Four-Card Tarot Spread




 The four-card spread is based on the three-card spread, with an extra card helping to round out the Card 1. signs. Between Cards 1 and 2, a cross is created, which helps to define the crux of the matter at hand.

 For the four-card spread, the conventional approach to drawing the cards should be followed after shuffling. Both general and individual questions can be answered by four-card spreads. If the practitioner wishes to use the Seeker's signifier cards, first put the signifier card on the table and then place Card 1 directly on top of it.

On top of the signifier, Card 1 goes. Card 1 indicates the present situation, or the "heart of the matter." Card 2 is the difficulty or obstacle to be met, or as a result of Card 1, it can mean what is directly ahead. Card 3 illustrates effects from the past on the new situation. The most probable potential result, or the "answer" card, is card 4.

Alternative Three-Card Tarot Spread






The First Operation will use an alternate three-card spread to not only define the subtopic that the Seeker wants to concentrate on within an investigation, but will also use the First Operation to draw the first card.

The cards accompanying the signifier are taken as a pile and put at the bottom of the pile in the hand when the signifier is found via the First Operation. Then the topmost card should be the signifier card.

The card that comes behind the signifier card directly following the signifier is drawn out as Card 1. The thesis of the answer to the Seeker's question is represented as that card. Set the signifier and Card 1 down, and face-down should be put on the remaining deck.

Fan out the cards and have the Seeker pick two more cards for you. Card 2 becomes the first card removed from the fan; Card 3 becomes the second card drawn. On the right side of Card 1, they are put such that there is now a row of cards: the signifier, and Cards 1, 2, and 3. Although the thesis was Card 1, Cards 2 and 3 are the argument, the most important success indicators, or the energies surrounding the condition of the Seeker that will most likely influence the future.

Expanding on the Three-Card Spread

The simple three-card layout is well adapted for extending into several card spreads that for the first three cards would have greater information. A seeker may ask follow-up questions on those three cards after drawing the three cards and interpreting the spread, or inquire about information. Subsequent cards are drawn and put below and above the card on which the current additional card is being created. For example, for the "past" place card, a seeker has a follow-up query about the reading given.

If the practitioner wants to answer the follow-up question, he or she will draw and put an additional card below the "past" location card and interpret it accordingly. For either of the three cards, current, former, and possible future respectively, the practice can be carried out.

Three-Card Tarot Spread




In telling the Seeker about the current situation, historical effects on the present, and the most possible potential scenario, three-card spreads are succinct. It is a brief overview of the recent past, the near future, and the present. Other definitions that can be offered to a three-card spread are also available, which will be discussed in this section.

My solution to three-card spreads is to draw the card denoting the current first. So, in each spread, my Card 1 is always the current. Card 1 is the first drawn card in the three-card spread. Card 2 is put to the left of Card 1, reflecting the present matter's prior factors. Card 3, reflecting the potential result, is put to the right of Card 1.

Notice that it is presumed that when the signifier card is not seen in a spread illustration, the practitioner first puts the signifier card down, and then Card 1 over the signifier, as follows:

Reading the three cards as one of the three actions of a play is another common method. Card 2 represents Act I of the condition of the seeker; Card 1 represents Act II; Card 3 represents Act III. Second, the general geography of the spread should be analyzed by the practitioner. In this part, how this can be achieved will be discussed later. The practitioner should advise the Seeker, "This is a story about..." and explain what the cards are about in the overall general comments.

Then the practitioner should research and notice the tale told in of distinct card to him or herself. Bridge them together the same way you would bridge a play's scenes.

In order to signify the mind, body, and soul, left to right, the three cards may also be used. The intellectual activity inside the Seeker, his or her thoughts and emotions, is expressed by Card 2. Card 1 illustrates acts and actions, or the real universe. Card 3 reflects the divine advice of the cards for the condition of the seeker.

The three-card spread can be used by starter tarot practitioners before it becomes second nature. The beginner practitioner will move on to more difficult spreads to study until the three-card spread is perfected.


Two-Card Tarot Spread




Two-card spreads answer individual questions as well. For two-card spreads, there are two proposed strategies. Next, use the Fan Technique discussed in the previous segment to shuffle. Have the Seeker pick Card 1 and position it, per the form being used, on the table as seen below. Then, pick Card 2 for the Seeker.

Think of the two-card spread system A as a simple extension. What equals Card 1 plus Card 2? The reaction to the query is that number.

Card 1 reveals the heart of the matter for the Method B two-card spread, the response to the Seeker's question. Card 2 will either suggest the challenges blocking Card 1, alert the Seeker of potential problems or situations that could blur the objectives of the Seeker, or it may display what the Seeker can expect ahead of time, a forecast of what is to come after the events of Card 1. The two cards, then, are a series of cause and effect. The indication that Card 2 carries on in a reading depends on the claimant, the purpose of the investigation, and the circumstance.

Consider the left edge as it faces you to be the bottom edge of the card and the right edge as it faces you to be the top edge, to decide whether Card 2 is upright or reverse.

In the left example, as illustrated above, Card 2 is upright and the bottom edge of the deck is the left edge as it faces you. The Seeker will soon begin a new quest, considering the recent defeats or failure shown by the Three of Blades, maybe a new endeavor that will reclaim a sense of intent in the life of the Seeker. For now, The Seeker will launch herself into her job and the results will be fruitful.

Card 2 is inverted in the proper example. In addition to the recent loses or failure, there will be more difficulties to face and failures in the current endeavor of the Seeker, in comparison to the previous reading. Continued complications may arise that tend to obstruct or discourage the Seeker from going beyond the wound of the Three of Swords. Somehow, the agony of the Three of Swords and her failure to progress in the new endeavor are intertwined, and before she can excel, the conflict needs to be overcome.

In fact, two-card readings enable you to apply simple dignities to synthesize the two cards into one coherent message to the Seeker.

One-Card Draw Tarot Spread



 For yes or no inquiries, the one-card draw is suited. Many clinicians take the method of viewing a card drawn upright as a response to "yes" and a card drawn in reverse to be a "no,"1, but be careful not to focus entirely on that oversimplified approach. The meaning relies on what question was posed and how the question was expressed, as well as what card was drawn, of course. A Three of Swords drawn upright may not be as positive or positive as a reverse-drawn Four of Wands. Thus, though one governing theory is the upright-yes/reversed-no rule of thumb, it is just one of many.

It is important to take a more systematic view. The one-card distribution is also useful for recognizing the prevailing force or powers in a situation. The goal of one-card readings is to hit at the center of the matter. With a one-card reading, a particular question may be asked. The drawn card often calls attention to unique problems, energies, or events that are important and to which the seeker should pay attention, regardless of what the response is.

When reflecting on the problem at hand, the Seeker can first shuffle the deck. The deck should be handed to the professional until the seeker is satisfied. Then the practitioner fans the cards out on a table and makes the Seeker point at his or her card of choice. Then the practitioner flips the card pointed to by the Seeker over and puts it on the table.

Another solution to a Seeker's one-card reading utilizes a signifier card. An summary of selecting signifier cards is given in Chapter 10. Once the signifier card is picked, shuffle the deck while dwelling on the query of the Seeker with the signifier. Then turn the face of the deck towards you and look for the sign.

The answer to the question is expressed by the card directly behind the signifier card. In truth, the cards "behind" the signifier are the "going forward" cards or what is to come to the Seeker. Cards from the past are the cards "in front" or accompanying the signifier. Thus, with the question at hand, the card directly "behind" the signifier is the card you perceive.


Code of Ethics Governing Divination Using the Tarot



The fundamental requirement that tarot practitioners would uphold is that they do no harm to others. The ethics that control your divination, the motives for using the instrument and the resulting effects are of primary importance and must always be thought first before you proceed.


At best, you give advice and direction to your seeker when using the tarot. It is of utmost importance to take adequate caution as it will lead the person affected in the right or wrong direction depending on what you intuit or infer from a reading and the resulting time and energy or lack thereof that you might have put into the reading. If the seeker entrusts you with helping to make that option or a crucial and meaningful judgment, the life, karma and karmic reactions of that person are connected to yours. It may be dramatically altered as a consequence of reading the life of an individual and the course of action they take.


It is therefore of the highest importance to support, assist, direct and inform in your perceptions from reading to the best of your ability and with maximum respect about the person concerned. If the tarot is misused by a practitioner who does not specifically adhere by a code of ethics, the implications are real and have multiple dimensions for both the reader and the seeker.



  • Do no harm, first and foremost. Refusing to do a reading for a Seeker while doing little to support the Seeker is safer than interfering, doing an irresponsible reading, and risking further damage than gain. Do not conduct a reading where there is a risk of greater harm and the probability of benefit to the seeker is minimal.
  • Tarot is a profession and also a practice. It is important to comply with a strict ethics code. Students are expected by physicians, lawyers, accountants and several professional studies to commit to uniform laws. While there are no uniform rules of ethical conduct in tarot, they should be established by the practitioner for him or herself, and those rules should be very close to the rules I suggest herein.
  • Seekers owe Tarot practitioners a duty of integrity and caution. Just as a doctor must promise to reflect his or her credentials truthfully. Do not ever proclaim yourself as a psychic unless you are a psychic in fact. When you're just a beginner, it's all right to try reading for others, as long as you clearly announce that you're just a beginner and make it clear that reading is for fun only and, what's more, you really don't completely grasp the tarot's depths and nuances.
  • For the tarot, the inaccuracies lie with the practitioner, not the cards, another significant point. On occasion, even the most experienced tarot practitioner can misread the cards. It is vital that seekers know this, and it is the duty of the practitioner to ensure that seekers understand it.
  • Do not lead the seeker to assume that the potential result that the cards forecast is absolute. It isn't that. The tarot cards correspond with the current energies and state of mind of a Seeker. According to the present outlook, they can only forecast a probable course. Yet, the Seeker will change all possible results. The Seeker has free will and can apply it to the fullest. Changes in actions and choices will affect the future.
  • If you are an inexperienced practitioner, so let Seekers know that there would be a strong risk of inaccuracies. Also sophisticated and professional tarot practitioners should refrain from overstating their abilities. Humility is also a virtue and is well-regarded.
  • Never start with the pretense of precision. Each practitioner of tarot has its limits. Let consumers know that the professional is individual and thus faulty. The practitioner may misunderstand or miss essential information, no matter how qualified.
  • Fairly and critically perform any reading. Pursue the best efforts with impartiality. If there are conflicts of interest or previous acquaintance with the Seeker, let the Seeker know that the reading of the cards might be unwittingly affected by certain conflicts or familiarity. What is an interest conflict? If the effect of the Seeker's reading might likely in any way influence the tarot practitioner, so there is a conflict of interest. Warn the Seeker of a likely bias.
  • Readings could never be delayed or hurriedly completed. The practitioner must dedicate absolute, undivided attention to the cards after a reading has started.
  • Seekers can seek Tarot practitioners in tandem with professional therapy, but tarot can never be used as a substitute for a licensed psychologist or therapist. The responsible tarot practitioner will go to great lengths to explain to the seeker that good legal opinion, medical advice, or financial advice should not be replaced by the tarot.
  • Although the tarot does not give legal advice, medical advice, or financial advice, it does provide vital insight into a condition that would seem impossible otherwise. It will offer insight into the history of a seeker and a better view of the challenges facing the seeker. It can also expose facets of the character of the Seeker that might be helpful.
  • Still consider questions of secrecy. The reading of A Seeker should remain purely secret. The name of a seeker should also remain secret, unless the seeker gives the practitioner express consent to release such information. There is a right and obligation of secrecy between the tarot practitioner and the Seeker, just as there are physician-patient, attorney-client, and priest-penitent rights. Even if one may not be accepted by the laws of the country, the real tarot practitioner, out of reverence for the tradition and the art, should uphold the norm for himself.
  • For inspiration, the tarot may be used and can enable a seeker to make more educated choices. The ethical tarot practitioner, however, would constantly stress to the Seeker that nothing in the tarot will replace legal, medical, financial, or therapeutic clinical therapy.
  • Some claim that for fortune-telling, the tarot can be used, but I do not. I can not emphasize enough: With utter confidence, the tarot can not forecast the future. Nothing is probable.
  • Remember what was previously mentioned: never use the tarot to read into the life of another without the clear permission of that person and complete knowledge that you are doing such a reading. It is a reprehensible espionage act, a reckless violation of the rights of others.
  • By free will, the future is still malleable. There should, though, be no doubt that the instrument will provide great advice when the tarot is used ethically and responsibly. This is another explanation for the value of ethics: to preserve the integrity of tarot practice so that it can continue to be provided as a metaphysical or medical method.
  • To force your will on others, never use the tarot. Misuse and misuse of the tarot is among those who perform spells or other related ways of manipulation of essential forces, using the tarot to try and influence another's situation without the permission of that person. Please appreciate the severity of the breach. The depth and width of the destruction that you can inflict is limitless.
  • Tarot practitioners should usually, as a solid rule of thumb, never agree to do readings for seekers who ask detailed questions about sickness, financial issues, legal problems or violence of some sort (substance abuse, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, etc.). The problem is not whether the tarot should answer those questions at all. Human health and welfare are the concern. As seekers think about the tarot posing those questions, it is obvious that they are using the tarot to cover for serious clinical treatment. That is impermissible. These situations will not be facilitated by the ethical tarot practitioner because, for one, it will do more harm than good.
  • To supplement current clinical treatment, the tarot can only be used.
  • When a tarot practitioner supplies the public with his or her readings, continued education is important. His or her tarot experiments will never stop the ethical practitioner. The Seeker and the skilled tarot community owe Tarot practitioners a responsibility to be the highest, most experienced, most knowledgeable practitioner that his or her skills allow.
  • There is, inevitably, the problem of fees. The ethical tarot practitioner will specifically state to the Seeker the cost of any reading, and once the Seeker has expressly acknowledged the cost, the practitioner will not begin reading. Also, clinicians ought to be self-aware.
  • If you accept that during a reading you were not yourself, or if an accurate reading may have been stopped by any part of your emotional state or environment, it is up to you to refund the payments to the Seeker. In fact, when you know that your emotional condition or atmosphere is not what it should be, you should not be carrying out readings.
  • There'll still be moments where it doesn't feel right to charge, so don't. The tarot is a sacred instrument, and please do so if you are offered the chance to support someone who is in need.
  • The practitioner must devote as much time to ethical issues as to the other facets of tarot analysis as he or she does. What distinguishes the reputable tarot artist from the charlatan is the rigid adherence to a high code of ethics.
  • Remember as many seekers attempt to deal with sorrow, loss, or uncertainty as individuals in a fragile state. Pairing such a person with a quack or irresponsible tarot practitioner would cause the seeker a great deal of harm, harm that may be just as extreme, if not worse, than a quack doctor who practices medicine without a license, a scum-sucking lawyer, or an accountant who has a tendency to skim a little off the top.

If a tarot practitioner has no intention of strictly adhering to a code of ethics, then for those instances I would conclude, the practitioner should at the very least consider being ethical, empathetic and fair as per their own moral compass and in their own conscience while reading the tarot. For those nuanced choice of actions are a self defining Truth that you have to continue to live with even after a reading.


Tarot, Mysticism, Divination and Traditions


The poet's pathology says that "the undevout astronomer is mad"; the very simple man's pathology says that "the genius is mad"; and the sovereign justification takes the place of a moderator and does what it can between these extremes, which stand for ten thousand comparable excesses. I do not believe that the pathology of occult dedications persists, but no one should doubt their extravagances, and it is not less painful than ungrateful to act as a moderator about them. In comparison, if it existed, the pathology would presumably be an empiricism rather than a diagnosis and would not give any requirements.

Now, occultism is not like mystic faculty, and it rather rarely operates in conjunction either with business aptitude in the things of everyday life or with a knowledge of the canons of facts of its own domain. I know that for the high art of ribaldry there are few things more boring than the critique which maintains that a thesis is untrue, and cannot understand that it is decorative. I also know that it is often refreshing, in the field of this craft, to deal with what is clearly deception or at least utter unreason after a long deal with questionable doctrine or with challenging science.

But, as seen through the prism of occultism, the forces of history are not, as a rule, decorative and have little refreshing gifts to repair the lacerations they cause on the rational perception. In the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, it almost takes a Frater Sapiens dominabitur astris to have the patience that is not lacking among clouds of stupidity when the Tarot's consideration is conducted in compliance with the higher rule of symbolism.

Symbolism is the real Tarot; it knows no other language and does not give any other indications. They become a kind of alphabet, provided the inner significance of its emblems, which is capable of indefinite variations and makes true sense in everything. It gives a "Key" To The Mysteries on the highest plane, in a way that is not subjective and has not been read in. But it has been told the wrong symbolic stories about it, and in any published work that has so far dealt with the topic, the wrong history has been given.

Two or three authors have intimated that this is inevitably the case, at least in terms of definitions, since few are familiar with them, while these few keep pledges through transmission and will not compromise their trust. On the surface, the suggestion is brilliant, because there seems to be a certain anti-climax in the proposition that a specific meaning of fortune-telling should be reserved for Sons of the Doctrine, I'art de tirer les cartes.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that there is a sacred custom surrounding the Tarot, and since there is always the possibility that a small arcane of the Mysteries may be made public with a flourish of trumpets, it may also be appropriate to go before the event and to alert those who are interested in such matters that any discovery will contain only a third of the earth and sea and a third of the earth and a third of the moon.

This is for the simple explanation that no more has been put into writing in either root-matter or creation, so after every pretended unveiling, more will remain to be said. Therefore, the guards of those initiation temples who hold watch over the secrets of this order have no reason for concern. As far as the series of larger symbols is concerned, their ultimate and highest meaning lies deeper than the typical image or hieroglyphic language. Many that have received any portion of the Hidden Custom will recognize this.

They are meant to set aside the follies and impostures of past attributions, to place those who have the gift of wisdom on the right path, and to take note, within the limits of my possibilities, that they are the reality as far as they go, as regards the linguistic meanings assigned here to the more relevant Trump Cards.

In many ways, it is regrettable that I have to admit to such doubts, but there is a matter of honor at issue. In comparison, between the follies on the one side of those who know little of the practice, but are, in their own view, the exponents of something called occult science and philosophy, and on the other side of the make-believe of a few writers who have earned part of the tradition and believe that it constitutes a legitimate title to scatter dust in the eyes of the outside world.

We shall see in due course that the history of Tarot cards is mostly of the derogatory kind, and that, when the problems are cleared by the dissipation of reveries and gratuitous speculations articulated in the terms of certitude, there is in effect no history prior to the fourteenth century. The deceit and self-deception about their roots in Egypt, India or China put the first expositors' mouths in a lying spirit, and the later occult authors did nothing more than replicate the first false testimony in the good faith of an intellect that was unawakened to the research problems.

All exhibits have operated within a very limited spectrum, as it happens, and owe little, relatively speaking, to the imaginative faculty. At least one genius chance was lost, for it has not occurred to anybody so far that the Tarot might have done duty and perhaps emerged as the Albigensian sects' secret symbolic tongue. In the tradition of Gabriele Rossetti and Eugene Aroux, I commend this recommendation to the linear heirs, to Mr. Harold Bayley as another New Light on the Revival, and at least as a taper in the gloom that may be helpful to Mrs. Cooper-zealous Oakley's and all-searching mind with great reverence.

Think only about what the supposed testimony of watermarks on paper could obtain from the Pope's or Hierophant's Tarot Card in connection with the notion of an Albigensian secret patriarch that Mr. Bayley finds so much information for his intent in these same watermarks. Think of the High Priestess' card as portraying the Albigensian church itself for just a moment; and think of the Tower struck by Lightning as representing the desired ruin of Papal Rome, the city on the seven hills, with the pontiff and his temporal force thrown down from the sacred edifice as it is demolished by God's wrath (Nature).

The possibilities are so various and convincing that one of the elect vwho has invented them almost deceives in their speech.

But there is much more to it, even though I barely dare to quote it. When the time came for the Tarot cards to be the topic of their first systematic description, some of their most notable emblems were replicated by the archaeologist Court de Gebelin, and, if I might name it, the codex he used, by his carved plates, as a reference basis for many subsequently released collections. The figures are rather primitive and, as such, vary from the cards of Etteilla, the Tarot of Marseilles, and those which are still present in France.

In such things, I am not a strong judge, but the fact that each of the Trumps Majors may have replied for watermark purposes is shown by the cases I have cited and by one of the most impressive examples of the Ace of Cups.

In the manner of a ciborium, I should call it a eucharistic symbol, but this does not mean at this time. The argument is that in his New Light On The Renaissance, Mr. Harold Bayley offers six analogous instruments, which are watermarks on seventeenth-century parchment, which he says to be of Albigensian origin and to represent sacramental and grail emblems. Had he only read of the Tarot, had he learned that these divination cards, the cards of fate, the cards of all the vagabond arts, were perhaps present in the South of France at that time, I assume that his enchanting, but all too fantastic, theory would have dilated even more in the atmosphere of his imagination.

No doubt we should have had a vision of Christian Gnosticism, Manichseanism, and all the true primal Gospel knows, sparkling behind the images. I do not look through those lenses, and at a later stage I can only commend the topic to his attention; it is said here that I will add the marvels of arbitrary speculation as to the past of the cards with an unheard-of wonder.

It should scarcely be useful to enumerate them with regard to their type and number, since they must be almost universally recognised.


Relating to and Caring for a Tarot Deck


Place it in a part of your home that is dearly personal to you, to link to a new deck of tarot cards. Remember that it is more for your benefit than for the tarot cards to do so. It's about adapting your state of mind and training yourself for intuitive practice to link to a tarot box. Some people would only keep their cards in a holy spot, such as an altar or a special place for religious books. It would fit great with a desk drawer or chest cabinet filled with personal mementos and valuable keepsakes. The idea behind this is simple: the most powerful movements of your private spiritual energy would have such a room.




Leave your new tarot deck there for a while until you have found the right room. Doing so enables the tempering of your personal energies between the deck's prefixed energies. I had a Robin Wood tarot deck that I really liked, but for one reason or another, I just didn't interact with it in readings. Then I began to get better readings with it after having it tucked under my pillow every night for about a week. Does that make scientific and intellectual sense? Oh, no. May I draw ties where there are none? Maybe, but it succeeded for me, and that's what counts.


You take it more seriously that an object has private emotional significance to you. With reverence, veneration, and near-superstitious observations, violinists who are passionate about their music handle their violins. Athletes have routines which are identical. What these artists and athletes do may appear superstitious to onlookers, their personal routines leading up to a concert or game, but it is about the attitude. Similarly, tarot readings rely on the attitude. You open yourself up enough to accept the signals and perspective that the tarot has to bring by taking tarot analysis seriously, as the artist does his instrument and the athlete does her performance. So take sure to implement routines that are personalized.




 Before beginning, certain individuals would prefer to purify a tarot deck, especially a used one, of foreign energies. Some would put the deck with quartz crystals in a closely sealed space, such as a jar, or bury it in salt, which is assumed to have purifying properties. Others will pass it by the burning sage's smoke, a herb that is thought to be purifying as well. The phases of the moon will also be taken into account by some. Do what sounds best for you intuitively. Proceed to put it in your personal or religious room after the deck has been cleansed of alien energy.

For three or five consecutive days to link more to a deck, attempt to shuffle and order the tarot deck for the first action you take of the day and the last action of the night before you sleep. Take the deck out, concentrate on the cards, and, as you shuffle, focus your energy on them. Then switch them up on the right side to bring the order from Major Arcana to Minor Arcana (or vice versa), either the card order or the order that sounds right to you. Take the time to personally review and card and absorb the images in your head as you bring them back in order.

This approach encourages you to tune into the new deck and articulate your interpretation of the tarot signs and symbols. It allows you to familiarize yourself with the deck's imagery on a more mundane basis.




With respect to tarot card storage, every strategy would work. Your cards will definitely be kept in their original packaging. A drawstring bag, much like a pack, would do well. Traditionally, it has been assumed that by covering them in black silk, tarot cards can be kept. My own reading deck is covered in white linen, which is also my most prized tarot deck. The importance of wrapping tarot in silk is unclear, but for me, my cultural history resonates with it.

Silk production started as early as 27 BC in China (at least according to tradition, but the recognition that it came from China seems to be well-established), and the Silk Road is one of the earliest examples of globalization from East to West. Silk moved from East to West, like playing cards, and any new culture it came into contact with adapted and stylized it to represent that specific culture.

If the chosen storage option is a box, then the practice is to use a wooden box. It is assumed that a box made of cedar holds the material untainted from external energies inside the box. For divination and spiritual reasons, one made of cypress, hazel, holly, spruce, or willow is considered optimal. The force of the tarot will be empowered and enhanced both by oak and maple.

 What is more critical is how you relate to the table, no matter how you want to store the tarot deck. You can build a deep bond between you and the deck by repeated and prolonged use of it. It's not about superstition to link to your Tarot Box. It's about opening your mind up to be as sensitive to what the tarot has to say as possible. Taking appropriate care of your tarot deck reveals your respect for divination and the encouragement and support given by it to yourself and others. You must also handle your tarot deck with the same degree of caution and with the same degree of care as you intend to do your readings.


How to Choose Your Tarot Deck



Selecting Your Tarot Deck of Choice


There are plenty of highly regarded tarot decks to pick from. Don't encourage the viewpoints of other people to influence which deck you select. Each individual can react to the various tarot decks differently. I began with an edition of Rider Waite, printed in 1971. My mates are true to the Thoth-tarot of Aleister Crowley.

The Tarot of Marseille or one of the fifteenth-century decks can be preferred by some purists: the Cary-Yale Visconti tarot, or the more popular Visconti-Sforza, the Sola Busca Tarot (circa 1491), or the later ones from the nineteenth century: Ferdinado Gumppenberg's Tarot of Lombardy (circa 1810), Carlo Della Rocca's Soprafi (circa 1835), or Giovanni Vacchetta's Vacchetta Tarot (circa 1893), or It Though difficult to come by, Etteilla decks are often widely favoured by purists, such as Jean-Baptiste Alleitte's Grand Etteilla (circa 1788).

Consider the Universal Waite deck by Mary Hanson-Roberts that came out in 1990, the Albano-Waite by Frankie Albano in 1991, Golden Rider (AGM Müller, 1996), the Original Rider Waite, a facsimile of the original deck by Waite and Smith, printed in 1999, or the Radiant Rider-Waite by Virginijus Poshkus in 2003, among others, if you choose to stick with the Rider-Waite-Smith interpretive method. This book, like most introductory books, depends on the Rider-Waite-Smith, which is why it is the deck and method most commonly recommended to beginners.

The Morgan Greer tarot, the Witches tarot; African tarot; African-American tarot; China tarot; Ancient Egypt tarot; Buddha tarot; Sun and Moon tarot; Angel tarot; Avalon or the Arthurian tarot; Fairy Tale tarot; Robin Wood tarot; the list goes on. There are also many more tarot decks that you might remember. Many of these modern decks are based on Rider-Waite-classic Smith's pictures, which is why this is still a fantastic deck to start with. Your instincts, I believe, would draw you to the deck that is most fitting for you.

 It should be remembered that some of these decks do not have seventy-eight cards. For starters, the I Ching tarot fusion decks have only sixty-four cards (corresponding to the sixty-four hexagrams). Such non-seventy-eight decks are known as oracle cards, and the standard seventy-eight-card tarot should not be mistaken.

There are typically three prevalent tarot interpretive structures that will be clarified in corresponding chapters in this book: the Tarot of Marseille, the Rider-Waite-Smith, and the Thoth. The understanding of tarot symbolism still differs considerably, in addition to the several different deck structures, but the prevalent method is one signed by the Golden Dawn Hermetic Order.

For a long time, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was the leading school of tarot studies. A secret society that originated in England in the nineteenth century is said to be the Golden Dawn. The Teachings of the Golden Dawn, such as theurgy, alchemy, and astrology, are steeped in ritualistic sorcery and mystical or metaphysical arts. The Golden Dawn fused their practices with the tarot to create a methodology which has become the systematic majority approach to tarot studies for all intents and purposes. The Golden Dawn members designed and illustrated many of the tarot decks that we remember today.

In recent years, several other distinct tarot systems have arisen and developed a large minority following (as opposed to a deck variant or a hybrid of the three current standards), but they have not risen to the same degree of popularity as Marseille, Rider-Waite-Smith, and Thoth. When purchasing a new tarot deck, carefully investigate all the possibilities and make careful to find out in advance of purchase if the deck is a variant based on the Rider-Waite-Smith, the Marseille, the Thoth, or a combination of such schemes, or completely embraces an entirely new reading scheme.

My approach to tutelage is to start with the Rider-Waite-Smith, and there are three primary explanations for that. Next, the Rider-Waite-Smith is used for most of the traditional texts on tarot studies. You would have several reference texts at your hands by beginning with that system. Once you are proficient with the Rider-Waite-Smith, you would have the appropriate framework for any interpretive method to be taught. Second, I would argue that, for the beginner, the Rider-Waite-Smith is easier to read than both the Thoth and the Marseille.

The Marseille system has limited imagery and symbols found in the Minor Arcana, so it will be a struggle to read all the studies that the tarot reader would inevitably pick up on in the beginner Rider-Waite-Smith system without prior knowledge of Western numerology, elementary dignities, and to some degree astrology. And third, it is undoubtedly the simplest deck for the inexperienced tarot practitioner to learn, with the hundreds of close facsimile versions of the Rider-Waite-Smith open. Therefore, I propose a deck based on Rider-Waite-Smith as the starter tarot.

Must be clear that I am not recommending the use of Rider-Waite-Smith by readers. Instead, I'm recommending that beginners launch their Rider-Waite-Smith tarot studies. By the intermediate stage, most professionals would have graduated from the Rider-Waite-Smith to use a deck for their routine readings that they are more intuitively attached to. There is no better text on tarot chronology than Stuart R. Kaplan's The Tarot Encyclopedia, volumes one through four. Since the earliest known decks, the several volumes cover all the tarot decks and structures, and the books are a good place to begin studying which decks would resonate best with the practitioner.



Tarot Origin Theories




It is said that THE EARLIEST Type OF CARDS originated in China. Playing card documents date back as far as the Tang Dynasty, from 618 AD to 907 AD. These early versions, though they were meant for play, not divination, were rich with cultural and mythical references important to their time and location. These early models from China were even more similar than playing cards to modern-day dominoes or mahjong. But many assume that the ancestors of tarot were these. Legends claim that through divining fortunes from these playing cards, the emperor's concubines amused themselves.


Korean shamans fired divinatory arrows made of bamboo and cock feathers at about the same time on the Korean peninsula, under the Silla empire. The future and other secret wisdom that the shamans could translate for soldiers and warlords were believed to reveal certain bows. Those divinatory arrows were reinterpreted into silk card strips engraved with insignia in the sixth century. The pieces of silk were divided into eight suits: males, fish, crows, pheasants, antelopes, stars, rabbits, and horses, and numbered from one to nine. If it was from the Tang Dynasty or the Silla, the original source of playing cards, most historians admit that they originated from the East.

Ultimately, commerce took the cards to Islamic communities. Many scholars claim that in what is now modern-day Cairo, the Mamlûk Sultanate conceived a series of playing cards produced in Egypt during the Mamlûk Empire and consisting of four suits: Polo Sticks, Cups, Swords, and Coins, reflecting the desires and pastimes of the Mamlûk aristocracy. By the 1370s, Central Asian traders had taken these Mamlûk cards to Europe. The cultural and legendary references on the Asian cards were changed by Europeans to represent their own time and place. The tarot was not yet produced at that time, but it was popular to play cards with detailed drawings. Card games would have been very common at that time in Italy and Spain, as several laws were written to ban the use of playing cards.

Tarot cards in the shape common to us today, the seventy-eight cards separated into the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana, originated around 1440, during the Italian Renaissance, or at least those are the oldest accounts known to modern historians of them. One of the most popular decks from that period is one hand-painted in the 1400s for the Visconti dynasty, one of Italy's richest families. To the common fifty-six ordinary playing cards (pips, which are the aces by tens, and faces, the court cards), twenty-two allegorical trump cards, or trionfi, were added to form the tarot, or tarocchi, a card game not unlike modern-day bridge. The early version incorporated Christianity's deeply inspired symbolism and imagery. There was a remarkable resemblance between these Italian cards and the early Mamlûk cards from the East. The church normally outlawed playing cards at the time, but an exception was made for tarot, due in no small part to its success among the powerful. Tarot was described as a moral, polished, aristocratic, and intelligent endeavor, in contrast to the playing cards used by the lower classes.

Although the idea of tarot originated as a game, others theorize that gypsies used tarot-like cards for fortune-telling well before the fourteenth century in the Mediterranean. These scholars argue that the absence of early documents showing the tarot used for divination is due to prohibitions and popular rejection of it at the time of fortune-telling. However, the truth remains that there is actually no record. Pure hypotheses remain these.

But another common legend holds that the tarot, the Big Arcane or the Deck's first twenty-two trump cards, includes the Knights Templar's religious intelligence. It is said that the Knights Templar found, among other sacred mysteries, the Holy Grail while in Jerusalem, and took back their divine knowledge from the East. When the Templars were persecuted in the 1300s, in the imagery of the Main Arcana for future centuries, they memorialized their learned secrets. However, historical evidence of the legend is almost non-existent, especially because the breakup of the Templars does not coincide chronologically with the tarot idea.

Verifiable accounts of tarot and mysticism did not exist until the 1700s, revealing the use of tarot as a divinatory instrument by French and English occultists. In the eighteenth century, with the use of the deck for divine and supernatural reasons, the Freemasons renewed an interest in tarot. The idea that tarot cards descended from Egyptian mysticism and that Gypsies introduced the tarot from Egypt to Europe in the thirteenth century AD was popularised by occultists of the day, such as Antoine Court de Gébelin, a French Protestant priest. No documented verifiable documents, however, confirm Gébelin's theories.

Jean-Baptiste Alliette, an occultist who went under the alias Etteilla, wrote on cartomancy widely, subscribing to each card's meanings and explaining how to lay a deck of playing cards in a divination spread. In later divinatory tarot rituals, these techniques became greatly incorporated. Etteilla's books, however, used the deck of playing cards we know now, not the tarot, of clubs, hearts, spades, and diamonds. Yet he wrote of the Egyptian Book of Thoth before Etteilla's death in 1791, much of which was later extended to contemporary versions of the Major and Minor Arcana of the tarot. It was suspected that both Gébelin and Etteilla were affiliated with a secret society, the Order of Elect Cohens, an occult organization later established by Papus that followed the Martinist Order.

In the 1850s, using the Hermetic Qabalah system, Alphonse Louis Constant, also known by his nickname Eliphas Levi, translated the Marseille tarot (to be distinguished from the Jewish Kabbalah). By 1888, the Golden Dawn's Hermetic Order took a particular interest in and popularized the tarot. The tarot was also embraced by other schools of thought, such as Martinism, a branch of esoteric Christianity created by a French occultist born in Spanish called Gerard Encausse. Encausse is considered one of the best tarot practitioners in literature, and in the 1890s, under the alias Papus, he wrote the seminal work The Tarot of the Bohemians.

The revived interest in tarot as an occult study coincided with Madame H. P. Blavatsky's creation of the Theosophical Society. The organisation of Blavatksy and its discovery of esoteric doctrine inspired many of her day's notable artists, from writers Franz Kafka, T. S. Eliot, and W. B. Yeats to Jean Sibelius, a musical composer, and Wassily Kandinsky, a painter. In fact, the works of Kafka, Eliot, and Yeats were considered to be impacted by tarot semiotics. Tarot became a common premise during that period as a book of divine wisdom.

Thus, the 1900s brought a number of major entrants to the study of tarot. Most of the tarot's present interpretation is focused on this new heritage. Occultist A. In 1909, His reading of the tarot, a deck now known as the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, was written by E. Waite. Modern occultists speculate that A. created the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. E. Waite to conceal in plain sight the mysteries of the Golden Dawn, and to allow the theosophy of the Golden Dawn to be freely visible, at least to those who are willing to decipher the cards. Most of the meaning and imagery of the deck has its origins in Neo-Platonism, a metaphysical paradigm from Alexandria in the third century. In comparison, the tarot has profoundly rooted mysticism, Western astrology, Greek, Roman, and Egyptian folklore, and both Hermetic Qabalah and Jewish Kabbalah. In the 1940s, influenced by the Egyptian Book of Thoth, Aleister Crowley created a deck known as the Thoth tarot.

Subsequently, various tarot practitioners and occultists added additional decks to their versions of the tarot. Like the deck's forebears from Asia, both of these tarot deck variants have in common the richness of cultural and mythical parallels related to the time and place of their creation.

Tarot is also popularly identified with pagan, Wiccan, neo-pagan, and other alternative religion traditions of today. That may be why alternate faiths, magic or magic, and tarot, have common associations. The tarot, though, is not special to these sects. Through certain walks of life and among persons of all religious subscriptions, it is used regardless of religion.

Over the ages, Tarot has progressed from a card game to a divination instrument and is now gaining attention in psychological science for its meaning. I liken tarot to yoga: it is a non-denominational ritual that can be concomitant with the practices present in many religions, but may be used differently in contemporary applications. Yoga, regardless of one's religion, helps with personal health, and tarot helps with decision-making, regardless of one's spirituality.

Psychologists and researchers began to take on a keener interest in tarot as a subject in the late twentieth century. One of the leading tarot authors of our days, Robert Wang, and Dr. Arthur Rosengarten, a licensed psychologist based in Jungia, pioneered the therapeutic application of tarot, and spearheaded a new effort to legitimize the practice of tarot as a psychological science.

Tarot is currently used for mental healing by many alternative medicine practitioners. Tarot has been introduced to psychotherapy by psychologists, clinicians and life coaching. Tarot is also accepted today as a practice of secular faith. While the majority can still view tarot as a method of divination or fortune-telling, the cards have been used by a growing group of practitioners for more rational-based purposes. For gypsies and occultists, Tarot is no longer regarded as a pursuit. It is an analytical thesis aimed at raising general awareness about the use of tarot for personal empowerment.

Tarot through History




Our immediate consideration here is to talk about the cards in their history so that, as intimated elsewhere, the speculations and reveries that have been perpetuated and compounded in the schools of occult science can be disposed of once and for all.

At the beginning of this step, let it be known that there are many sets or sequences of ancient cards that are only part of our interest. Papus' Tarot Of The Bohemians, revising the incomplete rendering, has some valuable details in this regard, and it will serve the general reader's intent, except for omitting dates and other evidence of the archaeological context.

I do not propose to extend it in any way that can be considered considerable in the present position, but such additions are ideal and so is a separate style of presentation as well.

There are, first of all, those of Baldini among the ancient cards mentioned in connection with the Tarot, which are the celebrated collection credited by tradition to Andrea Mantegna, although this view is now widely denied. Their origin is estimated to be around 1470, and it is assumed that in Europe there are no more than four sets. Probably similarly unusual is a duplication or duplication alluded to in 1485. Fifty numbers, divided into five denaries or sequences of ten cards each, form a full set. There appears to be no record that they were used, whether by chance or talent, for the purposes of a game; they could scarcely have lent themselves to divination or some sort of fortune-telling; although it would be more than idle to impute to their apparent emblematic designs a profound symbolic significance.

The first denary embodies Conditions of Life, as follows: 

(1) TheBeggar, (2) the Knave, (3) the Artisan, (4) the Merchant, (5) the Noble, (6) the Knight, (7) the Doge, (8) the King, (9) the Emperor, (10) the Pope. 

The second contains the Muses and their Divine Leader: 

(11) Calliope, (12) Urania, (13) Terpsichore, (14) Erato, (15) Polyhymnia, (16) Thalia, (17) Melpomene, (18) Euterpe, (19) Clio, (20) Apollo. 

The third combines part of the Liberal Arts and Sciences with other departments of human learning, as follows: 

(21) Grammar, (22) Logic, (23) Rhetoric, (24) Geometry, (25) Arithmetic, (26) Music, (27) Poetry, (28) Philosophy, (29) Astrology, (30) Theology. 

The fourth denary completes the Liberal Arts and enumerates the Virtues: 

(31) Astronomy, (32) Chronology, (S3) Cosmology, (34) Temperance, (35) Prudence, (36) Strength, (37) Justice, (38) Charity, (39) Hope, (40) Faith.

The fifth and last denary presents the System of the Heavens: 

(41) Moon, (42) Mercury, (43) Venus, (44) Sun, (45) Mars, (46) Jupiter, (47) Saturn, (48) Eighth Sphere, (49) Primtim Mobile, (50) First Cause.

We must refrain from suggesting, for instance, that the Conditions of Life refer to the Trumps Major, the Muses to Pentacles, the Arts and Sciences to Cups, the Virtues, etc., to Scepters, and the Conditions of Life to Swords. The fantastic attempts to derive full Tarot sequences from these denaries. A method of mental contortion may do this sort of thing, but it has no place in reality. Around the same time, it is not probable that such, and even striking, analogies should not be displayed on individual cards. The respective court cards of the Minor Arcana are indicated by the Baldini King, Knight and Knave. For the Mantegna and Trumps Major of every Tarot pack, the Ruler, Pope, Temperance, Power, Fairness, Moon and Sun are popular.

The Beggar and the Fool, Venus and the Star, Mars and the Chariot, Saturn and the Hermit, even Jupiter, or, alternatively, the First Cause, were all bound to the world's Tarot card through Predisposition. The beggar is essentially nude, and the analogy is that two dogs are present, one of which seems to be flying on his legs. In a canopied chariot, the Mars card shows a sword-bearing knight, to whom, however, no horses are tied. Of note, there is little doubt as to whether the Baldini cards belong to the end of the fifteenth century, as the Tarot was recognized much before that time in Europe.

But in the Mantegna set, the most important characteristics of the Trumps Major are absent, and I do not agree that the ordered sequence in the latter case gave birth to the others, as indicated. Romain Merlin retained this opinion and, at the end of the fourteenth century, positively assigned the Baldini cards.

If it is accepted that, with the exception of unintentionally and sporadically, the emblematic or allegorical pictures of Baldini have only a shadowy and irregular link with Tarot cards, and, whatever their most possible date, that no originating purpose can be given, it follows that we are still searching not only for an origin in location and time for the objects we are dealing with, but for a specific event.

It is now well known that in 1393, when Charles VI of France was in mental ill-health, the painter Charles Gringonneur, who for no cause I can trace was named an occultist and kabalist by one indifferent English scholar, designed and illuminated some kind of cards for the diversion of Charles VI of France, and the question arises whether anything can be ascertained of their existence. The only explanation available is that there are seventeen cards drawn and illuminated on paper in Paris, in the Bibliotheque du Roi. They are very beautiful, antique and priceless; the figures have a background of gold, and are framed in a silver border; but they are accompanied by no inscription and no number.

However, it is clear that they have Tarot Trumps Major, whose list is as follows '. Wheel of Fortune, Temperance, Fortitude, Justice, Moon, Light, Chariot, Hermit, Hanged Man, Burial, Tower and Final Judgment, Idiot, Tyrant, Pope, Lovers, Four Tarot Cards are also sold at Musee Carrer, Venice, and five more elsewhere, making nine in total. They contain two pages, three Kings and two Queens, or Knaves, thereby demonstrating the Arcane Minor. Both these sets were associated with the set created by Gringonneur, but the ascription was contested as far back as 1848, and even those who are eager to make the antiquity of the Tarot plain are not evidently put forward at the present time. They are all known to be of Italian descent and others, at least certainly, of Venetian origin.

In this way, we at least have our necessary point of departure in terms of location. It has already been stated with authority that the old and true type, which is the parent of all others, is the Venetian Tarots; but I conclude that the Major and Minor Arcana's full sets belong to far later times. It is assumed that the pack was comprised of seventy-eight cards.

Notwithstanding, however, the preference shown for the Venetian Tarot, it is understood that the time between 1413 and 1418 must be assigned to certain portions of a Minchiate or Florentine collection. They were once in Countess Gonzaga's custody, in Milan. There were ninety-seven cards in a full Minchiate pack and it is considered, widely speaking, as a later invention in terms of these vestiges. Forty-one Trumps Major were present, the additional numbers either borrowed or mirrored from the emblematic Baldini set. The Knights were creatures of the Centaur type in the court cards of the Minor Arcana, while the Knaves were often warriors and sometimes slaves. The dominance of Christian medieval beliefs and the complete lack of any Oriental suggestion is another difference. However, the question persists whether any Tarot cards contain Eastern traces.

We come, all right, to the Bolognese Tarot, often referred to as Venice and complete with the Trumps Major, but numbers 20 and 21 have been transposed. The 2, 3, 4, and 5 small cards in the Minor Arcana are omitted, resulting in sixty-two cards in total. In the representation of the Last Judgment, the termination of the Trumps Major is curious, and a little arresting as a point of symbolism; but this is all that it seems necessary to note about the Bologna pack, except that it is said to have been invented or, more correctly, modified as a Tarot, by an exiled Prince of Pisa resident in the city around the beginning of the fifteenth century.

The reason for which they were used is shown tolerably by the fact that St. Bernardin of Sienna preached against playing cards and other means of gambling in 1423. The importation of cards into England was banned forty years later, the time being that of King Edward IV. This is our country's first certain record of the issue.

It is difficult to consult perfect illustrations of the above-mentioned collections, but it is not difficult to comply with detailed and outlined explanations. If the writer is not always an occultist, I may add that accounts originating from that source are typically incomplete, ambiguous and concerned with factors that cloud the vital problems. Some opinions that have been shared on the Mantegna codex give an example in point, whether I can continue to dignify card sequences with such a word. In occult reverie, as we have seen, it has been ruled that Apollo and the Nine Muses equate with Pentacles, but the comparison is not obtained in a working state of research; and reverie must verge on nightmare until we can associate the suit of Cups with Astronomy, Chronology and Cosmology. The Baldini characters depicting these themes are, like the Tarot, emblems of their time and not symbols.

To finish, I note that there has been a willingness among experts to suggest that the Trumps Major was not initially related to the numbered suits. I do not wish to give a personal view; I am not a specialist in the history of games of chance, and I dislike the profanum vulgus of divinatory devices; but I venture to intimate, under all reserves, that if subsequent study can explain such a leaning, it would be so much the better for the Greater Arcana, save for the good old art of fortune-telling and its tamperings with so-called fate.

As far as what is appropriate for the historical aspects of the Tarot cards is concerned, I will now take up the speculative side of the topic and create the merit test. I noted in my preface to The Tarot Of The Bohemians that the first writer to make the truth of the cards known was the archaeologist Court de Gebelin, who, just before the French Revolution, spent many years writing his Monde Primitif, which stretched to nine-quarter volumes. Before the science of the subject existed, he was a learned man of his age, a high-grade Mason, a member of the historical Lodge of the Philalethes, and a virtuoso with a strong and lifelong curiosity in the debate on universal antiques. His memorials and dissertations, compiled under the title I have cited, are worth possessing even on this day. By an accident of things, when it was very uncommon in Paris, he became acquainted with the Tarot, and at once conceived that it was the remains of an Egyptian text. He made inquiries about it and confirmed that Spain, Italy, Germany and the South of France were in circulation over a large portion of Europe. It was used, after the usual manner of playing cards, as a game of chance or skill; and he further determined how the game was played. But it was also in use for the greater reason of divination or fortune-telling, and he found the meaning assigned to the cards with the aid of a learned acquaintance, along with the method of organization introduced for this purpose. In a word, he made a distinct contribution to our interpretation, and he is indeed a reference point, but it is just on the issue of truth and not on the cherished theory that pure Egyptian theology is found in the Tarot. He established, however, the view that is prevalent to this day throughout the occult schools that the origin of the cards was lost in the mystery and wonder, the strange night of the gods, the unknown tongue and the undeciphered hieroglyphics that symbolized Egypt at the end of the eighteenth century.

So one of France's distinctive literati dreamed, and one can almost understand and sympathize, for the nation of the Delta and the Nile was beginning to loom largely in the concern of educated thought, and omne ignotum pro Mgyptiaco was the way many minds appeared to delude. It was excusable enough then, but the hysteria persisted and now spreads from mouth to mouth inside the charmed circle of the occult sciences. There is no reason for this. Let us see, then, the proof generated by M. In favor of his study, Court de Gebelin, and, if I can deal equally, it shall be outlined in his own terms as far as possible.

I The characters and arrangement of the game are explicitly allegorical; (2) the allegories are in line with the civil, metaphysical and religious doctrine of ancient Egypt; (3) no High Priestess would be included among the Greater Arcana if the cards were modern; (4) the character in question bears the horns of Isis; (5) the card known as the Emperor has a scepter ending in a trip (7) the seventeenth card, or Star, is the dog-star, Sirius, consecrated to Isis and symbolizing the year's opening; (8) the game played with the Tarot is based on the sacred number seven, which in Egypt was of great importance; (9) the word Tarot is pure Egyptian, in which the language Tar = path or path, and Ro = king or royal, thus signifying the Royal Road of Life; (10) Alternatively, it is taken from A = doctrine; Rosh = Mercury — Thoth, and Article T; in short, Tarosh; and so the Tarot is the Book of Thoth, or the Mercury Doctrine Deck.

Such is the evidence, it is understood that I have set aside some casual remarks for which there is no form of excuse. These, thus, are ten pillars supporting the thesis building, and they are pillars of sand the same. Of definition, the Tarot is allegorical, that is to say, meaning, but all countries, nations and times are Catholic allegory and symbol; they are not more Egyptian than Mexican; they are from Europe and Cathay, from Tibet beyond the Himalayas and from the London gutters.

The cards correspond to many kinds of ideas and things as an allegory and symbol; they are universal and not specific; and the fact that they do not respond specifically and peculiarly to Egyptian doctrine, religious, philosophical or civil, is clear from the failure of the Court de Gebelin to go further than the statement.

Among the Trumps Major, the appearance of a High Priestess is more conveniently explained as the memorial of any common superstition, such as the worship of Diana, whose persistence has been traced by Leland with such striking results in modern Italy. We must also note in any cult the universality of the horns, not to mention that of Tibet. As an example of Egyptian symbolism, the triple cross is preposterous; it is the cross of the patriarchal see, both Greek and Latin, of Venice, of Jerusalem, for instance, and it is the method of signing used by the Orthodox Rite priests and laity to this day.

As other occult authors have told us that they are Hebrew Jods, I pass over the idle allusion to the tears of Isis; as far as the seventeenth card is concerned, it is the star Sirius or another, as predisposition pleases; the number seven was definitely important in Egypt and any treatise on numerical mysticism would prove that the same assertion applies everywhere, even though we chose to disregard the seven Christian sacraments.

Lastly, as far as the etymology of the term Tarot is concerned, it is sufficient to remember that it was given before the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and when the Egyptian language was not recognized.

Court de Gebelin's work was not permitted to sit undisturbed in the mind of the century, appealing solely by means of a quarto volume to the learned. In Paris, as the core of France and all things French in the world, the Tarot cards created an opening. The suggestion that divination by cards had the unforeseen warrants of ancient secret science behind it, and that the origin of the entire topic was in the wonder and mystery of Egypt, represented almost a religious honor thereon; cartomancy came from the purlieus of mystic rituals into fashion and assumed almost pontifical vestures for the moment.

The illiterate yet zealous explorer, Alliette, was the first to take on the role of bateleur, magician and juggler; the second, as a kind of High Priestess, full of knowledge and discoveries, was Mile. Lenormand, but she belongs to a later period; while Julia Orsini, who is more referring to a queen of cups in the tatters of clairvoyance, finally came. When fate itself was shuffling and cutting cards for the game of global revolution, or for such courts and courtiers as those of Louis XVIII, Charles IX and Louis Philippe, I am not concerned with these persons as tellers of fortune. The transliteration of his name, Alliette, however, under the occult classification of Etteilla, the perruquier took himself with great seriousness and posed more as a priest of occult sciences than as an ordinary specialist in l'art de tirer les cartes. There are people still now, including Dr. Papus, who have managed to rescue some component of his bizarre scheme from oblivion.

In 1782, Le Monde Primitif's lengthy and heterogeneous tale had come to the end of its plot, and in 1783 Etteilla's tracts had started to flood from the newspapers, testifying that he had already spent thirty, nay, almost forty years researching Egyptian sorcery, and that he had discovered the final keys. In fact, they were the Keys of the Tarot, which was the Book of Philosophy and the Book of Thoth, but at the same time it was originally written in the Temple of Fire by the seventeen Magi, on the borders of the Levant, about three leagues from Memphis. It included the theory of the cosmos, and it was extended to astrology, alchemy, and fortune-telling by the Cartomancist, without the least pause or reserve as to the fact that he was performing a trade.

There is really no doubt in my mind that he found it legitimate as a metier, and that he was the first one to persuade himself of his scheme. But the thing we have to note is that the antiquity of the Tarot was usually trumpeted out in this way. Etteilla's little books are positive indications that he did not even know his own language; that even those who think of him tenderly confess that he spoiled his symbolism when he created a reformed Tarot in the course of time; and that he had only the Court de Gebelin as his universal authority with regard to ancient times.

The Carthomancists succeeded one another in the manner I have alluded to, and there were, of course, competing followers of these less than the least mysteries; but the scholarship of the subject, if it can be said to have came into being, rested for more than sixty years at all in the quarto of the Court de Gebelin. There is very little doubt under his authority that anyone who became acquainted with the issue of Tarot cards, by theory or experience, by casual or special interest, acknowledged their Egyptian character. It is said that persons are usually taken for their own worth, and the unsolicited general mind definitely accepts archaeological arguments in the sense of their own bravery and of those who bring them out, pursuing as it does the line of least resistance. The French writer Duchesne was the first who seemed to rethink the topic of some presumptive titles at a trial, but I am obliged to move it on with a mere guide, as well as some fascinating study by Singer in England on the general subject of playing-cards. The latter thought that the oldest European form of card-playing was the old Venetian game called Trappola, that it was of Arab origin, and that the fifty-two cards used for the purpose originated from that area. I do not realize why any meaning was ever added to this vision.

Another English writer, W, followed Duchesne and Singer. A. Chatto, who checked the information available and the storm of uncertainty that had already emerged on the subject. This was in 1848, and his work still has a kind of normal force, but it remains an indifferent and even a bad result despite any allowance for a certain righteousness due to the individual mind. However, it was typical of the coming middle night of the nineteenth century in its manner. Chatto dismissed the Egyptian theory, but as he was in so little distress over it, if the latter had any solid ground under his hypothesis, he would hardly be held to displace Court de Gebelin.

The general issue was taken up in 1854 by another French scholar, Boiteau, who maintained the oriental roots of Tarot cards, but without trying to prove it. I'm not sure, but I think he's the first writer who certainly associated them with the Gipsies; the original Gipsy home for him, though, was in India, and thus Egypt did not join his estimation.

Eliphas Levi emerged in 1860, a brilliant and sublime awakening for whom it is difficult to embrace and with whom it is much more impossible to dispense. Of all the western voices which have declared or represented the science called supernatural and the doctrine called mystical, there was never a mouth proclaiming such great things. I believe that, fundamentally speaking, he cared about the phenomenal aspect as much and as little as I do, but he clarified the phenomenon with the confidence of one who, if used in a correct purpose, openly treated charlatanry as a fantastic means to an end. As a man of considerable wisdom, he never was, and as a revealer to all secrets without having been received into some, he came to his own and his own received him, even at his proper valuation. I do not believe that there has ever been an example of a writer with greater talents, after their peculiar type, who has put them to such indifferent uses. After all, for the second time in the flesh, he was just Etteilla, endowed in his transmutation with a mouth of gold and a larger understanding of chance. Despite this, he has written in every language the most detailed, brilliant, enchanting History Of Magic that has ever been drawn into prose.

He took into his heart of hearts the Tarot and de Gebelin hypothesis, and all occult France and all esoteric Britain, Martinists, half-instructed Kabalists, schools of soi disant theosophy, there, here and everywhere, accepted his judgment on it with the same confidence as his interpretations of those great Kabalist classics he had skimmed rather than read. For him, the Tarot was not only the most perfect instrument of divination and the keystone of mystic study, but it was the primitive book, the ancient Magi's single book, the miraculous volume that influenced all the ancient holy writings. However, Levi was satisfied with approving the creation of the Court de Gebelin in his first job and reproducing the seventh Trump Major with a few Egyptian elements. He was not occupied by the issue of Tarot transmission via the Gipsies, until J. It was proposed in his dissertation on certain wandering tribes by A. Vaillant, a bizarre writer with considerable knowledge of the Romani people. The two writers nearly correlated and thereafter mirrored one another. It remained for Romain Merlin, in 1869, to find out what should have been clear, namely that before the arrival of the Gipsies in or around 1417, cards of some sort were recognized in Europe. However, since this was their arrival at Luneburg, and since their presence can be traced previously, the correction loses a significant part of its strength; it is safer, therefore, to say that the evidence for the use of the Tarot by Romani tribes was not suggested until after the year 1840; the fact that some Gipsies were found using cards before this period is quite clear on the hypothesis not that they brought the tarot to the West but that they discovered the tarot in Europe and added them to their trade.

Now we have shown that there is no confirmation of the Egyptian roots of the Tarot cards. Reaching in other ways, cards of some kind were invented in China around the year A once progressed on native authority. D. A. 1120. In his zeal, Court de Gebelin claimed that he had traced them to a Chinese inscription of great antiquity that was said to refer to the subsidence of the Deluge waters. Seventy-seven compartments contained the characters of the inscription, and this forms the comparison. India also had tablets, either cards or otherwise, and similar slender parallels were indicated by these. But the presence, for instance, of ten suits or types, each of twelve numbers, and the portrayal of Vishnu's avatars, as a fish, a tortoise, a boar, a lion, a monkey, a hatchet, an umbrella, or a bow, as a pig, a boodh, and as a horse in good, will not allow us to render our own Trumps Major, nor do crowns and harps—nor even the presence of possible coins as a synonym of deniers and perhaps as an equivalent of pentacles—do much to elucidate the Lesser Arcana.

If every language and person and environment and time had their cards, if they also philosophized, divined and gambled with them, the truth would be sufficiently fascinating, but if they were Tarot cards, they would only demonstrate the common propensity of man to do the same things in more or less the same way.

I end, thus, the history of this topic by repeating that before the fourteenth century, when the first stories about cards were heard, it had no history. They may have existed for centuries, but this period would be early enough if only people were meant to try their luck at gambling or their luck at seeing the future; on the other hand, if they contain the deep insights of the Secret Doctrine, then the fourteenth century is early enough again, or at least as much as we can get in this respect.