What is Tarot?

There are various astrological means through which one can get to know his past, present and future. The Zodiac and Vedic Astrology, Numerology, Feng Shui, Lal Kitab and other means apart, Tarot is also hailed as an ancestor method of peeping into your future.

The Tarot deck comprises of 78 picture cards and used for divination and meditation. , it has 22 major arcane cards and then four suits of minor arcane, comprising 56 cards. These four suits are cups, swords, wands and pentacles.

One of the popular myths is that their originators were gypsies. In the 10th century, they appeared throughout Europe to earn their fortune from divinatory cards. They were the worshippers of the Goddess in the form of Tara (like the Celtic Tara, Semitic torah, and roman terra mater) as the Goddess was believed to have 21 incarnations, the major arcane or their trump cards numbered 21 and the fool was zero. Legend says the gypsies belonged to India but pretended to be from Egypt because Europeans considered Egypt to be the center of all mystical practices.


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The first recorded use of these cards, used for games, under the mane tarocco, was in 14th century in Italy. The cards, depicting the parade or triomfi held on many celebrations, were made for the Vicsconzi Scoria family of Milan. Many say that the Saracens of Arabia are said to have used cards, called ‘Naib’. But some decks, even today, do not include the major arcane. This goes back to the Church of the middle ages, which took a strong anti-pagan faith stand. Thus, major arcane, with its intricate symbolism, was banned in Florence, Germany, Paris and Northern Italy. In 1452, cardinal john Capistrano had the cards burned in the market place of Nuremberg.

Then tarot finds mention after 300 years in late 17th Century when the Court de Gebelen, an occultist, propagated that the pictures had symbolic meanings and told Egyptian tales.

Ambica Gulati said in the Journal of Astrology (December 2004) that another popular diviner and occultist, Etteilla published in 1783 a book with his own meanings of the cards. Then in late 18th century another book on Tarot-the Tarot of the bohemians and the followers of the Hermetic order of the golden dawn circulated decks in that period. This group was started in England by three men -Weskit, Wood Ford and Woodman. They found an old manuscript belonging to a secret German society and got permission to start their own group in England. The golden dawn even today is flourishing in England. Much of this is credited to S. Liddel Mathers (later changed his name to Macgregor), who wrote a treatise on the Tarot, forming the basis of ritual, material and philosophy of the modern Tarot.

In the 19th century, there is mention of eliphas Levi zahed who is credited to be the originator of Tarot. Levi believed that Tarot was a key to life, an essential tool for man to use to develop himself as a human being so that he might find heaven. The two world wars also had their impact on the cards when the secret societies almost died. Tarot blossomed in the USA of 1920s in Los Angeles. Paul foster case, who had been initiated into the golden dawn in New York in 1910, founded his own group BOTA (Builders Of The Adytum).

Today, various decks are available and paintings of these decks can be seen in museums across USA and Europe (Vatican library). 

But there is no substitute to the Zodiac and Vedic form of astrology which is tried, tested and trusted across the world and which is thousands and thousands year old.

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