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The Tarot Trumps and The Holy Grail

The Tarot Trumps and The Holy Grail

The Tarot Trumps and The Holy Grail

Have you wondered about images on the Tarot trump cards: the Pope, the Tower, the Sun, the Hanged Man? Where did they come from? Who made them up? Did they have a life before they became associated with fortune telling? Independent scholar Margaret Starbird has spent years researching the stories of the Holy Grail. The accidental discovery of a book on Tarot and research which began to signal links between the cards and the Grail story have led to a fascinating book “The Tarot Trumps and the Hol

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3 comments on “The Tarot Trumps and The Holy Grail

  1. 43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Buy the Alabaster Jar…, December 28, 2003
    By 
    Dianne Foster “Di” (USA) –
    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)
      

    This review is from: The Tarot Trumps and The Holy Grail (Paperback)

    If you read Margaret Starbird’s book THE WOMAN WITH THE ALABASTER JAR you won’t find very much new material in THE TAROT TRUMPS AND THE HOLY GRAIL. TT is a synopsis of the Tarot material found in her earlier book and not nearly as good because she does not link the Tarot cards to paper watermarks, fairy tales, and other material as she did in her earlier book.

    Starbird suggests the Tarot cards were used as an `Ars memoria’ or a technique for creating mental images that allow one to store and recall information. Thus used, the cards would have proved invaluable for relaying `heretical’ information in a sub rosa fashion in a climate where “thinking outside the box” got one burned at the stake. The notion the Tarot cards were used as memory devices for transmitting verboten information is not new. For example, Cynthia Giles makes a similar point regarding a possible hidden link between Gnostic material and the Tarot cards in her book THE TAROT published in 1991.

    However, Starbird specifically links the Tarot cards with the notion that Mary Magdalen was the “holy grail” who carried Jesus’ child (as well as the founder of the “church of love”). Furthermore, she suggests the Tarot cards can only be seen as an `Ars memoria’ for the Grail story and have nothing to do with gypsies, Egypt, or India.

    Starbird’s argument for the exclusivity of the Grail-Tarot connection hinges on the date of the first appearance of the so-called Charles VI or Gringonneur deck which she links to the Grail story. Starbird suggests that if the Charles VI deck dates from the end of the 14th century it had to have been created before the arrival of the gypsies who are thought to have arrived in Europe in the 15th century. (Cynthia Giles suggests the Charles VI deck first surfaced at the end of the 15th century which means they “arrived” about the same time as the gypsies. Joseph Campbell suggests the earliest date of the cards as 1392 CE. However, Campbell also suggests the Tarot cards carry archetypical symbols that can be linked to many `religious’ systems and/or works of art).

    The clothing of the figures in several of the Charles VI cards such as “The Lovers” became popular at the end of the 15th century which would support Giles dating of the deck, but Starbird suggests the Charles VI cards might have been “updated” with “modern” clothing in a later edition.

    I enjoyed reading Starbird’s suppositions and comparing them with similar proposals by other Tarot writers. However, I don’t think she has proved her point in this book. She presents a much more compelling case in the WOMAN WITH THE ALABASTER JAR.

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  2. 20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Behind the Tarot Trumps, August 30, 2001
    By 
    Sean Small (carson, ca United States) –

    This review is from: The Tarot Trumps and The Holy Grail (Paperback)

    Well all I can say is bravo! Mrs Starbird. I bought this book and I could not put it down. I read it through, twice, in one sitting. It was so logical, historical, well written, thoroughly researched, and extremly easy to read. Like many people I am sure, I looked at the Tarot Deck and wondered what the story was behind those trumps. I have seen playing card decks, from other countries, that look like tarot cards minus the Trumps which sparked my interest even more, but what about those Trumps? Have you ever wondered the same?
    Pick up this book! You will not be disappointed in what Margaret Starbird presents to you in a clear concise manner. Once you read it you will just step back in awe, and say that makes so much sense.
    A must read for any student of religious history.

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  3. 20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    Disappointed, July 15, 2001
    By 
    Don Clarkson “espman2″ (Portland, OR USA) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: The Tarot Trumps and The Holy Grail (Paperback)

    In her summary, Margaret Starbird complains that other theories on the Tarot are “…purely speculative and not supported with hard evidence….” This could be the subtitle to her own book. She has written an interesting, even intriguing, thesis and this work is her first chapter, but where is the rest of the book that supports her thesis? I’ve been a student of Tarot through the BOTA system for 22 years and am engrossed/obsessed with the Holy Grail theories, ala “Holy Blood, Holy Grail.” I was hoping for insight on the two issues, but found only unsubstantiated theory here.

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