A Background to Tarot Reading
The tarot reading has been used over many centuries as a method to divine the future. No one seems to know exactly how it evolved and its exact origins and as with many mysteries, historians, occultists and writers seem to have written about its historical roots interpreted by their own personal views. What we do know though, is that decks of mystical numbered decks were found to exist in India and the far east dating back to ancient times and were possibly brought into Europe by the Knights Templar after the crusades to the Holy lands. Although another belief is that gypsies of the far east from the middle ages brought the tarot to Europe. No one really knows the origins of the word tarot either. Some people suggest that it is a derivative of the name of the God Thoth, who was the Egyptian God of magic. Or also that it had Hebrew origins. In the Middle Ages tarot was also used as a game called Tarocchi and later known as Trumps. One of the first known decks was hand-painted, one of the earliest ones was painted for the Duke of Milan in around 1440. Examples of these hand-painted decks can be seen in the British Museum.
The use of tarot has been given a very bad press as a divination tool over many years by the church, said to be daemonic and hold a connection to the dark arts. However they have stood the test of time and ridiculed to be the masterful tool that they are today. How have they evolved…
Antoine Court De Gebelin He was a French linguist, occultist and Freemason. He claimed the 22 cards of the major arcana was from an ancient Egyptian book or taken from tablets of mystical wisdom from the book of Thoth. He also believed the tablets were brought to Europe by priests who followed an old Persian religion from mediaeval times. He produced his own deck of 77 cards plus the fool. His deck became the foundation for later traditional decks.
John Dee He was a 16th century astrologer and ecologist, he advance the cards by using them to talk to angels.
Eliphas Levi He was a philosopher and Kabbalist, he believed that the tarot was rooted in the sacred alphabet of the Hebrews. He felt that the tarot was not predictive but was a mystical method for revealing powerful insights and knowledge. At the latter part of the 19th century Dr Edward Waite developed his own unique deck called the Rider Waite deck. Illustrated by the artist Pamela Coleman Smith. Waite was a member of the hermetic order of the Golden Dawn, probably the most well-known and influential occultist orders which was founded in 1888 by William Westcott, a Freemason and doctor, alongside Samuel Matthews a colourful Victorian character. Alistair Crowley was also and initiate of the order of the Golden Dawn, but was not very well liked. He was a controversial character, well known for his heroin addiction and his outlandish and crazy occult practices. Together with Lady Frieda Harris he designed a new deck called the Thoth deck sometime in the 1940s. By 1907 he left the order of the Golden Dawn and formed his own order. ‘The Silver Star’ where he was to include sexual and erotic magic. Crowley although considered to be somewhat crazy, wrote many books on the occult and its practices, which were revived on a grand scale in the 1960s.
What all these men had in common and in common with people using it today, is that they knew that the tarot was a living intelligence, A key that unlocks the world within the self. It enables us to take a voyage of self discovery that isn’t available in our everyday consciousness. It enables access to our own hidden realms, our own mysteries revealed. Tarot speaks to us and taps into the ancient archetypal realms that permeate the unconscious. Tarot speaks a universal language of self discovery, it holds up a mirror for you to take a look at your inner tapestry, unveil emotions and feelings that are otherwise hidden beneath our earthly selves. It will peel back the beliefs of the ego self and reveals the truth. And if you work with this knowledge you can begin to make some pretty momentous changes for yourself. Below the surface self you will also find access to our inner guides, our intuition, or call it our own divine messenger. I believe the tarot is an invaluable method of self analysis and something that a lot of people get much revealing information from and help when they are met with a crossroads in their lives or need some clarity to guide them.
Tarot may seem on the surface a random choosing method when picking your cards, but far from that, this is your higher self, your higher intelligence calling in the symbolic energy from the cards in front of you, just as the symbols, images and numbers are calling you, it’s a merging of vibration and collaborative energy that comes together to access information that we already unconsciously knew, but we have lost our spiritual ability to understand the connecting forces of the universe, that more than the solid matter that we see every day around us exists, even in our very material universe.
So why not experience for yourself the power of the ancient Tarot, apart from opening you up to some new possibilities and new horizons, it just may bring you closer to your own spiritual nature and psychic self!
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Many Blessings Bethany x