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Tarot Cards And The Kabbalah

Author: Frederick Gimino

The origins of the Tarot deck and its associated interpretive meanings may never be known with empirical certainty. However, one school of thought subscribed to by Kabbalistic occultists is that the Tarot deck stems from Jewish mysticism.

Some occultists even go as far as to say it was an abstract code developed by Kabbalah masters to embody their thoughts and ideas, in an allegorical format. But before we delve into the nuances of the relationship between tarot cards and Jewish mysticism we must first answer a fundamental question. What exactly is the Kabballah?

Jewish mysticism and the Kabbalah have roots that date back to the third to sixth century A.D. during this period a book called the "Book of Creation" was written, in anonymity, and contained meditations based on the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This book is believed to be the foundation of modern day Jewish mysticism and the Kabbalah. However, it would be many centuries before this seedling of ideas would grow into the tree of life we know today as the Kabbalah.

In fact it would not be until the twelfth and thirteenth centuries A.D. that the ideas and concepts, in this book, would be expanded and built upon significantly.

During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries A.D. the writing and publication of the Zohar or "Book of Splendor" contributed greatly to the ideas and concepts of the modern Kabbalah. One of the major underlying principles of the Kabbalah was that the universe consisted of four worlds. These four worlds were created in order the highest world belonging to God and the lowest world belonging to man.

In addition these four worlds consisted of emanations called sephiroth. The four worlds were each separated into identical sets of ten sephiroth. The only difference being the energy associated with them. This energy is defined by the world that the sephiroth resides in.

Visual aids were constructed from the sephiroth. The focus of meditation was now on these geometric structures the most popular being the tree of life. It consisted of ten sephiroth connected by twenty-two pathways corresponding to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

With this in mind a correlation between the tarot deck and the tree of life may be formed. The first correlation is between the four worlds of the Kabbalah and the four suits of the tarot deck. The next correlation that may be formed is between the ten sephiroth and the minor arcana numbered ace through ten. The final relationship that may be formed is between the twenty-two cards of the major arcana, twenty-two pathways, at twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

The major debate among occultist is the placement of the cards on the twenty-two pathways. A common practice would be to start with the first card of the Major Arcana and proceed arithmetically to the world card number twenty-two. However, there is a wrench in the works. The fool card's number zero of the major arcana defies placement on the pathways as it would skew the other twenty-two cards to non-corresponding numerical pathways.

So, there in lies the rump of the problem. The placement of the fool card on the pathways has been the subject of much debate. Almost as if the fool cards true nature has disrupted the correlation of the tarot cards and the pathways. However, Court de Gebelin wrote an essay in the late 1700's defining a correlation between the cards and the Hebrew alphabet. In addition another author published in "The Primitive World" Comte de Mellet proposed the linking structure between the tarot cards and the twenty-two pathways marked by the Hebrew alphabet.

Whether you subscribe to the Kabbalistic school of thought regarding the tarot cards or not it is very interesting to note the many similarities between the Jewish mysticism and the tarot deck. It is hard to deny that such a correlation exists but never the less one must keep an open mind without irrefutable historical evidence.

Although, we may never know the exact origins, nature, or purpose of these mystical cards one thing is certain we will continue to enjoy these aesthetically pleasing mystical cards for ages to come.

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About the Author:

If you are interested in getting a Free Tarot Reading then plaease visit Frederick Gimino's site Free Psychic Network. Many free cartomancy oracles are available including minchiate Deck, Rider, Lenromand, and Napoleanic. You may even like to get a Psychic Reading from a live psychic online. Enjoy!

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December 4, 2020
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