The first tarot decks which we possess date from no earlier than the 14th. century
France and Italy, but this does not mean that prior to that time there were none.
The power of image and story predate written form or verbal transcription.
There is good reason to believe that the Minor Keys were an addition created during
the Medieval period, and then Tarot gained popularity as a card-game. From this we
can see that the 22 Major Keys were probably part of a system of teaching and
training from an earlier time.
A major clue to its origins lies in the word itself: TAROT is an Egyptian word for
Royal Road (tar=path and ro=king) - the Royal Road means the path to the top, to
Tradition speaks of the Egyptian Book of Thoth, which had pages that revealed the
past, present and future of all things. Magical traditions record that under the
direction of the legendary god Hermes Trismegistos (frequently identified with
Thoth, god of Wisdom), the Tarot was created. Folklore says that it was the
travelling gypsies (corruption of the word, Egyptians) who introduced the cards into
One thing we know for certain is that tarot is a French word in which the last "t"
is not pronounced - TARO. This also gives further meaning of the word: rota (Latin)
- "the wheel".
In Hebrew, the collective term for the Five Books of Moses (trained in Egypt) is the
TORAH, the law of the Jewish people. These words have become synonymous with the
Tarot is like a wheel, a tool that takes you on the royal road. So similiar to the
word for the ancient Hebrew sacred text, the Torah, tarot reveals the universal
principles of life that we must travel to reach our destiny. The tarot is a symbolic
gide to self-realization, a vehicle that helps us evolve.
I believe that these card symbols originated in the Egyptian hieroglyphic wisdom
book, the Book of Thoth. Thoth was an Egyptian diety who channeled the laws of the
creator through thought (thoth) and word.
Developing the Intuition
Tarot - Overview