Come Halloween, when spooky films marathon on TV and creepy decoration hangs on your holiday-enthused neighbors’ lawns, things get a little mystical.
Though now we combine them with the occult, tarot cards were initially just another card game–one similar to modern-day bridge, in fact. Like other decks, the earliest recorded tarot cards showed up in Europe from the 15th century, using the most well-known places selling in Italy to wealthy families. The printing press had yet to arrive, and since hand-painted cards were all that existed, it cost a considerable quantity of cash to commission what had been basically dozens of teensy paintings.
Like any deck, these early tarot cards–tarocchi cards, in Italian–had matches, trump cards, and even pips. Since they had not yet become an excuse to dive in the occult, the only reason anyone thought to disapprove was when the cards resulted in excessive gambling.
Though some people whined, the widespread usage of tarot reading online for divination only took off in the late 1700s, when Frenchman Jean-Baptise Alliette released the first authoritative guide to tarot card reading. Pseudonymed Etteilla, he composed a guide to using the cards released his own deck . He gave meaning to each of the cards, comprising beliefs about the four elements. He claimed to have borrowed heavily in the Book of Thoth, a Egyptian text supposedly composed by Thoth, the Egyptian god of wisdom.
He gave meaning to each of the cards, including beliefs about the four elements.
His functions took off and he published a revised edition of his direct in 1791, becoming the first person to be an expert tarot reader.
1909 was the following time tarot cards received a major update. The Rider-Waite deck, courtesy of publisher William Rider and tarot reader A. E. Waite, remains in use; you’ve likely seen the illustrations. Like Etteilla, the Rider-Waite deck comprised a printed guide about how to browse the deck and the meanings of each card. In this deck, the intricacy of the scenes told a story when cards were put together. The most recent tarot card revival in the 1970s is the result of a reprint and revision of the Rider-Waite Deck, along with a new guidebook from Stephen Kaplan.