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Archive for the ‘the three graces’ Category

80 million people can’t be wrong

Posted by LadyCristobel on October 27, 2009

Below is a news story that I have distributed to the press today:

Devils, magic, death, heaven and hell all feature in Victorian tarot cards, the same symbolism as for Hallowe’en

The walking dead, black magic, monsters, and anything occult are familiar images of Halloween. One hundred years ago this month a young designer called Pixie put the finishing touches on 80 beautiful, yet some say sinister, illustrations that were to become the famous Arthur Waite Tarot Cards.

Her images were rooted in the same Halloween mythology. Nearly 80 million decks of these cards have been sold yet she herself never received financial recognition or critical acclaim for its sensational appeal and longevity.

‘Pixie took the design commission from her friend and esoteric scholar Dr Arthur Edward Waite,’ says Aberdeen-based medieval re-enactor and tarot reader, Shirley Muir, ‘She meticulously researched, planned and designed 80 beautiful illustrations with great application, intricate skill, historical knowledge, and layers of embedded religious, alchemical and occult symbolism.

‘The result was a deck of stunning and colourful tarot cards, published in December1909, and still available today through high street booksellers and specialist shops.’

History tells us that Dr Waite paid Colman Smith a very small amount of money for her efforts – we don’t know how much, but she apparently said she was short of cash very soon afterwards. And she never became rich.

The Christian connections of heaven and hell and the devil and magic are as real at Halloween as they are in these cards. Colman Smith’s tarot deck of cards includes The Devil, The Magician, the Hanged Man, the High Priestess, the Last Judgement, and other powerful images. These cards have been used as ominous metaphors to great effect in films, such as Bond film Live and Let Die, The Exorcist 3, Scoop and were featured on TV recently in Coronation Street.

Until 1909 most tarot decks had to be imported from France, because tarot card games were popular on the continent of Europe, but not in the UK. In the UK the cards were more and more being used by dabblers in the occult and so they attracted the sinister connotations they have today.

Colman Smith’s tarot cards coincided with an early 20th century upsurge in interest in the occult and spirituality, producing a demand for tarot decks. During the Victorian era interest in mysticism and the occult had flourished, and pastimes such as fortune-telling, consulting psychics, tarot, magic, and spiritual healing had found thousands of new followers.

The Rider-Waite deck has sold astonishingly well over the past century and it is acknowledged as the most influential tarot deck of the last 100 years.

‘I am interested in medieval history,’ says Shirley, ‘and am actively involved in medieval re-enactment to bring the 15th century alive. As a maker of medieval costumes myself, I am impressed with Colman Smith’s attention to historic detail – the rich, flowing gowns made from heavy, elaborately patterned fabrics, the court cards with kings and queens in truly regal costumes and settings, and even the armour worn by the knights on horseback. All has been well researched and is a fairly accurate representation of fifteenth century life.

’And her representations of the devil and of the grim reaper who is on the Death card are truly spine-chilling.’

A hundred years on tarot itself is again seeing another resurgence. There are thousands of different tarot decks of cards now on the market* – for fortune-telling or game-playing – angel cards, dragon cards, lovers’ cards, Shakespeare cards, cat cards, Australian animal cards, Baseball tarot, and there is even a Halloween deck of tarot cards.

In the UK, as the Christian churches see fewer and fewer members in their congregation, and scientific progress – like evolutionary theory – casts real doubt on literal interpretation of the scriptures, people are turning more and more to New Age mysticism to find modern ways of managing the conflicts and dilemmas of daily life in the 21st century.

‘Perhaps the global recession is fuelling people’s need for guidance and a peek into the future,’ says Shirley, ‘but there is certainly a lot of interest in self-awareness, spiritual healing, psychic powers, and complementary medicine and therapies, as well as tarot.

‘Tarot is not magic, it’s not occult, but it’s an interesting and fascinating pastime,’ says Shirley, who is herself a successful tarot card reader called Lady Cristobel.

Tarot parties are becoming popular, where ladies get together in groups and have a night in – and everyone has a reading done. It’s a different girlie evening – an unusual girlie night or a hen night, and there is always a frisson of expectation when the tarot cards are dealt and the person sees what ‘the future holds’.

‘One thing Is for sure – if you draw the Death card it certainly does not mean you’re going to die. It’s much more exciting than that.’

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Posted in art, botticelli, celebration, counselling, design, medieval costume, Pamela ColmanSmith, parties, riderwaite, Tarot, Tarot party, Tarot spread, the three graces, wealth | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Three Graces enjoy their Tarot role

Posted by LadyCristobel on October 24, 2009

I was delighted and amazed to discover the artistic connection between Pixie’s three of cups tarot card and Botticelli’s The Three Graces, thanks to TarotTeachings.com.

What a clever way to invoke friends, happiness and enjoying life with a truly a classical connection.

Tarot card pictures are copyright of US Games Inc

Posted in art, botticelli, celebration, design, enjoyment, happiness, the three graces, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »