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Tarot Cards

The First Occult Tarot Deck by Robert M. Place

The First Occult Tarot as Envisioned by Louis-Raphaël-Lucrèce de Fayolle, comte de Mellet, in 1781

Before Aleister Crowley, before Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith, before the Golden Dawn, before Papus, Éliphas Lévi, and Etteilla, the first author to describe an occult version of the Tarot was Louis-Raphaël-Lucrèce de Fayolle, comte de Mellet, writing in Antoine Court de Gébelin’s, 1781, eighth volume of his monumental encyclopedia, Monde primitif.

The comte de Mellet associated the Tarot’s trumps with the Classical Ages of Man: the Age of Gold, the Age of Silver, and the Age of Iron. He correlated the Trumps with the letters in the Hebrew alphabet, he described the minor suits in detail, and he provided the earliest discussion of a divination technique for the Tarot.

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