Baphomet or Pan?


Did the Knights Templar invent the tarot and bring a card deck with them on their return to Europe from Palestine (the Crusades)? In which case, I have read the Devil is Baphomet. Or was the tarot invented during the Renaissance when renewed interest in Greek/Roman mythology was part of a fountainhead of new ideas? In which case, the Devil would be Pan or Dionysus maybe. Is the tarot "the devil's picturebook", or is it the political tool of Renaissance revolutionaries, or a pictorial record of ancient mythologies, or what?


i think there are as many theories out about where the tarot came from as there are noses in the world. :D i certainly have read quite a few theories. i think rachel pollack has studied this possibly more than anyone living today so you might want to check her books. i think robin wood and gail fairfield have also studied it quite a bit. of course, if this is wrong it won't be the first time! }>


the best book i've found on the history of tarot (and much more!) is Cynthia Giles' "Tarot; History, Mystery and Lore".
the actual history of the tarot can only be traced back as far as the middle of the 15th century. beyond that is speculation. one theory is that it is a 78 chapter book of arcane Egyptian wisdom, deliberately concealed so as to escape destruction by the 'new' religion. another is that the tarot was brought from the east with the westward migration of the Celts.
whatever the true history, it seems pretty certain that it was considered little more than a parlor game until about the 18th century, when a few astute occultists began to see it as an esoteric system. Antoine Court de Gebelin and others of this time were convinced of its Egyptian origins (Egyptology becoming very 'in vogue' at this time), and this bias carried on into the era of the Golden Dawn, heavily influencing the decks of the day (especially Crowley).
now Crowley saw the Devil card as Pan, and this was one of the things that first drew me to the Thoth deck. i've always hated the idea of the Devil card as 'Satan'. it didn't seem to fit esoterically or historically.
this is one of about 5 or 6 cards i usually go straight to when i'm first checking out a new deck. one of the things that i loved about the Robin Wood deck when i first saw it was it's depiction of the Devil card. i think it's one of the best interpretations i've seen.
well, this has gone on long enough, and hasn't really answered the question.
i think i'll go make dinner.


besides the never-to-be-solved question where the tarot really came from, the egyptian/greek/templar/Crowley-tradition and the hebrew/christian/Waite-tradition have to be seen as paralel, not as one following the other. They are two ways to follow in the same time, none of them evolved from the other. The separation of these two concepts (God alone or God and the Demiurg) was already done in ancient egypt in alexandrian time, with the hebrew and greek influence getting stronger and giving people two different ways to believe, which both are valid until today, one representing the official christian church believe, the other the occult way since alchemy.