When and Where Did Tarot Cards Develop?

Fortune teller holding tarot card

By Sophia Loren, Tarot Prophet

Tarot cards are among the most popular divination tools around the world. These magical tools have drawn the attention of many people centuries.

The history of Tarot cards dates back to between the late 14th century and early 15th century. They were first used in Northern Italy, and the oldest set in existence is called Visconti-Sforza deck, which was created around 1140 by Duke from Milan’s family.

These cards were attractive with fancy images, including some figures with costumed similar to those used in carnival parades in the Fool to Death. Mostly, the cards were part of tarocchi, a bridge-like card game. This game was mainly for the noble or other people who had time for leisure.

Development of Tarot Cards In 1400s- French and Italian

The first carrots that looked like what is used today were in the 1400s. They were the creation of European artists who came up with the tarot cards featuring four types of suits. The suits were similar to the current cards; they included discs or coins, swords, cups, and staves or wands. However, a few decades later, Italian artists started creating more cards.

The cards were referred to as triumph or trump cards and were made for affluent families. The wealthy people would pay the artist to make a unique set of cards with their family members or friends featuring in the triumph cards. Some of the sets still available were for a Milan family whose name was Visconti. It includes a few barons and dukes among its many members.

Not everyone could afford the luxury of having an artist create such cards. So, when the printed cards came into existence, people were happy to buy them and play the card game.

  • Tarot as a Divination Tool

While the original purpose of tarot cards was just parlor games, they later became divination tools. This happened in the 16th century, but it wasn’t as strong as they are today. Each was assigned a particular meaning by the 18th century.

  • Kabbalah

It was in 178, when Antoine Court de Gebelin, a French, former prime minister who was a freemason, wrote an extensive analysis on Tarot cards. In his book, he revealed how Tarot symbolism originated from Egyptian priests’ esoteric secrets. Furthermore, he explained how the occult knowledge was taken to Rome and shown to the Catholic Church, especially the popes. But the church chose to make it a well-guarded secret.

However, this writer’s work has no historical evidence to support his claims, and his information did not stop people from playing the game, and some even believed his story.

Jean-Baptiste Alliete wrote about tarot cards as divination cards in 1791. This French occultist also releases a Tarot deck for divinatory purposes, and it was the first of its kind. Initially, he had actually written a book as a response to Antoine Court’s content on divination.

It was the popularity of Tarot cards in the occult that led to Kabbalah. Spiritualism and occultism became popular during the Victorian era. The upper class was the majority of the people with easy access to Kabbalah. The rich would hold parties and then include séance or some to read palms and some tea leaves placed somewhere in a corner.

  • The Rider-Waite History

Arthur Waite was a British occult, who was also in the Order of the Golden and Aleister Crowley groups. Together with one artist known as Pamela Colman Smith, who is also part of the Golden Dawn, they made the Rider-Waite Tarot deck. These cards were published in 1909 for the first time.

The Sola Busca artwork largely inspired the tarot cards. But they remained the first cards to use characters to represent images in the lower cards. They replaced the wands, coins, swords, or cups that were commonly used in the cards at the time. Smith used human figures.

In most Tarot books, the default deck is kabbalistic. It is also called the Waite-Smith deck because she created them, and the artwork withstood the test of time. It has been more than 100 years since the Rider-Waiter deck was created.

While it is possible to find tarot cards in various designs today, they all follow the Rider-Waiter style, but they adapt differently to suit their specific motifs. The best thing is that they not only for the wealthy and high-end class, anyone can buy tarot cards anytime they wish to.

  • How Do Tarot Cards in Divinations Work

Today, people are curious about tarot cards just because they have heard that they can predict the future. However, it is more than that. These cards say more than what you can see in the image representation. The cards allow users to get an insight into their lives and things around them. They represent the journey some make and decisions that have to be made while living on earth.

Tarot cards are seen as robust divination tools. People are always seeking answers and information through them. But they must be interpreted by someone who knows art if reading the cards accurately.

The person looking for divination shakes the card deck to start the reading and then places them down and picks one card. The card should be facing down, and as the person is selecting one, the card reader turns them up and spreads the cards in a particular way. The reader uses various patterns to ensure you get the best read. Frequent readings include love and money.

The meaning every card is deep and not obvious. Some dread the Death card, but it does not always mean physical death. Sometimes it refers to the end of problems, and actually, it’s rarely associated with pain.

Tarot cards have a rich history and are special to the users. It’s not the pictures that give answers; they have unusual combinations that only talented card readers can interpret.

The Bottom Line

Tarot card reading is all about predictions based on divinations. However, if you want to have successful and accurate readings check out Tarot Prophet for tarot card reading online for the reason that you need to look for an experienced reader. There are so many myths and misconceptions about tarot card cards. However, when done in the right way, tarot cards can work for you.