Thanks for the kind-words at my blog. I have a question about the tarot: do you think there is a connection in their origin to the Cathars/Gnostics?
Best wishes for the holidays!
I believe there are definite ties between the Cathars/Gnostics with regard to the development, study, and design of the Tarot.
The closest direct connection I have found between the Tarot and the Gnostic/Cathars comes from a work entitled Occult and Mystical Freemasonry (1643 - 1943) MARTINISM History and Doctrine by Robert Ambelain. Ambelain includes a discourse on an esoteric signature used by the occultist Martinez de Pasqually which is referred to as "figure four":
"This mysterious sign figures frequently among the inscriptions discovered by O. Rohn in the grottoes of the Aude region, in the heart of the legendary region of the Albigensian see, in the grottoes of Ornolac, most notably of Lambrives. These inscriptions were attributed by all the examiners to the Cathars who took refuge in these caverns.It is interesting to note that the Cathar/Gnostic mysticism and teachings were deeply rooted in France and the oldest surviving deck, the Paris Tarot, is housed in the Bibiothéque Nationale in Paris. I doubt this is a coincidence.
When the Cathars, gnostic survival in the Middle Ages apparently disappeared, the same "figure four" was then adopted by another great society of thought, which we have named the Agla. Agla was an esoteric society in the Renaissance period, grouping together apprentices, companions and masters of Guilds associated with Books, librarians, engravers, printers, stationers, and book-binders, as well as card makers who created the first playing cards and the first Tarots."
Thank you for your most intelligent question and may the Gods and Goddesses of Fortune and Wisdom bless you with illumination, enlightenment, and prosperity in the New Year!