Andy's Workshop

Game chat and stories along with some articles probably for the more geeky among us,
all written by me, Andy.

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Wednesday 19 October 2011

A Little History Is On The Cards

There's something of a kerfuffle going on at the moment due, largely, to something of a misconception about something in a recent game feature, so I've decided to cut through sensationalism a little and try to bring some history to bear.

I'm talking Tarot Cards.

So, a quick game of true or false.

Tarot Cards were created by pagans for witchcraft.
Tarot Cards are only used for divination.
Having Tarot Cards means you're going to use them for evil means.

All false.

Let's look at some REAL history. Tarot decks first appeared in the 1400s, not as a divination tool but to play the inventively titled game, Tarot (Or Tarock or Tarocchi), a game something like Whist or Bridge.

The opening player would lay down a card, the following player would have to place a card of the same suit down or a trump, or "throw away" a card of a different suit. The person with the highest card won the trick, and then the totals of the cards (each card had a different value) were added up for each persons tricks and the winner the one with the most points.

That's it, that's pretty much how to play Tarot, as someone who is confused into a stupor by Bridge even I can understand it. It was a common European card game, especially France and (always highly religious) Italy. Around 325 years give or take since the first game of Tarot is recorded is the first recorded instance of them being used for some kind of divination, and it wasn't until someone made a vague connection in 1781 that things started the innocent card game along a road to 'corruption'.

Tarot is even still played today, Germanic countries are a hotbed for it, and none of the players are evil, the players are enjoying a card game, for that's what Tarot is, despite any twists that can be made with its cards.

Now, it's fair to say that yes, Taromancy is a commonly known method of telling the future, but let's look at other items commonly used for divination.

Chickens - They would sacrifice them and tell the future from their entrails.

Stars - One word, astrology...

Water - Hydromancy, the color, ebb and flow, or ripples produced by pebbles dropped in a pool.

Fire - Pyromancy, casting something into the fire and checking for smoke etc.

Numbers - Numerology, still used today when people think they can divine things about you from your birthday etc.

Singling out Tarot Cards for singular dislike is as logical as saying we can't craft fire in the game because people have used it in the past for divination... and as for those pesky chickens in their dark satanic coops... No, we don't think that.

Tarot Cards are a tool of divination, just as chickens, water and the stars are, but that's not their PURPOSE. Nothing inanimate is inherently evil, it's all down to how it's used.

There are stunning misconceptions about Tarot, but the simple answer is this... it's a card game. An innocent one where the participants' only attempt at telling the future is to plan which card to play, and all players stay fully clothed and un-sacrificed for the entire performance.

Frankly it makes me laugh to think of all the heavy metal bands who think they're going all satanic with their album or track names when actually they could have called them Gin Rummy or Patience...

As an example to finish... would you be offended by a crucifix? What if it was simply placed upside down? It's amazing what innocent objects can be evil when used wrong... but that's not the object's fault and not a reason to shun it.


  1. Great job Andy! Thank you for the very informative read!

  2. Awesome Andy some people just like to find fault in any thing and everything.

  3. Good grief, common sense! *Applause* well said Andy :)

  4. Well said.... we can make anything evil, that being the mind of some people.

  5. Thanks for the info. Always interested in learning.

  6. Thank you so much for clearing this up for people Andy, i find it very humorous the way people fixate on what they "believe" things are as opposed to finding out what they really are. Most Pagans are not even witches, it is an umbrella term used for earth based beliefs. The native path would be considered "Pagan". Thanks again Andy!!

  7. I use the Tarot Cards, and I am also a Spiritualist by nature, and I certainly do not consider myself to be an evil person, or believer in the Black Arts. Tarot Cards, are after all a game, regardless of what people read into the connotation of the pictures

  8. Well said Andy.

  9. Thanks, Andy. Well said. I can't believe there is/was an issue about nothing more than a "game".

  10. Andy You're so damned sensible. Will you marry me?

  11. Andy I could not have said it better myself.LOL Seriously,I hope people can now play the game and have some fun!

  12. I've new that for along time a frend of mine was a witch !!

  13. Andy, even the upside-down placed crucifix is an old christian symbol - it's the "Saint Peter's Cross". Saint Peter (the Peter from Matthew 16:18, "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church") who didn't wanted to be crucified in the same way as Jesus.

  14. Bravo, my dear sir! Of all your editorials, I believe this one is my favorite. Well-phrased, and makes the point without belabouring it.

    ((keep this up and you'll ruin your reputation, y'know ;)