The Radical, 600-Year Evolution of Tarot Card Art
What would Antoine Court de Gébelin think of the Happy Squirrel?
De Gébelin was a Protestant minister born in the 18th century. He authored the multi-volume tome Le Monde primitif, which insisted that the tarot deck contained secrets of the ancient Egyptians, whose priests had distilled their occult wisdom into the cards’ illustrations, imbuing them with great mystical power. Before that point, tarot was primarily a card game—meant for fun, not prophecy.
It was a bold and somewhat absurd assertion, given that de Gébelin could not read Egyptian hieroglyphics (no one could at the time, since they weren’t deciphered until the 19th century). Despite a total lack of historical evidence to back his claim…
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