Tarot is a Profound Source of Insight - Page 16

Tarot Articles and Blogs

Learn how Tarot cards and their meanings influence your life here and now

Universal Belief in Magic

1. Universal belief in magic There are a number of things that we know about magic in 15th century Italy with a fair degree of historical certainty. We know, for example, that there was a universal belief in the efficacy of magic. So if one were to ask whether the Tarot designers and early card-players believed in magic, the answer is yes. Read More »

Catharism and the Tarot Conclusions

Conclusions This series of studies examined the hypothesis that the Tarot symbols are based on a Gnostic model. The evidence argues against any direct influence from the ancient Gnostics. Their elaborate myths are not evident in the Tarot symbols, their literature was lost, their concepts aren't preserved in the late Medieval literature. The symbols of dualism in the Tarot are more likely derived from proximal sources such as Neoplatonism and the dualism inherent in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Read More »


Part IX: Dante It occurred to me that as we progressed through this series of studies, it was difficult to see how the many threads were woven together. As the infrastructure of Catharism was violently disrupted, its remnants were transformed by the Spiritual Franciscans with their Joachimism and their institution of the Tertiaries and later the Confraternities. The Gnostic doctrine, inherited from the Bogomils, was supplanted by a Neoplatonic Apocalypticism. Read More »


Part VII: Confraternities Originally, "confraternitas" referred to groups of lay persons and secular clergy affiliated with a monastery (Little, 1988). They provided an opportunity for a deeper spiritual experience while remaining in the secular world. Before the end of the 13th century, the zeal of the Mendicant Orders (Franciscans and Dominicans) turned them into a popular form of lay piety (Banker, 1988). Read More »

Iconology of the Temperance Cards

Introduction The six Temperance cards surviving from the 15th and 16th century are shown in Figure 1. In the ordering we are adopting here, the temperance cards are numbered six of the trumps. Read More »

Iconology of the Fortitude Cards

The ninth Tarot trump according the type B ordering is the virtue Fortitude and the five surviving cards from the 15th/16th century are shown in Figure 1. Two of the cards show a woman in a long tunic holding or breaking a pillar. Read More »

Iconology of the Wheel Cards

Introduction The six surviving Wheel of Fortune cards (#10) from the 15th/16th century are shown in Figure 1. The same basic theme appears on all of them. Read More »

Iconology of the Hermit Cards

IntroductionCard number 11, the Hermit, has five survivors from the 15th/16th century (Figure 1). All of the images show an old bearded man. Read More »

Iconology of the Hanged Man Cards

IntroductionFive of the extant 15th and 16th century Hangedman cards (#12) are shown in Figure 1. There is an additional fragment (Kaplan Volume 2, p. 286) that shows only the lower right hand corner of a card and does not add much. Read More »

Iconology of the Devil Cards

Introduction The reader may be surprised to find the Devil numbered 14. But this is the number that has probably the best argument for being the original. The various orderings of the 15/16th century cards are discussed in some detail by Dummett (1980). Read More »

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