What is the Original Tarot Deck?

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What is the Original Tarot Deck?

The Tarot is a centuries-old system of divination that uses a deck of 78 cards. These cards, known as Tarot cards, are rich in symbolism and are used for gaining insights, exploring personal growth, and seeking guidance and meaning in life. While the Tarot has evolved over the years, tracing its origins can be a complex task. In this blog post, we will delve into the history of the original Tarot deck and its significance.

The Origins of the Tarot

The exact origins of the Tarot are unclear, with many theories and legends surrounding its birth. However, it is widely accepted that the Tarot originated in Europe, likely in Italy, during the 15th century. Initially, the Tarot was not associated with divination but was rather a playing card game enjoyed by the nobility and aristocracy.

The earliest known Tarot decks were hand-painted, luxurious creations that depicted allegorical images, spiritual symbols, and classical figures. One of the oldest surviving Tarot decks is the Visconti-Sforza tarot deck, created around 1440-1450 in Milan, Italy. This deck, consisting of 78 cards divided into the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana, remains as a testament to the early roots of the Tarot.

The Original Tarot Deck

While the Visconti-Sforza deck provides insights into the early Tarot symbolism, it is not considered the “original” Tarot deck. The concept of the original Tarot deck is somewhat elusive due to the lack of concrete evidence and the continuous evolution of the Tarot throughout history.

However, when discussing the original Tarot deck, one cannot overlook the importance of the Tarot de Marseille. This deck, believed to have originated in the 16th century, became the foundation for many subsequent Tarot decks and is highly influential in the Tarot community even today.

The Tarot de Marseille consists of 78 cards, with 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards. The Major Arcana cards depict powerful archetypal figures and symbols, while the Minor Arcana cards represent everyday situations, emotions, and experiences. The imagery of the Marseille Tarot is bold and iconic, with simple, clear lines and vibrant colors.

Evolution and Transformation

Over the years, the Tarot has undergone numerous transformations, leading to the creation of diverse Tarot decks with unique themes and interpretations. These variations cater to different spiritual traditions, personal preferences, and artistic expressions.

One prominent example of an influential Tarot deck is the Rider-Waite Tarot, created by Arthur Edward Waite and illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith in 1909. The Rider-Waite Tarot introduced innovative symbolism, rich imagery, and detailed illustrations that set a new standard for Tarot decks.

Significance of the Original Tarot Deck

The original Tarot decks, such as the Visconti-Sforza and the Tarot de Marseille, hold immense significance for Tarot enthusiasts and scholars. They provide a glimpse into the early development of the Tarot and offer valuable insights into the symbolism and meanings associated with the cards.

Studying the original Tarot decks allows us to appreciate the roots of Tarot divination and to understand the evolution of Tarot symbolism through the ages. These decks serve as a foundation for modern Tarot practitioners, who often draw inspiration from the imagery, archetypes, and interpretations present in these historical decks.

In Conclusion

The concept of the original Tarot deck is a topic of ongoing discussion and exploration among Tarot enthusiasts. While the Visconti-Sforza and the Tarot de Marseille are important milestones in the Tarot’s history, it is crucial to recognize that the Tarot has evolved and transformed over time.

Today, there are countless Tarot decks available, each offering a unique perspective and artistic interpretation of the Tarot symbolism. Whether you choose to explore the ancient origins of the Tarot or embrace the modern interpretations, the Tarot continues to be a powerful tool for introspection, guidance, and personal growth.

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What is the Original Tarot Deck?