By Helen Farley
The enigmatic and richly illustrative tarot deck unearths a number of odd and iconic mages, equivalent to The Tower, The Wheel of Fortune, The Hanged guy and The idiot: over which loom the terrifying figures of demise and The satan. The 21 numbered cards of tarot have continually exerted powerful fascination, manner 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 by way of New Age practitioners, the playing cards have nowa days develop into inseparably attached to the occult. they're now considered as arguably the main medium of prophesying and foretelling. but, because the writer indicates, initially the tarot have been used as leisure cards via the Italian the Aristocracy within the Renaissance. It used to be in simple terms a lot later, within the 18th and nineteenth centuries, that the deck grew to become linked to esotericism ahead of evolving eventually right into a diagnostic instrument for brain, physique and spirit. this can be the 1st ebook to discover the remarkably different ways that tarot has stimulated tradition. Tracing the altering styles of the deck's use, from video game to mysterious oracular gadget, 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
171 Documentary corroboration indicates that gypsies were established in the Peloponnese and a number of the Greek islands during the fourteenth century. 173 There was a large gypsy settlement located at Jaffa, part of modern-day Tel-Aviv, which formed a convenient resting place for pilgrims halfway between Venice and the Holy Land. 174 Lionardo di Niccolò Frescobaldi, who visited the Medieval Greek city of Modon in 1384, reported seeing a number of Romiti outside the city walls. 176 It is not difficult to imagine that from these territories, it would be a relatively simple matter for at least some gypsies to make their way to Venice and gain access to the rest of Europe.
Gates proposed in her doctoral dissertation, that the symbolism of the tarot trumps was derived from a common pool of medieval iconography which arose in southern France in the twelfth century. This symbolism could be seen in cathedral architecture, art, and literature. 117 If a pool of like symbols was all that was necessary for the spontaneous creation of tarot, there was no obvious reason why it should have arisen in France rather than in England or Italy. 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.
The deck, if not invented by Duke Visconti, was certainly crafted for him and the symbolism displayed on the trump cards undoubtedly was devised to be of particular relevance to him. 64 The progenitor of the standard tarot deck was that painted by Michelino da Besozzo depicting gods and birds, described by Marcello in his letter and detailed in Marziano da Tortona’s explanatory treatise. 65 The Viscontis and the Italian Renaissance The history of the Visconti family and later the Sforzas, was set against the cultural currents which characterised Renaissance Europe and in particular, the Italian peninsula.
A Cultural History of Tarot: From Entertainment to Esotericism by Helen Farley