Tarot History

In and of themselves, the Major Arcana have no rightful place in divination but, rather, are tools for the further knowledge of the self by the self for the purpose of entering a more profoundly, acutely realized present moment.” – Ra, Session 88

Tarot: from “Tah Ro” meaning the royal road to evolution.

Arcanum: secret

To the student of the tarot, the images represent the learning of the process of evolution. To any other person, they are pictures and nothing more. “– Ra

The modern day consensus is that the tarot cards originated in Europe around the 14th century and were designed as a card game. Chapter three of History of the Sacred Tarot written by C.C. Zain. points to evidence that the tarot predates that however:

AMBLICHUS, a Neo-platonist of the fourth century and an initiate of The Brotherhood of Light, has left us an important document entitled, “An Egyptian Initiation”. It contains an account of the trials of initiation, and of certain information given to the neophyte while passing these tests, in the Mysteries of Ancient Egypt…At one point in his journey the candidate is stopped before 22 frescoed paintings which picture the 22 Major Arcana of the tarot, and it becomes his duty to commit to memory these pictures, as well as their symbolism, which is then explained to him. As these pictures, together with such of their symbolism as is then explained to the neophyte, are fully described by Amblichus, his work affords an accurate description of the Egyptian Tarot.

Many books have been written on the subject, though most have been classified “occult” and therefore removed from the general or commonly excepted concepts these cards are rumored to possess. In the Law of One Book IV Session 76, however Ra explains a completely different history and origin of the tarot:

The origin of this system of study and divination is twofold: firstly, there is that influence which, coming in a distorted fashion from those who were priests attempting to teach the Law of One in Egypt, gave form to the understanding, if you will pardon the misnomer, which they had received. These forms were then made a regular portion of the learn/teachings of an initiate. The second influence is that of those entities in the lands you call Ur, Chaldea, and Mesopotamia who, from old, had received the, shall we say, data for which they called having to do with the heavens. Thusly we find two methods of divination being melded into one with uneven results; the, as you call it, astrology and the form being combined to suggest what you might call the correspondences which are typical of the distortions you may see as attempts to view archetypes.

For at least the last thousand years, people have been drawing and redrawing these images in an attempt to paint the clearest picture of the Royal Road for all to see. Ra states that these images are “the product of many, many generations of work upon what we conceived to be the archetypical mind produced the tarot which was used by our peoples as a training aid in developing the magical personality.” However it was practicing visualization and memorization of symbols that produced the images to explain the concepts rather than the use of a standard set of images for everyone that we see today. According to Ra, it wasn’t until years later that the images were drawn and made into cards by Egyptian and Samarian students/teachers here on Earth attempting to retain and explain what they had been taught after their teachers had departed.

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