It’s hard to tell the beginnings of tarot reading. The exact origin or history of tarot reading is not yet known although it has been associated with cave paintings back in the Paleolithic age. There are also beliefs that it is a gift from space aliens, Moroccan mystics, and gypsy folklore. The tarot readings are not just mere urban legends. In fact, if you are quiet serious about this aspect, understanding the history of tarot reading is a must.
The rich history of tarot reading is really interesting. During the 14th century, the use of ‘tarocco’ was mentioned in Italy. Back then, the use of the cards was questioned by the authorities. The first deck of cards was designed by Bembo (an artist) and it was for a Milan family, the Vicsconzi-Sforza. The characters in the cards were based on the Italian celebrations and this is according to Gertrude Moakley who happens to be a tarot expert.
Historians still believe that other card designs were made that soon disappeared. The strong similarity of the early decks during the 1400 was enough proof that tarot readings were already common. Before, the tarot cards were used for games only and it was referred to as ‘tarocchi’. It was actually the occultists that used the cards for purposes of divination.
History of Tarot Reading in EuropeTarot readings were soon very popular in Europe. By late 1700s, some people became obsessed with a variety tarot reading decks. Since the Europeans were very much intrigued by the Egyptian ancient lore, Court de Gebelen claimed that the cards had important symbolism. He even wrote the Le Monde Primitif, a 9-volume treatise. This is where de Gebelen discussed about the meanings of tarot readings. By 1783, Etteilla wrote a book about the card’s interpretations. Professional mystics can be found all over Europe even before the meaning of the readings were known.
In the history of tarot reading the gypsies were always associated with the use of love tarot, but they were not the creators. The gypsies were feared and they were quite exotic. They travelled to different places while earning a living. The Europeans were caught by the romantic aura that gypsies seem to have and by the 1800s, another book was created and it was entitled ‘The Tarot of the Bohemians’. However, the gypsies didn’t use tarot cards for purposes of divination and instead, they settled with the regular cards.
By the 1900, Eliphas Levi Zahed claimed that tarot readings were connected with Kabbalah, a Hebrew mysticism. The popularity of the modern tarot was due to the efforts of Arthur Edward Waite and Aleister Crowley. Occultism was made even popular with the aid of an influential group called Golden Dawn. In 1920, member of the group started the BOTA or Builders of the Adytum. Members of the group were required to color the tarot card drawings on their own, and this was part of the training.