Tarot reading is a practice that has been used for centuries to gain insight into one’s past, present, and future. The origins of tarot reading are shrouded in mystery, but it is believed to have originated in the 15th century in Italy as a game called “tarocchi.” The earliest known tarot decks were used for playing games, and it wasn’t until the 18th century that they began to be used for divination.
The history of tarot reading is a complex and fascinating subject that spans centuries and continents. In this article, we will explore the key milestones in the evolution of tarot reading as a spiritual and psychological practice.
Early History of Tarot
The earliest known tarot decks date back to the 15th century, when they were used for playing card games in Italy. These decks were similar to modern playing cards, with four suits and numbered cards, but also included additional trump cards with allegorical images.
It wasn’t until the 18th century that tarot cards began to be used for divination. This was due in part to the influence of the occultist movement in Europe, which saw the tarot as a tool for unlocking the secrets of the universe.
The Rider-Waite-Smith Deck
One of the most influential tarot decks in history is the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, which was first published in 1909. The deck was created by artist Pamela Colman Smith and occultist Arthur Edward Waite, and features richly detailed images that draw on a variety of esoteric traditions.
The Rider-Waite-Smith deck quickly became the standard for tarot reading, and its images and symbolism continue to be used in many modern decks. The deck’s popularity also helped to establish tarot reading as a legitimate spiritual and psychological practice.
Tarot in the 20th Century
The 20th century saw a resurgence of interest in tarot reading, particularly in the United States and Europe. This was due in part to the rise of the New Age movement, which embraced tarot reading as a tool for self-discovery and personal growth.
During this time, many new tarot decks were created, each with its own unique artwork and symbolism. Some of the most popular decks from this era include the Thoth deck, the Crowley-Harris deck, and the Osho Zen deck.
Tarot in the 21st Century
Today, tarot reading continues to be a popular spiritual and psychological practice, with a growing number of practitioners around the world. The rise of the internet has made it easier than ever to learn about tarot reading and connect with other practitioners.
In recent years, there has also been a growing interest in using tarot reading as a tool for social justice and activism. Some practitioners use the cards to explore issues such as inequality, racism, and environmentalism, and to inspire action and change.
The history of tarot reading is a rich and complex subject that spans centuries and continents. From its origins as a game in Renaissance Italy to its current status as a respected spiritual and psychological practice, tarot reading has undergone many transformations and adaptations.
Today, tarot reading continues to evolve and adapt to changing cultural and social contexts. Whether used for personal growth, spiritual exploration, or social justice, tarot reading remains a powerful tool for gaining insight into the self and the world around us.