Fortune telling has been something that has been used throughout societies for centuries, but what are the origins of these so-called oracle cards?
With the resurgence in popularity seeming to explode on TikTok during the Pandemic and onward, what’s so special about these cards, often seen more as a party trick to some, rather than occult truth.
According to the Metropolitan Museum, they were referenced the earliest within the 15th century in Italy, specifics in Milan, Florence, and Urbino, originally called a ‘game,’ with the suits following not the American standards of cards we use today, but instead had a total of 56 cards (versus the 52 we use today)– with the usage of a Fool, (a wild card called matto). These were likely to have evolved much earlier in the century, but had not been used for occult reasons until the 19th century.
The first time I had my tarot read was at a “Witch Bazaar” in Frankenmuth some years ago (I think either in 2020 or 2021) with some friends.
I had always wanted to give these sorts of things a shot, growing up in an overly-religious household with my Grandmother, who had also said that things like “Talking about Dinosaurs” and “Watching Harry Potter” were also forbidden.
After moving out of home some odd years later, after moving back in with my father for a while, I was given a chance to do many of the things I hadn’t prior– which included checking out things like tarot readers, tea-leaf readers, crystals, and the like.
I remember we had sat down and looked at her pricing menu among the many, many other readers around us, checking it out after just deciding to “pick one.”
We sat, my friend Chan and I paid $20, and the woman began, talking about my regrets from the loss of a family member– which hadn’t happened.
Immediately I became skeptical, and obviously mad about losing the $20.
Chan’s was the same, not really much to it that fit what she wanted to know, and we rejoined our group of friends, asking what we had figured out.
Though this didn’t really give the answers I wanted, it did give me the opportunity to become curious and learn more about how they would work, or how they might be used.
Shuffling through the deck, I looked at them, the suits– cups, swords, pentagrams, wands– and the trump cards– the tower, the fool, and so forth– laid out on the kitchen table as I looked at the details– mass-produced, but still unique to each one within the deck.
When learning how they work, you realize that it’s all dependent on interpretation instead of what the cards ‘mean.’
Though a card could mean doom and gloom, these things could also be a force of change, or something different, depending on the person that is getting ‘read’ by the cards.
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