Every funfair has a mandatory tarot card reading lady, just like in the movies, a little creepy looking, acting mysteriously. It might be all fun and jokes but tarot reading actually has an interesting history behind it.
The word tarot originated from the Italian word tarocchi, the origin of which is unknown. Tarocco, its singular form means ‘blood orange’ in modern Italian. There are two theories regarding the origin. Some believe it has its roots in Milan or Bologna where the Taro River flows. Others believe, it has Arabic roots, ‘turuq’ which means ‘ways’ or ‘taraka’ which means ‘to leave or abandon’.
The History of Tarot Reading
Starting with the name, it was actually called as Trionfi earlier. Tarot cards were initially used as a deck of cards for entertainment purposes during mid 15th century Europe, starting Egypt. Soon after they were used for divination purposes. The first record of which was as early as in 1540.
Court de Gebelin, a French clergyman, observed a group of Egyptian women playing cards, which led him to believe that it was not merely a deck of cards but possibly, of divine significance. He also realized that its origin could be from Egypt.
Jean-Baptiste Alliette (known as Etteilla) and Maire Ann Lenormand were the first to assign divinatory meaning to tarot cards.
Interpretation of the Cards
Different people have given different interpretations.
|Tarot de Marseille||Court de Gébelin||Etteilla’s Egyptian Tarot||Paul Christian’s Egyptian Tarot|
(divinatory meaning in bold)
|1 – the Bateleur (Mountebank)||Bateleur||Ideal/Wisdom||the Magus / Will|
|2 – the Popess||High Priestess||Enlightenment/Passion||Gate of the (occult) Sanctuary / Knowledge|
|3 – the Empress||Empress||Discussion/Instability||Isis – Urania / Action|
|4 – the Emperor||Emperor||Revelation/Behaviour||Cubic Stone / Realisation|
|5 – the Pope||Chief Hierophant||Travel/Country Property||Master of the Mysteries/Arcana / Occult Inspiration|
|6 – Love or the Lovers||Marriage||Secrets/Truths||Two Roads / Ordeal|
|7 – the Chariot||Osiris Triumphant||Support/Protection||Chariot of Osiris / Victory|
|8 – Justice||Justice||Tenacity/Progress||Themis (Scales and Blade) / Equilibrium|
|9 – the Hermit||Wise Man||Justice/Law-Maker||the Veiled Lamp / Wisdom|
|10 – Wheel of Fortune||Wheel of Fortune||Temperance/Convictions||the Sphinx / Fortune|
|11 – Fortitude||Fortitude||Strength/Power||the Muzzled(tamed) Lion / Strength|
|12 – the Hanged Man||Prudence||Prudence/Popularity||The Sacrifice / Sacrifice|
|13 – Death||Death||Marriage/Love Affair||The Skeleton Reaper / Transformation|
|14 – Temperance||Temperance||Violence/Weakness||the Two Urns (the genius of the sun) / Initiative|
|15 – the Devil||Typhon||Chagrins/Illness||Typhon / Fate|
|16 – the Tower||the Castle or Plutus||Opinion/Arbitration||the Beheaded Tower (Lightning Struck) / Ruin|
|17 – the Star||Sirius or the Dog Star||Death/Incapacity||Star of the Magi / Hope|
|18 – the Moon||Moon||Betrayal/Falsehood||the Twilight / Deception|
|19 – the Sun||Sun||Poverty/Prison||the Blazing Light / (earthly) Happiness|
|20 – Judgment||the Creation||Fortune/Augmentation||the Awakening of the Dead / Renewal|
|21 – the World||Time||Law Suit/Legal Dispute||the Crown of the Magi / Reward|
|Le Mat (Fool)||Fool||Madness/Bewilderment||0 the Crocodile (between 20 and 21) / Expiation|
The cards are to be arranged in a specific way-
Lots of variations have been found in the cards. The French, the German and the Italians have their own unique versions.
It is believed that the result is guided by a spiritual force, which looks into a person’s subconscious. Tarotology has no scientific evidence. It is considered as a pseudoscience. Hence it should be used only as a source of entertainment and not to take important decisions based on it.