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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Review: Tarot Travel Guide of Italy – History of a Mystery from the Renaissance

Tarot Travel Guide of Italy –
History of a Mystery from the Renaissance

Author: Morena Poltronieri, Ernesto Fazioli, Arnell Ando
Translated by: Arnell Ando
Museo dei Tarocchi
2015

Tarot Travel Guide of Italy cover

I truly honor my friendship with co-author Arnell Ando. If we had never met (in cyberspace), I would have missed out on so many things – this lovely book included! The 200 page, 100 copy first printing of “Tarot Travel Guide of Italy” takes the reader on an incredible journey of the Tarot through the Renaissance period in Italy. We see the Tarot as it develops in Italy from its early roots, with a peek into the actual physical places connected with this history. Reflected in this book are the Tarot tours that Arnell Ando, along with Morena Poltronieri and Ernesto Fazioli of the Tarot Museum have led over the past several years, including a map with key locations and an actual itinerary of their tour. What a nice time out from the day to day of life, to be able to step into the world of Tarot in a significantly unique manner! Where else could you get even a glimpse of the richness of the Tarot world, from Ferrara and Milan, to a Mediterranean garden of incredible sculptures, to an amazing museum dedicated to the Tarot!

From the back cover:

Morena Poltronieri and Ernesto Fazioli have been working for over thirty years in the field of anthropological research of symbols; specializing in major art work and architecture, both in Italy and abroad. They have written numerous books on these and related subjects, and direct the International Museum of Tarot in Italy. www.museodeitarrochi.net.

Arnell Ando is the creator of “Hero’s Journey Tarot”, “Transformational Tarot”, and “Lucky Pack Tarot”. She co-organizes the Tarot Art History Tours with the Museo dei Tarrochi. www.arnellart.com”.

What a rich background the co-authors have and what a depth of knowledge they bring to their subject! (Note the front cover, with illustrations from the “Tarot Monteiri”, an eighteenth century Tarot deck.)

The “Tarot Travel Guide of Italy” begins with an introduction to the possible origins of Tarot, including China, India, Gypsies, Egypt, Cabala, the cards of Fez, Morocco, the Crusades and more. The Tarot is discussed as being a series of symbols holding primordial energies of existence. The information given is interesting, with a plethora of research points for further study.

From there we move on to the city of Bologna (where Tarot was born). Included here is a beautiful graphic of the Rosenwald Tarot, the Aces from the Tarocchino Tarot Bolognese, a chart showing the major arcana titles in the regional dialect, as well as Italian and English, and much more! The text discusses the evolution of the major arcana, the numbering (or lack of numbering) of the cards and tidbits such as Saint Petronius being the first Hanged Man image in history. Another interesting tidbit is the burning of all the Tarot decks in the city under the auspices of the historical figure Saint Bernardino (Bernardino da Siena). (Remember – Tarot was considered a game at this time.)

One of my favorite stories revolves around the church of St. Stephen, in Bologna. There are full color pics of the church, and of the symbols that were built into it. It also contains the Martyrs (the place for sacred relics), the Holy Garden, and the Anastasis.

Two of my favorite images in this book are the full color images of Triumph of Fame, and Triumph of Death, both by Lorenzo Costa.

Moving on, we come to Milan, and the Visconti Sforza Tarot. It is amazing to follow the actual people behind the decks, and how the culture of their time influenced the presentation of the cards.

This book is unique in that it was written to accompany an actual present day journey to visit the places of historical interest in Italy, with an emphasis on the Tarot. The historical background is in depth, allowing this book to serve as a stand-alone guide, but also to act as a template for any individual who chooses to visit these historical sites. Once there, an individual would also have a sense of what to look for at each site, and of the history of the individuals that once lived there.

This book also serves as a historical resource and is graced with both black and white and full color images that bring the magic into being. I loved the section on the Tarot Garden, a literal garden of Tarot sculptures created by Niki de Saint Phalle. One venue that is not to be missed is the Mueso dei Tarocchi, in Riola. Incredible work is being done here, both in the preservation of history and historical objects, and in the production of new, limited edition decks.

In the back of the book is a beautifully done section including maps of Italy, and the individual cities of Bologna, Milan, Ferrara, Bergamo, Varese, Clusone, Siena, Capalbio and Riola. Each map is marked with must see historical sites.

For anyone with an interest in Tarot or Tarot history, this is a must have book. Each order is accompanied by a bonus of at least two Tarot art postcards, a magnet, and matching artsy stamps which reference details in the Travel Guide. Aside from being well written and well researched, the book is filled with black and white scans and full page, full color reproductions. I highly recommend this book, as it takes you deep into the history of the Tarot, while at the same time showing you actual physical places where you can check out Tarot history, and see the mark that it literally left on the landscape.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

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Posted by on June 25, 2015 in Tarot

 

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Review – The Parallel Worlds Tarot

Parallel Worlds Tarot

Author: Astrid Amadori
Artist: Astrid Amadori
Independently Published
2014

Amadori had me at the name – “Parallel Worlds Tarot”! I am a firm believer in parallel worlds! The 78 card deck, and the 65 page companion book are packaged in a lift off top box. The predominate colors on the box are blue and white, with black lettering. My eye was naturally drawn to the little hummingbird on the upper left hand side of the box cover. The same bird is featured on the card backs.

This deck was created over a period of several years, and reflects Amadori’s  life experiences as a Tarot reader and artist. The aim of the deck is to encourage individuals to read intuitively, aided by the detailed images and bright colors within the cards. From my personal point of view, I also appreciate the fact that this is a borderless deck, which allows the mind to wander a bit. In her introduction, Amadori refers to the Tarot as a mirror of the soul.

The images can depict events (past, preset, or future), but they can also depict dreams, hopes, and astral visions. The Minor Arcana reference situations and feelings pertinent to their suit.

The Court Cards are depicted in a specific manner. From the Guide:

  • King and Queens are powerful characters, shown in their sphere of action.
  • Knights are depicted with each corresponding (biblical) creature, and are emphasizing the atmosphere that corresponds with their element. Those four creatures (lion, eagle, human and bull) combined form the sphinx.
  • Squires are young males who travel on foot. Mostly they represent a message or chance, or people we meet only for a short time.

The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Coins. Strength is 8, Justice is 11. The Court Cards are King, Queen, Knight, and Squire. The Hierophant has been retitled the High Priest.

In her Guide, Amadori emphasizes the fact that the cards should be read intuitively. The words beneath the images are to be used as guidelines only – each individual needs to intuit the meaning for themselves. As the reader looks at each cars, they are to ask themselves what story the card tells that resonates with the question. What feelings and associations are represented? After all – a Tarot reading is the story of what s going on in the client’s life at the time of the reading. For the Court Cards, Amadori suggests that only the Kings and Queen’s be read as people. The Knights represent atmospheres and surroundings. The Squires represent messages or chances.

Three spreads are included in the Guide: a six card Healing Spread, a nine card spread entitled The Junction, and the traditional ten card Celtic Cross Spread. The write-up on the cards includes a small black and white scan, a word that represents the card, a short piece on what the card represents, and keywords.

The Parallel Worlds Tarot_0001

The cards themselves are 2 ¾” by 4 ¾”. They are borderless, with a colored strip across the bottom. The backs are reversible, and show a hummingbird in flight, against a night sky, with a quarter moon in the upper right hand corner, against a background of stars. The Major Arcana show the title across the middle of the strip, the pips (numbered cards) show the card meaning, while the Court Cards show title and suit.

I love the fact that there are no borders, and that there is a lot of beautiful color used. The style is very basic (primitive), use some traditional imagery, and some of the Amadori’s own choice. The more non-traditional includes the Eagle on the Eight of Wands, the biblical animals alongside the Knight’s horses, the Devil depicted as a clown, the rainbow coming from the bottom of the glass in the Magician’s hand, Death showing figures in white tethered to a figure in a black cape, the Fool in a juggler costume, juggling the cycles of the moon, and the Hummingbird above the Six of Cups.

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The High Priest (Hierophant) shows a figure clad in white, standing behind a tree, against a background of flames. The Guide refers to the High Priest as incorporating the virtue of listening to the inner voice, or guidance from within.

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The Hermit shows a figure standing on a cliff, facing water. His left hand is at his side, his right hand is extended in front of him. Golden light radiates from his heart. The Guide speaks of prudence and wisdom, of letting go of all baggage and concentrating on the essential things in life.

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The Moon shows figures going up into the sky, into a full moon. The Guide speaks of Dreams, twilight, and intuition – but with the danger of getting lost.

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The Three of Wands shows three upright Wands, connected with a red ribbon. They have been placed in green grass, next to a small body of water. Each Wand has a gold tip. In the background we see the sun shining over mountains.

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The Ten of Cups shows a figure standing within an eye, surrounded by the twelve astrological signs. Ten cups are lined up in two rows underneath the figure. The association on the bottom of the card reads “Perfected Success”. The Guide speaks of great bliss, and a happy family life.

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The Six of Swords shows a red rose centered on a gold shield, surrounded by a blue-green motif. Six swords are lodged in the gold shield, with choppy water under them. The Guide speaks of success after endured troubles. The association on the bottom of the card is “Earned Success”.

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The Nine of Swords Shows a male figure in black, with his head in his hands. Above his head we see nine swords aimed at him. The Guide speaks of pain, depression, and nightmares. The association along the bottom of the card is “Despair and Cruelty”.

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The Five of Coins shows a darkened room with light streaming in through a barred window. Five golden coins are on the floor, along with three dark birds (perhaps raven). The guide speaks of loss of money or job, or long periods of poverty. The association along the bottom of the card is “Material Trouble”.

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The King of Coins shows a male figure, dressed in black, seated in a red chair. His right arm is on the arm of the chair, while his left hand is raised, holding a large coin in it. The Guide speaks of a reliable, even tempered man, who is patient and hard working.

This is a very refreshing deck, beautifully done, that is very easy to read with. Stories flow! I would feel comfortable offering this deck to any of my clients.

© 2014 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2015 in Tarot

 

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