A Foundation of Occult Tarot Symbols
Some ancient artwork may look bizarre and mysterious at first glance. Upon closer look, it is revealed that certain types of art presents what identifies today as occult symbols. Where did the symbols come from? What was their intention? Why and how were they used?
The artwork on the image of the Tarot card-back below can work as an example of a summary for a textbook. Specifically about the information contained in an entire ancient textbook about Science. The composition is a collection of information expressed (and compressed) into the universal language of art.
Symbols and hieroglyphs communicate ideas, messages and concepts in ways that require far less use of resources than writing in plain text and can penetrate language barriers. Consider the time when Alchemical art and emblems were first being drawn. Literacy, writing and reading was for Nobles and higher social classes to learn.
Education was reserved mainly for the privileged social classes. This was the class that could afford the materials.
- The labor required to provide educational tools back then was time-consuming and expensive.
- The availability of paper, relative to educating a large population was scarce and precious.
- Books were few and tedious to craft. Every textbook was created by hand.
Books were so much more rare and cherished than what is expressed in period-piece movies!
An explanation of the Alchemical image on the cardback pictured could be written out minimally in 3 paragraphs of text in English. Its full explanation requires a complete textbook! The image is an example of an ingenious summary of information using symbolism devised by early scholars. It served to present the most knowledge and information possible within a limited amount of space, saving valuable resources.
Back then the symbols were not occult-anything. They were just part of getting and providing an education.
This article is the introduction in an ongoing series about occult symbols in the Tarot. Please check back to read more.