Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

January/February 2017 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

A Brief History of the Tarot

This article was written by Gerald and Betty Schueler on January 07, 2004
posted under Tarot

The Tarot is often called the oldest book known to humankind. According to occult legend, the original cards comprised "chapters" in a book known as The Book of Thoth. Thoth was the ibis-headed god of wisdom and represented knowledge of the ancient Egyptians. At the founding of Egypt, unknown centuries ago, he is said to have given humanity the knowledge of medicine, astrology, language, art, and various sciences such as mathematics and engineering. The original chapters of The Book of The Dead are said to have been written by Thoth.

After many thousands of years, the Egyptian Empire began to crumble. As things began to fall apart, the god Thoth again intervened. He desired to keep alive the knowledge and wisdom that he had provided his people. To save his contribution to humankind, he summarized all the accumulated wisdom of the Egyptian empire onto a series of 22 tablets. He did this by using symbols and pictures instead of words. These tablets became known as The Book of Thoth. As the empire decayed into ignorance, the tablets found their way into a band of roving people, later known as gypsies. The gypsies copied the symbols of the tablets onto cards that became the Major Arcana of the Tarot deck.

Whatever the actual origin of the Tarot deck may be, it is known that a deck of fortunetelling cards was used in A.D. 1390. The Tarot later found its way into the Hebrew Qabalah, probably because the 22 cards of the Major Arcana could be shown to correspond with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. During the 19th century, many occultists tried to demonstrate a higher use for the cards than divination. Eliphas Levi tried to show that the cards of the Major Arcana were connected to the Qabalistic Tree of Life. He designed two cards, the Devil and the Chariot, for this purpose. This idea was further carried out by a secret occult group in England known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. A new form of Tarot, the Enochian Tarot, was developed by Gerald and Betty Schueler in the 1980s, and it is based upon the principles of Enochian Magick and Enochian Physics.

Name one religion or type of spiritual system that doesn't incorporate music into its worship services in some way. It's not easy, is it? From singing hymns to beating drums, and from the rhythmic chanting of prayers to the soaring organ fugues of Bach, music is a spiritual tool that connects mind and body to the divine spirit. While country... read this article
How Money Flows at the Sacral and Heart Chakras
The Rose Phoenix
10 Things You Might Not Know About The Exorcist
Magical Tree Oracle: What Do the Trees Have to Tell You?
A Checklist to Discern Your Empathic Abilities

Most recent posts:
Chakra Insight Oracle is One of Ezvid Wiki's 2017 Best Chakra Cards!
The Chakra Insight Oracle is one of Ezvid Wiki's Top Chakra Cards of 2017, coming in at #2! Founded in 2011, Ezvid Wiki was the world's first...

Making the Tarot Your Own
Instead of telling you the one way to read tarot, Your Tarot Your Way embraces the reality that tarot has evolved continuously since its creation...

How to Raise Your Root Chakra Vibration
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Stephanie S. Larsen, author of the new Discover Your Master Chakra. Here are some non-conventional...




Impressionists Tarot Kit Impressionists Tarot Kit
By: Corrine Kenner, Arturo Picca
Price: $29.95 US,  $34.95 CAN
Pressed to Death Pressed to Death
By: Kirsten Weiss
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN
Wheels of Life Wheels of Life
A User's Guide to the Chakra System

By: Anodea Judith
Price: $21.95 US,  $25.50 CAN
Blood's Echo Blood's Echo
By: Isabella Maldonado
Price: $15.99 US,  $18.50 CAN
Reservations Reservations
By: Gwen Florio
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN