reference to tarot triumphs, and probably the first reference to tarot as the devil's picture book, is given c. 1450–1470 by a Dominican preacher in a fiery sermon against the evils of the devil's instrument. References to the tarot as a social plague continue throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, but there are no indications that the cards were used for anything but games anywhere other than in Bologna. As philosopher and tarot historian Michael Dummett noted, "it was only in the 1780s, when the practice of fortune-telling with regular playing cards had been well established for at least two decades, that anyone began to use the tarot pack for cartomancy
The belief in the divinatory meaning of the cards is closely associated with a belief in their occult properties, a commonly held belief in early modern Europe propagated by prominent Protestant Christian clerics and of them was Court de Gébelin (see below).
From its uptake as an instrument of divination in 18th-century France, the tarot went on to be used in hermeneutic, magical, mystical, semiotic, and psychological practices. It was used by Romani people when telling fortunes,as a Jungian psychological apparatus capable of tapping into "absolute knowledge in the unconscious", a tool for archetypal analysis,and even a tool for facilitating the Jungian process
Many involved in occult and divinatory practices attempt to trace the tarot to ancient Egypt, divine hermetic wisdom,and the mysteries of Isis.
Possibly the first of those was Antoine Court de Gébelin, a French clergyman, who wrote that after seeing a group of women playing cards he had the idea that tarot was spiritual reading cards merely a game of cards but was in fact of ancient Egyptian origin, of mystical Qabalistic import, and of deep divine significance. Court de Gébelin published a dissertation on the origins of the symbolism in the tarot in volume VIII of work Le Monde primitif in 1781. He thought the tarot represented ancient Egyptian Theology, including Isis, Osiris and Typhon. For example, he thought the card he knew as the Papesse and known today as the High Priestess represented Isis. He also related four tarot cards to the four Christian Cardinal virtues: Temperance, Justice, Strength and Prudence.He relates The Tower to a Greek fable about avarice
Although the ancient Egyptian language had not yet been deciphered, Court de Gébelin asserted the name "Tarot" came from the Egyptian words Tar, "path" or "road", and the word Ro, Ros or Rog, meaning "King" or "royal", and that the tarot literally translated to the Royal Road of Life.Later Egyptologists found nothing in the Egyptian language to support Court de Gébelin's etymologies.Despite this lack of any evidence, the belief that the tarot cards are linked to the Egyptian Book of Thoth continues to the present day.