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A Cultural History of Tarot

283 Pages · 2010 · 2.74 MB · English

  • A Cultural History of Tarot















    A Cultural History of Tarot



    ii A CULTURAL HISTORY OF TAROT



    Helen Farley is Lecturer in Studies in Religion and Esotericism at the


    University of Queensland. She is editor of the international journal


    Khthónios: A Journal for the Study of Religion and has written widely on a


    variety of topics and subjects, including ritual, divination, esotericism and


    magic.


    CONTENTS iii



    AA Cultural History of Tarot



    From Entertainment to Esotericism







    HELEN FARLEY













    Published in 2009 by I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd


    6 Salem Road, London W2 4BU


    175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010


    www.ibtauris.com



    Distributed in the United States and Canada Exclusively by Palgrave Macmillan


    175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010



    Copyright © Helen Farley, 2009



    The right of Helen Farley to be identified as the author of this work has been


    asserted by the author in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act


    1988.



    All rights reserved. Except for brief quotations in a review, this book, or any part


    thereof, may not be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or


    transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,


    recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.



    ISBN 978 1 84885 053 8



    A full CIP record for this book is available from the British Library


    A full CIP record for this book is available from the Library of Congress



    Library of Congress catalog card: available



    Printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Antony Rowe, Chippenham


    from camera-ready copy edited and supplied by the author CONTENTS v



    Contents









    List of Illustrations vii


    List of Tables ix


    Acknowledgements xi



    Introduction 1



    Chapter 1: Origins and Antecedents 6


    The Emergence of the Playing Card Deck 8


    Some Theories of Tarot Origin 18



    Chapter 2: Renaissance Italy and the Emergence of Tarot 33


    The First Tarot Deck 35


    The Viscontis and the Italian Renaissance 39


    The Purpose of the Deck 43


    Tarot Imagery 45



    Chapter 3: An Alternative Explanation of Tarot Symbolism 50


    The Magician/Il Bagatella 51


    Temporal and Spiritual Power: The Emperor and Empress, the Pope and


    the Popess 52


    Love 58


    The Chariot Misidentified 60


    The Virtues: Fortitude, Justice and Temperance 62


    The Old Man as Time 68


    The Wheel of Fortune 69


    The Hanged Man 70


    Death 73


    The Star, Moon and Sun: Astrology in Renaissance Italy 76


    Angel 79


    The World 80


    Not a Tarot Trump but still the Fool 82


    The Tower: Absent or Lost? 84


    The Devil in the Deck 88



    Chapter 4: The Transformation of Tarot into an Esoteric Device 93


    France in the Eighteenth Century 95


    Occult Philosophies 98


    Antoine Court de Gébelin 101


    Etteilla 106 vi A CULTURAL HISTORY OF TAROT


    Éliphas Lévi 111


    Papus 117



    Chapter 5: Across the Channel to England 121


    The Nature of British Occultism 122


    William Wynn Westcott 126


    S. L. Mathers 128


    The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn 129


    Aleister Crowley 137


    William Butler Yeats 142


    Arthur Edward Waite 144



    Chapter 6: Tarot and the New Age 151


    Predominant Themes of New Age Thought 152


    Combining Traditions and Methods 157


    The Influence of Feminism 159


    Neopaganism 161


    A Fascination with other Religions and Cultures: Great and Small 165


    History Repeating 169



    Conclusion 173



    Notes 177


    Bibliography 235


    Index 265


    CONTENTS vii



    Illustrations








    1. Maml(cid:460)k playing cards now housed in the Topkapi


    Sarayi Museum, Istanbul. 14


    2. The Tarocchi Players, Casa Borromeo, Milan. 35


    3. The Bishop by Hans Holbein, first half of the sixteenth century. 48


    4. The Popess from the Visconti-Sforza deck housed in the


    Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. 56


    5. Fortitude from the Visconti-Sforza deck housed in the


    Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. 65


    6. The Hanged Man from the Visconti-Sforza deck housed


    in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. 71


    7. Death from the Visconti Sforza deck housed


    in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. 74


    8. The Fool from the Visconti Sforza deck housed


    in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. 83


    9. The Moon from a contemporary version of the Tarot of Marseille. 94


    10. The Devil from a contemporary version of the Tarot of Marseille. 95


    11. The World from a contemporary version of the Tarot of Marseille. 96


    12. The Hanged Man recast as Prudence by Antoine Court de


    Gébelin in Le Monde Primitif. 102


    13. Isis figures in Court de Gébelin’s version of The Star in Le


    Monde Primitif. 103


    14. Lévi’s Baphomet as the Devil in Dogme et rituel de la haute magie. 116


    15. Lévi’s Chariot as portrayed in Dogme et rituel de la haute magie. 118


    16. The Moon card as represented in the Cipher Manuscript. 135


    17. The Hierophant from Crowley’s Thoth Tarot. 137


    18. Lust replaces Strength in Crowley’s trump sequence. 138


    19. The Magus from Crowley’s Thoth Tarot. 140


    20. The Fool from the Rider Waite deck. 145


    21. The High Priestess from the Rider Waite deck. 146


    22. Death from the Rider Waite deck. 147


    23. The Kaiser replaces the Emperor in the Anti-Nuclear


    Wendländisches Tarot (1980). 154


    24. Black Tortoises replace wands in the Feng Shui Tarot of


    Eileen and Peter Paul Connolly. 158


    25. Odin plays the role of Emperor in the Haindl Tarot. 161


    26. Marie Laveau replaces the Priestess in the New Orleans


    Voodoo Tarot. 167 viii A CULTURAL HISTORY OF TAROT


    27. Simbi d’l’eau adorns the equivalent of the 8 of Cups in the


    New Orleans Voodoo Tarot. 168


    28. The Wild Card is a novel addition to the New Orleans Voodoo


    Tarot. 169


    CONTENTS ix



    Tables








    1. Region-specific suit signs of tarot and ordinary playing cards. 7


    2. The alignment of the ‘celestial princes and barons’


    with the four orders. 36


    3. Structure of the Etteilla tarot deck. 108


    4. A comparison of Etteilla’s tarot cards with the Tarot de


    Marseille tarot trumps. 110


    5. A table of correspondences to Hebrew letters formulated


    by Athanasius Kircher. Planetary spheres were arranged according


    to their supposed distance above the earth, from Saturn to


    the Moon as the closest. 115


    6. Correspondences associated with tarot suit signs according


    to Éliphas Lévi. 117


    7. Table of correspondences between the tarot trumps and the


    Hebrew letters according to Éliphas Lévi and the Cipher Manuscript. 133


    8. Correspondences as given in the Sefer Yesi(cid:795)rah, by Papus


    and in the Cipher Manuscript. 134


    9. Court card correspondences as described by Mathers


    in Book T. 136


    10. The table of correspondences drawn up by Yeats while he


    was still a member of the Theosophical Society. 143


    11. A table of correspondences between the four tarot suits and


    other systems including Jung’s four functions of personality used


    in the New Tarot. 156




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