How Did Tarot Card Reading Start?

Tarot card reading- mysterious and magical? Well, close enough. Tarot cards have existed for quite a long time and are becoming quite popular these days. It is the belief that it can provide a vision into one’s future or even guide us in making fruitful decisions. But,’ How did tarot card reading start?’


Tarot cards are a deck of 78 cards consisting of the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. It is based on the belief that when you choose a tarot card, you transfer your energy into it. This gives a potential idea of different areas of your life including your past and future. Tarot card reading is a form of cartomancy that is most beneficial if the reader possesses an inner physic ability as well as a deeper connection to the deck of cards.


The origin of tarot cards dates back to the 15th century in Europe. Hand-printed cards were the talk of the town before the arrival of the printing press. Hence, it cost a lot of money, making them only accessible to the rich and elite families of Italy. So how did tarot card reading start? Read on to know more.


The early Tarot cards were known as Tarocchi cards and contained the typical deck of cards namely, suits, trump cards, and pips. According to some historians, the character in these cards was inspired by costumed figures who were often seen in carnivals. Their encounter with divination came about around the 18th century.


It was around this time that Jean Baptise Alliette published a guide to tarot card reading under the pseudonym Etteilla. He brought them about as tools of divination and released his deck of cards along with the book. Jean elaborated on the meanings of each card and connected them with the concepts of astronomy and the four elements. He claimed to derive a majority of the information from the book of Thoth. The book of Thoth is an Egyptian text said to be written by Thoth, the Egyptian God of wisdom.

 Etteilla was the first to attribute a specific order and spread to the cards both forwards and backward. A system that is still used in present times. He also became the first professional tarot card reader after he published the revised edition in 1791.

Eliphas Lévi was a French writer who concluded that tarot cards had a connection to the Hebrew alphabet. Hence, he concocted the theory, that it had its origin in the Jewish mystical tradition of Kabbalah. This gave the notion that it was a Gypsy invention.


It was only in the 1800s that Lévi's works became popular. It was propagated by various secret societies in France including the French Theosophical Society and the Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Cross. Papus, a French occultist was one of the prominent members of such societies. He even published two treatises on the use of tarot cards. The main contribution of the French magus, Ély Star, was the introduction of the terms, ‘Major Arcana’ and ‘Minor Arcana’.


 Samuel Liddell Mathers and William Wynn Westcott, two out of the three founding members of the Golden dawn had already published various texts on tarot reading even before the founding of the Order. They described its various elements in their books; The Tarot: Its Occult Signification, Use in Fortune-Telling and Method of Play, Tabula Bembina, sive Mensa Isiaca respectively.


How did a tarot card reading start in the Us? The two of the earliest publications on tarot cards in the United States included the ‘Fortune-Telling by Cards’ and an anonymous American essay on the tarot published in The Platonist. Paul Foster Case was the driving force behind the adoption of the esoteric tarot practices of the golden dawn through his book ‘An Introduction to the Study of the Tarot’. The books written by Eden Gray were used as standard references to the divinatory use of tarot cards.


The 1970s and 1980s saw a new generation of tarotists who were greatly influenced by the writings of Eden Gray and the works of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. They mainly promoted tarot card reading for personal growth and introspection. Tarot cards became adapted as a resource to provide deeper insights into one’s personal life.

Dr. Rajnee Garg is the best tarot reader in Kolkata. She is not only a certified tarot card reader but also a spiritual healer and numerologist. Her immense experience and knowledge in occult science as well as alternative healing coupled with her higher physic abilities makes her one of the most sought out professional tarot card readers in the country.                                                       

She has won many awards including the very prestigious “Woman Achiever of India” certificate of excellence and award by the Foundation People to mark a wonderful milestone in her excellent career. To know more, visit her website!

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