I am about to begin to shake your beliefs in regards to the Tarot at their very foundations.
Granted, this is a bold statement, but it is one that I am prepared to backup.
The Tarot has been around since its first appearance in Italy around 1383 in the courts of Italian aristocrats. This Tarot deck is known as the Visconti-Sforza deck. There is one surviving deck that contains all but one of the hand-painted cards. The missing card is the Tower. Additionally, there are 15 incomplete, handmade Visconti-Sforza decks that survive today of which some only contain one card.
As a lifelong reader of the Tarot, I would be delighted if someone found a complete Visconti-Sforza deck that could be reproduced and distributed. It would be the only Tarot deck that I would use from that point on. Why, you ask? The answer is not so simple. And it is shrouded in a veil of mystery.
I do not believe that the appearance of the first Tarot deck happened to appear in 1383 coincidentally. This was a period of time that many aristocrats implored the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church to ban Alchemy. And this was not the first time they attempted to ban it. This surely must have caused a great deal of angst in the Alchemy world and I believe that it was decided amongst them that their Alchemical beliefs were in danger of being lost. As a result, they designed and produced the first 22 cards of the Tarot known as the Major Arcana.
I base this belief on the fact that the Tarot pre-empted the publication of the Lampsprinck Emblems in 1599 and again in 1625. These emblems go much further than the Tarot in explaining the journey of soul-purification that the Alchemist was seeking to travel.
The true purpose of the Major Arcana is to chronicle the path every human being needs to tread in order to purify the soul in order to gain re-entry into the Realm of Perfection. That is why the true message of the Major Arcana must be read in reverse order from card #22, The World, through card #0, The Fool. This is the path to Soul Perfection.
The Tarot was introduced to the aristocracy in the form of a card game known first as Trionfi and later as the Tarocchi. It was commonly called the “Triumphs” which is a term that might be better known today the “Trumps”. Originally, it contained only the 22 Major Arcana cards. Very soon, the Minor Arcana of anywhere from 63, 56, 54, 40, or even 36 cards were added to the deck as they spread throughout Europe. It was a very popular card game for many, many years.
It seems that the Alchemists had the last laugh on the aristocracy as they tricked them into preserving the intent of Alchemy for over 600 years!
I will attempt over the next few weeks to interpret the Major Arcana cards one-by-one as I believe the Alchemists intended them to be interpreted. So, check back regularly to read each of my posts.
For a longer and more in depth explanation of what I have put forth here please see my post on this subject on the following web site: psychicjunkie.com