Lifting the Veil - A Secret Revealed!
We started e-mailing out a newsletter, which eventually was named the Tarocks Tribune. These newsletters were extensive from the beginning, so we decided to make them more accessibly by sharing them here. This is our eighth. To read them all, click on the Tribune category near the top of our blog page.
Welcome to the first edition of the Tarocks Tribune!
We intend to offer you small columns and articles on interesting discoveries and items on tarot related topics.
This month we offer you an incredible journey backwards through time to the beginnings of tarot as we know it today.
Here is what today's tribune covers:
If, while reading this newsletter, you think of someone in your life who loves cards as much as we do, feel free to forward them this link.
Before we get started, we want to invite you to browse through our ever growing store. We have more than 100 decks online and ready for purchase!
A lot has been written and said about the origin of the tarot. Over the centuries the use of the cards has changed dramatically.
Originally compiled as a means to communicate in a civilized way in the various courts of Europe, they finally were and still are being used for divination, fortunetelling, etc.
A mayor change occurred after the publication of Comte Court de Gebelin’s work ‘Le Monde Primitif (1773)’ in which an entire chapter is dedicated to the aforementioned origin of the cards, in which he describes the secret hieroglyphics of the Ancient Egyptians as they can be found in the Great Pyramids as a possible source of wisdom from which ultimately the Tarot as a divining tool emerged.
That thought was much welcomed by the French occultists of that time since they now could validate their spiritual thoughts as backed by a true and respected count.
So many authors, so many views… sometimes they run parallel, sometimes they are well documented and show excellent research, sometimes they go haywire and sometimes they almost radiate an atmosphere of conspiracy…
See below some images from the first book ever written on tarot as a divinatory tool. The very same book that started the popular idea that tarot originated from Ancient Egypt: Le Monde Primitif by Antoine Court de Gebelin, Volume 8.
Whatever has been written since then, whether backed by solid proof or not, we will never be sure of the true origin of the tarot. In any case, we welcome all articles and books as they offer a lot of insight into the amazing and magical world of divination by tarot cards.
In this first column of the Tarocks Tribune, we are happy to offer you two short articles.
One is written by Mauro Boldi (aka ALAN), an astrologer and card-reader as well as an initiate in esoteric disciplines.
The other text we discovered in the accompanying booklet by the facsimile edition of the Tarot Rhenan designed by Ignaz Krebs in 1780. The text is written in 1984 by Georg Gottlob.
‘The tradition of the occult says that Tarot cards originated from a set of 22 hieroglyohic-graffitoed gold plates kept gold plates kept inside a pyramid. With these gold plates, Egyptian priests used to read the fortune of the Pharaoh’s, as well as with regard to the decisions to make for the future of the kingdom.
After two centuries of oblivion, Tarot cards reappeared in Medieval Europe. In every court, artists and fortunetellers would design decks representing the 22 cards of the Major Arcana (a clear reference to the 22 gold plates of fabulous Egypt) for playing games and for telling the fortunes of their lords. To this generally fixed number of 22 cards, other cards were added according to local traditions, either for trying one’s luck of for reading one’s fortune.
Besides the alterations that occurred in the various courts and towns of Renaissance Europe, the work of great painters like Andrea Mantegna and Bonifacio Bembo has also to be remembered. There is also a very long list of artists who have drawn their inspiration for works of fantasy from their fascination for the tarot cards.
All this explains why nowadays the general term ‘Tarot cards’ includes hundreds of different decks. The distinction between the two orders of Arcana cards, however, is always the same – there are the 22 Major Arcana Cards which are traditionally used for fortune telling, and the Minor Arcana cards which correspond to the suits of ordinary playing cards.
This, in a nutshell, is the objective history of Tarot cards. On the other hand, it is quite impossible to write about subjective history, for, who could, even vaguely indicate the influence the have had not only on the personal histories of thousands of people, but also on the history of mankind as a whole? Suffice to say that from among the keenest questioners, there have been kings, scientists, leaders and politicians, that is to say people on whose decisions the state of the community depends.'
Under his pseudonym ALAN, Mauro Boldi wrote this text for the accompanying booklet to the ALAN Tarot Deck designed by Argio Orell (Trieste 1884-1942), who became famous because of the following quote: ‘These cards (of the ALAN deck) are the finest cards in the world, because all the other ones are ugly.’
‘Tarot cards in Europe emerged apparently as early as in the course of the 14thcentury, partly in Italy and partly in France. There are theories however, according to which Tarot in fact originated in Ancient Egypt, from where it took its course to conquer the world. In many of the Eastern countries, from Egypt through India and China, one actually may find a number of such figurative images with a likeness to the Tarot figures; even the Gypsies have such cards, which may explain how these were spread in Asia and Europe.
It is just as difficult to prove scientifically the genesis of the tarot cards as to ascertain the origin of the name of the tarot. Some scientists think that this name is of French origin, but Gustav Meyrinck, in his book ‘The Golem’ is of the opinion…”that Taroc or Tarot has the same meaning as the Hebrew word ‘Torah’ (the Law), or the name may be connected with the ancient Egyptian word ‘Taruth’ (the One who is consulted), or it may come from the word ‘Tarisk’ of the ancient Zend language, which means ‘I demand the answer.'
The Tarot cards used for “play” as well as – and this is more often the case – for “fortune telling”. A packet consists of 78 cards: 22 of the major Arcana (the great mysteries) which are the same as the trumps in the game of Taroc, and of the 56 minor Arcana (the lesser mysteries). The minor Arcana are similar to the cards of our our modern games, and are divided into four suits: Swords, Wands, Cups and Pentacles (equivalent to Spades, Clubs, Hearts and Diamonds) and there are fourteen cards of each suit. The minor arcana in Tarot, However, play a smaller role, and it is said that these came very much later in to being than the major arcana’.
As we can see, both descriptions are not entirely different. Would it be a to easy assumption to state that parts from both text could have been inspired by the words of Count Court de Gebelin…?
The title of this column will be a recurring theme in the forthcoming columns of the Tarocks Tribune.
We also intend to publish our own views on this theme in a special clothbound limited edition physical book which we hope will see the light in November of this year (lifting the veil….). Keep following us and you will be among the first who can purchase this special edition…
Finally we would like to bring some changes to the Tarocks to your attention:
We have managed to decide which decks will remain in our permanent collection and which can be traded.
The ‘remainders’ will be gradually shown on the website as blogposts and, eventually, you are most welcome to look at them off screen in Fabula Rosa (by appointment only). The ‘exiteers’ will appear in the web shop. We currently have 83 decks on offer. This is a number that grows almost weekly, so be sure to check our store regularly.
The following decks have been added to the archive since the last newsletter. Just click on the name of the deck to be taken directly to its page:
1. Il Tarocco di Colombo
2. Il Tarocco Di Amerigo Folchi
If, while reading the newsletter, you think of someone who would also enjoy it, please feel free to forward them this e-mail and let them sign up by clicking here or visiting our website.
Finally, we hope again that this newsletter as well as the information provided on Tarocks will satisfy your expectations. In case you have any suggestions or discover any inconsistencies, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
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