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Raymond Buckland (1934-2017) was an authority on many magical and spiritual disciplines on which subjects he wrote as many books of which The Complete Book of Witchcraft is the most well-known as it is often recognized as the book that drew many into the Pagan World. However, the list of his publications on magic and related subjects is endless and his books played an important role in the development and acceptance of the unseen.
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Raymond Buckland was born in London and from fathers side he was of Romani (gypsy?) background. This background combined with his vast knowledge on the occult most likely led to the materialization of The Gypsy Fortunetelling Deck. Indeed, the cards show many aspect of Gypsy dailylife that can easily be used for divination….The 74 cards that are shown on these pages have been published by Llewellyn’s Worldwide in 1989. However, the design of the cards does point to an earlier date of publication (1969). Unfortunately we could not discover the exact date of publication. We also could not verify who made the design. The Buckland Gypsy Fortunetelling cards must not be confused with The Buckland Gypsy Fortunetelling Tarot. That is entirely different (tarot) deck with 78 cards.
The cards in good condition, the box shows little signs of wear (no tear) and is a little scuffed around the edges.
About the background of the cards… (excerpts from the accompanying booklet)
‘Fortunetelling cards first appeared in Europe during the fourteenth century in the form of the Tarot deck. Almost certainly they were introduced by the Gypsies, nomads who had left their native India and roamed across Europe and Asia, living by their wits. Many People believed that these travelers were descendants of the ancient Egyptians, or ‘Gyptians, this later being further shortened to ‘Gypsies’. It is of no wonder, then, that the fortunetelling cards they carried have come to be erroneously thought of as originating with the ancient Egyptians.
The Major Arcana is made up of individual cards each bearing a different scene and set of symbols. The Minor Arcana is further divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Pentacles, and Swords. Each suit has an Ace through Ten, plus Page, Knight, Queen, and King. The full deck can be used for reading, or just the Major Arcana alone.
Over the centuries the Minor Arcana came to be used in games of chance and eventually developed into today's poker deck. The suit of Cups became Hearts, Wands became Clubs, Pentacles became Diamonds, and Swords became Spades. Somewhere along the way the Knight was discarded, leaving Page (now Jack), Queen, and King.
Although today many a Gypsy (or Romani, to use the true name) reads the Tarot, the majority also read the poker deck - even though there are only the Pips, with no full scenes to interpret. Over the past two hundred years or so - especially when Tarot decks have not been easy to find - some Romani families have designed their own Major Arcana cards to go with the poker deck, thus making up a full deck (but not quite full since the Knight was still missing - a total of 74 cards rather than 78). These new Major Arcana cards frequently bore no resemblance to those of the regular Tarot, and even varied greatly from one Gypsy family to the next.
One such Romani deck is that of the Buckland family of Gypsies, and it is here presented for the first time ever. It will be seen that even the Kings and Queens of the Minor Arcana have here become Gypsy Kings and Queens.
Rather than the tens Major Arcana and Minor Arcana, the Gypsies use their own words Boro Lil (Big Book) and Tarno Lil (Little Book)’.
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