Triangle Tarot and Friends meets every month to deepen their understanding of an old practice, and most importantly, to connect with other like-minded people.
Beth Livingston, the group’s coordinator, who is known magically as Beth Owl’s Daughter said they host guest speakers, discuss tarot card interpretations and occasionally create tarot-related crafts like candles and junk journals.
Livingston has read tarot for over 50 years. During a reading, the tarot cards are used to perceive wisdom and guidance, not only for the future, but also for an individual’s present state of being. However, the cards’ original use was not so mystical.
In 15th century Italy, Francesco Sforza and Bianca Maria Visconti, the duke and duchess of Milan, commissioned a deck of tarot-like cards, with no intention of fortune-telling or divination. The deck of elaborately hand-painted cards, likely completed by fresco artist Bonifacio Bembo, was intended as a simple card game called tarocchi.
“Originally, they were ways to commemorate this noble family and their friends,” Jameela Dallis, a writer and tarot reader who received a doctorate in English from UNC, said.
When Dallis was 16, she received a tarot reading in the back of a coffee shop in her Tennessee hometown. She said that it changed her life and kick-started her interest in tarot. Dallis went on to write part of her dissertation about it.
Dallis said the correlation between tarot cards and divination didn’t come until the 18th century.
The connection started when a French author, Antoine Court de Gébelin, falsely traced tarot imagery back to ancient Egyptian wisdom. Although the association was found to be incorrect, Court de Gébelin gave tarot a new life in the spiritual realm.
One of the most popular decks used today, the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, was created in the early 1900s by Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith. Both were occultists and met through an occult organization.