By Helen Farley
The enigmatic and richly illustrative tarot deck finds a bunch of wierd and iconic mages, akin 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 consistently exerted powerful fascination, manner past their unique goal, 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 permit Die"; and from the satanic novels of Dennis Wheatley to the deck's adoption via New Age practitioners, the playing cards have nowa days turn into inseparably hooked up to the occult. they're now considered as arguably the main medium of prophesying and foretelling. but, because the writer exhibits, initially the tarot have been used as leisure cards via the Italian the Aristocracy within the Renaissance. It was once basically a lot later, within the 18th and nineteenth centuries, that the deck grew to become linked to esotericism earlier than evolving ultimately right into a diagnostic instrument for brain, physique and spirit. this can be the 1st booklet to discover the remarkably diversified ways that tarot has encouraged tradition. Tracing the altering styles of the deck's use, from video game to mysterious oracular equipment, 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 resources for A Cultural History of Tarot: From Entertainment to Esotericism
Former mamlūks advertised their former posts by wearing its prestigious emblem on their person and labelling their possessions and servants. 104 Thus the Arabic deck, though retaining its basic structure, macro-symbolism and function, became adapted to the culture which so readily adopted it. Some Theories of Tarot Origin After examination of the documentary evidence, it is certain that the arrival of the ordinary playing card deck in Europe predated the appearance of tarot by about fifty years.
In the absence of substantiated etymological evidence, most theories relating to the derivation of the terms ‘tarot’ and ‘tarocchi’ tell us more about the prevailing social and intellectual currents at the time that these theories were formulated than about the place and time of the origin of the tarot deck. While we can be certain that tarot evolved from the regular playing-card deck and confidently discount the theories that would have it being created in ancient Egypt to be disseminated by the gypsies or evolving from an extant game, the circumstances surrounding its creation remain ambiguous without the examination of further evidence.
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. 183 Initially, the Waldenses sought acceptance from the Church, teaching more or less traditional doctrine. 185 As with all heretics, the Waldenses were forbidden from performing or participating in the sacraments which were seen as essential for eternal life.
A Cultural History of Tarot: From Entertainment to Esotericism by Helen Farley