The First Book of Tarot & More!
We started e-mailing out a newsletter, which eventually was named the Tarocks Tribune. These newsletters were extensive from the beginning, so we decided to make them more accessibly by sharing them here. This is our ninth. To read them all, click on the Tribune category near the top of our blog page.
The continuation of the quest… or ‘about the history and the eventual origin of Tarot
Welcome to the second edition of the Tarocks Tribune!
Lifting the veil, a secret revealed - The recurring theme of the Tarocks Tribune, for now. We shared this with you in our first edition. In case you missed it, all our newsletters will find a home for continued perusal on our Tarocks website.
During our continuous research on the backgrounds and history of the tarot we meet with countless theories and articles that are confident in having found the ultimate answer to the origin of the tarot. As we wrote already several times, we simply cannot say which article proves to be the most authoritive or which theory is to be believed.
Our Shop is now Online!
We started e-mailing out a newsletter, which eventually was named the Tarocks Tribune. These newsletters were extensive from the beginning, so we decided to make them more accessibly by sharing them here. This is our sixth. To read them all, click on the Tribune category near the top of our blog page.
This month we offer you an incredible newsletter filled with mystery!
Here is what this letter covers:
If, while reading this newsletter, you think of someone in your life who loves cards as much as we do, feel free to forward them this e-mail.
Here is your Tarocks Update.
We started e-mailing out a newsletter, which eventually was named the Tarocks Tribune. These newsletters were extensive from the beginning, so we decided to make them more accessibly by sharing them here. This is our fifth. To read them all, click on the Tribune category near the top of our blog page.
Greetings! We are happy to present you with the February newsletter of 2019 in which we will offer to you our latest findings and inspiring topics.
First of all, we want to thank you for visiting our website and signing up for our newsletter. We truly hope that you will enjoy the images and the descriptions of the decks shown on Tarocks.
If, while reading this newsletter, you think of someone in your life who loves cards as much as we do, feel free to forward them this e-mail or share this link with them so they can sign up.
The Balbi Tarot was designed by Domenico Balbi in 1976 and published in 1978 by Heraclio Fournier in Spain.
From the accompanying instruction leaflet by Emilio Picciotto:
Domenico Balbi, a painter, designer and engraver, was born in Genoa in 1927 and passed away in 2005. After a study on the Art Academy of Genoa he moved to Paris where he continued his art studies and became interested in esoteric philosophy. Domenico Balbi took part in many art exhibitions in Italy and abroad. He also gave numerous conferences on the symbolism of the Cabala and the Tarot, that can be found on the design of his cards.
The Sheridan Douglas Tarot was first published in 1972 by Mandragora Press, 31 St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4EY, England. The cards were designed by David Sheridan and the accompanying instruction leaflet was composed by Alfred Douglas.
Abbreviated and borrowed from various sources (in slightly different wording…) ‘Originally the deck was meant to accompany a book, The Tarot: the origins, meaning and uses of the cards by Alfred Douglas.
Oswald Wirth was born on august 5, 1860 in Brienz, Switzerland. Around 1880 he went to Paris where he joined the army. After his military service, he worked both as an artist and accountant and got interested in the occult. He befriended the famous Italian artist and occultist Stanislas de Guaita. This friendship ultimately resulted in 1889 in the publication of the tarot deck Les 22 Arcanes du Tarot du Tarot dessinés a l’usage des initiés sur les indications de Stanislas de Guaita. (published by Georges Poirel). This was a limited edition of ca. 100 beautifully hand colored copies and is very rare. The exact quantity of this edition is somewhat unclear. It is interesting that another famous occultist from Fin de Siècle Paris, Papus, in the same period published (other)images of the cards of the major arcana of the tarot in his famous work Le Tarot des Bohémiens.
The Hermetic Tarot was published in 1979 by US Games Systems Inc. (copyright mentioned on the cards). The booklet shows a copyright of 1980. This first edition was printed in Spain by Fournier and distributed by US Games System Inc. We don’t know how big the first print run was, but according to the enclosed control paper, this one might be copy number 5618.
The cards are printed entirely in black and white and the details and symbols in each card reveal many of the esoteric workings of the Secret Order of the Golden Dawn, which flourished around the turn of the century.
In 1929, Manly Palmer Hall, founder of the Philosophical Research Society (it still exists), compiled a tarot deck designed by J. Augustus Knapp. In this deck, like in many others, we will find Hebrew characters and French titles, close to the Tarot de Marseille (TdM). The sequence of the cards follows the traditional pattern: VIII is Justice (la Justice) and XI shows Strength. The cards of the Minor Arcana are not illustrated.
The Meditation Symbols added to the design by Manly P. Hall are not explained. Their significance must be discovered by internal experience, expanding the meaning of the cards on which they appear.
‘The Great Esoteric Tarot is the first true and wholy Spanish Tarot in origination and design – on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the existing of playing cards in Europe’. Thus, wrote Heraclio Fournier in April 1976 in Vitoria, Spain.
The design of the cards by Luis Pena Longa resembles the standard TdM but is more colorful.
The major arcana cards are numbered and have titles in Spanish. Card number XIII, Death, is not numbered, probably because number 13 is considered an unlucky number. Astrological symbols and Hebrew letters have been assigned to the cards of the major arcana and the court cards. The minor arcana cards have numbers, but no titles.
Etteilla, The Wigmaker
Etteilla (1738-1791) born Aillette, was a barber by profession, who changed his name into Etteilla (spelled backwards, after the Hebrew tradition), when he became involved in occult thinking and, according to many, became a full-time fortuneteller.
Being a barber and a skillful wigmaker, he had little further education and not much experience with the philosophies of the more initiated. Nevertheless, he was gifted with a profound intuition (and a convincing fantasy). Contemporaries like Eliphas Levi, even believed that he came very near unveiling ‘The Real Secrets behind the Tarot’, but Levi also stated that his thoughts, when put into writing, were ‘obscure, wearisome, and in style even barbarous’.
Etteila was probably influenced by Comte Court de Gebelin (1728-1784), who led many occultists of those days to believe in the possible Egyptian roots of the Tarot.
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