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

July/August 2016 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.

Because birds seem so common and exist everywhere, we often take them for granted and even consider them part of the landscape. However, these wonderful creatures can provide us with a simple yet powerful way to stay in tune with the natural world and its seasonal markers. In addition to maintaining this connection, birds can help us access... read this article
The Most Haunted Place You've Never Heard Of: 3 Places to Explore in Revelstoke
Jupiter in the Signs
3 Ways Yoga Changes Your Life for the Better
Reclaiming the Dark Face of the Feminine Nature
The Bath of Self-Care

Most recent posts:
Knowing the Question
Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin always have something interesting to share. Their ideas range from connections based on intense research and solid...

A Strange Little Place
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Brennan Storr, author of A Strange Little Place. If there is such a thing as a reluctant paranormal...

All About the Star
Anthony Louis is well known for his objective and full understanding of the tarot. That is one reason Llewellyn asked him to author this book,...




Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Jasmine Becket-Griffith Halloween Coloring Book Jasmine Becket-Griffith Halloween Coloring Book
A Spine-Tingling Fantasy Art Adventure

By: Jasmine Becket-Griffith
Price: $19.95 US,  $22.95 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Astrological Calendar
84th Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $18.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2017 Woodland Faeries Calendar Llewellyn's 2017 Woodland Faeries Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN