Popular And Famous Tarot Decks

There are hundreds, if not thousands of different types of tarot decks. As difficult as it is for some people to believe, between the sale of Tarot decks, tarot art and tarot readings, Tarot is a multi-billion dollar industry world wide. With so many adherents, practitioners and collectors, you would think tarot would get some form of respect, but unfortunately, through history there have been numerous efforts to make tarot ‘evil’ and even outlaw tarot reading (even outlawing a person owning a tarot deck).

Some scholars believe that Tarot comes from the Italian playing cards called Trionfi (or “Trump”), a card game that ranked cards by power and even inspired the modern expression of the term “trumping” (as in your such-and-such trumps mine). Popular and Famous Tarot Deck The earliest Trionfi decks, first documented around 1440, were mainly used as playing card decks. However, it is believed that the cards quickly took on another role, with special decks created for celebrations; marriages, land treaties, military achievements, and community (or kingdom) festivities. The earliest surviving forerunners of the Tarot cards include Cary Yale (created in 1441), Brambilla Tarot (1447), and Visconti Sforza Tarocchi. Cartomancy, or a type of tarot using playing cards, traces back to these original decks. Some experts claim that tarot can be traced back further in history, back to ancient Egypt or even the middle East.

The Cary Yale deck, also called the ‘Cary Yale Tarocchi’, is of questionable age, since copies exist from 1428, predating traditional writings and folklore about the art of Tarot. The cards in this deck included: Empress, Emperor, Love, Chariot, Fortitude, Death, Judgment (Angel), Fame (World), Hope, Charity, Faith, and sets of Swords, Batons, Cups, and Coins each with a King, Queen, female Knight, male page, female page, and numbered series 1 through 10. The Brambilla Tarot still had not reached the standard of 78 cards; however, it is recognized as an important forerunner to the modern deck as well. It is often confused with the Visconti Sforza Tarocchi, which is more commonly known as the Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck, one of the oldest known Tarot sets.

Despite a missing card, the Visconti-Sforza Tarot deck has consistently remained very popular and it may be the top selling tarot deck of all time. In order to complete the Visconti-Sforza deck the missing card was replaced by ‘The Devil’ card of Tarot (the fifteenth trump in most of today’s traditional decks). This card is derived from Eliphas Levi’s ‘Baphomet’ illustration and portrays the Devil sitting above two naked humans, one female and one male, each chained by the neck to his seat. Sadly, this particular card is often pointed to as ‘proof’ that there is some form of ‘devil worship’ inherent to Tarot, of which there is absolutely no proof. More likely, the card was selected to provide the deck with a more complete set of powerful influence one experiences in the world.

There are so many decks of significance, it is difficult to determine what are the most popular or influential tarot decks. The ‘Orlando’ deck from the 16th century is missing most of its cards, but in those that remain, there are interesting pieces such as one where the character Angelica (from the epic named Orlando) is found bound and naked by Ruggiero.

Today, the Rider-Waite tarot deck is currently the most popular deck in use throughout the English speaking world. The art contained in the Rider-Waite tarot cards is simply defined, yet rich with symbology with many meanings. According to historical accounts, the designs (first published in the early 20th century) were purposefully toned-down for the purposes of wider sales (and to appease Christians who saw Tarot as Satanic).

Other popular contemporary decks include the Tarot of Marseilles (Grimaud), first widely published in 1970 by Grimaud, a French company. This tarot deck contains woodcut prints in red, blue, and yellow. On has to also include the The Thoth Tarot Deck is a tarot deck variation by occultist Aleister Crowley containing his kabbalistic and astrological modifications from his written work ‘The Book of Thoth’. Dozens of variations on the cards by various latter-day psychics are available online; however, most people look back to the master piece works of the Grimaud and Rider-Waite decks as the standard-bearers for both entertainment and divination.

Looking for a quality Tarot reader? You will find some very good tarot specialist at Ask Tarot Questions. Should you be interested in buying tarot cards, you can check out Buy Tarot Cards where you can find both new and used tarot decks.

I also have to mention one of my favorite tarot readers, Psychic Stella. If you want a truly informative reading, you will likely very much enjoy this clairvoyant tarot reader.

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