By Helen Farley
The enigmatic and richly illustrative tarot deck unearths a bunch of wierd and iconic mages, similar to The Tower, The Wheel of Fortune, The Hanged guy and The idiot: over which loom the terrifying figures of loss of life and The satan. The 21 numbered cards of tarot have regularly exerted powerful fascination, approach past their unique function, and the a number of resonances of the deck are ubiquitous. From T. S. Eliot and his "wicked pack of playing cards" in "The Waste Land" to the psychic divination of Solitaire in Ian Fleming's "Live and enable Die"; and from the satanic novels of Dennis Wheatley to the deck's adoption via New Age practitioners, the playing cards have nowa days develop into inseparably hooked up to the occult. they're now considered as arguably the key medium of prophesying and foretelling. but, because the writer indicates, initially the tarot have been used as leisure cards by means of the Italian the Aristocracy within the Renaissance. It was once merely a lot later, within the 18th and nineteenth centuries, that the deck grew to become linked to esotericism sooner than evolving ultimately right into a diagnostic software for brain, physique and spirit. this is often the 1st publication to discover the remarkably various ways that tarot has stimulated tradition. Tracing the altering styles of the deck's use, from video game to mysterious oracular machine, Helen Farley examines tarot's emergence in fifteenth century Milan and discusses its later institutions with astrology, kabbalah and the Age of Aquarius.
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Extra info for A Cultural History of Tarot: From Entertainment to Esotericism
In this fictional account, tarot was created to conceal the heretical ideas of one or more sects in medieval Europe. Brown does not specify an ideology, instead stating: ‘Originally, Tarot had been devised as a secret means to pass along ideologies banned by the Church. ’179 In a hypothesis somewhat similar to that espoused involving an Egyptian provenance, tarot was supposedly created when a heretical group was threatened or persecuted, usually by the Catholic Church. 181 For playing card historian, Roger Tilley, the most likely candidates were the Waldenses.
41 Marziano explicitly mentioned just twenty-four cards but his comments about Birds ‘taking power’ implied the presence of RENAISSANCE ITALY AND THE EMERGENCE OF TAROT 37 other cards. He remarked that this power was direct for Eagles and Turtles and reversed for Phoenixes and Doves. e. e. a five was less valuable than a three). 42 If the Bird suits had a forward or backward order, there must have been several cards in each suit group, not just a single King. 43 In this unique deck, the deities were ranked higher than the orders of Birds and Kings, resembling the trumps of a traditional tarot deck.
Still with our attention turned to France, perhaps the most persistent and entertaining theory of tarot origin envisioned the deck arising from the mysterious land of Egypt at a time lost in the mists of antiquity. 118 Court de Gébelin was well-versed in all of the esoteric currents that permeated French culture at that time including Rosicrucianism, Hermeticism, kabbalism, the works of Emmanuel Swedenborg and esoteric Freemasonry. 120 Here Court de Gébelin reported that some time in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, he had come across some ladies playing the game of tarot.