail, which emerged during the middle ages in Western Europe.

If we wish to base our exploration of the Tarot’s origins exclusively on factual evidence, the first documented decks of Tarot cards; those which include not only the ordinary four suits of playing cards, but also the strange images of what are now known as the Major Arcana or Tarot Trumps. Spring from the second half of the fifteenth century and were painted in Italy. There are two of these decks. One known as the Charles VI pack and the other is known as the Visconti-Sforza pack, and the truth is that we do not know much about how they came into existence.

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