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Posts from the ‘Tarot Books’ Category

The Cartomancer Spring 2016 Edition

Congratulations to Jadzia and Jay DeForest, Bonnie Cehovet, and everyone else involved with this beautiful publication. The latest edition of the Cartomancer celebrates their first anniversary of publication.

Here are some highlights from this issue: Read more

The Cartomancer Winter 2015

The third issue of The Cartomancer just landed in my inbox, and it’s a beauty.

My favorite section contains luscious full-page layouts of decks. I love the black background that intensifies the colors and makes the cards sizzle. One deck caught my attention: the Tribal Secrets Tarot where the creator photographed belly dancers interpreting the cards in their own way.

Some of my favorite articles: Read more

The Cartomancer Autumn 2015 Issue

The second issue of this beautiful quarterly magazine just arrived in my mail box. I thoroughly reviewed the initial issue here, so this time I’ll just run down my favorite articles.

The feature article is an interview with Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov, the owners of Baba Studio in Prague and the creators of The Alice Tarot (the cover illustration above). I was amazed at how much time and care went into the deck. The cards are not photoshopped collage. Mahony and Ukolov gathered costumes and props and went out on location to photograph each card. Their Tarot de Marseille is scheduled for 2016. I can’t wait. Read more

The Cartomancer: A Quarterly Tarot Journal

Something very exciting hit my mailbox today: A gorgeously illustrated, 60-page magazine devoted to Tarot, Lenormand, and oracle cards. The magazine is such a pleasure to look at and hold. I couldn’t stop flipping through it; and simply didn’t want to put it down.

The Cartomancer is packed with color illustrations (often eight or ten cards on a two-page spread) printed on sturdy, glossy paper. The colors are very crisp, and a pleasure to view. Seeing so much gorgeous art all in one place was an intense experience, and a celebration of the immense creativity bubbling through the tarot community. Read more

From My Bookshelf: Mystical Origins of the Tarot by Paul Huson

The other day, when I needed to check something concerning 15th-century suit symbols, I knew just where to go — Huson’s book on the history of tarot. The title is rather misleading, since there’s no mystical hokey-pokey; just solid, well-researched history.

The book is especially strong on the fifteenth century, which many authors skim over in their rush to the better-documented 19th-century occultists. Huson also gives a thorough discussion of the origins of the suit symbols and possible symbolic attributions to the four suits — another subject most popular authors gloss over. Read more

Tarot de Marseille Books in English: The Big Four

Recently, I’ve been rotating through the four TdM books listed below, reading about each trump card in turn. I’m struck by the individual voice and unique viewpoint in each book. It’s like holding a gem up to the light and turning it back and forth to appreciate each facet individually.

Ben-Dov supplies meat-and-potatoes card meanings and practical advice for readers. J-M David gives us a foundation in art history and 15th century iconography interspersed with practical exercises. Jodorowsky is an original who shares his deep understanding of the cards while presenting the deck as an organic structure. Elias invites us to look over her shoulder as she interprets spreads for her clients. Read more

Marseille Tarot: Towards the Art of Reading by Camelia Elias

This exciting book by Camelia Elias is a new addition to our small supply of Tarot de Marseille books in English.

We hit the ground running on the first page with an actual reading done in a café. This sets the tone for the book, where every card, and every teaching, is accompanied by a three-card spread illustrated in color.

The essence of Elias’s technique is to tell a concise story with three cards, staying close to the reality of the images. When she amplifies her card meanings with another system, she goes to folk traditions in cartomancy, which she calls the “cunning folk” method. Read more

Way of the Current: Tarot Reflections by Stewart S. Warren

The author of several poetry books based on historic tarot decks now offers us poetic meditations on all 78 cards of the Tarot de Marseille.

Each card is given a double-page spread. On the left-hand page we see a black-and-white reproduction of the 1701 Dodal deck restored by Jean-Claude Flornoy. On the opposite page there’s a very compressed and evocative meditation on the card. Read more

Tarot in Culture edited by Emily E. Auger

This two-volume book considers tarot from every possible angle: popular culture, occult theory, academic history, literary analysis and artistic commentary. I hope my brief summary of the articles will inspire you to purchase this major contribution to tarot studies.

Volume I offers a good foundation in tarot history.

The late Sir Michael Dummett surveys tarot from its 15th-century beginnings as a card game, to its appropriation by French occultists in the late 18th century.

Robert Place delves deeply into the iconography of the earliest hand-painted decks and discusses the trump sequence as a neoplatonic ascent of the soul. He also describes the first set of trump cards we know of, by the Duke of Milan’s astrologer Marziano de Tortona, which Place is currently re-creating. (Examples can be seen on his facebook page.) Read more

Portrait of a Lady – Tarot in a 15th-Century Murder Mystery

This book has everything a mystery-loving, tarot history nerd could desire: brisk pace, tight plot, illicit love, murder at the Sforza court, and those four missing cards from the Duke of Milan’s Visconti-Sforza deck.

Diane Stuckart has written three mysteries set at the court of Duke Ludovico Sforza in the early 1490s, when Milan was at the height of its splendor and economic power. As artist in residence, Leonardo da Vinci tinkers with his ingenious military machines in between designing costumes and scenery for pageants and masked balls. Whenever a dead body inconveniently appears in the garden or under a tower, Leonardo uses his astute powers of observation to discreetly solve the crime and save the Duke from embarrassment.

Leonardo’s sidekick in these sleuthing adventures is his young apprentice Dino. What Leonardo doesn’t know (or does he?) is that Dino is actually Delphina, a 16-year-old girl who ran away from home disguised as a boy to avoid an arranged marriage with a repulsive old man. Read more