Tarot Art and History Tour of Northern Italy – Sep 23 to Oct 6, 2012

December 1st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Tarot Piedmont Il Matto

Talk about a vacation designed in Tarot heaven, this is it – the 2nd Tarot Tour through northern Italy with Arnell Ando, Michael McAteer, and Mary K Greer. Two full weeks of Tarot in the beautiful country of its birth.

It all starts in Milan at the Castello Sforzesco (Visconti Castle) where legend has it that the cards were first ‘found’ in an abandoned well.

There will be visits with Italian artists, publishers and scholars, and a special stop at the shop of Osvaldo Menegazzi – Il Meneghello. His shop looks like it’s worth the trip alone.

Then it’s on to the Renaissance village of Fererra, and then three days in Bologna led by Museo dei Tarocchi’s own Morena Poltronieri.

Next stop will be the Tuscany region, with a stay at an ancient castle. Then on to Florence, Pienza, and the Medieval city of Siena.

A Tarot tour of Italy wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the magical Tarot Garden of Niki De Saint Phalle, and this tour doesn’t disappoint.

If it weren’t amazing enough to get a chance to see these incredible Tarot sculptures, being there in such great Tarot company will only make it that much more exciting.

In fact the whole holiday is almost too great to believe. I would just love to be there!

If you think you’re interested in going, contact Arnell Ando for more details.

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Abiding in the Sanctuary – special first edition

November 29th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

Arthur Edward Waite

Arthur E Waite

Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin’s new book about Arthur E Waite’s ‘other’ Tarot deck is finally out, or at least the limited first edition is ready to print.

It’s called Abiding in the Sanctuary: The Waite-Trinick Tarot A Christian Mystical Tarot (1917-1923) and promises to shed light on an important piece of Tarot history.

I posted about the book a while back while it was still in production. It explores the story behind the 23 Tarot images Waite commissioned stained-glass artist J.B. Trinick to create.

There are over 80 colour and black and white plates in the book, commentary on the images, biographies of the main players, and a peek into Waite’s mystical system for spiritual development.

Only 250 copies of this first edition will be made, so it’s kind of special. I decided to treat myself to an early Christmas present and ordered one. I can barely wait to see it.

Hopefully it’ll be published in a mass-market form soon as well. And what I’m really hoping for is a printing of the deck itself.

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The Rider Waite Smith Tarot

November 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Below is a short video describing the history of the Rider Waite Smith Tarot.

It’s kind of interesting, and certainly makes clear how important illustrating the Tarot pips was to the development of Tarot reading.

With practice, everyone can learn to read the symbols found in earlier decks like the Visconti-Sforza and the Tarot of Marseille.

But Arthur Waite’s decision to use descriptive pictures throughout the minor arcana made it easy for even first time users to do a reading. And to begin to understand the philosophy buried within the cards.

The RWS deck, accompanied by Waite’s Pictorial Key to the Tarot, opened Tarot up to everyone, not just those who were members of secret magical societies.

I think Waite was interested in much more than just ‘peering into the future’ as this piece seems to suggest, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Through their deck, Arthur Waite and artist Pamela Colman Smith made an enormous contribution to Tarot. They really changed everything.

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Tarot History

October 29th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I know I’ve posted a lot of videos this week, but here’s another. It’s a clip from The History Channel’s ‘Secrets of the Playing Card’ featuring the history of the Tarot.

The music’s a little melodramatic, as are the recurring cuts to a sinister looking card reading. They seemed to want to make the Tarot look spookier than it really is.

Overall though, I actually enjoyed the piece and thought the information was pretty solid.

Take a look for yourself and see what you think.

Thanks to ElectroPagan for posting it.

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Waite-Trinick Tarot Book

September 28th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Arthur Edward Waite from the Coburn Collection

A.E. Waite 1921

Arthur Waite is probably best known for being the ‘Waite’ in the Rider Waite Smith Tarot, one of the most popular decks in the world. But did you know he designed another deck as well?

Between 1917 and 1923, ten years after working with Pamela Colman Smith, Waite commissioned a second set of Tarot illustrations with artist J.B. Trinick as part of The Great Symbols of the Paths.

And though they’re not going to be a deck just yet, these beautiful and rarely seen images are soon to be part of a new book by Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin.

The book will include high quality images of the 22 Major Arcana, an additional ‘path’ image, some extra variant designs, sketches and previously unpublished commentary by Waite himself.

It will also feature research into the lives of Trinick and others involved in the creation of this deck, as well as an explanation of how the images fit onto the Tree of Life in Waite’s ‘hidden’ set of correspondences.

Goodwin and Katz hope to get it published by the end of this year, and you can help them make that happen.

To help cover the costs of licensing, photography, and printing, they’ve set up an IndieGoGo page and are offering rewards to people who donate. Check them out.

And you can read the amazing story of how this project got started, and how it’s developing on Goodwin’s Tarot Speak Easy blog.

It’s going to be an exceptional book. I’m really looking forward to it, and to the deck that hopefully will follow.

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The Tarot: History, Symbolism and Divination

July 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination

The Tarot by Robert Place

If you haven’t read it yet, definitely take a look at The Tarot: History, Symbolism and Divination by Robert M. Place.

It’s been out since 2005, but I finally read it last week and it’s amazing. I might even say it’s the best Tarot history book I’ve read to date.

To understand the origins of the Tarot, it’s important to understand the European culture from which it grew. Renaissance art, alchemy, hermeticism, neoplatonism – it’s all part of the story, and Place tells it very well.

He takes us card by card through the Major Arcana of the Tarot of Marseilles, explaining the symbols and why they may have been chosen.

As the ‘blueprint’ to all occult decks to follow, understanding the symbols in the Marseilles is vital to understanding how the ideas in the later decks developed.

Ultimately, Place’s focus is on the Waite-Smith Tarot, designed by Arthur E. Waite and painted by Pamela Colman Smith.

He looks at all 78 cards in the deck, and as an added bonus, offers some tips on how to use them. There are exercises, spreads and a summary of the six patterns found most often in readings. All very useful.

It’s a fantastic book for new readers, and old, and anyone who’s interested in Renaissance art, history or philosophy. It left me wanting to learn more.

And fortunately, Place hasn’t stopped teaching. He’s just published a new book called The Fool’s Journey: The History, Art, and Symbolism of the Tarot, based on The Fool’s Journey, his 2010 Tarot exhibition at the LA Craft and Folk Art Museum.

I can’t wait to read it.

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A History of the Occult Tarot: 1870-1970

April 29th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

A History of the Occult Tarot: 1870-1970 by Ronald Decker and Michael Dummett

History of the Occult Tarot

The history of Tarot cards has been filled with mystery. Stories of Egyptians, Gypsies and Atlantis have figured prominently.

But most such tales are nothing more than fiction.

In fact, the Visconti-Sforza deck is the oldest known Tarot deck to exist, and it’s from 15th Century Italy.

There’s nothing Atlantian, Egyptian or Gypsy about it. And from all accounts, it was originally used for nothing more spiritual than a good game of cards.

How then has the Tarot deck come to be such a staple of the occult?

When did it change from being used for games like Tarocchi, to being considered a doorway to the spirit world, or even a window into our unconscious?

These are good questions. And they’re all answered in the very comprehensive, A History of the Occult Tarot: 1870-1970 by Ronald Decker and Michael Dummett.

Everything is in this book. Incredibly thorough descriptions of different decks, western occult theory, and the histories of many magical societies and their colourful members.

Organizations like The Brotherhood of Luxor, The Theosophical Society, The Golden Dawn and the Holy Order of MANS. People like Etteilla, Èliphas Levi, Aleister Crowley, Arthur Waite, Ouspensky and Eden Gray.

These are just a few names from a long and convoluted history full of revelations, betrayals, chicanery and some serious pursuit of spiritual awakening.

It’s an incredible story. And perhaps a little surprising for anyone under the impression that seeking spiritual enlightenment is the same thing as finding it.

This book was first published in 2002 and doesn’t look at many decks past 1970, but it’s fabulous.

If you’re interested in knowing how today’s Tarot came to be, check it out.

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