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History of the Occult Tarot

When the Tarot pack was invented in Italy in the early 15th century, it was simply a pack of cards, used for playing games. Esoteric interpretations of the pack date from late eighteenth-century France, and were confined to that country for a hundred years. Now the cards are used throughout the Western world and not only for fortune telling. For real believers, the cards are a key to secret knowledge of the meaning of life. Practiced by secret groups such as the Order of the Golden Dawn, by magi such as Aleister Crowley – the Great Beast , and by psychics such as Dion Fortune, the occult interpretation of the Tarot pack is a worldwide phenomenon with countless devotees. The roots of the whole modern Tarot mystique lie in theories propagated by the occultists studied in this fascinating history. Tarot occultism is a significant part of modern social history. The first part of the story was told in A Wicked Pack of Cards, which traced its origins in France. In The History of the Occult Tarot the authors bring the story up to date, following its progress in other countries, especially Britain and the United States.

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3 comments on “History of the Occult Tarot

  1. More than you might expect Very impressive book. My initial impression was that this would be another competently researched book on tarot & it’s history, I soon realised that it is a lot more. This is one of the most concise histories of modern westen occultism that I have found. Even though it’s not broad in scope the leval of detail is impressive. The history of Tarot is thorogh & well presented but the background on Occult orders was unexpected. Groups like the Golden Dawn & the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor are covered with enough detail to merit this being rated as a good general history of Occultism. The Church of Light & Manly Hall are treated with good biographical essays on the central characters. Even though I have been reading about these people & groups for many years I learned much new information here.This is not a “how to” Tarot guide book but just as it says, a history. It establishes the personalities, places, & groups necessary & goes on to develop the story better than I have see it done elsewhere.

  2. and, at times, snarky I can’t really add to the other 5 star reviews of this book. Yes, it is a must-have reference. Yes, you will learn things about tarot and 18th-Century France that you never knew you wanted to know. I just want to add that I thoroughly enjoyed a few snarky comments as the authors disproved one baseless assertion after another.

  3. Excellent must-have reference. An excellent reference volume. A little too much time is spent on the explanation of Kabbalah and ceremonial magic for my liking – would like to have read even more biography of folk like Madeline Montalban and Rolla Nordic – but this is just a personal quibble. Dummett and Decker (particularly) are to be congratulated on their efforts. This book is a must-have for all serious tarot enthusiasts.

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