The 22 Tarotcards and their meaning as the 22 steps of consciousness.
Already in the 14. century were in europe gamecards in circulation with which the 22 Tarotcards were later mixed.
At the 25. Mai 1377 the Magistrat(City Council) of the italian city Florence forbade a card-game named "naibbe". This word for game-cards exists still nowadays as "Naipes" in the spanish language. The first description of the game comes from the monk "brother Johannes" from Rheinfelden near Basel (Germany/Suisse). In his "Tractatus de moribus et disciplina humanae conversationis", which is now in the possession of the British Museum in London, he mentions that "Anno Domini 1374 a game came to us, named card-game, which describes the state of the world in a miraculous way".
The oldest known european sets are from the 15.th century (Visconti-Tarot, 1450), which were still painted before the Tarot de Marseille and had neither numbers nor titles.
Later editions like the Marseille-Tarot and the Waite Tarot and the Wirth-Tarot contained titles and the 22 hebrew letters and numbers.
In 1781 published Antoine Court de Gébelin, a swiss clergyman and freemason, a book with the title Le monde primitif, anlyse et comprare avec le monde moderne. He was the first to openly reveal the symbols of the Marseilles Tarot as signs of the mysteries of the Egyptian deities Isis and Thoth.
Within the last 100 years many sets of modern artists came out which were mixed or based on personal inspiration but do not represent the Tarot of initiation. Sets for true initiation are the 22 cards of Oswald Wirth , the Marseille-Tarotand the Waite-cards.
The symbolism of the 22 cards hides the spiritual process, and therefore i prefer the tarotbook of E. Haich for initiation, which relies on the Oswald Wirth - cards, who used knowledge of the french Astrologer and Tarotist Eudes Picard and Stanislas de Guaita(1861-1897).
The paintings of these decks hide the knowledge of the initiates about the steps of the path into the divine spheres, about the "Opus Magnum", the big work of personal perfection, and about the path to the Nirvikalpa-Samadhi, which had to be hidden by the initiates because of the "Don't give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls to pigs"(Matthew 7:6), but also because of the church and the governments.
After the appearance of the Waite-Tarot (Pamela Colman Smith ;Dezember 1909; Verlag Rider & Son) the US Games INC claimed to have the copyright. Since 1996 the copyright of the Waite-Tarot is probably outdated in the USA. US Games published a deck which is more a copy of the Wirth - deck.
There have been many theories about the origin of the Tarot. He was ascribed to the gipsys who had brought it from egypt, but the genetic origin of the gipsys is india.
The symbolism of the cards had an exact predicate and most of the modern sets are products of phantasy just like the interpretations of the cards. Therefore i strongly recommend the tarotbook " E. Haich : Wisdom of the Tarot " and the 22 cards of Oswald Wirth, the Marseille-Tarotand the Waite-cards.
The book describes (with many unregularities) the Tarot from the sight of the initiates and relies on the cards of Oswald Wirth. But after study of this site, this book is mostly superfluous.
The secret spiritual symbolism was depending on the method and practices of the different cultures, and the 22 visions of John-Revelation show how sophisticated and difficult it can be to understand true spiritual visions .