Egyptian Tarot: the oldest one

The Egyptian tarot is the oldest one known, as many experts claim that the tarot emerged from Egypt when hieroglyphics were found that we can see today in every card. It was precisely there, in ancient Egypt where the practice of divinatory arts with objects, animals and even food, started.

Now you can benefit from their wisdom and know your destiny by reading the Egyptian tarot cards. Find the answers to your questions and clear your doubts now. Just focus on what you want to know, select the 3 cards you want from the deck and reveal your reading, it’s that easy!

The origin of the Egyptian Tarot

While it is true that experts do not agree on who created the tarot, the authors who have studied it agree with its Egyptian origin. Either because it is based on the number 7 or because its cards are divided into 4 groups. But the author who knew how to apply this wonderful game to the art of divination was the cartoonist Etteilla, on whom we will base ourselves to explain the interpretation of the Egyptian tarot cards.

Egyptian Tarot

The Egyptian tarot derives directly from the Book of Thot, as it was called by Etteilla, who served as an example to later tarot scholars.

In the Egyptian tarot we can find the influences of the virtues, the twelve periods of the year and the four stages of life.

There are three cards in the Egyptian tarot that only with them could demonstrate the final thesis of the usefulness of tarot. They are The Magician, which shows us that not everything that human beings do is true but can be an illusion; The Fool, which symbolizes the unconscious and the separation between evil and good, forces that come into conflict in our lives; Death, symbolizing that everything we are one day will end.

The Egyptian Tarot cards

The Egyptian tarot deck is composed of 78 cards, 22 of which are called Major Arcana, and among these cards there is one that is represented by the number zero. This group of Major Arcana is divided into three groups which are associated with the moral world, the physical world and the intellectual world.

Egyptian Tarot cards

The remaining 56 cards are the minor arcana, which represent humanity and the experiences of life. This group of cards are grouped into 4 suits that represent the social classes:

  • The cups: symbolize nobility, science, priesthood, intelligence and love. They represent the Egyptian people, the divinity, their sign is the color ruby and a chalice.
  • The swords: symbolize sovereignty, militia, passion, pain and sorrow. They represent vigilance, struggle, warriors. Their sign is a sword and their color is red.
  • The coins: symbolize money, merchants and physical relationships. They represent the commercial relations, the links between people. Their sign is a sun stamped on a gold coin and the color blue.
  • The clubs: symbolize agriculture, work and possession. They represent everything that feeds our life, the basic needs of the human being. Their sign is a stick and the color yellow.

Classification of the Egyptian Tarot cards

Each suit is grouped with 10 cards plus four figures that are the king, the queen, the knight and the jack.

The configuration of the numbers of each of these 10 cards is absolutely necessary to explain their meaning and that their progressive order makes sense. The ten numbers plus the zero offer different meanings when relating to each other, since if, for example, the card with the number 35 came out, it could be reduced to 8 by the sum of its digits. That is why a first reading of Egyptian tarot cards can be done with the cards found and another reading found with the sum of the digits of the cards of the first spread. The interpretation of this spread of Egyptian tarot would then be a compendium of the two card readings found.

reading the Egyptian tarot cards

There is a meaning to each of these ten numbers:

  • Number 1: it’s the beginning and the end. It expresses the simplicity, the soul and the universal spirit.
  • Number 2: is the first number, which represents the human being in the Egyptian Tarot.
  • Number 3: This is the second number, which symbolizes the triangles, the geometric dimensions: height, length and width. It represents the reproduction.
  • Number 4: second even number, this is the number that represents the four elemental qualities of the universe, which are heat, cold, humidity and dryness. Two positives and two negatives make up the balance of this chart.
  • Number 5: a number composed of those that precede it, symbolised by the triangle and the line, the square and the unit
  • Number 6: This is the first perfect number, emblem of the Earth.
  • Number 7: This number symbolizes distance, the emblem of the minerals.
  • Number 8: is associated with the plant world.
  • Number 9: This is the number of the animal kingdom, a sensitive soul.
  • Number 10 or 0: this is the passive emblem and without a number of the Earth, suitable for any value.

All the 78 cards of the Egyptian tarot are numbered, from 1 to 77, plus the number zero. The numbers from 10 are read from right to left, which is how it is read in Hebrew. Thus, the card with the number 23 will be analyzed as 3 and 2.

Each card of the Major Arcana corresponds to a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, as stipulated by the Egyptians. This gives the cards an added meaning since, depending on where they are placed in the spread, they will form words or names by putting those letters together.

reading of Egyptian tarot

These letters give us heavenly energies that influence our world. There are therefore 7 double letters that represent the planets of the solar system, 12 single letters that symbolize each of the signs of the zodiac and, finally, 3 letters called “the three mothers” that are related to the three main cards mentioned above: The Wizard, The Fool and The Death.

In addition, twelve of the major arcana represent the signs of the zodiac, agreeing their meaning with their zodiacal house. And seven of the major arcana symbolize the planets of our solar system, in accordance with their astrological significance. This also happens with the minor arcanes; they have their astrological correspondences: the four kings, the four queens, the four knights and the four jacks also represent the signs of the zodiac.

Astrology is very present in the Egyptian tarot as it is also very present in our bodies, since each zodiacal sign represents a part of our body. And the cards that refer to our 7 planets also represent the 7 virtues.

Also, depending on whether the card is upside down or downside up in the card spread, it will have a different meaning.

Some of the other existing tarot decks are useful to study the Egyptian tarot, like the Marseilles tarot, the Schaffhausen tarot and the Italian tarot.