Tarot Cards: Collecting: Sets / Decks; Specific Cards Or Themes

IbisNibs

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Looks like a splendid subject for a Fortean podcast?
I enthusiastically second this motion! Is it possible for journalists and other researchers to go through old police files and chat up landlords and real estate people? She either rented or owned the place where she lived I assume. Did her family ever hire a detective?

For some reason it just bugs me that there seems to be no trace of someone respected like this and with so many well wishers. It's not that easy to maintain such anonymity and privacy these days. Even if she's deliberately left the outside world behind to live in a convent, say, it would be nice to know she's safe and well.
 

Ghost In The Machine

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Well this piqued my curiosity big time! How easy is it to just vanish when so many well intended people want to find you? Unless a very horrible thing has happened, and your body is chucked into a vortex of some kind where wild beasts, fish or bacteria can eat up all the evidence. Some people thought Chesca Potter had joined an Evangelical Church, but apparently it was someone else who did. In any case, would that mean you had just vanished, even from all current public records?
There are some rather poignant 10 year-old posts from fans, friends and family looking for her here:
http://mark-ryan.blogspot.com/2010/01/chesca-potter.html
That is poignant. I didn’t stumble on that so good sleuthing! Didn’t even realise Mark had an old blog.

The artist of the classic RWS converted to Catholicism in later life. Maybe it’s an occupational hazard for tarot artists! But yes maybe the Christian thing was an assumption folk made. Reading between the lines on the site where her art was made available and the comments on the FB group, it sounds like she has a whole new name and identity. Apparently, John and Caitlin Matthews were good friends and even they had no clue what happened.

I just got Caroline Wise’s book “Finding Elen: The Quest for Elen of the Ways”. I know that she worked with Chesca in the 80s, both of them on the trail of the forgotten antlered goddess, before Chesca vanished. Poignantly, the book is dedicated to Chesca.
 

Ghost In The Machine

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I enthusiastically second this motion! Is it possible for journalists and other researchers to go through old police files and chat up landlords and real estate people? She either rented or owned the place where she lived I assume. Did her family ever hire a detective?

For some reason it just bugs me that there seems to be no trace of someone respected like this and with so many well wishers. It's not that easy to maintain such anonymity and privacy these days. Even if she's deliberately left the outside world behind to live in a convent, say, it would be nice to know she's safe and well.
I’m a writer and would be very interested to do this although it’s out of my normal line of work. Am not sure it would be right to do it though as she really truly doesn’t want to be found. It also appears that now her family do know who she is and where she is as her brother (I’d assumed “Lindsay” was a woman and a sister!) says on the FB group they’re now in contact and know her wishes (not for Mark to go ahead with a reprint). I feel for him, as the writer of such a deeply loved and respected tarot deck, that people are willing to buy for hundreds of pounds - of which he won’t see a penny- that he has not been able to reissue until this year... and I also sympathise with Chesca if she illustrated and co-researched it and no longer wants it out...

This story would write itself but to research it would risk finding a person who doesn’t want finding...
 

Lord Lucan

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Surfing sites this morning (not looking for anything Tarot related) I came across this artistic and quite beautiful Salvador Dali deck, re-released late last year. Perhaps I'm meant to buy a set.

Salvador Dalí’s Surreal Tarot Card Designs from 1984 Have Been Re-Released

daliempress.jpg


Salvador Dalí is one of the most famous surrealist painters of the 20th century, but his artistic talent stretched far beyond his canvases. During his career, he designed wine cards, appeared on game shows, and even released his own eccentric cookbook. And during the early ‘70s, Dalí began working on his own illustrated deck of tarot cards intended for the James Bond film Live and Let Die.


Despite the fact that the cards didn’t make it as props in the film (due to Dalí’s high fees), the artist continued working on his designs for 10 years. The limited edition Dalí tarot cards were first published in 1984 and have since sold out. However, Taschen has recently re-released them as a full 78-card set, complete with a book by German author Johannes Fiebig on Dalí’s life and the making of his tarot series, as well as comprehensive instructions.
https://mymodernmet.com/salvador-dali-tarot-cards/
 

Mrs Migs

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Surfing sites this morning (not looking for anything Tarot related) I came across this artistic and quite beautiful Salvador Dali deck, re-released late last year. Perhaps I'm meant to buy a set.
For the first time with a Tarot card set I suddenly thought ooooooooooooh! And went all pointy.

Slight;y confused now.
 

Ghost In The Machine

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For the first time with a Tarot card set I suddenly thought ooooooooooooh! And went all pointy.

Slight;y confused now.
Going pointy is trying to tell you summat!

I had a look and like them but not enough. It’s really rare for a deck to speak to you so when it does...
 

Ghost In The Machine

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The other day I finally got round to summat I’ve been meaning to do for years... cut the borders off my Wildwood deck, used one of those corner cutter things then used pigment on the cards’ edges. One on left I did and next to it one still with border.

I know it’s become a fad in tarot circles but I wanted to do this for ages and never had the courage. Was emboldened by seeing other people’s decks they’d trimmed, YouTube how tos and the fact I have two copies of this deck as I got a first edition then loved it so much when they tweaked later editions I had to have one of them too...

Also one of my favourite decks visually, the Romani tarot, always had no borders and rounded edges.

For now I’ve left the descriptions on but might cut off later. I’m usually annoyed by lettering on cards have to admit.

DC30CF87-687E-48BA-9E49-36188227FD91.jpeg
 
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Ghost In The Machine

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I must say that if there is one thing I like about Tarot cards, it is the opportunity they provide for artists to depict archetypal themes, and test their skill.
There is a ridiculously talented, very Fortean minded illustrator in my family and I am working on her to produce a deck! Can see why they’d take months or years to do! And maybe require some deep understanding of those archetypes so it’s not for everyone....
 

GNC

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I am , incongruously, quite fond of Tarot cards, exactly because of the designs and artwork. My friends and I once tried to play 'normal' card games with the Tarot - it makes them much more difficult.
For about a century (maybe more?) after their creation, Tarot cards were just playing cards just like the ones you would play poker or bridge with today. Does anyone know the original games that were played with them, or have they died out to be replaced by the mysticism?

Also, has anyone tried to Tarot with the spades, diamonds, hearts and clubs deck? If so, what kind of results do you get?
 

EnolaGaia

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For about a century (maybe more?) after their creation, Tarot cards were just playing cards just like the ones you would play poker or bridge with today. Does anyone know the original games that were played with them, or have they died out to be replaced by the mysticism?
Officially (in terms of documented history) ...

The combined set of 78 cards we know today was used exclusively for gaming as early as the 15th century. The use of the cards for divination came later. Some of the games originally played with the 78-card deck (most especially Tarocchini) have been played in certain locales all along and are still played today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trionfi_(cards)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarocchini
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarot_card_games

Documented claims for the cards' applicability to divination / cartomancy date back only as far as the late 18th century.

Having said that ...


Unofficially (speaking only for myself) ...

I've never been comfortable with the idea the 'triumphs' (trumps) were always part and parcel of a large deck of 78 including the four suits analogous to the "regular" deck of playing cards.

Years ago I collected a number of scholarly books on the Tarot (all of which were destroyed with the rest of my library 7 years ago this very weekend). One of those books noted that an Italian nobleman was credited with combining two extant decks (the triumphs / the four suits) into a single deck and developing new games using the larger combined deck in the late 14th century (circa 1370 - 1390s). The source mentioned the nobleman's innovation in combining the two decks into one, but didn't specify the details of the combined deck so as to confirm he'd invented the same 78-card deck we know today. Personally, I've always believed he did.

Because the specifics of his new deck were not documented, he wouldn't have been included in the references cited above (which focus only on specific documentation of the deck itself).

Anyway ...

The old reference to the unification of two prior decks plus certain things that arose during my use of the cards starting back in the 1970s convinced me the four suits and the triumphs represented two distinct instruments, and I never used the four suits again (for Tarot purposes).
 

EnolaGaia

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... Also, has anyone tried to Tarot with the spades, diamonds, hearts and clubs deck? If so, what kind of results do you get?
Yes. As I recall from my long-lost books the history of cartomancy using the four suits (i.e., the 'popular' playing card deck) is much better documented than the history of using the triumphs / trumps for divination (whatever ... ) purposes.

The use of playing cards (the 4 suits) for cartomancy isn't the same as the use of the Tarot deck per se. There's a long tradition and protocol which may as well be considered a whole different "game." Some older relatives and acquaintances in my native area (American south) were familiar with cartomancy using playing cards alone, and I was told by various sources that this was far more common in central and eastern Europe than Tarot.

At the risk of being prejudicial, I'd say the main difference between the two approaches lies in how the cards are presented to the querent and interpreted. The playing cards tend to be presented as somewhat formulaic in their symbolism - i.e., this card specifically alludes to such-and-such (e.g., a dark-haired woman). The Tarot cards (at least as I use them) tend to be presented as more general or allusive frames into which the querent is invited to project - or from which perspective the querent is asked to creatively view - his / her situation or issue(s).

When I was living in Sweden I was involved with, and engaged to, a doctor from Ukraine. She was well versed and experienced in playing card cartomancy. We'd spend entire nights "reading" each other using our two different techniques. Even though we were using two distinct approaches we astounded each other with the accuracy and depth of results each of us drew from our respective traditions. It was a fascinating exercise.
 

IbisNibs

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It also appears that now her family do know who she is and where she is
Thank you, this makes me feel better! As long as she is okay.
Maybe it's this lock down situation, but it really troubled me that someone who wasn't too obscure could simply disappear like that.
Of course, many obscure women and children, (and probably men as well) disappear every year. :(
 

Ghost In The Machine

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Thank you, this makes me feel better! As long as she is okay.
Maybe it's this lock down situation, but it really troubled me that someone who wasn't too obscure could simply disappear like that.
Of course, many obscure women and children, (and probably men as well) disappear every year. :(
I think that’s what I guessed reading the Fans FB page where Lindsay Potter posted:

"Chesca bears no malice. Indeed only love and spiritual enlightenment are employed during her present day journey through life. The Greenwood Tarot, along with her other artwork, belong to a distant time and place, which should perhaps not be reproduced but preserved as her legacy."
According to Mark’s blog a decade ago, nobody including family knew where she was but now they do.

The tarotist whose site hosts the text of Chesca’s Greenwood notes and download images seems to imply on her site that Chesca now lives under a different name.

She seems to have given her blessing to anyone who wants to print the deck images and the Fans FB page tells you how to get a single copy printed. I’ve done this - still waiting for mine to come - but will also buy Mark’s version as he has missed out on potential royalties all these years when so many wanted to buy but he couldn’t get a new edition...
 
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Ghost In The Machine

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Yes. As I recall from my long-lost books the history of cartomancy using the four suits (i.e., the 'popular' playing card deck) is much better documented than the history of using the triumphs / trumps for divination (whatever ... ) purposes.

The use of playing cards (the 4 suits) for cartomancy isn't the same as the use of the Tarot deck per se. There's a long tradition and protocol which may as well be considered a whole different "game." Some older relatives and acquaintances in my native area (American south) were familiar with cartomancy using playing cards alone, and I was told by various sources that this was far more common in central and eastern Europe than Tarot.

At the risk of being prejudicial, I'd say the main difference between the two approaches lies in how the cards are presented to the querent and interpreted. The playing cards tend to be presented as somewhat formulaic in their symbolism - i.e., this card specifically alludes to such-and-such (e.g., a dark-haired woman). The Tarot cards (at least as I use them) tend to be presented as more general or allusive frames into which the querent is invited to project - or from which perspective the querent is asked to creatively view - his / her situation or issue(s).

When I was living in Sweden I was involved with, and engaged to, a doctor from Ukraine. She was well versed and experienced in playing card cartomancy. We'd spend entire nights "reading" each other using our two different techniques. Even though we were using two distinct approaches we astounded each other with the accuracy and depth of results each of us drew from our respective traditions. It was a fascinating exercise.
My dad once told me his grandma read the cards on occasion. She was born here in Yorkshire in the 1870s. He said she only read ordinary playing cards. My dad never knew I read the cards as I never told him and kept my esoteric books in my room where they wouldn’t set off a very close friend who is a very religious Christian...

And I never knew I wasn’t the first in the family til he let that slip one day.

Enola, was RWS the first deck with truly illustrated pips? I’ve read that but never really looked into it...
 

EnolaGaia

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... Enola, was RWS the first deck with truly illustrated pips? I’ve read that but never really looked into it ...
As far as I know the Rider-Waite-Smith deck was the first *mass-produced* deck that provided symbolically meaningful pictures for *all* the pip cards (numbered suit cards; each showing a set of the suit's icons).

I'm phrasing my answer carefully because ...

There are some earlier decks that gloss one or more of the suit cards (especially the "Ace") with more elaborate imagery, but:

- some of these are one-off decks that weren't mass-produced and / or ...
- it's unclear that these graphical glosses represent any symbolism or particular meaning in and of themselves.

Waite supposedly based his deck design on a deck used internally within the Golden Dawn. However, AFAIK the Golden Dawn deck was more of an outline sketch or template for a deck which individual members were each expected to finish and color on their own.

I'm not sure any of the later decks allegedly reflecting the authentic Golden Dawn members' deck have ever been verified as "true" depictions of that seminal deck, so I have no idea how faithfully Waite translated the GD internal deck "template" into his own design.
 

Ghost In The Machine

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As far as I know the Rider-Waite-Smith deck was the first *mass-produced* deck that provided symbolically meaningful pictures for *all* the pip cards (numbered suit cards; each showing a set of the suit's icons).

I'm phrasing my answer carefully because ...

There are some earlier decks that gloss one or more of the suit cards (especially the "Ace") with more elaborate imagery, but:

- some of these are one-off decks that weren't mass-produced and / or ...
- it's unclear that these graphical glosses represent any symbolism or particular meaning in and of themselves.

Waite supposedly based his deck design on a deck used internally within the Golden Dawn. However, AFAIK the Golden Dawn deck was more of an outline sketch or template for a deck which individual members were each expected to finish and color on their own.

I'm not sure any of the later decks allegedly reflecting the authentic Golden Dawn members' deck have ever been verified as "true" depictions of that seminal deck, so I have no idea how faithfully Waite translated the GD internal deck "template" into his own design.
That is so interesting! So are any cards from the Golden Dawn deck/s extant?
 

EnolaGaia

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That is so interesting! So are any cards from the Golden Dawn deck/s extant?
There are a few (3 or so?) decks I've seen marketed as "Golden Dawn" decks. I have no idea how closely they reflect the internal GD deck (or if they reflect it at all).

I don't recall ever seeing any pictures or representations of the GD internal deck Waite was supposedly emulating.
 

Ghost In The Machine

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Yes, it was the original cards I wondered about...

The deck I'd love to see is the one Childermass drew from memory, from descriptions by "Whitby sailors" in "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell" - I know it's a novel but it genuinely made me wonder if there were a lot of hand drawn, personal decks around, in say, the nineteenth century? And what a deck drawn from memory would look like!
 

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I just had a thought. I bet you could make an amazing Les Miserables tarot deck. I had a google but didn’t find a full deck. I’m thinking relating to the musical.

Some ideas

The lovers - Marius and Cosette (of corse)
The Hierophant - The Bishop
The chariot - the run away cart
The hermit - Valjean looking for work
The wheel of fortune - Turning
Justice - Valjean revealing his identity In the court
Death - The aftermath of the battle or a serene one of Valjean going of to heaven with the fallen
The Star - Javert’s Stars
The sun - The wedding

Two of wands - The candlesticks
Five of wands - The battle
Seven of wands - Enjorlas and the flag
Ten of wands - Fantine
Three of swords - Eponine
Seven of swords - Thenardiers
Two of cups - Marius and Cosette again
Five of cups - Empty chairs and empty tables
Five of pentacles - Young Cosette

What do you think. Anyone get any more ideas on this?
 
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MorningAngel

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I just had a thought. I bet you could make an amazing Les Miserables tarot deck. I had a google but didn’t find a full deck. I’m thinking relating to the musical.

Some ideas

The lovers - Marius and Cosette (of corse)
The Hierophant - The Bishop
The chariot - the run away cart
The hermit - Valjean looking for work
The wheel of fortune - Turning
Justice - Valjean revealing his identity In the court
Death - The aftermath of the battle or a serene one of Valjean going of to heaven with the fallen
The Star - Javert’s Stars
The sun - The wedding

Two of wands - The candlesticks
Five of wands - The battle
Seven of wands - Enjorlas and the flag
Ten of wands - Fantine
Three of swords - Eponine
Seven of swords - Thenardiers
Two of cups - Marius and Cosette again
Five of cups - Empty chairs and empty tables
Five of pentacles - Young Cosette

What do you think. Anyone get any more ideas on this?
I had a go today. Unfortunately my imagination is better than my artist skills.
E1854B69-B381-48E7-A580-C0E9C00CD498.jpeg
 
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