It seems that nobody created the Tarot de Marseille, one thing is certain, it is very old. I am tempted to say that modern Tarot decks are an emanation of the Tarot de Marseille. Is the Marseille Tarot is the origin of Tarot ?
There is no actual facts about the Tarot and its creation, only hints of information. Some source are saying: the Tarot de Marseille comes from the first century, which I tend to believe, thought the Tarot de Marseille could be even older. I do believe that it has been created to bridge some of the art of astrology into a more accessible medium. Not to forget that astrology is a very old craft but also very difficult without computers.
Many symbols from the Tarot are coming from different religion. Therefore the Tarot has to originate from a time where religion were not segregated, but instead, helped each other to build the foundations of modern society.
I would imagine that it is the very essence of the Tarot de Marseille, to create itself within itself, but, as much as this idea is seducing, the world does not work with spontaneous creations (even thought some religion would have you believe).
Arithmetic or Numerology?
Numbers are playing a very important role in our universe and likewise in the Tarot. The universe is not measurable but since we identify everything with numbers, numbers became part of the human experience.
To put it unto another perspective, numbers are as old as 35’000-20’000 BC, some evidences were found in Africa.
Numbers are another language that transcend understanding to a universal expression. It is indeed very powerful and old.
Numbers in the Tarot de Marseille
Numbers are playing a very important role in our universe and likewise in the Tarot. The universe is not measurable but since we identify everything with numbers, numbers became part of the human experience. Because nobody can understand the unmeasurable it was very natural to identify all natural laws with numbers. This helped civilisation to extricate ourselves from the natural order and to elevate further as an evolved specie.
On the evolution scale, mathematics are the only way to move forward, from the Nomadic ways of the hunters and gatherers to the modern city folk, we keep evolution going on the edge of numbers with the digital age and technology.
From the beginning of written history (over 4000 years ago) to perhaps the mid 7th century, we can find traces of the Chaldean numerology also known as mystic numerology. This comes from the cradle of civilization, the Chaldean were settlers who arrived in the 10th century BC in Mesopotamia. Chaldeans or the Chaldees were Semitic; meaning descendants of Shem, one of Noah’s three sons.
We can see that planning, preparing for the future is and was very important to human beings. Inherently future foretelling is uniquely human as no other species are worrying about tomorrow nor do they really care about their own expectations.
It was natural for numbers to become relevant in the foretelling of the future but also to become a dimension on their own. There is a parallel between life’s dimension and the mathematical universe. This dimension can be easily explored with the Tarot de Marseille.