The rich symbolism in tarot cards are often a subject of awe and curiosity. It’s more than 500 years of history that makes the deck a repository of origins, mystery, hidden meanings, and ancient wisdom.
Historical evidence shows that the earliest tarot decks originated somewhere in Northern Italy, either in Bologna, Milan, or Ferrara. It was between 1410 and 1430 that additional cards containing allegorical drawings were added to the usual four-suit decks. These new decks were called carte da trionfi or triumph cards, and the added decks were simply referred to as the trionfi. This name eventually evolved into “trump.”
The oldest tarot cards that survived to this day were painted for Milan’s rulers, the Visconti-Sforza family, in the mid-15th century. And the earliest record of the use of the tarot deck in divination dates back to the 18th century. However, tarot as a divination system is believed to have been in existence way longer than that. A book entitled “The Oracles of Francesco Marcolino da Forli”, in fact, shows evidence of the use of a card deck similar to the tarot deck in divination as early as 1540.
Whereas there are recorded evidences on the history the tarot deck, the origin of the symbolisms in tarot cards remains a mystery. The same as with the use of tarot cards in divination. Some historians believe that the symbols in modern day tarot cards may have originated from ancient Chinese, Egyptian, and Indian civilizations. These icons are believed to have more than 2000 years of history.