There is more than one mythic history of the Tarot. It's important to note that by mythic I don't simply mean that the stories were made up and imaginary. Rather, myths are information conveyed in a story to indicate the importance of something. Aesop's fables, for example, are myths explaining timeless truths in simple stories.
Although the Tarot has been used for hundreds of years, its active use as part of ceremonial magick really only dates back to the late 19th century. The key to this was the linking of the Tarot to the Kabalistic Tree of Life. This first appeared in print in an article by the Comte de Mellet in the 1781 book, Le Monde Primitif by Court de Gébelin, which noted
Many years ago there were two bookstores in Hollywood that I would frequent. One, just east of Cahuenga on Hollywood Blvd, was Gilbert's Books. This was a full bookstore that offered both new and used books. It also had a large selection of occult books, some of which were quite unusual and rare. I've heard that Israel Regardie used to quietly hang out there, listening amusedly to what some self-styled experts would say concerning those occult books.
When going book shopping in Hollywood, I'd hit Gilbert's first. It was a slightly further trip than to the second store, but its prices on rare and used books were more reasonable. The second store, Cherokee Books, was also on Hollywood
When I first started an in-depth study of occultism, I tried to read everything that was available. I quickly realized that the available books generally fell into two large categories, books that were mostly ridiculous inventions by their authors to take advantage of people interested in occult topics and books that were older material or about older material, perhaps with modern commentary. After a period of reading everything, it became fairly easy to separate the good from the bad, the serious from the ridiculous, the wheat from the chaff. And then came Kenneth Grant's first book, The Magical Revival.
Original cover of first edition in my collection.
I read this book not knowing what