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Journey Through the Trumps

From Tarocchi to Major Arcana

From Italy to France, then England, the United States and around the globe—Tarot has been on a 600-year odyssey.  Launched as an Italian card game in the fifteenth century, the deck swept across Europe as the game surged in popularity. In the decades preceding the French Revolution, Tarot was reborn as an Egyptian book of wisdom, a repository for Qabalistic correspondences, and a magical implement for esoteric rites in secret lodges. Our current global economy has freed Tarot to be whatever we want it to be – a tool for spiritual development and personal insight, a fortunetelling device, or a framework for artistic expression.

Come with us as we time-travel with each trump (major arcana) card to see how they have evolved over the centuries. If you are new to Tarot history, please read Turning Points for essential background on the people and events referenced in these pages.

Turning Points in Tarot History

Il Matto/Le Mat/The Fool
Il Bagatto/Le Bateleur/The Magician

L’Imperatrice/The Empress
L’Imperatore/L’Empereur/The Emperor
La Papessa/La Papesse/The Popess/The High Priestess
Il Papa/Le Pape/The Pope/The Hierophant
L’Amore/L’Amoreux/The Lovers
Il Carro/Le Chariot/The Chariot
L’Eremita/L’Ermite/The Hermit
La Ruota della Fortuna/The Wheel of Fortune
L’Appeso/Le Pendu/The Hanged Man
Death/La Morte
Il Diavolo/Le Diable/The Devil

The Authors

Iolon is not a professional card reader, but he is interested in the origins and development of Tarot card images. He created the website to share his passion for Tarot with the world.

Sherryl Smith has been reading cards since purchasing her first deck 45 years ago. For the past 20 years she has been researching Tarot history and sharing her love of divination with historic decks. She is the creator of this website.

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