CD-ROM: L'Art du Tarot composed by Alain Bougearel

I know Alain is getting a lot of flak over his promotion of the CD- ROM "L'Art du Tarot", but I just got my copy and I must say it is GREAT! I was very pleasantly surprised. A lot of fun, lots I hadn't read before and some I have (since some of TarotL's members are on it).

I don't have anything on it so please don't read this as self promoting. It is in French, of course, but if you want to learn French tarot vocabulary, the voice instructions are very helpful. After the historical caveat of the TarotL FAQ, which is what the user first encounters, the CD by and large takes a very speculative slant. This will surprise no one, but I wanted people to know it isn't just history book stuff.

Here's a rundown of the contents : The program opens with a face down deck, which if you click it gives you a random Major Arcanum as a general "theme" for your investigation of the program. There are 7 sections. The first contains, besides the French translation of the TarotL FAQ by members of TarotL (and TarotL gets plenty of promotion) with their pictures, the CD consists of Alain Bougearel's historical introduction, then our Mark Filipas' essay introducing his abecedarian theory (the same content as on his web-page, but translated into French).

Alain contributes two historical essays, adapted from his book "Histoire et origines du Tarot", the first concerning the north Italian historical background to the Visconti and Sforza decks, and the second to his neo-Pythagorean take on the structure of the Tarot. Finally there is a Conclusion with mystical thoughts on the word TAROT, and an Epilogue by Francois Notter, whom I don't know. All throughout of course is relaxing music. The second section is a clickable Panorama of 23 decks, with notes on each. Five or six cards are shown from each deck. The next section allows you to set your options for start up configuration with or without music, voice, etc. The next section illustrates nine kinds of spreads, with interpretations for each card. Drop-down menus allow you to choose a spread and various other options.

The next section allows you to choose a spread and get a random reading. The following section is the whole Tarot de Marseille with clickable cards which open to a screen of lengthy commentary on each card. The final section is the Guided voice tour of the program. Overall, the art is well chosen, the program is quick, the appearance is nice, easy to navigate. There is plenty of information. Criticism: I think it would have been nice to include a playable game of Tarot, with hints on the various forms of the game, history and tips on strategy etc.. That way the program would never become old.

(Review by Ross Gregory Caldwell)

CD from Alain Bougearel

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