In the late 1700’s Eliphas Levi, Who is better known today for his involvement in The Golden Dawn along with Aleister Crowley, but that’s not the case. Levi was a Catholic priest, writer, teacher who created the basis for today’s most popular tarot deck. Levi studied many other religions, including Jewish, Hindu, Polish, Masonic and Cabalism. He used his background in these and astrology, astronomy and metaphysics to design the first tarot deck and incorporated his religious knowledge into them as a way for his students to learn the elements of nature as the cards represent fire, water, earth and air, spiritual enlightenment and self improvement, there are even references to the bible in some cards. Even Levi’s partner in The Golden Dawn created his own tarot cards, The Thoth Deck and they are as with most tarot decks beautiful works of art.
In the 1800’s a man named A.E. Waite created the Rider-Waite deck. The Rider-Waite deck is based on the Eliphas Levi deck and was published in 1896. It was widely used in Europe as a card game and the Rider-Waite deck is the most widely used version throughout the world and were extremely popular during World War 1 when introduced to western culture.
The 1990’s saw an upturn in the use of tarot cards with the opening of reading rooms with Astrologers, Psychics and Mediums yet still there are those who believe that these cards are the devil’s cards, that they are used by soothsayers and therefore evil. I myself own the Thoth tarot deck, carry it with me and was even once fired from a job for just having them in my purse, being called a witch, My first thought was Where is the stake literally. I learned how to read tarot while living in Italy in the 90’s from some gypsies and I do pretty good at it, for myself and a small handful of friends/family I read for and if that makes me a witch in some people’s eyes so be it, they fear what they do not understand.
The tarot are not evil nor used for an evil purpose, tarot are for learning about oneself or helping others on their journey, to assist in making decisions or helping others see that what they thought might be what they needed is being told by the energy they surround the cards with during a reading. Having tarot cards or having them read shouldn’t be feared but the old saying, There is nothing to fear but fear itself . If having a tarot reading benefits someone follow their destined course why is that feared.
Now, you might be asking yourself, How do I get a tarot deck? First you have to go to a shop that has a wide verity of decks to choose from. Don’t touch the decks, if they are not on a table or in a rack ask if you can have a few decks laid out for you. Stand in front of the decks and feel for the energy. You do not chose the cards, they chose you. The cards that are right for you will talk to you, just like when picking stones to work with. Once the deck has found you hold it in your hand and feel the box, maybe take out the first few cards and run your fingers over them or shuffle them and see if they feel natural in your hand you will know they are the cards for you.
Reading tarot is not easy to learn and the information given should never be given to subjects lightly. I have met lots of people who take the guidance of the cards as a serious business so never give that guidance lightly. Never use your personal tarot deck to do readings for others, always keep two separate decks. Anytime someone else touches your cards they leave energy behind on your cards which may be picked up by the next person you read for thus giving an awkward reading.
If you fear or doubt the tarot, remember what Teddy Roosevelt once said, The only limit to our realizations of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.