No doubt the real origin of Tarot is unknown. Experts in the field assure that it was invented by the ancient Egyptians as the Book of Life and introduced in Western culture by gypsies and Templars.

Archaeological findings in the Valley of the Dead, show that the mythical prince and priest Hermes (Thoth, later deified) wrote a 78 gold plate- book which he called the Book of Thoth detailing the secrets of man’s life and the knowledge of mankind. These symbols, in turn, were placed in the columns located at the feet of the Sphynx of Giza. Hermetic tradition located one-hundred Tarot cards along the walls of a corridor leading to an Egyptian initiation temple. Of such cards only seventy-three are known; the rest, form the Tables of Aeth or esoteric Tarot, still unknown.

Some researchers attributed the creation of Tarot carcs to wisemen of the Library of Alexandria. Others assure that because of the destruction of the library a mystical language was created which gave origin to the present Tarot symbolism.


Tarot may be defined as a divination and research method from the Psyche on the relationship of man with the universe, the laws governing nature and his mind. Tarot applications from the interpretation perspective cover fields such as: astrological, numerical, cabalistic, and symbolic. This wide scope of action made experts consider the magical-ritual importance of Tarot as major instrument of this sacred art.

It consists of 78 cards used for divination, for ritual magic meditation and as a powerful psychological and therapeutical agent. Aleister Crowley was a researcher in the field. It is made up of 22 major arcana, and 56 minor arcana. In Tarot variations, major arcana are similar, except for some variation in names and graphics. Minor arcana in the Egyptian Tarot are represented by different cards from one another, unlike the rest, consisting of 4 14 card- suites each.


Major arcana show the virtues and defects of human beings. Minor arcana represent the earthly man following his destiny.


THE MAGUS: It represents the creating spirit. Skill, will power, cunning, self-reliance, security. (Inverted) Ill use of same, vanity, lack of skills, insecurity, incapacity, fear.


THE HIGHPRIESTESS: Representing the mystery fighting the unknown. Science, education. (Inverted) Ignorance, surface knowledge.


THE EMPRESS: Representing the intuitive spirit. Fertility, action, creativity, mother, sister, wife, marriage. (Inverted). Lack of action due to doubt, defeat, loss of material possessions, infidelity.


THE EMPEROR: Representing the authoritarian power, wealth, authoritarian father, brother, husband, efficiency, reason. (Inverted) Immaturity, obstacles to the plans, lack of strength.


HIGHPRIEST: Representing conventional spirit. Charity, kindness, a person displaying those qualities. (Inverted). Excessive politeness, weakness, impotence.


THE LOVERS: Representing the spirit tempted by flesh. A difficulty to be overcome, a new love, beauty, love, passion. (Inverted). An unsurmounted difficulty, a lost love, breaking up a love affair, interference.


THE CHARIOT: Representing the victorious spirit. Triumph. Overcoming drawbacks, fame, defeated enemies. (Inverted) Defeat, failure, poverty.


STRENGTH: Representing the dominant spirit. Spiritual power, conviction, energy, heroism. (Inverted) Physical power, lack of faith, meanness


THE HERMIT: Representing the guiding spirit. Enlightment, prudence, caution or spiritual progress, sensibility. (Inverted) Fear, excessive caution, insensible acts.


WHEEL OF FORTUNE: Representing the spirit struggling against the future. Good fortune, success and luck. (Inverted) Bad luck, ill fortune.


ADJUSTMENT: Representing the balanced spirit. Harmony, virtue, justice and balance scales. (Inverted). Unjustice, ingratitude, imbalance, intolerance, prejudice.


THE HANGED MAN: Wisdom, self-sacrifice. (Inverted) Selfishness, attempt to adapt to the crowd.


DEATH: Representing the renewal spirit, an ongoing change or transformation. (Inverted) Stagnation, deterioration.


THE TEMPERANCE: Representing the spirit on its way to moderation and adaptation, harmony, good omen, combination, management, moderation. (Inverted) Hostility, impatience, disagreement, conflict of interests.


THE DEVIL: Representing the chained spirit. Evil, ruin, failure, violence. Something will happen which, in the long run, shall be beneficial, renaisance of the spirit. (Inverted). Cure of an illness, release from bonds. Something will happen, and it will no be good, extreme materialism.


THE TOWER: Representing the spirit faced with catastrophe, ruin, rupture. (Inverted) Same as above, though to a lesser extent.


THE STAR: representing the spirit gifted with hope. Good health, hope, and a brilliant future. (Inverted) Pessimism, doubt, hatred, deception, frustrated hopes, sterility.


THE MOON: Representing the creative and inspired spirit. Inspiration, imagination, deceit, hidden enemies. (Inverted). Unimportant deceit, skepticism, taking advantage of someone.


THE SUN: Representing the spirit in peace and joy. Peace, pure love, bliss, happiness and satisfaction. (Inverted). Same as above, though to a lesser extent, unhappiness, gloomy future, breaking up a love affair.


THE AEON: Representing the spirit gifted with cosmic awareness. Longing for immortality, renewal, renaissance. (Inverted) Fear of death, theft, discussion, divorce, drawbacks, delays.


THE UNIVERSE: Representing the spirit leaving behind the material world. Triumph, guaranteed success, realization. (Inverted). Failure, inertia, bad outcome.


THE FOOL: Representing the incarnated spirit. Craziness, senselessness, extravagance. (Inverted) Doubt, carelessness, difficulties for not being sensible, apathy.


THE PEASANT: Intelligence. Experience. Labour. Attainment of reesults. (Inverted). Small difficulty. Good woman.

LABORIOUSNESS: Industriousness. Labor. Organized economy. Chastity. Compliance with duties. (Inverted). Inner trouble. Uneasy conscience.

THE TRAVELLER: Facing hazardous undertakings with success. Foreigner: (Inverted) Change of address, country, job. Household disputes.

FORTUNE: Fine surprises. New ideas. New love. New friend. Money. (Inverted). Threatening danger.

THE UNEXPECTED: Triumph in the long term. Late finding. Surprise. (Inverted). Treason. Deceit. Disagreeable surprise.

DESPERATION: Mystery to be cleared up and necessary knowledge for that. (Inverted). Delay, problem, misfortune.

EASE OF MIND: Joy. Advantageous business. Hard work and reward. Lack of irritability. (Inverted) Remorse, indecision, shyness, astonishment. Excessive adaptation.

TRADE: Servants. Blind alley discussion. (Inverted). Sensitivity. Business relations.

THE DIFFICULTIES: Expectations. Promises. (Inverted) Problems. Restrictions with individuals holding lower positions.

GENEROSITY: Cooperation, altruism, compliance with obligations. (Inverted). Failure, selfishness, disputes.

THE AGREEMENTS: Lasting alliance, prosperity, progress. (Inverted). Loss of money, documents, bad investment.

THE CHANGE: New ideas. New undertaking. Fortunate meeting. (Inverted). Fear, temptation.

The remaining minor arcana are under way. Please, wait for them. Thank you


Below you will find a brief overview of the historical work offered by Jean Paul Doubier on the evolution of palmistry throughtout time.


Naibis are mentioned in a Sienna manuscrit, "Trattato del governo della familia di Pipozzo di Sandro". This is, perhaps, the first reference to decks.


The Bishop of Wurzburg signs an interdict condemning card games.

XIV Century

Father Johannes, German priest, reports the existence of plate games called decks mentioning six different types, out of which one has 78 cards.


King Alphonse XI of Castile, recommends his knights not to play cards.


In Regensburg, Germany, card games are banned.


Dukes Jeanne and Wenceslao purchased a card game from, Ange van der Noot, Brussels.


Card games are allowed as per the Nüremberg code.


Painter Jacquemin Gringonneur, paints three card games to King Charles VI of France. This game is exhibited in the National Library of Paris, being one of the most ancient decks known. They comprise 78 cards including the 22 Major Arcana.


Card games are allowed in Florence. Italian corporations comprising card painters are created.


Commoners are banned from playing cards on workdays pursuant to a Decree issued by the City of Paris.


This may be one of the dates when the Duke of Milano, Filippo Maria Visconti, paid 1,500 gold pieces for a hand decorated Tarot deck. This is the most ancient version currently known.


The most ancient cards engraved with wooden heels are made in such year.


Card importation is banned by Venice authorities as a result of a big card production in the city.


Foreign card importation is banned by Edward IV of England to protect local manufacturers.


An extended Tarot named germini is mentioned, which became famous all throughout Italy and was exported to Germany and France.


The first esoteric theory ever known on Tarot elliptical symbolism is expounded by Guillaume Postel (1510-1581) in his work "Clavis Absonditorum".


Different type of Tarot decks are described, for example, one of 144 cards and another of 96. A detailed description of Tarot belonging to the presente Tarot of Marseilles is made by the Italian Garzoni.

XVII Century

Mitelli’s Tarochino.

XVII Century

Marseilles’ Tarot.


The 9 volume- work titled "Le monde primitif analyse et compare avec le monde moderne", appeared from French mason Court de Gebelin, who was also a member of the Order or the Chosen Cohen de Martínez de Pascualy and personal friend of Louis-Claude of Saint-Martin. A paper is found in this work under the name "About the Tarot Game" stating for the first time its Egyptian origin, the Tarot being called the Book of Thoth. His theories were widely known by the occult world of that time, and even today.


One of the major Tarot promoters, Etteilla, creator of several cards known as Egyptian Tarot Deck, The New Etteilla and the Great Ladies Oracle, started publicating his works.


The book "High Magic Dogma and Ritual", by Alphonse Louis Constant (Eliphas Levi), is published. His author was considered the major magician of the XIX Century. His thoughts about Tarot are expounded and graphy is exclusively focused on the Demon and the Chariot, being the first individual to relate Tarot with Kabbalah.


Liddell Mathers, later on Macgregor Mathers, prominent cabalist, belonging to Rosa-Cruz and Masonry publish "Tarot: Its hidden significance". Robert Wang was assigned the task of making the drawing of the Complete Tarot deck for the Golden Dawn (impressive Hermetic-Cabalistic order founded jointly with famous cabalists, also belonging to Rosa-cruz and Masonry like, William Woodman and Wynn Wescott. Probably it was the most important esoteric order of this century and exerted its impact in the origin of other orders (founded later).


The Tarot of the Bohemes is published. Its author, Dr. Gerard-Anaclet-Vicent Encause (Papus), one of the founders of the 1885 esoteric Renaissance who revived Martinist initiation together with Stanislas de Guaita and Chaboseau. This masterpiece is considered essential for the study of the secrets and essentials of Tarot.


The 22 Major Arcana of the Tarot were published under the title "The Cabalistic Tarot" for use by the iniciated. Prepared by the great mason and Rosa-cruz member, Oswald Wirth. In the Tarot of Bohemes, Papus used O. Wirth’s engravings as per Stanislas de Guaita’s instructions and request.

XIX Century

Late in that century different works on Tarot were written. Even though they did not contribute much to what had been previously published, they are part of the anthology "Genesis Serpent" and "Satan Temple and the Key to Black Magic", from Stanislas de Guaita", "Golden Country houses", by Gilkin, etc.


The Tarot Rider is printed in London, drawn by Pamela Colman Smith under the direction of Arthur Edward Waite, a member of the Golden Dawn order. This Tarot is the most famous of all.


The Book of Thoth is published. Its author is the major English magician, critic and poet Aleister Crowley and artist Lady Frieda Harris. In this work, Crowley expounds his knowledge in the field of Magic, Numerology, Kabbalah and Astrology in a key and comprehensive iconography not recommended for starters.

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