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Posts from the ‘Tarot’ Category

Reading Between the Cards

Lately I’ve been doing readings with just two cards. I don’t read the cards one-two, past-present, cause-effect. I read the space between them: the field of energy, the tension, the interaction. I ask what must happen for one card to turn into the other, or for one card to reach out to the other and transform it?

A few weeks ago I asked Lo Scarabeo’s Ancient Italian deck what I can do to kick off a summer of creative and artistic experimentation. I got the Star and Nine of Cups: waters of heavenly inspiration cascading through the levels of cups. But the Nine of Cups has a sterile, conformist feel, like rows of soldiers or synchronized dancers. Something stale and dry is being watered. The cards resemble the fountain in my living room where water cascades down several vertical levels of copper flowers. Read more

Tarocchi Perrin 1865

Giordano Berti, who brought us the historically important Vergnano and Sola Busca decks, has done it again, producing a small print run of a virtually unknown deck. The Tarocchi Perrin, originally printed in Turin, is a delightfully unique deck that’s heavily influenced by Dellarocca’s soprafino design. Read more

The Cartomancer Summer 2016

There’s plenty in this issue of The Cartomancer to keep a history nerd happy! Read more

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

Fifteenth-Century Playing Cards from Guinevere’s Games

In the fifteenth century, playing cards were a novelty. Italian aristocrats commissioned hand painted, gilded trionfi decks from their favorite artists, while their counterparts farther north were doing the same with one-of-a-kind playing card decks.

Guinevere’s Games offers four fifteenth-century playing card decks through Gamecrafters. Three of these decks were hand painted luxury items, while the fourth is a basic black and white deck. These are not collectible facsimiles. They are printed in rich colors on smooth paper and could be easily shuffled and used for game playing. Each deck is housed in a tin and accompanied by background information. Here are details on each deck. Read more

The Reader’s Digest Capek Tarot de Marseille

I associate the Reader’s Digest with seeing copies in a basket in my grandparents’ bathroom. Tarot just doesn’t seem to be aligned with the Reader’s Digest’s market niche; so I was intrigued when I learned that a Tarot de Marseille published by Reader’s Digest was on Ebay. Since it was only $11, I decided to satisfy my curiosity.

I’m very pleased with the quality of the cards and book, a collaboration between Czech artist Jindra Capek and writer Vlasta Duskova. The twenty-two cards are set into a niche at the bottom of a sturdy box which holds a 110-page hard-bound book that’s extensively illustrated in color. Read more

Jodorowsky Retrospecitve

According to a review in the November 2015 issue of Art News, a museum in Bordeaux, France has just wrapped up a 50-year retrospective of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s career. In the photo shown here, peeking out from under the screen, you can see the bottoms of the Tarot de Marseille that Jodorowsky designed with Philippe Camoin. But Jodorowsky is about a lot more than tarot. Read more

Arcana: The Tarot Poetry Anthology

The poems in this important anthology take us on a ride from black jack tables to the Last Supper. Many poems gently evoke the essence of a card, like lingering incense. Others delight us with new insights, like Tony Barnstone’s paired poems on the same card upright and reversed; or Amy Schrader’s poems on court cards. The Devil has been transformed by Lore Bernier (I am restrained by a lack of restraint) and Amanda Chiado (He was the kid who only ate the icing). On these pages we hear the voice of a rather smug Temperance angel, a tricksterish Fool and a foolish Fool, and Judas as the Hanged Man. Read more

The Spanish Captain in the Vandenborre Deck

Question: Who is the Spanish Captain, and what’s he doing in a tarot deck?

The Short Answer: He’s a character from the Commedia dell’Arte who substitutes for the Papesse in a type of 18th-century Belgian deck.

The Long Answer: Read the rest of the article.

What is Commedia dell’Arte?

It’s a type of popular theater with roots in the classical world. It flourished in Renaissance Italy and spread throughout Europe, especially France, in the 14th through 18th centuries. An array of standard characters appeared in every play like Harlequin, Pantalone, and Pulcinella, who was the prototype for Punch and Pierrot. The audience instantly recognized these characters by their masks, their walk, costume and regional accent, as well as characteristic slapstick routines, stage business, gestures, jokes, and favorite curse words. Read more