Mystic Gypsies and the tarot

Written by Amber

The word Tarot derives from the Egyptian words tar meaning “royal” and “ro” meaning road…translated meaning of the Tarot was the “Royal Road to Wisdom.

the-gypsy-fortune-tellerAntoine Court de Geblin a Swiss clergyman and freemason author of Le Monde Primitif in 1781 also claimed the belief that the Romany gypsies were among the first people to use Tarot cards as a means of divination.

The earliest official appearance of Gypsies in Europe is in AD 855 in Turkey, but there is a possibility that the Romany gypsies had arrived in Europe before this. By the 1300′s, the travelling Romany peoples were known to be in South Eastern Europe and by the 1400′s also in Western Europe. It is believed that the Romany gypsies first entered the UK in around 1505.

These early travelling gypsy people lived a nomadic lifestyle, moving from place to place. It was this nomadic lifestyle that dictated how the travelling gypsy people lived and their occupations. The Romany gypsy people needed occupations which were mobile, they would earn their living by selling homemade wares, furniture (hawking) and by (tinkering) repairing pots and pans. They also met the high demand for seasonal employment like harvesting.

The Romany gypsy people were also known to do jobs like rat-catching, basket making, wire-working, grinding, fiddling and mending bellows, to name a few. The travelling gypsy people were also know for singing and dancing and for fortune telling in fairs and at craft shows.

Mystic Gypsies and the tarot, fortune telling has been an important part of gypsy history.

Ever since Gypsies arrived in Britain in the 16thcentury, they have aroused fear, loathing and occasionally fascination.

During the reign of Henry VIII the penalty for being a Gypsy was execution. The 1554 “Egyptians Act” forbade Gypsies from entering England and imposed the death penalty on those that remained in the country for more than a month.

The death sentence was reduced to transportation in 1597 the “Vagrancy Act” stated those that “will not be reformed of their roguish kind of life” to be conveyed to “parts beyond the seas”. The relationship between Britain and its Gypsy population has come a long way in five centuries.

The Gypsy nomadic lifestyle has been created by two factors, the pull of economic opportunity and the push of persecution. Gypsy nomadic lifestyle and Traveller culture has adapted to suit this by continually working within trades that are highly mobile.

Mystic Gypsies and the tarot, there is no historical facts to support the idea that the gypsy people brought the tarot into Europe. It was not until the 20th century that the mystic gypsies used the tarot, up-until this time the gypsies would use palmistry and playing cards.

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