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Tarot – the word that is so widely and wrongly linked to the occult sciences and paganism. The cartomancy and the concept of using tarots for divination is evidently more popular in the western society than in the eastern society. The images that are often used in the tarot decks linked to the European renaissance age. The tarots, as we know them today, originated before the Renaissance and apparently gained traction during that artistic revolution.
Tarot is known by various names across the world: Tarock, Tarokk, taroc but ultimately the word ‘Tarot’ became widespread. The origin of the word 'tarot' are apparently unknown, but the origin of the playing cards (as these were earlier used for games similar to modern day bridge) can be traced to the Islamic countries of the Middle East most probably to the Mamluk Dynasty; these cards subsequently & gradually spread all over Europe. But then again, it should be pointed out that the origin of these elusive cards is susceptible to conjectures. Many historians say that the country of origin is China while many others claim that the ancient game of Tarot originated in the Middle East.
It can be safely assumed that the tarots, as we know them today, were originated in Italy during renaissance. This particular theory can be traced to the Duke of Milan - 1440. The earliest known tarot deck was used by the Duke of Milan - Filippo Maria Visconti between 1441 and 1447. This deck comprises of 67 cards and is known 'Visconti di Mordone' deck.
From Italy the use of tarot spread quickly all over Europe and various other countries around the world. There are of course various vernacular versions of tarot is attributed to its widespread usage and hence changes as per the local region in Europe.
Most famous decks of tarots are Tarot of Marseilles, Rider-Watie Smith Deck, and the Thoth Tarot Deck. Some decks had 62 cards while others have 72 or even 98 cards, with the images differing according to the region of origin.
But there is a sign of commonality among all the major tarot decks and these are the standard 52 cards deck, with the 4 suits of tarot. The two of the most common suits are Italian and French suits. Italian suits contain the following spreads - coins, cups, swords, batons while the French ones contain - diamonds, hearts, spades and clubs (which are also commonly observed in the regular playing cards). The another common element is a suit of 21 special cards called trumps which are heavy with Christian symbolism; apparently pointing towards its origin during the widespread Christian movements.
The inception of the use of the tarot as the means of divination begun in the year 1781 and is commonly attributed to Anotine Cuourt de Gebelin.
Astrology and the mystical tarot cards go hand in hand. Various cards of tarot deck fall under the major elements that are common with Astrology: Air (Suits of Swords), Water (Suits of Cups), Earth (Suits of Pentacles), Fire (Suites of Wands). Link between Tarot Cards & the various Zodiac Signs are as follows:
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