Once there was a time when lovers of tarot seeking to look at beautiful cards had to (gasp!!) purchase a book! In that long-ago time (say, 1976) there was no Google, no wikis, no surfing nor clicking. To indulge your tarot obsession, you hopped in your Ford Pinto and drove to a local bookstore where these beautifully illustrated volumes nestled on a shelf.
The three books described here are all over-sized, hardbound, beautifully illustrated, focused on the Tarot de Marseille, and published between 1973 and 1986. They’re easy to obtain for about $5.00 at online used booksellers. Yes, you can see many more decks online, but there’s something magical about holding a large book in your hands and looking at a curated selection of cards. Read more
I’ve just discovered a technique that helps me see the cards in a new light. It’s from a book written in 1973 by Fred Gettings that I just reviewed for the American Tarot Association’s Quarterly Journal. Gettings was way ahead of his time in his approach to tarot history and the Tarot de Marseilles, and is one of the first English-speaking authors to focus on this deck. I couldn’t find any biographical information on Gettings online. If anyone knows about him or if he’s even alive today, I’d love to hear about it.
Gettings’ method is all about analyzing the underlying structure of each card. When you reduce an image to its basic geometric shapes you can see how the parts relate to the whole and read astrological or alchemical symbols into the image, adding layers of meaning. Read more