Tarot News, July 2004
- India: "The exact origin of the tarot is unknown, but it is thought that they originated from somewhere around India and were brought to Europe with the Gypsies. The earliest deck seems to have appeared in the fourteenth century" knows Psychic Fortune Telling & Tarot Card Readings and probably this wisdom evolved in 100's or 1000's of Tarot card sessions, as we simply don't find any documents. But it's true: Tarot divination becomes popular in India, probably due to the activities of nomading Western hippies, which developed their interests in the 60ies and 70ies of 20th century - an interesting development, after the Western world once was detected as field for the activities of Indian Gurus now Western esoteric is exported to India following the work of 1000s of missionaries with other interests. "Once Bodhidharma went to China ..." - religion is a matter of change.
In the moment the mythmaking universal Hollywood gets some Tarot-fun: Goodlooking Bipasha Basu, a female Indian moviestar of some name, plays the role of a Tarotcard reader in her forthcoming movie Rakht. Luckily the actress "denies the rumor that she is in any way interested in black magic or voodoo arts", carefully avoiding the trap "... once a Tarot-reader, always a Tarot-reader."
Additionally the Indian-American movie producer Shyamalan had premiere at 28th of July with "The Village" in Brooklyn, in which a "scary looking 19th-century village was set up, complete with tarot card reader, magicians and hooded torchbearers" - as life is, when difficult, most interesting, the actors "are terrorized by mysterious creatures stalking the woods around them".
On a smaller field of human activity a 64-cards-system called Akaaraa is used as Tarot Cards by an Indian card reader, which the author derived from Indian mythology and relates to Tamil Sidhas. "They were prevalent in ancient India, with a total of 64 cards" - interesting. I remember a 64-cards-divination system produced in Pondicherry in the ashram of Sri Aurobindo in the 70ies of 20th century. Can this be already "ancient" India? According to Sylvia Mann, "All cards on the table", there was a great variety of playing cards in earlier India and the number of involved cards may range between 36 and 360 cards. In her description we find 14 different decks, but a deck with 64 elements is not mentioned.
- A good report to the real and somehow proven Indian playing card development is given by Andy Pollett.
- Good old Aleister Crowley seems to become another victim to moviemaker's phantasy, a "Revolt of the Magicians" is going to take place in the "holy chambers" of the recent culture (well, I speak of simple cinema). Assistance is given by Tarot book author Ron Milo Duquette (together with Jim Bratkowsky), let's hope that the final product gets a little more professionell outfit then the promoting internet pages: "Young Aleister Crowley naively joins the Order at the beginning of the revolt. Blinded by his intense spiritual aspirations, he is not only drawn into the conflict, but unwitting becomes the catalyst that eventually destroys the Order and unmasks Mathers and Moina as black magicians. In a spectacularly nightmarish magical battle Crowley destroys the sorcerers and their demons, and undergoes the true ordeal of initiation that makes him a Magician Master of his own soul." is given as plot.
- Japan/Korea is anotherAsian hot spot for increasing Tarot activities. Roppo at Aeclectic, insider in Japanese Tarot studies, states: "... it is safely asserted that the younger generations knows much more about Tarot than they know about I-Ching. Many fortune-tellers count Tarot cards as their repertory. Anime and Manga tarots are mushrooming. Serious studies, though small in number, are appearing." A very popular tarot-oracle site with many java-programs (text -based, Japanese only) has almost incredible 13 million accesses in 4 years, another well-organized tarot information site is set up by one of the foremost tarotists of Japan. A nice Korean site offers more than 150 decks to view, however, the pages run very slow.
- Germany: Bad fortune caused Heino and his personal Tarot reader to appear some days in the headlines of the most popular newspaper Bild with a distribution of several millions of each issue. Heino is a famous singer, especially loved by the older generation, which normally shouldn't be regarded as the common newage customers, Bild is a newspaper, which tends to make a headline out of nothing :-). In this case Heino's wife became sick after a bad prediction of the Tarot reader. The publical progress of the small theme Tarot perhaps will be a big one.
- Aeclectic.net in its Tarotforum has developed a 3rd history discussion group: Kabbalah & Alphabetic Reflections beside the already existing themes Historical Research (of Tarot) and Marseilles & other early Decks.
- Bob O'Neill has recently added to his Tarot library Dante's Commedia and the Tarot, in which he compares book-paintings of early Dante editions to the images of Tarot. Of special worth is the article to the Hanging Man, which presents a Hanging Man "(~1410) from a fresco of the Last Judgment in Bologna which might have served as a model for the Tarot designers".
Michael J. Hurst reflects a similar theme in his review about "Tarot Cards and Dante" by William Marston Seabury.
- The ASSOCIATION FOR TAROT STUDIES prepares a re-redition of "Tarot Symbolism" of Bob O'Neill, probably the work will be in the net next month at this link at Aeclectic.
- Mary Greer with assistance of Lola Lucas published recently A Timeline of the Occult and Divinatory Tarot from 1750 to 1980, a remarkable composition with much content. Also very worthful is Joan Coal's Herstory of Women's Tarot observing the specific development of feminine Tarot from 1960 - 2003. Both timelines indirectly relate very well to the already existent and constantly improving Tarot timelines of Michael J. Hurst and trionfi.com.
- I nearly overlooked a Tarot article of some historical importance written by Jess Karlin some time ago, commenting critically the Wizard deck action of Stuart Kaplan.
- Attractive, though not specific interested in Tarot History: Seeker's Journey . A good monthly Newsletter, now running reliable for more than a year: Bonnie Cehovet. Not new, but somehow remarkable is the success of "Tarot For Dummies. The book explains how the tarot works, what it can and can’t do for you, and how to get the most out of it". 360 pages, produced in the year 2001, by Amber Jayanti . Despite its title it is thought to be of some worth by Dan Elder (review).
- The new book of Michael Dummett and John McLeod is on the market. Jim Wickson, who did some distribution work for Tarot as Game, commented: "I have just received both volumes yesterday and I must say it's the best work of its kind since Murray's History of Chess. The chapter tracing the origins of Tapp Tarock and its connections to Troggu, I found quite illuminating. It's also quite handy to have a reference to all the various bids and bonuses in Koenigrufen. Because of my interest in old French suited animal tarots, I also found valuable the sections on how the tarot games were commonly played in the 18th century as well as the history of French Tarot." A breakthrough in the interests of Tarot (Tarock or Tarocchi) as a game would be achieved, if a great online games site like Yahoo Games would offer the possibility to play - which exists at some French sites, but it stays a little uncomfortable.
- Novelties at Trionfi.com:
- Timeline (June 2004)
- already mentioned in Tarot News June 2004 - but worth a rememberance with many hidden corners
- About 80 Fortune telling decks (June 2004)
- a collection of alternative non-Tarot divination, worth to be studied a little bit. The playing card world knows more than only Tarot.
- Updated: the article Oldest Tarotcards (June 2004)
- considerably enlarged. Of special worth is the new biography of Decembrio
- Compare Motifs (July 2004)
- of special worth, when you're interested to compare two cards of the same or a different deck. A good tool, when you're interested to study the properties of cards in detail.
(composed by Huck Meyer)