A common story about the Tarot is that your first pack of Tarot cards should always be bought by someone else.
There are several competing reasons for this belief and we will look at those in this article.
In fact, there are a surprising number of different sayings and customs connected with the Tarot.
Why the first tarot deck should come as a gift? People believe that the first Tarot deck should come as a gift from somebody that loves you because the deck will have better karma and because it will speak more clearly than a bought deck.
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Reasons Why Tarot Deck Should Come As A Gift
One common belief is that you should not buy your first pack of Tarot cards.
It is far better to receive them as a gift from someone who loves you.
This gift will attract better karma because it is rooted in love.
This belief in receiving your first pack of cards as a gift is less common than it used to be, but many people still subscribe to it.
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A variation of this comes from a great Yogi, who once said:
If you ask for it, it will turn out to be water,
If you fight for it it will turn out to be no less than blood,
But, if it comes to you without you asking for it, it’s like the divine milk.
This is pretty much the same idea as the good Karma version.
Yet another Tarot reader says that a set of Tarot cards that you receive as a gift will “speak” out to you more clearly than the one you have bought yourself.
Researching this further I came across a possible origin of this story, there has to be one somewhere, these things do not just begin of their own accord.
The story goes something like this:
A long tie ago there were special “Orders” that used Tarot as a teaching tool.
So it was very important that the novice had the correct deck.
To ensure that this occurred the Initiator would give each novitiate a pack of Tarot cards as a gift.
Some Tarot schools continue this tradition by providing a Tarot set to each new student as part of the course.
It is so interesting that people give such a variety of answers to this.
Another alternative that more than one person has suggested is that Tarot readers would spread this rumor to stop people from rushing out and buying a set after a reading.
If they did so, it would of course cut into future business.
Should You Wait To Receive Tarot Cards As A Gift?
When discussing this question, about whether the cards should be a gift, a lot of Tarot Card readers responded that if they were going to have to have waited to be presented with a gift, then they would never have started Tarot Reading or would still be waiting.
This group tended to believe that it was the spirit in which you acquired the cards that counted.
It was why you bought them and how you use them that really mattered most.
Several also reported that when they were browsing through a store looking for cards, that certain sets “Called Out to Them” and they just knew that these were the cards they should buy and use.
Tarot Cards and Myths
Tarot cards have always had an air of mystery about them and many myths.
One such myth was spread by an influential writer on Tarot, Antoine Court de Gébelin, who made the error of stating that the Tarot was brought to Europe by the Gypsies from Africa.
This is not true, because:
- Tarot arrived in Europe before the gypsies, and
- The gypsies came from Asia, not Africa
Another influential book on Tarot, first published in the 18th century, called “Etteilla, ou L’art de lire dans les cartes,” the name of the author Etteilla was used to make it sound mysterious.
In fact, the name is that of the real author, “Jean-Baptiste Alliette” reversed.
He told of a history of the Tarot that stretched back to Ancient Egypt.
This was based on the writings of Court de Gébelin who claimed to have recognized Egyptian symbols in the illustrations of Tarot cards.
Anyway, at the time Egypt was a place of legend and myth and this Egyptian connection was used to make the Tarot seem more credible.
One of the earlier ways of using Tarot cards was constructed by a German, named “J.K. Hechtel” who designed a game that involved laying out 36 cards.
You then threw dice and worked your way along with the cards. If you got to card 35 then you had reached home and were safe, going past there was a bad result.
Your fortune was therefore told purely based on chance. This game was marketed as the “Game of Hope.”
Different decks were designed over the years, including one of the more successful designs, created by Aleister Crowley, a former British civil servant.
He was very much into a number of cults, experimentation with certain drugs, and “sex magic.”
He was a founding figure of Wicca and a self-confessed witch.
The deck that Crowley designed, which was illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris was published in 1943.
This deck incorporated several occult symbols, which inspired later decks.
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You can see from the last section that Tarot has evolved over the years and proponents of the Tarot have not hesitated to bring their own ideas into the practice, whether it be linking the Tarot with ancient Egypt as nothing more than a marketing trick, or Crowley’s introduction of occult symbols.
So too with the design of the cards, these have changed and evolved over the years, some purely for artistic reasons, and others to add new elements to the Tarot concept.
Myths like the one about receiving your first cards as a gift are no more than yet another ploy by a Tarot reader from the past and modern, more enlightened.
Tarot readers deny the reality of this myth.
Whether you believe the Tarot can be used for divination or not, you need to bear no heed to these rumors, myths, and legends.