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Cards of The Tarot

Understanding...cards, layouts, and history of

Location: Where the Cards Lay
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Latest Activity: Nov 17, 2014

The tarot (first known as tarocchi, also tarock and similar names), pronounced /ˈtæroʊ/, is a pack of cards (most commonly numbering 78), used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play a group of card games such as Italian tarocchini and French tarot. From the late 18th century until the present time the tarot has also found use by mystics and occultists in efforts at divination or as a map of mental and spiritual pathways.

The tarot has four suits corresponding to the suits of conventional playing cards. Each of these suits has pip cards numbering from ace to ten and four face cards for a total of 14 cards. In addition, the tarot is distinguished by a separate 21-card trump suit and a single card known as the Fool. Depending on the game, the Fool may act as the top trump or may be played to avoid following suit.

François Rabelais gives tarau as the name of one of the games played by Gargantua in his Gargantua and Pantagruel; this is likely the earliest attestation of the French form of the name. Tarot cards are used throughout much of Europe to play card games. In English-speaking countries, where these games are largely unknown, tarot cards are now used primarily for divinatory purposes. Occultists call the trump cards and the Fool "the major arcana" while the ten pip and four court cards in each suit are called minor arcana. The cards are traced by some occult writers to ancient Egypt or the Kabbalah but there is no documented evidence of such origins or of the usage of tarot for divination before the 18th century

The English and French word tarot derives from the Italian tarocchi, which has no known origin or etymology. One theory relates the name "tarot" to the Taro River in northern Italy, near Parma; the game seems to have originated in northern Italy, in Milan or Bologna. Other writers believe it comes from the Arabic word طرق turuq, which means 'pathways'. Alternatively, it may be from the Arabic ترك taraka, 'to leave, abandon, omit, leave behind'. According to a French etymology, the Italian tarocco derived from Arabic طرح ṭarḥ, 'rejection; subtraction, deduction, discount'.

Playing cards first entered Europe in the late 14th century, probably from Mamluk Egypt, with suits very similar to the tarot suits of Swords, Staves, Cups and Coins (also known as disks, and pentacles) and those still used in traditional Italian, Spanish and Portuguese decks. The first documentary evidence is a ban on their use in 1367, Bern, Switzerland. Wide use of playing cards in Europe can, with some certainty, be traced from 1377 onwards.

The first known tarot cards were created between 1430 and 1450 in Milan, Ferrara and Bologna in northern Italy when additional trump cards with allegorical illustrations were added to the common four-suit pack. These new decks were originally called carte da trionfi, triumph cards, and the additional cards known simply as trionfi, which became "trumps" in English. The first literary evidence of the existence of carte da trionfi is a written statement in the court records in Ferrara, in 1442. The oldest surviving tarot cards are from fifteen fragmented decks painted in the mid 15th century for the Visconti-Sforza family, the rulers of Milan.

Divination using playing cards is in evidence as early as 1540 in a book entitled The Oracles of Francesco Marcolino da Forli which allows a simple method of divination, though the cards are used only to select a random oracle and have no meaning in themselves. But manuscripts from 1735 (The Square of Sevens) and 1750 (Pratesi Cartomancer) document rudimentary divinatory meanings for the cards of the tarot as well as a system for laying out the cards. Giacomo Casanova wrote in his diary that in 1765 his Russian mistress frequently used a deck of playing cards for divination.

The original purpose of tarot cards was for playing games, the first basic rules appearing in the manuscript of Martiano da Tortona before 1425. The game of tarot is known in many variations (mostly cultural); the first basic rules for the game of Tarocco appear in the manuscript of Martiano da Tortona (before 1425; translated text), and the next are known from the year 1637. In Italy the game has become less popular; one version named Tarocco Bolognese: Ottocento has still survived and there are still others played in Piedmont, but the number of games outside of Italy is much higher. The French tarot game is the most popular in its native country and there are regional tarot games often known as tarock,tarok,or tarokk widely played in central Europe.

Although the Icehouse games Gnostica and Zarcana are played using tarot cards, they have no relation to traditional tarot play

Tarot cards would later become associated with mysticism and magic. Tarot was not widely adopted by mystics, occultists and secret societies until the 18th and 19th centuries. The tradition began in 1781, when Antoine Court de Gébelin, a Swiss clergyman, published Le Monde Primitif, a speculative study which included religious symbolism and its survivals in the modern world. De Gébelin first asserted that symbolism of the Tarot de Marseille represented the mysteries of Isis and Thoth. Gébelin further claimed that the name "tarot" came from the Egyptian words tar, meaning "royal", and ro, meaning "road", and that the Tarot therefore represented a "royal road" to wisdom. De Gébelin also asserted that the Romanies (Gypsies), who were among the first to use cards for divination, were descendants of the Ancient Egyptians (hence their common name; though by this time it was more popularly used as a stereotype for any nomadic tribe) and had introduced the cards to Europe. De Gébelin wrote this treatise before Jean-François Champollion had deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs, or indeed before the Rosetta Stone had been discovered, and later Egyptologists found nothing in the Egyptian language to support de Gébelin's fanciful etymologies. Despite this, the identification of the tarot cards with the Egyptian Book of Thoth was already firmly established in occult practice and continues in modern urban legend to the present day.

Discussion Forum

LAY OUTS OF CARDS 6 Replies

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Started by Rev. Allen M. Drago ~ Traveler. Last reply by Dept of PMM Artists & things Feb 12, 2014.

A Tarot Spell to Increase Psychic Visions by Shayne Magistas

You need 3 tarot cards. The Star, The High Priestess, and The Hermit.Crystals (corresponding)will enhances this."I call upon the Source of All things to send me power.I call upon the God to send strength to my spell.I call upon the Goddess to give…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things Feb 12, 2014.

Common Deck Tarot Adapted from Madame LeNormands Cards of Fortune. 1 Reply

Common Deck Tarot Adapted from Madame LeNormands Cards of Fortune.Explanations and Directions.After having shuffled the 36 cards and cut them with the left hand, divide them into 5 heaps; 4 of them containing each 8 cards, which we place in 4 frows…Continue

Started by Rev. Allen M. Drago ~ Traveler. Last reply by Dept of PMM Artists & things Jan 19, 2014.

21 Ways of Looking at the Tarot by Mary K. Greer

Forget those long, complicated spreads; try spending an hour or more with just one…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things Jan 9, 2014.

Goddess Archetype Tarot Spread by Llewellyn

his is a fun way of exploring the feminine archetypes in the Tarot, world mythology, and within yourself—regardless of your gender. I encourage you to do this spread even if you are still shy of interpreting the cards: the sooner you begin to get…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things Jan 9, 2014.

Tarot: A Daily Spread by Ciro Marchetti

Draw one to three cards in the morning for guidance for the day. Draw one card for focused guidance. Draw two cards to compare and contrast. Look for differences to see where challenges may arrive. Draw three cards to look at synthesis and…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things Jan 9, 2014.

The Dollhouse Oracle by Janina Renée

Miniature objects play a role in the material culture of magic and…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things Jan 9, 2014.

The Art of Creating and Using Tarot Spreads by James Ricklef

I can still remember doing my first Tarot reading. I had just bought a Tarot deck, and after carefully studying the little white book that came with it, I figured I was ready to do a…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things Jan 9, 2014.

Revitalizing Your Tarot Practice, Part II: Spreads by Barbara Moore

In "Revitalizing Your Tarot Practice, Part I—Decks," we looked at ways of recovering from…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things Jan 9, 2014.

Personalize Your Tarot Readings Through Spreadcrafting by Tierney Sadler

A good tarot reading is often like a story, reconstructing, constructing, and forecasting relevant pieces of a person's life to bring understanding about a particular topic. While our…Continue

Started by Dept of PMM Artists & things Jan 9, 2014.

78 Roads To Wisdom Join me for a walk down the path of self discovery. All 78 roads lead to Wisdom and Enlightenment. All paths lead home. Should be fun!

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Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on July 10, 2012 at 4:02pm
Jolanda Tarot Deck by Rose Bjorkman

Here is an example of Cups.
Here is an example of The Empress, Temperance and The Tower
Comment by Dept of PMM Artists & things on July 10, 2012 at 4:01pm
Jolanda Tarot Deck by Rose Bjorkman

The wisdom of Jolanda and the brilliant art work of Hans Arnold come together here to give to you this wonderful Tarot deck. Known throughout Sweden as one of the leading experts on Tarot and the art of the Seeress, Jolanda presents the 78 cards of the Tarot deck and a booklet with an explanation of the Tarot and the Major and Minor Arcanas presented in English, French, Spanish and German. Through this explanation and these brilliantly illustrated cards, explore how to read the symbols and learn how the power of the subconscious mind to predict coming events and divine other glimpses.

You can find this deck; as well as, others at my brick and mortar store here in Lenoir NC or you can order on line at www.hedgewitchcrafts.com
Comment by Rev. Allen M. Drago ~ Traveler on June 11, 2010 at 11:02am
Necronomicon Tarot by Donald Tyson Illustrated by Anne StokesNecronomicon Tarot
By Donald Tyson Illustrated by Anne Stokes
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (August 2007)
Pages: 213, 78-card Tarot Deck, Price: $26.95

Review by Lee Prosser - leep@ghostvillage.com
Ghostvillage.com review

For those interested in the macabre fiction of the late H. P. Lovecraft, and the grim mythos he successfully spawned in his writings, this fascinating and well-crafted work on tarot by Donald Tyson will be a most welcome addition. Necronomicon Tarot reveals the "phantasmagoric desert wandering of Alhazred" in text and in memorable artwork by Anne Stokes.

This is an approach to magick -- perhaps one of the darkest of magick approaches -- divination with the dead. The grim, gruesome, and frightening Old Ones and Deep Ones, including Cthulhu, will fascinate the reader and user of this tarot system. Donald Tyson also shares with the readers a special divination spread.

This is the type of tarot which will fascinate its users with personal and spiritual applications. It is one of Donald Tyson's best works to date and should find a wide audience who are interested in communicating with the dead by way of divination tarot.

Must reading for those who enjoy tarot, working with a deck that is unusual, and those who enjoy the work of Donald Tyson. Tyson is also the creator of run dice and power glyphs. Necronomicon Tarot is the third component in Donald Tyson's trilogy of works involving H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos.
Comment by SunKat on April 13, 2010 at 9:31pm
This is for you Vampiress! I saw this and knew I had to share...

Anne Stokes
Comment by Rev. Allen M. Drago ~ Traveler on October 13, 2009 at 10:47pm

 

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.

 

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.

 

Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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