Fortune-telling cards and modern tarot packs have been conjured in a wide variety of conceptions. They involve use of imagination and intuition to assess one’s own thoughts and feelings from the view point of the symbolic images. This is liberating and creative, finding meaning and answers for oneself, rather than having blind faith in religion. Through imagination we can reach the darker regions of the psyche, face our mortality and discover the ethical principles at the heart of religion.
Trumps depict historical scenes primarily of the political period known as the Holy Roman Empire from the 6th to 16th century.
Artwork for The Watersprite Tarot© designed and painted by Alison McDonald.
Woodblock and stencil Animal Tarot cards, probably of German origin, 2nd half 18th century
Art Deco fortune telling deck published by Piatnik, 1936
During the 19th century a system of fortune telling arose in Europe using unnumbered, pictorial cards depicting popular imagery with subtitles in several languages.
Hijos de José Garcia Taboadela was a book-seller who also published this charming pack of lovers' fortune telling cards in 1871
Bourgeois Tarot by Vereinigte Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken.
“Bourgeois Tarot” by C. L. Wüst with “bourgeois” views of life on the Trumps
Buena Suerte Cartomancy cards published by Difusora S.A., Argentina, c.1975
Carreras Fortune Telling Cards, 1926
Cartas Blancas Self-help playing cards
The designs of these fortune-telling cards are largely taken from nineteenth century Austrian "Rural Scenes" Tarock cards.
“Cartes Lenormand” published by H. P. Gibson & Sons Ltd, London, printed in Germany by B. Dondorf, 1920s.
A set of rather unusual and non-standard cartomancy cards from Argentina with religious connotations and imaginative artwork
Playing cards are used for fortune-telling, predicting the future or even as a psychological adjunct to folk medicine and therapy. Playing cards or tarot cards are used as symbols to make conscious psychological states within the mind and are a tool for spiritual or introspective enquiry.
Marseille Tarot cards by Charles Cheminade of Grenoble, France, early 18th century.
Fortune Telling Cards - wondrous scientific divination poker cards
The game of tarot was not widely accepted in England until the 1870s when a number of English occultists had begun taking an interest.
The woodcuts were produced by Francois Georgin (1801-1863), a famous engraver during the Napoleonic period, retaining the composition and general features of the Tarot de Marseille.
The Cavaliers are man/beast creatures. The Valets (or Pages) are male for clubs and swords, and female for cups and coins.
Fortune Telling Deck by Industrie Comptoir, Leipzig c.1818.
These Fortune-Telling cards, first published as early as 1690, were possibly the first pack of cards ever made specifically for the purpose of fortune-telling. Otherwise, previously, ordinary playing cards had been used for the purpose.
Geistliche Karten, Augsburg, 1718. Each card carries a text in Gothic typeface giving advice regarding what to do and think each day. Not quite oracle or divination cards, they are more like 'a motto for the day' collection. The method of using the cards is not known.
A pack of 54 playing-cards for fortune-telling each card containing a number of zodiacal, classical and modern images with a miniature card of the conventional type at top left and a letter of the alphabet at top right.
Fortune Tellers use the Hafez Cards by interpreting the Hāfez poems printed on the card backs when cards are selected randomly by their consultants.
During the late 1940s and 1950s The Insight Institute, of New Malden in Surrey, ran correspondence courses on the Tarot, which consisted of lessons with homework which was checked by tutors as well as a set of 'Authenticated' Tarot cards.
Italian tarot cards, Lamperti (Milan) c.1850
Madame Lenormand Fortune Telling Cards made by J. Müller.
‘Jugendstil Tarock’ was designed by Ditha Moser and first published by Albert Berger and Josef Glanz in 1906
Geographical and Heraldic Tarocchi cards from Bologna, 1725
Tarocco Piedmontese by Fabrica de Naipes La Primitiva, Defensa 125, Buenos Aires c.1890
Mlle Lenormand Cartomancy deck made by Vereinigte Stralsunder Spielkartenfabriken, Stralsund, c.1890
Livre du Destin or Book of Fate, printed by B.P.Grimaud, Paris, c.1900. During the the nineteenth century various types of fortune-telling, oracle, Lenormand, sybil and destiny cards became popular and many decks such as the ones shown here were published in Paris.
Il Gioco di Passatempo contains 40 figurative playing cards depicting moral virtues and vices, dated 1690
The title refers to “a new form of Tarocchini”. Mitelli's designs are to a high standard of artistic quality and a complete departure from the old tradition, especially the 22 Trump cards which are unnamed and unnumbered.
Naipes Tu Destino Cartomancy Cards by Zandrox Producciones, Miraflores, Peru, c.1975
Original Tarot designs in Italian Renaissance style by Oliver Mundy
Playing Card Oracles - Alchemy Edition - by Charles J. Freeman and Ana Cortez
78-card Polish tarot pack designed by Edyta Gdek
The Rameses Fortune Telling Cards were manufactured by Chas. Goodall & Son Ltd, London, c.1910, around the same time as Rameses The Egyptian Wonderworker, was performing.
Ramses II Tarot deck was published c.1975 in conjunction with a Peruvian occult or esoteric magazine.
The Rider Waite Tarot was created at the beginning of the 20th century by Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith.
Russell Grant astro-tarot
Human beings have always yearned to understand the experience of life. The knowledge that we seek is not really hidden, we each have to find it within ourselves
Self-Nurturing Solitaire is a deck of cards designed to improve Self-Esteem.
Serravalle-Sesia Tarot published by Fratelli Avondo, c.1880
Whilst the titles of the cards are in Italian, the Hebrew and Sanskrit letters on the Trump cards denote, respectively, associations with the Cabbala and Vedic metaphysics.
The so-called Tarocchi di Mantegna is a set of 50 copper-engraved images (c.1465) which were probably a social pastime or instructional series for educated people. The cards are numbered consecutively from 1 to 50, divided into groups.
“Tarocchino Lombardo” c.1835, a limited facsimile edition of 2500 by Edizione del Solleone, Italy, 1981.