Here’s a Youtube video of Justin Michael and myself in conversation a few months ago. In the first 30 minutes, I talk about my 50+ years involvement with tarot and how our understanding of tarot history has evolved. This is interspersed with personal experiences that led to my somewhat irrational antipathy toward esoteric and kabbalistic tarot.
In the second half, I show off my deck collection, especially decks by artisans who have revived obscure historic decks, like Yves Reynaud, Marco Benedetti, Sullivan Hismans, Pablo Robledo, Giordano Berti, and Il Meneghello (Osvaldo Menegazzi). In some cases, these decks only existed as printed sheets or photos in magazines.
Be sure to check out the rest of Justin’s channel. He has interviews with tarot luminaries like Robert Place and Rachel Pollock as well as reviews of TdM and other historic decks.
Link to the Interview
Osvaldo Menegazzi, the artistic genius behind Il Meneghello, has once again created a beautiful facsimile of an historic tarot deck. This deck, commissioned by the Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti, in the 1440s, is one of the oldest Italian tarocchi decks we know of. The cards were hand-painted on an embossed gold background, much like the Visconti-Sforza deck commissioned by Filippo’s son-in-law, Francesco Sforza, a decade later. Read more
An exciting new Visconti-Sforza deck is on the scene — a faithful reproduction hand drawn by librarian and organic farmer Alice Cooper. Ms. Cooper created this deck out of pure love, as her own personal copy, with no thought of reproducing or selling it. The care and attention she lavished on this deck during the year-long creative process gives it a magical feel that photo-reproductions of historic decks don’t conjure up. Fortunately for us, her friends persuaded her to print the deck in a limited edition of 200 and sell it on Etsy. Read more
For years, I’ve puzzled over what to call decks like the TdM, Swiss 1JJ, Rolla Nordic, and Visconti-Sforza that have suit symbols instead of pictures on the number cards. Here are some generic names I’ve seen recently: Read more
What does it take to put together a tarot deck collection that covers every important era in Tarot’s 600-year history? After making a list and distilling it to the essentials, I found you could cover all the bases quite nicely with fourteen decks. If you stick to just the main highway of tarot evolution and avoid going down interesting by-ways, you can create a basic collection with just seven decks.
Here are my guidelines for a well-rounded collection comprised of decks that are affordable and readily available. The collection falls into five broad categories: Fifteenth century, Tarot de Marseilles, Occult, Rider-Waite-Smith, and contemporary decks. The basic collection has the oldest examples of each category. I’ve given suggestions for filling out the basic collection with additional essential decks; then I provide a shopping list at the end of the article. Read more