Tarot Texas Rotating Header Image

A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot

A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot

A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot

The authors, experts in the fields of art history, games, and the tarot, trace the history of the tarot deck from its origins in the game room to its current role in occult circles. Their thorough research cuts through the misconceptions and glamorization surrounding the cards’ rather mundane beginnings, while revealing the rich history of psychological, political, and religious influences on our perceptions of what is now a common tool of many occult practitioners.

List Price: $ 29.95

Price:

The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination: History Symbolism

$14.21
End Date: Sunday Nov-12-2017 3:14:31 PST
Buy It Now for only: $14.21
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
2005 Tarot Book History Symbolism Divination Waite-Smith Major Arcana R. Place
$14.99
End Date: Wednesday Nov-1-2017 11:43:26 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $14.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Tags: Tarot

3 comments on “A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot

  1. 46 of 56 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Sort of useful, but mostly wrongheaded, October 30, 2003
    By 
    Christopher I. Lehrich (Quincy, MA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot (Hardcover)
    Even as an historian’s account of the origins of occult Tarot, this book largely perpetuates Dummett’s logically-confused debunking accounts, published in numerous books.
    Here’re the facts:
    1. Tarot was certainly invented in the fourteenth-fifteenth century, in Italy, and was used for a trick-taking game not unlike Hearts, Spades or Bridge (the Trumps were Trumps, you see).
    2. In the late eighteenth century, Antoine Court de Gebelin re-invented Tarot as an occult device, as part of his vast project of interpreting everything interesting as Egyptian.
    3. Eliphas Levi picked up on Court de Gebelin (we don’t know how directly), and through his influence Tarot (as a divination device and later an initiatory and meditational one) became central to the occult revival and now Neopagan and New Age spiritualities.
    4. In the nineteenth century, lots of people got interested in Tarot and cartomancy, such that it became a big fad, especially in France.
    Now, given all that, Dummett would have us go one step further: since Tarot was not invented for occult purposes, and since Tarot was not handed down since Egypt, Atlantis, or what have you, Tarot as an occult device is stupid and everyone who uses it is an idiot.
    Dummett is a distinguished scholar of Frege, if memory serves, and has a top chair in logic, with expertise in epistemology and language. You’d think he wouldn’t fall into this elementary logical trap: what makes historical origin (of a word, a practice, an object) necessarily absolutely contiguous with every possible later usage? For example, “occult force” was once (until the late 17th C.) a stock term describing things like gravity, and now it’s always and only used to mean magical forces and such; does that mean Dummett’s book should be retitled to avoid “occult”? or that Newton was an idiot to call gravity “occult”? It boggles the mind that Dummett can turn off his brain this completely, book after book.
    At any rate, in this particular book, rather than going on from this claim to tell us all about how Tarot was (and is) used for playing a card-game (as in other books by Dummett), he and his pals tell us instead about how various interesting characters of the Belle Epoque developed cartomancy into a fad, a craze, and an occult tradition.
    Unfortunately, there is no better history of occult Tarot out there, and if you simply discard every editorial or analytical remark, it’s not even all that bad. Of course, that’s rather a lot to cut.
    If you want the history of occult Tarot from about 1790 to about 1900, this is the only place to go. Just disregard everything except factual statements (and consider carefully whether any given remark is really opinion masquerading as fact), and be ready to look things up in the notes if the authors don’t make it clear.
    Someday somebody will do a Ronald Hutton on Tarot, and things will be better. Until then, Dummett is as good as it gets. Too bad he’s so miserable.
    Incidentally, if you want the original texts on Tarot, they’ve been published, in French (try amazon.fr — American Amazon doesn’t have it):
    Court de Gebelin, Antoine. _Le Tarot_. Ed. Jean-Marie L’Hote. Paris: Berg, 1983. ISBN 2.900269-30-X.

    0

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes
    No

  2. 20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    The re-invention of cartomancy in France, August 30, 2002
    By 
    S. Gustafson “Holy Roman Emperor” (New Albany, IN USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot (Hardcover)
    As this book confirms, contemporary interest in Tarot cards was rekindled by a brief mention of the traditional Marseilles deck by a late eighteenth century French writer named Court de Gébelin. Writing without the benefit of Champollion’s rediscovery of the Egyptian language, de Gébelin created a fanciful history of the cards, a fanciful etymology of the word “tarot,” and was the catalyst for a great deal of mystification and malarkey.
    The authors of this book try to do for the history of this old game what Ronald Hutton did for the origins of neo-paganism in “Triumph of the Moon.” What they lack, though, is a wider background in the literature and culture, including the popular culture, of the period of French history in question. A broader grasp of this material would answer the question of why a need was felt for a mystic Tarot in nineteenth century France, and enable them to relate to their subjects with somewhat more sympathy. This background is given in Hutton’s book, and is perhaps the most successful thing about it. Without it, the discussion of occult cartomancy turns into a round of “liar, liar, pants on fire.”

    0

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes
    No

  3. 22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Narrow scope but great depth of detail from 3 skeptics, June 29, 1998
    By 
    TarotGirl “Gisela” (Springfield, MA) –

    This review is from: A Wicked Pack of Cards: The Origins of the Occult Tarot (Hardcover)
    As the authors clearly state in their preface, this book only covers developments of the esoteric Tarot in France up to about the end of WWI, as the authors intend to cover developments in England and elsewhere from late nineteenth century onwards in a yet-to-be-published sequel.
    The focus in time and space is thus fairly narrow, yet the authors provide extravagant detail about the earliest occultic Tarot writers and their continuing influences on today’s understanding of what is the Tarot’s place within the Western mystery tradition.
    I never before quite understood the relevance of obscure references in other writers’ works to such moldy old contributors as Eliphas Levi or Court de Gebelin, or why anyone would possibly care about Oswald Wirth’s work. Now I understand, as this book places those old timers into clear perspective.
    It is also somewhat refreshing to see the historical narrative written by thoughtfully skeptical authors rather than by uncritical true believers. By pointing out both the positive innovations and the flaws (in logic and sometimes of character) of the people who developed the esoteric Tarot, one gets a better grounding in how this basic game was turned into a deeply spiritual tool that speaks to the modern heart so well. I eagerly look forward to the next volume, when the Rider Waite deck (and its hundreds of derivatives) comes along to take the Tarot world by storm. Yes!

    0

    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 

    Was this review helpful to you? Yes
    No

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

24,434 Spam Comments Blocked so far by Spam Free Wordpress

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Powered by Yahoo! Answers