The Occult Roots of Tarot: Exploring the Mystical Connection

For centuries, the art of Tarot card reading has fascinated and perplexed both the curious and the skeptical. The beautiful illustrations and mysterious symbolism of Tarot cards have captured the imaginations of many, but the true origins and purpose of this practice have remained shrouded in mystery. At its core, Tarot is intimately connected to the world of the occult, drawing from ancient spiritual practices and philosophies to create a system of divination and self-discovery. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of Tarot, explore its connections to the occult, and examine the controversy surrounding its use. Whether you are a seasoned practitioner or simply curious about the world of the occult, the insights and knowledge shared here will help you understand the mystical roots of Tarot and its significance for those who seek to unlock the secrets of the universe.

Decipher the Riddles of Your Dreams: Select a Tarot Card and Unveil Their Hidden Meanings!
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The History of Tarot Cards

The History Of Tarot Cards
As we delve into the fascinating world of tarot, it’s important to first understand the rich history behind tarot cards. The origins of tarot are shrouded in mystery, with many historians and esoteric scholars offering various theories about the true beginnings of this mystical practice. The history of tarot cards is a journey that takes us from ancient civilizations in Egypt and China, to the Renaissance courts of Italy and the spiritual movements of Europe and the world. In this section, we’ll explore the evolution of tarot symbolism, the major and minor arcana, and the influence of historical movements like Hermeticism on the development of tarot. Let’s embark on a journey through time and space to uncover the hidden roots of tarot. To learn more about the mysterious origins of the tarot’s major arcana, check out our previous article.

The Major Arcana and Minor Arcana

The Major Arcana and Minor Arcana are the two main categories of cards in a traditional tarot deck. Major Arcana cards are also referred to as trump cards, and there are 22 of them in a standard tarot deck. Each card in the Major Arcana represents a significant archetype or theme, and they are typically numbered with Roman numerals from 0 to 21. These cards include The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgment, and The World.

In contrast, the Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards and is divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Each suit has 14 cards, including 10 numbered cards (Ace through 10) and four court cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King). The Minor Arcana cards represent more specific aspects of daily life and mundane events, such as work, relationships, and finances. The suits also have different elemental and astrological associations, which can provide additional insights when interpreting a reading.

The meanings of the cards in both the Major and Minor Arcana have evolved over time, and different decks may have variations in their symbolism and interpretations. The history and evolution of tarot symbolism is a rich and complex topic, encompassing influences from diverse cultures and spiritual traditions. By exploring the origins and development of tarot, one can gain a deeper understanding of its connection to the occult and esoteric practices.

For example, the tarot’s popularity in Renaissance Italy was linked to the growth of intellectual and artistic movements that valued the revival of classical knowledge and the exploration of ancient wisdom traditions. Similarly, the influence of Hermeticism and other esoteric schools of thought can be seen in the integration of alchemical, mystical, and astrological symbols in tarot cards.

The Major and Minor Arcana offer a powerful tool for divination and spiritual exploration. By delving into the symbolism and meanings of each card, one can gain insight into both the inner and outer aspects of life, and connect with the divine forces that govern the universe.

The Evolution of Tarot Symbolism

The evolution of Tarot symbolism is a fascinating topic that traces the development of the artistic and spiritual elements present in modern-day Tarot cards.

One theory suggests that Tarot cards originally served as a game for wealthy elites in 14th century Italy, where the cards featured images of popular cultural figures and coats of arms. However, over time, the cards began to take on increasingly spiritual and mystical characteristics.

The symbolism of tarot suits is believed to have originated during the Renaissance period, where each of the four suits represented a different field of society. Cups signified the clergy, swords represented the nobility, pentacles symbolized the merchant class, and wands denoted the peasants. Later on, this symbolism evolved to take on more esoteric meanings.

The evolution of Tarot continued during the 18th and 19th centuries in France, where Tarot cards gained popularity among occultists, who saw them as tools for divination and gaining insight into the mysteries of the universe. In the early 20th century, Tarot’s popularity spread throughout Europe and eventually the world, where it has continued to be used as a spiritual tool to this day.

The Egyptian Tarot history also plays a role in the evolution of Tarot symbolism. Some believe that the imagery and symbolism of Tarot cards are rooted in ancient Egyptian mysticism, particularly the Book of Thoth. This belief has led to the creation of Tarot decks featuring Egyptian gods and goddesses, and the use of Egyptian symbolism in the interpretations of Tarot readings.

The impact of Tarot on spirituality has been significant, with many people using it as a tool for personal growth, self-reflection, and divination. As Tarot continues to evolve, so too will its symbolism, reflecting the ongoing evolution of our understanding of spirituality and the mysteries of the universe.

Decipher the Riddles of Your Dreams: Select a Tarot Card and Unveil Their Hidden Meanings!
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Tarot and the Occult

As we delve further into the mystical roots of tarot, we cannot ignore its deep connections to the occult. The word “occult” itself means “hidden” or “secret”, and refers to the knowledge and practices that are often beyond the realm of conventional understanding. In the case of tarot, this refers to its use as a tool for divination and ritual magic. The evolution of tarot symbolism and its association with the occult are tightly intertwined, leading to some of the most fascinating and controversial aspects of tarot history. Let’s explore the mysterious world of tarot and the occult together. To better understand this connection, we must first look back at the history of tarot itself, including its symbolism, its evolution, and its major arcana and minor arcana cards, which serve as foundation for the occult readings that continue to fascinate many of us to this day. For this purpose, you can refer to the evolution of tarot or tarot symbolism and origins articles.

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was a secretive occult society that emerged in the late 19th century in England. The society was made up of a group of people who were interested in the esoteric teachings of the time, particularly those related to the Kabbalah and Hermeticism. This group of individuals believed that by exploring these mystical teachings, they could gain a deeper understanding of the universe and themselves.

The Golden Dawn was heavily influenced by the teachings of Tarot, which they viewed as a powerful tool for spiritual growth and mystical insight. The society created their own deck of Tarot cards, which they used in their rituals to connect with the divine.

The Golden Dawn believed that Tarot symbolism was key to unlocking hidden meaning and communicating with higher realms. They saw the Tarot as a way to connect with archetypal energies and symbols, which could help them gain insights into their own lives and the world around them.

Aleister Crowley, later a prominent figure in the world of occultism, was a member of the Golden Dawn for a time. He was particularly interested in the Tarot, and eventually went on to create his own deck, the Thoth Tarot. Crowley’s deck had a significant impact on the occult community, and is still studied and used today by many practitioners.

The Golden Dawn played a significant role in the development of Tarot symbolism as it is understood today. They saw the Tarot as a powerful tool for spiritual insight and growth, and their influence can still be felt in the occult community today.

It’s interesting to note that the Golden Dawn was not the first group to incorporate Tarot into their practices. The origins of Tarot can be traced back to Italy in the 15th century, and the cards have played a significant role in the spiritual traditions of many cultures throughout history. For more information on the history of Tarot, check out our article on the Egyptian Tarot and its history or on Tarot’s journey to Europe and the world. Additionally, the popularity of Tarot in France during the 18th and 19th centuries had a significant impact on its use in occult practices – you can learn more about this in our article on Tarot’s popularity in France. The impact of Tarot on spirituality and the occult is truly fascinating and worthy of exploration.

Aleister Crowley and the Thoth Tarot

Aleister Crowley, a British occultist and writer, is known for his contributions to the tarot world through the creation of the Thoth Tarot deck. Crowley, who was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, incorporated his own beliefs and symbols into the deck.

The Thoth Tarot deck is a highly respected deck in the tarot community, known for its intricate and detailed illustrations. Crowley’s deck deviates from traditional tarot symbolism, as he incorporates Egyptian and Kabbalistic imagery throughout the deck.

Crowley’s belief in the interconnectedness of all things is reflected in the Thoth Tarot deck. The deck was designed to not only provide insights through divination, but also to serve as a tool for spiritual growth and personal development. Each card in the deck represents a different aspect of life, and Crowley’s interpretations often emphasize the interconnectedness and balance of these aspects.

One of the most notable features of the Thoth Tarot deck is the inclusion of the extra Major Arcana card, “The Aeon.” This card represents a new age of spiritual awakening and development, and reflects Crowley’s belief in the evolution of humanity’s consciousness.

Despite its popularity and influence in the tarot world, the Thoth Tarot deck has also been the subject of controversy. Some critics argue that the heavy influence of Crowley’s personal beliefs and symbolism can make the deck difficult to interpret for those not familiar with his teachings.

However, for those who are drawn to the Thoth Tarot deck, it can serve as a powerful occult tool for self-discovery and spiritual growth.

To read more about the impact of tarot on spirituality, check out our article on The Impact of Tarot on Spirituality.

Understanding Tarot as an Occult Tool

Understanding Tarot As An Occult Tool
As we delve deeper into the mystical roots of tarot, it becomes evident that it is often regarded as a powerful tool in the world of the occult. Understanding how tarot can be utilized in occult practices requires a closer examination of its symbolism and divinatory capabilities. The symbolism present in tarot cards carries immense significance in occult traditions and can be interpreted in various ways. Similarly, tarot’s role in divination and ritualistic magic is integral to many occult practitioners. Let’s explore how tarot can be employed as an occult tool with a sense of wonder and fascination.

The Role of Tarot in Divination

Tarot cards are widely used in divination, which is a practice that seeks to gain insight into the unknown or to predict the future. Diviners use tarot cards as a tool to interpret and offer guidance for the seeker. Different tarot cards have different meanings, and they can be arranged in a variety of ways to yield different interpretations.

One of the essential features of tarot cards is their symbolism. Each card is richly illustrated with images and symbols that hold significant meaning. The Major Arcana cards, for example, represent significant life events and overarching themes, while the Minor Arcana deal with more day-to-day issues and are divided into four suits: swords, pentacles, cups, and wands. Each suit has its own set of meanings.

During a tarot reading, the tarot card reader shuffles the deck while the seeker focuses on their question or concern. The reader then lays out the cards in a particular pattern or spread and interprets the cards based on their position and the question asked. The reader might also use their intuition or psychic abilities to offer additional insights.

It’s important to note that tarot card readings are not a guaranteed way to predict the future or make decisions. They are a tool that can offer guidance, but ultimately, the seeker must make their own choices.

The role of tarot in divination is to offer a window into the unknown and to help seekers gain insight and clarity. It’s a practice that requires both skill and intuition, and it continues to be an essential part of many occult and spiritual traditions.

Tarot in Divination:
• Tarot cards are a tool for divination, which seeks insight into the unknown or future
• Each tarot card holds significant meaning through its symbolism
• Major Arcana and Minor Arcana have distinct uses and meanings
• Tarot readers often use their intuition or psychic abilities during readings
• Tarot readings offer guidance, but seekers retain free will to make their own choices
• Skill and intuition are required for successful tarot divination

Tarot and Ritual Magic

The Tarot has long been associated with ritual magic, as the symbols and archetypes of the cards have been used in various magical practices throughout history. Ritual magic is a form of magic that involves the use of specific tools, symbols, and actions in order to create a desired outcome. The Tarot is a powerful tool in this type of magic, as each card represents a different aspect of the human experience and the universe as a whole.

Using the Tarot in Ritual Magic

In ritual magic, the Tarot can be used in a variety of ways. One common practice is to use the cards as a form of divination, where a specific spread is used to gain insight into a particular situation or question. The cards are laid out in a particular pattern and each position is interpreted to reveal insights or guidance. This can be a powerful way to gain clarity and direction in your magical practice.

Another way to use the Tarot in ritual magic is to incorporate the cards into spells and rituals themselves. For example, a particular card may be chosen to represent a specific intention, and then used in conjunction with other symbols or actions to bring about a desired outcome. The cards can also be used to focus energy and intention during meditation or other forms of magical practice.

The Power of Symbolism

One of the reasons that the Tarot is so effective in ritual magic is its powerful symbolism. Each card represents a different archetype or aspect of the human experience, and these archetypes can be used to tap into the collective unconscious and bring about change on a deep level. For example, the High Priestess card can be used to access the mysterious realms of intuition and subconscious knowledge, while the Emperor card can be used to bring about structure and order in one’s life.

Developing a Relationship with the Tarot

In order to use the Tarot effectively in ritual magic, it is important to develop a deep relationship with the cards themselves. This can involve studying the symbolism and meanings of each card, as well as learning specific spreads and rituals that can be used to tap into their power. It is also important to develop a relationship with the energy of the cards themselves, and to work with them in a respectful and reverent manner.


The Tarot is a powerful tool in ritual magic, and can be used to gain insight, focus energy, and bring about change on a deep level. By developing a relationship with the cards and learning to work with them in a respectful and reverent manner, anyone can harness their power and incorporate them into their magical practice.

The Controversy Surrounding Tarot

The mystical nature of Tarot cards has baffled and fascinated people for centuries. Despite its widespread use in divination practices and the occult, Tarot has also been met with significant controversy. Many condemn it as a tool of Satanism and witchcraft, while others view it as a fraudulent gimmick aimed at swindling gullible individuals. However, amidst all the heated debates, one thing remains clear – Tarot’s role in the occult community cannot be ignored. Let us delve deeper into the controversy surrounding Tarot, examining both its detractors and defenders, and exploring the roots of such polarizing views.

The Christian Condemnation of Tarot

Throughout history, the use of tarot has been met with controversy and criticism, particularly from Christian groups. The Christian condemnation of tarot can be traced back to the 15th century when the Church accused tarot cards of being a tool of the devil. This condemnation continued throughout history and is still prevalent in some Christian circles today.

One of the main arguments against tarot is that it goes against the Christian belief in divination being a sin. The use of tarot cards to predict the future is seen as an attempt to usurp God’s power, and therefore, is condemned as a form of witchcraft. The belief in tarot as a tool of Satan has led to the burning of tarot decks and persecution of those who practice tarot.

Table: The Christian Condemnation of Tarot

Arguments against Tarot Christian Perspective
Tarot goes against Christian belief in divination Tarot is seen as a form of witchcraft that attempts to usurp God’s power
The use of tarot to predict the future is condemned Tarot is seen as a tool of Satan and its use is considered a sin
The belief in tarot as a tool of Satan has led to persecution of tarot practitioners throughout history Some Christian groups still condemn tarot today and consider it a form of witchcraft

Despite the Christian condemnation of tarot, many modern tarot practitioners have found ways to incorporate their faith into their practice. Some use tarot as a tool for meditation or prayer, while others use it to gain insight into their relationship with God. Ultimately, the interpretation and use of tarot is up to the individual and their personal beliefs.

The Debate among Occult Practitioners

The use of tarot cards in occult practices has sparked a debate among practitioners for decades. While some argue that tarot can be used as a powerful tool for divination and spiritual growth, others are skeptical of its effectiveness and believe it to be nothing more than a gimmick.

One argument posed against tarot as an occult tool is that it relies heavily on interpreting symbolic imagery, which can be subjective and open to personal biases. Skeptics claim that this lack of objectivity makes tarot readings inherently unreliable and therefore not a valid form of divination.

On the other hand, proponents of tarot argue that symbolism is a powerful tool for accessing the subconscious mind and unlocking hidden truths. They believe that tarot readings can reveal deep insights into a person’s psyche and provide guidance for their spiritual journey.

Another point of contention is whether or not tarot should be considered a form of magic. While some practitioners use tarot as part of their ritual magic practice, others believe that its use as a magical tool is unfounded and goes against the traditional definitions of magic.

Ultimately, the debate among occult practitioners about the validity and usefulness of tarot as an occult tool is ongoing. However, many believers continue to use and incorporate tarot into their spiritual practices, finding it to be a valuable tool for self-discovery and spiritual growth.

Arguments against Tarot as an Occult Tool Counterarguments for Tarot as an Occult Tool
Relies heavily on interpreting symbolic imagery, which can be subjective and open to personal biases Symbolism is a powerful tool for accessing the subconscious mind and unlocking hidden truths.
Lack of objectivity makes tarot readings inherently unreliable and therefore not a valid form of divination. Tarot readings can reveal deep insights into a person’s psyche and provide guidance for their spiritual journey.
Tarot is not a valid form of magic. Tarot can be used as part of ritual magic practice and contribute to a deeper understanding of magical principles.

How to Incorporate Tarot into Your Occult Practice

For those interested in the mystical and occult, tarot cards can be a fascinating tool for divination and self-discovery. If you are interested in incorporating tarot into your occult practice, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. However, fear not! There are a variety of ways to use tarot in your practice, whether it be for meditation or spellcraft. In this section, we will explore some tips and techniques for utilizing tarot to enhance your spiritual journey.

Tarot as a Meditation Tool

Tarot cards can be used not only for divination and ritual magic but also as a powerful meditation tool. Using tarot for meditation can help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your life’s journey.

To use tarot as a meditation tool, begin by selecting a card that resonates with you personally. You can choose this card using any method you prefer such as randomly selecting a card from the deck or choosing one based on its symbolism.

Once you have chosen a card, spend some time meditating on its imagery and symbolism. Let yourself immerse in the details of the card’s imagery and the feelings it evokes. Pay attention to the colors, the shapes, and any other visual details that stand out to you. You may also focus on the card’s keywords and their meanings.

As you meditate on the card, allow your mind to become quiet and peaceful, focusing on your breath as you inhale and exhale. Try not to judge or analyze the card, simply allow its symbolism to unfold and reveal itself to you.

Tarot meditation can help you access deeper levels of consciousness, gain new insights, and develop a greater understanding of yourself and the world around you. It can also be a great tool for self-reflection and personal growth.

It’s important to note that tarot meditation may not be suitable for everyone. If you have a history of mental health issues or are currently experiencing significant emotional distress, it may be best to avoid this practice. Additionally, if you are new to tarot or meditation, it’s important to approach this practice with caution and seek guidance from a trusted teacher or mentor.

Using Tarot for Spellcraft

Tarot cards have long been used for mystical and occult purposes, and one way in which they are often utilized in the occult world is for spellcraft. Spellcraft is the practice of using spells or magic to bring about a desired outcome or change in the world, and tarot cards can be a valuable tool for this process.

Choosing the Cards
The first step in using tarot for spellcraft is to choose the cards that will be used in the spell. Each card in the tarot deck represents a different aspect of life, such as love, success, or prosperity. When choosing the cards for a spell, it is important to select those that align with the desired outcome. For example, if the spell is for love, cards such as The Lovers or The Empress may be chosen.

Creating the Spell
Once the cards have been chosen, the next step is to create the spell. This typically involves writing out an incantation or chant that will be used in conjunction with the tarot cards. The incantation should be specific to the desired outcome and may be repeated while the cards are being drawn.

Performing the Spell
To perform the spell, the chosen cards are shuffled and arranged in a specific pattern, such as a circle or cross. The incantation is then recited while the cards are drawn and placed in the chosen pattern. The energy and intention of the person performing the spell is said to be infused into the cards and the incantation, creating a powerful force that can bring about the desired outcome.

The Limitations of Tarot Spellcraft
It is important to note that using tarot for spellcraft has its limitations. The cards and the incantation are merely tools for focusing intention and energy, and they do not hold any inherent magical power. The success of the spell will ultimately depend on the skill and experience of the person performing it, as well as other factors outside of their control.

Final Thoughts
Using tarot for spellcraft can be a powerful and effective practice when done correctly. It is important to approach it with respect and understanding of its limitations, and to use it as one tool among many in an overall practice of spiritual and magical development.


In conclusion, it is evident that tarot cards have a rich and complex history, deeply linked to the world of the occult. Through the centuries, tarot has evolved into a versatile tool that can be used for divination, ritual magic, meditation, and spellcraft.

Despite the controversy surrounding tarot, it remains widely popular within the occult community and beyond. Its intricate symbolism and archetypal imagery continue to fascinate and inspire practitioners and enthusiasts all over the world.

For those interested in incorporating tarot into their occult practice, there are many resources available, from books and online courses to local classes and workshops. It is important, however, to approach tarot with a deep respect for its history and traditions, and to use it in a responsible and ethical manner.

Ultimately, the connection between tarot and the occult is a testament to humanity’s enduring fascination with the mysteries of the universe, and our ongoing quest for understanding and enlightenment. Whether used as a tool for self-discovery, or as a means of connecting with the divine, tarot holds an important place in the history and practice of the occult, and will undoubtedly continue to do so for generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Tarot cards?

Tarot cards are a type of divination tool commonly used by occult practitioners. The cards feature unique symbols and archetypes that are used to gain insight into both the past and future.

Where do Tarot cards come from?

The origins of Tarot cards are shrouded in mystery, but they are believed to have first appeared in Italy during the 15th century. It is thought that they were originally created as a game before being adopted by mystics and occultists as a divination tool.

What is the difference between the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana?

The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards that represent significant archetypes and life events, while the Minor Arcana is divided into four suits (Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles) that correspond to different aspects of daily life.

What is the significance of Tarot symbolism?

Tarot symbolism is deeply rooted in classical and occult traditions, and each symbol holds a unique meaning that can be used to interpret the cards and gain insight into the querent’s life.

Who were the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn?

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was a secret society of occult practitioners that was active in England during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The group believed in the power of ritual magic and worked to develop a system of occult knowledge that could unlock the secrets of the universe.

What was Aleister Crowley’s role in Tarot history?

Aleister Crowley was an influential occultist who is credited with designing the Thoth Tarot deck. His interpretations of the original symbols and archetypes depicted on the cards are still studied and used by many contemporary Tarot practitioners today.

What is the role of Tarot in divination?

Tarot cards are often used as a tool for divination, or the process of gaining insight into future events or past experiences through mystical means. Practitioners use the symbols and archetypes on the cards to interpret the querent’s question and provide answers or guidance.

How can Tarot be used in ritual magic?

Tarot is often used as a tool in ritual magic ceremonies to help practitioners connect with the energies and archetypes of the Tarot. The cards can be used to represent different elements, goals, or intentions, and can be incorporated into the overall symbolism of the ritual.

Why has Tarot faced controversy throughout history?

Tarot has faced criticism and condemnation throughout history, particularly from Christian communities who view it as a form of sorcery or divination. Additionally, some occult practitioners argue about the “correct” way to interpret the cards and use them in magical practice.

How can Tarot be incorporated into a meditation practice?

Tarot cards can be used as a focus object during meditation, with practitioners meditating on the meanings and symbols of each card to gain deeper insight into their own thoughts and emotions. The practice can also help practitioners develop intuition and psychic abilities.

How can Tarot be used for spellcraft?

Tarot can be used to represent different elements or intentions in spellcraft, with practitioners using specific cards to correspond to the desired outcome of a spell. Tarot cards can also be used to gain insight into the success or failure of a spell, or to provide guidance on how to overcome any obstacles.


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