Monthly Archives: February 2016

Review – The Renaissance Origins of Tarot

The Renaissance Origins Of Tarot

Author: Giovanni Pelosini
English Translation: Arnell Ando
ISBN #987-88996910-2-8

The Renaissance Origins of Tarot cover

“The Renaissance Origins Of Tarot” is a well written, 78 page book on the origins of the Tarot. In his introduction, Pelosini differentiates between playing cards (with their origins in Asia), and Tarot cards, which he defines as being an Italian innovation from the Middle Ages. Pelosini sees the Tarot as a Renaissance codification of cultural models of various origins, and as being an adaptation on an eastern matrix card game, which arrived in Europe most likely through Arabic contacts.

This was also a period when card making technology was becoming more advanced, especially in the areas of Fabriano (1276) and Bologna. The Minor Arcana were developed from early playing cards, which resulted in the suits of Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. (It is interesting to note that the French suits were developed from the Italian suits.) The Major Arcana were developed from the original Triumphi.

Pelosini covers the people and texts that were in evidence in these early days, such as Court de Gebelin ( Mondi Primitif), with his belief that the Tarot had been brought to Europe by nomadic Gypsies, Eliphas Levi (Alphonse-Louis Constant), and Papus. Pelosini talks about the oral tradition of Tarot, about initiatory traditions, spreading these traditions through the use of Tarot as a card game. The game could be seen as a game, but to s select few it would also carry symbolic meanings and sacred teachings.

The background of the Trumps (Triumphs) is discussed, as reflecting the moral virtues and classical mythology of the parades/processions of the middle ages, including the Triumphs of Petrarch. The cards were played by royalty in the courts as a game, and in the taverns as a gambling device.

Another part of the cultural background of the Tarot that Pelosini discusses is Greek- Alexandria Hermeticism and Gnosticism. Included in this discussion is the Corpus Hermeticum (by Hermes Trismegistus).

The philosophy and theories of this time, and the individuals who espoused them, are well presented in this book. Solid research has been done, and footnoted abound, allowing the reader to follow the trail to wherever it might lead them.

Throughout this work we see color photos of Tarot cards, of the individuals being discussed, and the material being discussed. We are literally taking a step back in time, so that while we read the text we are simultaneously presented with a color visual of what was and what is.

Part of this “stepping back in time” for me was reading about the game of Tarot as it was played in the Courts. The Triumphs (Trumps) were used to make statements in quite an interesting manner!

This is a book that can be considered a resource – much more than something that we read once, then set aside. It is well written, well documented, and filled with bright visual imagery. It is an education, and well worth the reading.

© February 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written permission of the author.

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Posted by on February 18, 2016 in Tarot


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Review: Tarot Tales Presents – Diamond Dust Blues

Tarot Tales Presents –
Diamond Dust Blues

Author: Tidal Ashburn
Edited by: Cindy Dooley
December, 2015

Diamond Dust Blues cover


I feel very blessed to have had this work cross my path. “Diamond Dust Blues” is an incredible story that I would place in the cozy mystery genre. It revolves around the character Ruby Perkins – a struggling actress who lives in the “mother-in-law” cottage on her Aunt Jenna’s property. It opens with Ruby baking her famous orange raisin scones for her Aunt Jenna’s birthday.  (Probably good to mention ahead of time that Aunt Jenna is transgender.)

Ruby takes her scones over to her Aunt Jenna’s house, and has a wonderful breakfast of tea, scones, and animated conversation with her. Aunt Jenna has somehow manufactured a reason for an eligible bachelor (eligible in her eyes, that is) to come over that evening to fix a non-existent problem in the plumbing, and to have dinner and meet Ruby. Ruby is not too happy with all of this, but agrees to come over, have dinner, and meet him.

On her way out the door she gets a call from a business friend that has an urgent need for her to do two singing telegrams for him. She agrees – and the next thing she knows she is waking up in a hospital, in great pain, with no memory of what happened. More than that – she has no memory of anything, including who she is!

Things go steadily downhill – she was shot while delivering the second singing telegram, as were several other people. The man who shot her is wanted by the FBI, and there is a question of whether he died in the shootout or not. Then there is her male nurse, who may or may not be a nurse, Aunt Jenna staying in the next hospital room so that she can be protected too from the people that the shooter was working for, and a female doctor that has an agenda of her own.

Ruby is offered the witness protection program, but balks when Aunt Jenna is not to be included. Oh, and there is a pipe bomb that goes off in her hospital room. Ruby digs her heels in, and Aunt Jenna is included in the witness protection program. Her male nurse (who she finds out is a U.S. Marshall) and one other marshal are to be responsible for relocating Ruby and her aunt, which results in quite an interesting cross country journey!

I did not want to put this book down! (Okay – I am reading the digital version, in which case I did not want to walk away!) The story is fast paced, with well defined characters and a nice dose of humor. There is depth in a multitude of areas – baking, cooking, cloths (I loved the marabou feathered poofs on Aunt Jenna’s slippers!), the art world, the world of the hospital, the world of the U.S. Marshals, the witness protection program, the world of smuggling jewels, and so much more. Intertwined are the personal relationships between the characters, which contain many levels of reality.

I loved the small details – such as the “painted lady” Victorian houses in Tennessee. A great deal of research and caring went into the writing of this book – I hope to see many more by this author!

© February 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

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Posted by on February 16, 2016 in fiction books


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Review – Explore The Major Arcana: A Workbook For Empowerment

Explore the Major Arcana:
A Workbook For Empowerment

Author: Judyth Sult
Tarot of Empowerment
ISBN #978-0-9864446-1-6

Explore the Major Arcana - coveruygfd

“Explore the Major Arcana: A Workbook For Empowerment” uses the art from the “Tarot of Empowerment”, the Tarot deck that Sult co-created with artist Gordana Curgus. The interpretations and technique in this 90 page book are meant to empower individuals to put the archetypal energy of the Tarot to work in their lives.

In her introduction, Sult speaks of the many ways that the cards can be read. This book represents her personal journey into reading the Tarot. In exploring the Tarot, card by card, her focus is on helping readers discover the empowering energy in each card. She goes on to define empowerment as the courage to make decisions for the highest good, based on information the higher self reveals through the cards. The focus of her readings is to make the best decision in the present for the future.

Sult believes that reading with the Major Arcana alone is more concise, more empowering than reading with the entire 78 card deck. In her words, “… the Minors color between the bold strokes of the majors in readings”.

Starting out with an excellent chapter on communicating with, and building trust in your guides, Sult moves on to creating an empowering reading, including how to frame a question, how to lay the cards out, and how to interpret the cards. She has included spreads such as Best Course of Action, Next Best Step, Choice Between Two Options, Looking For a Relationship, Four Stages, New Year Reading, and Discussion. She also talks about how to create your own spread.

There is a delightful chapter on Tarot and Numerology, with the association between the numbers 1-9 and the Major Arcana cards. She also covers determining your Life Path number, what the Life Path meanings are, determining your Personal Year number, and something Sult calls the Age Influence.

The cards are each presented with a small black and white scan, with the card name, with a short poem about the card, and with questions the reader can ask themselves about the card, with a lined space to write in their responses.

Some title changes have been made in the Tarot of Empowerment: Fool/Questor, Empress/Sustenance, Emperor/Authority, Hierophant/Advisor, Lovers/Choice, Chariot/Determination, Hermit/Introspection, Hanged Man/New Perspective, Death/Life Cycle, Devil/Entrapment, Tower/Chaos, Judgment/Awakening, Unknown (extra card).

For the Questor (The Fool), the poem reads: “What are you seeking? Who do you meet? Risk to explore, to learn, to trust, To find the truth of who you are.” The questions presented are: What tools do you have as the Questor to begin the journey? What characteristics would make this an empowering card? How would you interpret this card if it were in the position of the theme of the reading? How would you interpret this card in the position of best course of action? How would you interpret this card as the challenge card? What is hidden from the person or situation according to this card? How would you interpret this card as the hope and fear card?

“Explore the Major Arcana: A Workbook For Empowerment” is a well written book that gently leads the reader into new ways of thinking, and new ways of interpreting the cards. I loved it, and I think that you will too!

© February 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written permission of the author

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Posted by on February 16, 2016 in Tarot


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