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Review – The Chrysalis Tarot Companion Book

Chrysalis Tarot –
Companion Book

Author: Toney Brooks
Artist: Holly Sierra
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
2016
ISBN #978-1-57281-798-2

Chrysalis Tarot book cover

The “Chrysalis Tarot” is the 216 page companion book for the Chrysalis Tarot deck. The cover illustration shows a cosmic version of the Nine of Spirals, featuring Aeolus, Master of the Four Winds. The reader’s eyes are immediately drawn to Aeolus face, with the eyes connecting on both a real-time and a soul level. It is time for each of us to re-examine our own world view!

In his introduction, Brooks talks about how creating a Tarot deck is a transpersonal process, including imaginary conversations with the characters in their “dramatis personae”. In retrospect, he realized that perhaps those conversations, at least in part, were not so imaginary after all. The Chrysalis companion book is then not only about the Chrysalis Tarot, but also about his efforts to uncover the hidden realities of the universe that shape our lives and compel us towards our destiny.

The most talkative cards for Brooks were those representing the Troupe (the Chrysalis version of Tarot’s Court cards). I love that Brooks refers to the Tarot as a metaphysical looking glass that pinches the higher realms of reality. I also love the statement that if something unseen or imagined resonates with our consciousness, then it is real.

Part One examines the Chrysalis Tarot, and other forms of magic, while Part Two provides an in-depth interpretation of each of the 78 cards in the deck.

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.”  Nikola Tesla, from Chapter 1

Tesla’s comment on the secrets of the universe are really at the foundation of this deck. Brooks talks about Elpi, a Goddess from Greek mythology that is the archetype featured in card 17 (Elpi/Star). He talks about viewing the universe in a holistic manner, versus the “dead universe” worldview. Elpi represents the living universe. Brooks talks about experiential spirituality, defining spiritual alchemy as having a conversation with the numinous.

He goes on to discuss the Holy Grail, the Celtic Cauldron of Rebirth, and the return of the Shekinah. I loved the section on the Storyteller’s Vision Quest. The storyteller is a female shaman schooled in the ways of a holistic wise woman. (A shaman being defined as someone that is an adept at manipulating subtle energy.) Here Brooks notes that the Tarot as a healing modality emphasizing the sacred ideals of self-knowledge and self-acceptance. He talks about energy and archetypes, and about magic being real. All of this is a very thorough prelude to working with this deck – which is energetically different from a traditional Tarot deck, although it follows the same 78 card format.

Part Two present the individual cards – their meaning, and the meaning within the artwork. One thing that I did note, and like, is that Brooks does not recommend using reversals with this deck. Each of the Major Arcana cards is presented with a half-page black and white scan, the reasoning behind why each character was chosen to represent that archetype, and a page on what the archetype itself is all about. Some of the archetypal energies chosen are Merlin as the Fool, Gaia as the Empress, the Phoenix as Judgment, and Psyche as The World.

The section on the Minor Arcana begins by discussing the renaming of the suits (Stones/Pentacles, Mirrors/Cups, Spirals/Wands, and Scrolls/Swords). The Pips (numbered cards) are presented with a half-page black and white scan, information about the symbols within the cards, and the energy/meaning of the card.

The sixteen cards that represent the Court Cards in a traditional deck are replaced with something called the Troupe – they are archetypes, eight male and eight female, that are divided up into four roles (Mentors, Muses, Mystics, and Messengers). Collectively they are akin to a band of medieval troubadours whose purpose was to travel the land bringing news, gossip, wisdom and entertainment. They are presented with a half-page black and white scan, who the character is, and what the symbols within the card mean.

At the end of the book we have the nine card Fairy Ring Spread.

This is a very different take on traditional Tarot – yet it serves the same purpose. I found the material interesting, and easy to follow. I personally would not use this deck for ritual work, but it works well for readings, journeying, and for meditation purposes.

© March 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproductionprohibited wthout written permission of he author.

 

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2016 in Tarot

 

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Review: The Deviant Moon Tarot Companion Book

Deviant Moon Tarot
(Companion Book)

Author: Patrick Valenza
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
2016
ISBN #978-1572816879

Deviant Moon Tarot book

The Deviant Moon Tarot companion book is hard cover (yes!), full color (yes!), solid, quality paper stock (yes!), with an absolutely amazing cover! Amazing art – that is a given with Valenza, combined with an equally amazing presentation of the art. I do not know that much about art presentation, so I queried Lynn Sparrow from U.S. Games Systems, Inc. about the process. She gave me the following description, one that was given to her by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Creative Director Paula Palmer (who designed the book!): “The cover has a matte finish with a crackle spot varnish for texture. The title and some of the art elements have foil stamping and the main image is debossed into the cover.” You have to see and feel this cover to truly appreciate it. Kudos to Mr. Valenza and Ms. Palmer!

The front and back inside pages are made to look like advertisements from the 1920’s – with a twist! The reader is invited to attend “The Social Event of the Year” (which is advertised as a night of debauchery!), to purchase scalp fertilizer for balding hair, to purchase “Elegant Urns for After the Burn” (this under funeral supplies!), to “Say Goodbye to a Healthy Body” (Madam Morte’s Mercury Cream), and more! It is fascinating to read each one of these ads! The flip side of life, as it were.

A lovely extra is card 49 (The Beast), which is included with the book. There is a separate card that includes a short paragraph about the Beast, along with upright and reversed meanings. Please note: The extra card is included only if the book is ordered directly from the author. It is not included if purchased anywhere else.

In the Deviant Tarot Valenza is well known for presenting wonderfully unique interpretations of the Tarot, using symbolism inspired by childhood dreams and visions. In his companion book, Valenza takes us behind the scenes of the Deviant Moon (which I have to admit took some getting used to for me when it first came out), to share where his creative inspiration came from, and to explain the artistic techniques that went into creating this deck.

In his preface, Valenza talks about the challenge of writing a companion book. He knew that he was up to the challenge, but did not realize how long it was going to take to finish the project. I love that he chose to work in the middle of the night, because that was when it was quiet. I am definitely a late night person myself. For Valenza, this book chronicles a personal journey with the Tarot that was at least thirty years in the making (beginning in his childhood), and was a true growth experience.

Valenza talks about his journey with the Tarot, which began in the mid-1970’s, when he was nine years old. He picked up his first deck at a local mall with his parents (not on their first trip, however – he had to be persistent!). This deck, however, had to be exchanged, as it was in French! The deck that he exchanged it for was a less ornate Tarot Classic deck. What a great gift for an actively intuitive child with imagination! Love the pics that Valenza shared of himself as a child. When an artist/author shares the background of their work, for me the work takes on a deep, “otherworldly” quality.

The original 13 cards for the Deviant Moon Tarot were created when Valenza was between the ages of 15 and 18. The card dimensions were based on the Visconti-Sforza Tarot, with a light coat of metallic gold paint being applied to the background of each image to create an ethereal glow. The cards had arched, Gothic borders, with the border color chosen to intuitively to compliment the color scheme of the painting. The character stylization was influenced by ancient Greek art.

When Valenza restarted the creation of the Deviant Moon in 2004 he switched from painting to digital photos. The rest is history!  I absolutely love that amongst his photographic sources were cemeteries, where he took a tiny sample of dirt from the gateways each time he visited them (leaving a generous gift for the gatekeeper in return), asylums, parks, and historic sites. A bit scary? Valenza does talk about confronting his nightmares – and never having them return again!

Many of the images in this deck came to Valenza fully in a flash of insight, or in a lucid dream. Two write about the images in the cards, he had to go back and examine them again in order to discern their meanings.

Each card of the Major Arcana is presented with a full page, color photo, a short discussion of the energy of the card, upright and reversed meanings, and a bit about his journey in creating the card. Also included are more full page, full color photos, as well as smaller photos.

The section on the Minor Arcana begins with an explanation of the border colors (Swords – Red, Cups – Blue, Wands – Green, and Pentacles – Black), and the fact that the Minor Arcana were not conceived in Valenza’s youth, but in his adult  years. Each card is presented with a full page, full color photo, a short discussion of the energy of the card, upright and reversed meanings, and a bit about the process of how the card was created. Full page, full color photos and sketches are included, as well as smaller photos.

I cannot say enough about what a joy this book is! Incredible quality, along with incredible depth. It will remain within reach at all times, as a resource, and not shelved! Filled with full color art on each page, U.S. Games Systems, Inc. has outdone itself in creating a quality product to showcase a quality product. If you don’t have the deck yet – go buy it! Then, of course, you need this incredible companion book to go with it! You could spend hours on the images alone, and even more hours on the how and why of this deck. Well worth your effort!

© 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without writen permission of hte author.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2016 in Tarot

 

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Review – The Renaissance Origins of Tarot

The Renaissance Origins Of Tarot

Author: Giovanni Pelosini
English Translation: Arnell Ando
Interwideo
2016
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
2016
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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Tarot Pink For Cancer

Tarot Pink For Cancer –
For Inspiration, Empowerment, and Support

Artists: collaboration of 65 Tarot artists
Author: personal interpretation from the artists
Introduction by Mary K. Greer
GameCrafter
2015

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“Tarot Pink For Cancer” is a project under the auspices of Ron Leong and WizardToo, LLC that involved 65 talented artists within the Tarot community that came together and created a Tarot deck to inspire, empower, and support breast cancer awareness, and those going through the breast cancer treatment process. It is meant to be a fund raising tool to benefit breast cancer research.

Under the sponsorship of WizardToo, LLC (the publisher of the Tarot e-cards app), there is a printed deck available through Game Crafter (Tarot Pink For Cancer), and a Tarot app for both iOS and Android mobile devices.

This is a full 78 card deck, accompanied by a 22 page companion booklet, and a bag to store the cards in. (Note: A digital download of the companion booklet is available after purchase.)

In her introduction, Mary Greer (author of “Tarot For Yourself”) talks about the fact that we have all been touched by some form of cancer, or a life-threatening illness, whether it is ourselves, a loved one, a friend, or someone we admire. She refers to it as an emotional, transformative experience for everyone involved.  Greer notes that many of the artists found the experience of creating one or more cards was healing in and of itself. This deck is seen as supporting a healing journey – along these lines, Greer suggests giving the deck to someone that is going through the cancer experience, and then perhaps helping them out with something that they need help with.

Some of the artists are working in remembrance of someone they know, others are cancer survivors themselves. Greer notes that there are no rules for working with this deck – that each individual should use them in the manner that works best for them. She sees the 78 cards of this deck as 78 gifts and prayers for well-being – as indeed they are!

The 22 page companion booklet (which features the card Strength on the cover) includes a small write-up from each artist of what the card means to them. Color scans, including the Queen of Cups, the Eight of Coins, the Seven of Swords, and the Three of Wands are scattered throughout the booklet.

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The cards are 2 ¾” by 4 ¾”. The backs feature a pink background with white clouds, and a pink lemnescate in the center. The card backs are reversible. The card faces feature a light gray border, with the card name at the top, in black, against a pink strip. The card image is outlined with a thing strip of pink. Under the card we find the artists name, along with a short bio.

Here is some of the incredible work that came out of this project:

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The Magician (by Ciro Marchetti):

“The Magician represents making best use of personal power and skills. Through concentration and accessing resources, the individual determines the actions they want to take. The books on the shelf represent knowledge from study, the raven speaks to information coming from afar, and the owl speaks to spiritual/intuitive wisdom.”

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The Fool (by Arnell Ando):

“Fortune visits after misfortune. Allow yourself to be surprised by unusual synchronicities & gentle gestures. Fresh perspective during a challenging time. Revisit a sense of optimism and belief in an inner journey. Look to friends who cherish you. Trust your gut. Don’t forget to reward yourself with spontaneous, unexpected treats when things get overwhelming.”

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The Page of Swords (by Ash Goh):

“We face challenges on a daily basis. This word means Patience in Chinese which brings to mind the importance of governing our thought processes as we face obstacles that seem insurmountable. “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we lay the hand. Randy Pascal, The Last Lecture.”    

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The Hanged Man (by Chanel Bayless):

“It’s time to let go of fears and give yourself a moment to reflect on the positives of life. Time is suspended for now. Meditate. Allow your spirit to speak to the universe. You are seeing life from a different perspective. Connect. Accept. Everything is turning around.”

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The Hierophant (by Sue Silva):

“The Hierophant raises her right hand giving a peace sign that represents blessings to all and especially to ourselves. It is now that we know we hold the keys to our own destiny. We are strong and everything is possible in this life journey.”

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The Ace of Wands (by Chris Ernest Paradis):

“When the Ace of Wands appears, your passions have sparked a a creative instinct to manifest new possibilities in your life. You have the tools and energy to do it. It is up to you to overcome your obstacles and allow this spark to become a reality.

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The Page of Cups (by Paula Millet):

“The Page of Cups brings you messages of love from your circle of family and friends. Their support will carry you through whatever is to come.”

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The Eight of Swords (by Rhonda Delaune Welch):

“Isolation, self-imposed restrictions, imprisonment, stagnation, confusion. The Eight of Swords represents someone who considers herself trapped and isolated. This card mage shows a woman who has intentionally disengaged from her surroundings, unable or unwilling to see the mental stairway leading up and out of her current situation. Swords, representing her thoughts, impede her from more positive possibilities.”

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The Four of Cups (by Paula Millet):

“Signifies a time to retreat and reflect upon the choices before you. This is an opportunity to evaluate how you feel about your options and the possible outcomes.”

The journey for this deck was not an easy one – not with 65 artists, each with their own perception and opinions! I was with it all the way, as an observer. I thank everyone involved with this project – especially Mr. Ron Leong, for holding it all together. The end product is a delight to work with, and is definitely the tool of empowerment and healing that it was meant to be!

© October 2015 Bonnie Cehovet

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Travel Guide of Italy – History of A Mystery From The Renaissance

 

Tarot

I am really not going to say how late I am in getting this information out! Let’s just say embarrassingly so! I have always wanted to go on one of Arnell Ando’s Tarot tours of Italy, but have never been able to do so. In this 150 page guide (PDF version), Arnell (in collaboration with Morena Poltronieri and Ernesto Fazioli of the Museo dei Tarocchi) gifts the reader with a detailed guide to landmark artworks that contributed to the development of Tarot, along with esoteric, literary, and historic lore. (Tarot did not evolve in a vacuum!) It is a wonderful, expanded version of the original print book, including poetry, maps, early Tarot images, and so much more! It is a privilege to have this material in your hands!

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Tarot aficionados on all levels will find themselves drawn into this material. One of the things that the authors could do with the Kindle/PDF format that they could not in the print book was provide live links – a true bonus!

Here is my review of the earlier print book – https://theworldoftarot.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/review-tarot-travel-guide-of-italy-history-of-a-mystery-from-the-renaissance/. On Arnell’s site – http://www.arnellart.com/museodeitarocchi/msdk48-pdf.htm – you can purchase the Kindle version of the updated book, as well as a PDF version. The price of admission is minimal … what you take away is entry into a whole new world!

Gift yourself, gift a friend, and please remember to share the link! It doesn’t get this real very often!

© October 2015 Bonnie Cehovet

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Posted by on October 2, 2015 in Tarot

 

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