Tarot History

The origin of tarot cards is shrouded in mystery, with no definitive answer as to their exact history. However, it is widely believed that tarot cards were initially used as playing cards in various parts of Europe during the 15th century. The first documented evidence of tarot cards dates back to 1440, where a decree by the Duke of Milan mentions the game of “tarocchi.” These early cards were hand-painted and often featured intricate artwork.


Over time, tarot cards began to evolve beyond their role as mere playing cards. Around the 18th century, tarot cards gained popularity as a tool for divination. The cards’ symbolism and imagery were interpreted by readers to provide guidance and insight into one’s past, present, and future. This shift marked the beginning of the tarot’s association with mysticism and occult practices, which continues to this day.


While the exact origins of tarot cards remain uncertain, many theories exist regarding their roots. Some speculate that tarot cards were brought to Europe from Egypt, while others suggest they originated in medieval Italy or ancient China. The earliest surviving tarot decks, such as the Visconti-Sforza deck from the 15th century, maintain a connection to Italian nobility. However, the true ancestry of tarot cards continues to be a subject of debate among historians and enthusiasts alike.

Lilly Dupres

Owner & Author

Lilly Dupres, a lifelong practitioner of paganism, established Define Pagan to offer a clear definition of paganism and challenge misconceptions surrounding modern pagan lifestyles.

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