If there’s one thing folks know about Madame Xanadu, it’s that she’s a master of tarot. The cards have been part of her mystique since her first appearance, and have remained present in every one of her incarnations. Her connection to the divinatory deck runs deeper than mere mastery, however. Back when she lived in the woods and was known simply as Nimue, Madame X read stars and runes for the ancient druids. As she spent centuries adjusting to mortal life, she began exploring new ways to read the universe. In 2008’s “Madame Xanadu” #3, she experiments with painting calligraphy symbols on cards to “embody” her old faith and religion, hoping to be able to interpret them in new ways.
In 2009’s “Madame Xanadu” #6, the seer explains that it took over a century to create her tarot deck — a deck that, according to 2009’s “Madame Xanadu” #15, she finishes in the 15th century. By the time le Madame de Xanadu makes it to the era of the French Revolution, she’s wowing Marie Antoinette with readings from her “most wondrous deck.”
None of these dates are accidental. In the real world, tarot decks first appeared in the 15th century, though they weren’t used for fortune-telling until the late 18th century, in — wouldn’t you know it — France. So thank you, Madame X, for inventing tarot cards and providing New Age devotees with endless hours of entertainment and enlightenment.