A cultural history of tarot: from entertainment to esotericism

Farley, Helen (2009) A cultural history of tarot: from entertainment to esotericism. I.B. Tauris Publishers, London, United Kingdom. ISBN 978-1-84885--053-8

Abstract

The enigmatic and richly illustrative tarot deck reveals a host of strange and iconic mages, such as The Tower, The Wheel of Fortune, The Hanged Man and The Fool: over which loom the terrifying figures of Death and The Devil. The 21 numbered playing cards of tarot have always exerted strong fascination, way beyond their original purpose, and the multiple resonances of the deck are ubiquitous. From T. S. Eliot and his 'wicked pack of cards' in 'The Waste Land' to the psychic divination of Solitaire in Ian Fleming's 'Live and Let Die'; and from the satanic novels of Dennis Wheatley to the deck's adoption by New Age practitioners, the cards have in modern times become inseparably connected to the occult. They are now viewed as arguably the foremost medium of prophesying and foretelling. Yet, as the author shows, originally the tarot were used as recreational playing cards by the Italian nobility in the Renaissance. It was only much later, in the 18th and 19th centuries, that the deck became associated with esotericism before evolving finally into a diagnostic tool for mind, body and spirit. This is the first book to explore the remarkably varied ways in which tarot has influenced culture. Tracing the changing patterns of the deck's use, from game to mysterious oracular device, Helen Farley examines tarot's emergence in 15th century Milan and discusses its later associations with astrology, kabbalah and the Age of Aquarius.


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Item Type: Book (Commonwealth Reporting Category A)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Print copy not held in the USQ Library.
Depositing User: Dr Helen Farley
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Australian Digital Futures Institute
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2012 01:53
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2014 05:51
Uncontrolled Keywords: tarot; cultural history; studies in religion; esotericism; new age
Fields of Research (FOR2008): 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210307 European History (excl. British, Classical Greek and Roman)
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170111 Psychology of Religion
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/18463

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