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Hello, and welcome to my blog. This is where I’ll share book reviews, my favorite tarot decks, tidbits of tarot history, and some ideas I’m working on that combine tarot and astrology. I’ll also bring you news and reviews about Italian books and websites. Please explore the other pages on this site for in-depth articles on tarot history and tips on reading with historic decks.

Tarot-Heritage Tenth Anniversary Roundup: Odds and Ends

Winding down my website’s tenth anniversary summer celebration. Even here in sunny Santa Barbara, where weather rarely happens, I can feel a subtle shift in the air as we head toward autumn. To finish up the series, here’s a grab bag of articles that don’t fit into any category.

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Tarot-Heritage Tenth Anniversary Roundup: The Visconti-Sforza Tarot

Celebrating my website’s tenth anniversary: 174 blog articles and 42 website pages on tarot history, reading with non-scenic pips, and decks of historic significance. Throughout the summer, I’m going to group the most useful articles by topic and send out links in a series of blog posts.

If fifteenth-century aristocrats hadn’t tried to impress their friends with hand painted, golden tarot decks, and if those decks hadn’t been preserved in museums, our knowledge of tarot’s origins would be very limited. The most complete deck of this type, the Visconti-Sforza Tarot, is one of the most frequently published historic decks. We can’t overestimate its importance. Below are links to deck and book reviews as well as articles on historic background related to this deck.

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Tarot-Heritage Tenth Anniversary Roundup: The Soprafino Style

Celebrating my website’s tenth anniversary: 174 blog articles and 42 website pages on tarot history, reading with non-scenic pips, and decks of historic significance. Throughout the summer, I’m going to group the most useful articles by topic and send out links in a series of blog posts.

Today I’m listing everything I’ve written about the soprafino style. Originating in Milan in the 1830s, it has been reproduced by many publishers down to Lo Scarabeo’s current mass market version. Printers have borrowed random details from the style, especially in Piedmont. See reviews of those decks listed in last week’s blog post on Piedmont decks.

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Tarot-Heritage Tenth Anniversary Roundup: Piedmont Decks

Celebrating my website’s tenth anniversary: 174 blog articles and 42 website pages on tarot history, reading with non-scenic pips, and decks of historic significance. Throughout the summer, I’m going to group the most useful articles by topic and send out links in a series of blog posts.

The Piedmont region has one of the oldest tarot traditions in Italy. Its geographic location made it the crossroads where the playing card traditions of Italy and eastern France mingled. Below are articles on the Piedmont tradition and reviews of individual decks.

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Tarot-Heritage Tenth Anniversary Roundup: Spreads and Techniques

Celebrating my website’s tenth anniversary: 174 blog articles and 42 website pages on tarot history, reading with non-scenic pips, and decks of historic significance. Throughout the summer, I’m going to group the most useful articles by topic and send out links in a series of blog posts. Today’s links are all about reading techniques.

The Spreads page of the Cartomancy section of this website gives simple techniques for reading with two and three cards.

I rarely use spreads, but the following articles describe ones I like, plus a few of my favorite techniques.

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Tarot-Heritage Tenth Anniversary Roundup: Tarot de Marseille Books

Celebrating my website’s tenth anniversary: 174 blog articles and 42 website pages on tarot history, reading with non-scenic pips, and decks of historic significance. Throughout the summer, I’m going to group the most useful articles by topic and send out links in a series of blog posts.

Today, I’m listing my reviews of the essential books on reading with the Tarot de Marseille.

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Tarot-Heritage Tenth Anniversary Roundup: Reading Tips

Celebrating my website’s tenth anniversary: 174 blog articles and 42 website pages on tarot history, reading with non-scenic pips, and decks of historic significance. Throughout the summer, I’m going to group the most useful articles by topic and send out links in a series of blog posts.

We’ll start the series with tips to get you started reading cards with non-scenic pips.

If you’re new to reading with the Tarot de Marseille and other non-scenic pip decks (NSPs), if you feel intimidated, don’t know where to start, or would like some structure to your studies – there’s an entire section of this website just for you. Rather than spoon-feeding you card meanings, I’ve created a structured set of exercises in the Cartomancy Section to help you develop a personal relationship with the cards and devise card meanings relevant to your deck.

Below are some articles to inspire your daily tarot practice.

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Edoardo Dotti Tarot Published by Giordano Berti

Attention, lovers of the Soprafino tarot. This elegant deck published by Giordano Berti is an essential. I’m completely enchanted by the graceful lines, rich colors, and smooth, sturdy cardstock. The original size (2.0 x 4.25 inches) makes the cards easy to handle.

The Soprafino pattern emerged when the Milanese printer Gumppenberg published a deck engraved by Carlo Della Rocca about 1835.  When Gumppenberg died, his employee, Teodoro Dotti, set up his own print shop and issued decks in the style of his former employer, including this Soprafino variant. Seventeen years later, Teodoro’s son Edoardo printed the same deck using his father’s plates, with modifications to make the images politically correct. Notice the Empress’s empty shield in the photo above. By this time, the Hapsburgs were out and Napoleon III was in as ruler of Italy; so the imperial eagle had to be removed from all playing cards.

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Tarot History on Youtube

Marco Benedetti and myself in a conversation moderated by Justin Michael. We talk about tarot’s Italian origins and show off lots of decks from our collections. Here’s a chance to see historic deck facsimiles, as well as Marco’s recreations of rare Italian decks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGNCOS2zQQk

This is a kick-off video to Justin’s Tarot Through the Ages series.  He’s got some interesting things coming up that will introduce a new audience to tarot’s roots. Be sure to check out Justin’s Titans of Tarot series where he interviews luminaries like Robert Place, Vincent Pitisci, and Rachel Pollack.

Budapest Bounty: Three Recreations of an Ancient Tarot

I’ve always been intrigued by the few remnants of fifteenth-century block-printed decks that still exist. They hold tantalizing clues to the early days of tarot, so I’m thrilled that there are three versions of the block-printed Budapest deck on the market. Shown here from left to right are the Fool and Judgment cards by Robert Place, Sullivan Hismans and Marco Benedetti.

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