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The History of the Tarot

When life hands you lemons, the expectation is to make lemon-aide; but what happens when you can stand the sour taste of lemon-aide? You begin to read into a why life has given you lemons, and start looking urgently for clues that will help end the uncertainty and gain control of your fate.

Hence, the foundation of the tarot.

Table games and playing cards have been around since the beginning of time. Since their inception, they have been associated with divination.

No matter the age or generation, we seem to have an instinct for seeking more than satisfaction, meaning or thrill.

Beyond their unique ability to help guide your life's journey, the tarot has a long history. Tarot was first designed as a card game in medieval Europe then used for divinatory practices by the 18th century.

The earliest tarot cards were hand-painted, so the number of the decks produced is thought to have been small. It was only after the invention of the printing press that mass production of cards became possible.

A French occultist named Etteilla was the first to popularize tarot divination to a wide audience in the 18th century.

He was also the first to reissue a revised tarot deck specifically designed for occult purposes and included themes related to ancient Egypt.

When Napoleon invaded Egypt, though, among the artifacts that were stolen were the tarot cards. Thus spawned a curiosity about the ancient traditions of Egypt, including the meaning behind the beautifully illustrated deck of cards.

As time went on, so did the traditions and meanings of the tarot - including a connection to the kabbalah.

Flash forward to the 20th century, British artist Pamela Colman Smith known as Pixie, collaborated with mystic A.E. Waite to create the iconic Rider-Waite deck first issued in 1909. In the ‘70s, there, as the popularity of the tarot grew, so did the need for a new deck. So, with the same illustrations but updated with psychedelic colors.

This updated Rider-Waite deck is still in use today. While there are many versions of the tarot the origins behind the original 78 cards still reign true today and still hold the same power as they did many centuries ago.

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