Waves of shock and grief are rolling through a large segment of the tarot community in reaction to the announcement that www.tarotforum.net will be shut down as of July 14, 2017. Since 2002, Tarotforum has been one of the largest and best-moderated communities on the internet. When Tarot_L on Yahoo shut down over a decade ago, Tarotforum became my go-to place for tarot history. I’m greatly relieved to learn that the forum will still exist in read-only form, so we won’t be losing its huge storehouse of information.Two subgroups of the forum were my home base: Tarot History and Development, and Marseille and Other Early Decks. These are a wonderful resource for people interested in the fine points of tarot history, collecting historical decks, comparing details on different decks, and learning to interpret and read with the TdM and other historic decks.
On its hundreds of pages of discussion, you’ll find contributions by many luminaries of the tarot community: Jean-Michel David, Ross G. Caldwell, Mary Greer (Teheuti), Adam McLean, Enrique Enriquez, and Yves Le Marseillais (Yves Reynaud). I always stopped to read the thoughtful contributions by three people who chose not to reveal their names: Kwaw, Huck and Le Pendu. You can find many posts by two who left us in the past year: Yoav Ben-Dov and Michael J. Hurst.
Where to now? Many members who consider the forum their extended family are talking about either moving en masse to an existing forum, or setting up a new one of their own. Who knows how long the forum will be available, so check it out while you can.
What’s out there for the amateur tarot historian and those learning to read with the TdM and similar decks? I was amused that many people on Tarotforum said they would never, ever join “fartbook”. Actually, I backed away from tarotforum a few years ago and shifted my focus to facebook after having my hand soundly slapped and being threatened with banishment a few times because I put a link to my web pages when I thought it would contribute important information to a discussion. Self-promotion was totally forbidden on the forum, yet certain deck creators were allowed to blatantly advertise. I could never figure out their arbitrary criteria, so I took myself to a platform where I could link to this blog at will.
Here are some facebook groups I belong to:
- Tarot History
- Tarosophy de Marseille – for people who read with the TdM
Two Facebook groups for collectors of playing cards of all types, including tarot and historic decks:
- Cartagiocofilia – a multi-lingual, global community
- Playing Card Collectors Club – it’s owner, Gejus van Diggele, is the chairman of the International Playing-Card Society
Separate forums where you can find serious, in-depth discussions:
http://www.forum.tarothistory.com/ – I believe Ross G. Caldwell and the late Michael J. Hurst are the guiding spirits behind this one. I haven’t spent enough time with this wonderful resource – it’s going to be my summer reading.
http://www.traditiontarot.com/ – entirely in French. Notable contributors include several people mentioned above, plus Alain Bougearel and Bertrand Saint-Guillain.
I haven’t found an actual Italian forum yet. But Andrea Vitali’s site http://www.letarot.it/ is a goldmine of in-depth articles, and has a news section with the kind of intriguing updates you would find on a forum.
I’ll see you somewhere in cyberspace.