Tarot and Me

Tarot and Me

Tarot cards are believed to have originated from picturegrams designed by Cathar priests in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, in Southern France and Northern Italy. Initially, these cards were designed for teaching their interpretation of the new Testament. However, Cathars were labelled as heretics by the Catholic Church, and they were subsequently suppressed by Pope Innocent III through the Inquisition.

With the introduction of the printing press, underground card versions started circulating and, over time, the cards evolved into a game known as tarocchi, enjoyed by nobles and leisure enthusiasts at the time.

The oldest surviving set, the Visconti-Sforza deck dating back to around 1440, was created for the Duke of Milan’s family and similar cards were┬áintroduced to other European countries, including southern France, where it was renamed as Tarot.

However, only in the late 18th century, with the occult becoming popular, did the mystical significance of these cards gain prominence.

Today, most tarot practitioners use a set of cards known as the Ryder Waite-Smith (RWS) deck, created in 1909 by A.E. Waite, a British member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and artist Pamela Colman Smith.