Some History

robin Wood Tarot CardsTarot

The myths and theories about the origins of the Tarot are as numerous as the number of tarot decks themselves. In fact, there are probably as many tarot and oracle decks out there as there are readers since inspired artists through out the centuries have lovingly attempted to capture the mysterious symbolism of the cards as works of art. Stunning new decks are still being created today and some have become important collector items.

One theory is that the Tarot originated in ancient Egypt, a place of great knowledge, secrets, mystery, magic and power. Some historians say that perhaps the “Book of Thoth”, thought to be included in the ill-fated Library of Alexandria destroyed by a great fire, could have been a source of inspiration for the tarot.

Thoth was the Egyptian God of wisdom, science and occultism and the library was said to contain precious scrolls outlining all the wisdom and secrets of this ancient world. The Thoth-inspired deck is still used today by many readers.

In addition, the word “Gypsy” is thought to come from the word ” Egyptian” and as nomadic wanderers these well known fortune tellers almost certainly passed though Northern Africa during their travels through Europe. What we DO know is that the fascination with “All Things Egyptian”, fueled by the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, captivated the public and created renewed interest and inspired occultists to use the Tarot as divination tools in the early 1900s.

Alias, the truth might not be all that exciting. Most scholars agree that they were probably adapted from traditional playing cards and used for card games in the mid 15th century in southern Italy. Hundreds of years later,  the Tarot has become a popular divination and spiritual healing tool used to provide clarity and insights as people strive to cope with life altering personal events, political instability throughout the world and a downturn in the global economy.

 

Oracle Decks

While Tarot decks have a specific number of cards (78) and suits (4)  and follow a specific structure, an Oracle deck can have any number of cards in it. Some Oracle cards may have phrases written on the cards but some decks might only have images and no words. They come in all sizes, shapes, colors and themes.

Guilded Lenormand Oracle Deck

Guilded Lenormand Oracle Deck

Lenormand Oracle

Mlle Lenormand was a famous French psychic who came from humble beginnings in 19th century France to become the most prominent fortune teller in Europe. Her namesake cards belong to traditions originating in an age when the European aristocracy like Napoleon and Josephine began to have a strong interest in the occult and regularly frequented the elaborate fortune telling salons in Paris. The symbols are common objects that we find today in our daily lives but have their roots back to the nomadic gypsies who used similar symbols for reading tea leaves. Although they represent simple objects, when put together they can reveal much about our past, present and future.

Angel and Other Oracle Decks

Angel cards are a popular form of Oracle cards with an angelic theme. Most angel cards have uplifting phrases written on them, making them easy to use for beginners and gentle enough to use on those days when you are just looking for some inspiration, a connection to your divine spirit, guardian angels or loved ones who have past over. If angels are not your thing, there are decks for animal communication, fairies, mermaids, flowers, colors, trees and the list goes on and on.

During a typical session, it is not uncommon for me to use multiple decks depending on the question and the preferences of my clients.