How did Tarot originate?

There is no clearly documented information on the origin of Tarot. The cards are traced by some occult writers to ancient Egypt or the Kabbalah but there is no documented evidence of such origins or of the usage of tarot for divination before the eighteenth century. Researchers have many theories on the origins of Tarot - Ancient Egyptians, gypsies, Atlantis - but historical evidence points to a beginning in the courts of Northern Italy, in the mid fifteenth century.

Historically the first tarot deck dates from Italy in 1441, it belonged to the Court of Filippo Maria Visconti, the Duke of Milan. From the annals of history a complete deck 74 cards have survived from a 78 card deck, this beautiful set of cards was commissioned as a wedding present for a marriage between the Visconti family and the Sforza family. Reproductions of this deck, called the Visconti-Sforza deck, are available for purchase to this day. However the popularity started growing from 18th century and continues till the present time.

Today there are a multitude of new decks which were created, largely derivatives of the older representations. There are new tarot decks being created all the time and covering an amazing range of themes. Some of the popular older deckswhich are available today are - Rider Waite Smith deck, The Thoth deck, The BOTA deck.

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