Oct 25, 2020

Tarot and Cartomancy

Joseph Szimhart
Cults in the Occulture
October 18, 2020

When I was a young teen, I used a deck of cards to determine which girl I should like, assigning a queen card to four girls, shuffling the deck, then seeing which “queen” the deck as agent picked for me. This instinct I had for cartomancy was spontaneous—no one taught me. Tarot cards have a similar origin as divining tools from a 14th century version of Egyptian playing cards that gained popularity in Europe, especially Italy and France. I use the Rider deck developed by occultists in the Order of the Golden Dawn in the early 20th Century. Devotees of the cult of Tarot say it has ancient inspiration from the Egyptian god Thoth, an Ibis-headed being associated with the moon, reckoning, writing, and wisdom. The modern Tarot deck of 78 cards appeared in the 19th Century. Though banned at times in Europe centuries ago due to it both being a form of sorcery as well as a gambling game, today even Christian users see it as a tool to communicate with God like others, the cosmos or the universe. I warn about bait and switch tactics that online Tarot readers use offering readings at little cost then switching by offering more expensive readings once you are hooked. I recommend reading A Wicked Pack of Cards by Decker, DePaulis, and Dummet (1996) to get a thorough history of Tarot and its rich connection to the Occulture of the past few centuries. And I warn that the most important card in the deck is the FOOL which translates to the JOKER in or modern playing cards. Don’t be fooled by tarot!

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