tarot and medieval times

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Sir Edmund Mortimer
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tarot and medieval times

Postby Sir Edmund Mortimer » Tue Jan 05, 2010 12:51 pm

not sure if this is the right section so forgive me if not ...
trying to find information about tarot cards and medieval times. I have found out they did exist in the 13th century onwards if not before, but unable to find out what sort of person would have done/read the cards, ie nobility, alchemist etc any ideas where we can look?



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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby Merlon. » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:22 pm

Think they are a 15th century invention
see this thread on another forum
building blocks of tarot history
Maybe ask more questions there




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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby Merlon. » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:41 pm

Yes 1440 is iin the 15th century on 13th century as originally posted.
Your group covers approx 1350 - 1420, so you would be resally pushing the envelope.



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Sir Edmund Mortimer
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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby Sir Edmund Mortimer » Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:45 pm

it was worth a try as wife does this sort of thing for a living there wa sa possibilty we could have incorparated it into the re-enactment side of things ..but not looking like it may be viable :(



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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby gregory23b » Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:00 pm

Printed decks would be hugely expensive to produce, if you wanted them done properly, I have had a number of queries to that effect, when I weighed up the amount of cutting of blocks, the printing on the paper and finishing I would not be able to sell them for less than a hundred or so quid a pack, even then it would take a good load of them to be sold to recoup any of the initial mind and hand numbing production investment.


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Sir Edmund Mortimer
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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby Sir Edmund Mortimer » Tue Jan 05, 2010 8:07 pm

gregory23b wrote:Printed decks would be hugely expensive to produce, if you wanted them done properly, I have had a number of queries to that effect, when I weighed up the amount of cutting of blocks, the printing on the paper and finishing I would not be able to sell them for less than a hundred or so quid a pack, even then it would take a good load of them to be sold to recoup any of the initial mind and hand numbing production investment.



I know they are very expensive to produce yourself, i do have contacts in the printing side of things, but it was an idea for her to actually read them with authentic as one can get cards, but don't think it is a viable option, still if you don't think it out loud then you won't know!!!!



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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby Foxe » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:07 pm

When did tarot cards make the transition from a game to a divination device? AFAIK, in the 18thC they were still just used for playing cards (but I freely admit it's not something I've researched terribly deeply).

Any thoughts?


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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby gregory23b » Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:57 pm

"i do have contacts in the printing side of things, "

So do I, but it was not that sort of printing I was on about, but actual block printing, something most commercial printers do not do any more, only a small number of letterpress weirdos, of which I know of a few as well. My print capacity runs to very low volume smaller than A4, I produce woodcuts now and again, if I want a spell of self inflicted madness. The real issue is the block cutting, the rest is merely materials and more time, suffice to say a simple A6 size block can take a day if only easy line art, a larger block with cards with detail then >>>>>>> long time.


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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby Sir Edmund Mortimer » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:28 pm

gregory23b wrote:"i do have contacts in the printing side of things, "

So do I, but it was not that sort of printing I was on about, but actual block printing, something most commercial printers do not do any more, only a small number of letterpress weirdos, of which I know of a few as well. My print capacity runs to very low volume smaller than A4, I produce woodcuts now and again, if I want a spell of self inflicted madness. The real issue is the block cutting, the rest is merely materials and more time, suffice to say a simple A6 size block can take a day if only easy line art, a larger block with cards with detail then >>>>>>> long time.



aha i see were your coming from ...and agree wholeheartedly.



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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby Sir Edmund Mortimer » Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:29 pm

Foxe wrote:When did tarot cards make the transition from a game to a divination device? AFAIK, in the 18thC they were still just used for playing cards (but I freely admit it's not something I've researched terribly deeply).

Any thoughts?


apparently depending on who was using them depended upon how they were used, ie playing cards or divination .... a bit like today honest readers use them properly dishonest play them and make up nonsense!!!! :devil:



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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby Foxe » Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:04 pm

At the risk of sounding dogmatic, what's the evidence for that? I'm not arguing, just genuinely interested.


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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby Sir Edmund Mortimer » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:04 pm

Foxe wrote:At the risk of sounding dogmatic, what's the evidence for that? I'm not arguing, just genuinely interested.



there has been a lot of 'investigations' for fraudulent psychics/mediums by different parties and they found that most psychics/mediums cold read people, using the cards as a visual aid but infact actually reading the body language. now there are genuine people out there as well so not picking on anyone nor casting anyhting nasty just stating a fact :?



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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby Grymm » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:58 am

Foxe wrote:When did tarot cards make the transition from a game to a divination device? AFAIK, in the 18thC they were still just used for playing cards (but I freely admit it's not something I've researched terribly deeply).

Any thoughts?


They were a game from late 14thC, cards with triumphs.....sort of top trumps added.
Chap called Geblin (an 18thC occultist) is the first to suggest that they are for 'divination' and a fella called (ironically) Christian changes the name of the pack and triumphs to the minor/major arcana in the early 19thC. Then 20thC occultists and neopagans have used their ramblings and back engineered that use to Egyptian times. 'Sides that sort of mucking around with the occult in the high medieval would have got you a nice warm pyre, 'least then you could've practiced pyromancy.

It would be nice to see them used proper like, as a game, but you'd have to be flipping wealthy to afford a pack.


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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby Alan_F » Fri Jan 15, 2010 7:07 am

Grymm wrote:
Foxe wrote:When did tarot cards make the transition from a game to a divination device? AFAIK, in the 18thC they were still just used for playing cards (but I freely admit it's not something I've researched terribly deeply).

Any thoughts?


They were a game from late 14thC, cards with triumphs.....sort of top trumps added.
Chap called Geblin (an 18thC occultist) is the first to suggest that they are for 'divination' and a fella called (ironically) Christian changes the name of the pack and triumphs to the minor/major arcana in the early 19thC. Then 20thC occultists and neopagans have used their ramblings and back engineered that use to Egyptian times. 'Sides that sort of mucking around with the occult in the high medieval would have got you a nice warm pyre, 'least then you could've practiced pyromancy.

It would be nice to see them used proper like, as a game, but you'd have to be flipping wealthy to afford a pack.



I did read somewhere that the ones with pictures on them are supposed to be satires or people in 16th century Italy. Ever heard of anything like that?


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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby LadyC » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:05 pm

hello, I am a 15th century re-enactor and I read the Rider-Waite tarot because the design is of 15th century people and the costumes match ours, eg, dagged houppelandes, chaperons, etc.

I realise the Rider-Waite deck is only 100 years old, but the public (for whom I read) only sometimes want to know how the cards would have been used in the 15th century, as they have come to see me because they want a reading. I agree with this thread that what I am doing is not authentic living history, but I feel the activity is compatible with our re-enactments at castles and in historical settings.

However, I do mention that the cards were playing cards (and still are in Europe) and I do refer to the Catholic church's fear and hostility towards the cards over the centuries. And also try to explain the massive power of the church over people in every level of society.

Regarding the question about people in the cards being representations of historical figures, see this link below, which mentions the King of Coins being indicative of King Midas, and Alexander the Great as the King of Swords, etc. These are nice cards...

http://pre-gebelin.blogspot.com/2009/04 ... tarot.html



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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby LadyC » Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:11 pm

Thank you Sir Edmund, for that very good salem tarot connection - I enjoyed reading it.
LadyC



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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby ViscontesseD'Asbeau » Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:17 pm

The answers to all these qs are in Stuart Kaplan's Encyclopedias of Tarot

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Encyclopedia-Ta ... 354&sr=1-1



That said, I just clocked the prices. I got em when they weren't OOP, no doubt. :D

From what I recall, there's no evidence whatsoever they hit England or even close for centuries after the date you want. And even in Italy, it was as others say, a game, rather than divinatory tool. The extent oldest decks/partial decks are rich men's playthings (Visconti being the obvious example) - each card a work of art, in its own right.

The minor arcana would as I'm sure yous know, be unillustrated pips. So not only not entirely visually thrilling for your victim, but also hard to read unless you've spent a few years reading with em.

The old Tarot-L mailing list was very informative and would have been the best place to ask.

Our native forms of divination may have survived in other forms from the practices we definitely know about that were still around in the dark ages/ earlier medieval period. But you're looking at some very different stuff. Check out the works of Owen Davies. He's good. Also Bill Griffiths' Aspects of Anglo Saxon Magic, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Aspects-Anglo-S ... 704&sr=1-1 , may well have some pointers. Although it's an earlier period, vestiges of the older dinination techniques continued into early modern times. Lots of fun with toad bones etc. No card stock involved.

Lady C, have you tried Visconti rather than RW? The fake medieval Scapini might be one way to go also. Prolly quite a few of those Lo Scarabeo decks, I'm not sure. There's a couple of publishers' versions of Visconti though including a pretty gold one.

Experience reading playing cards helps if you want to develop reading without illustrated pips, or if you can link each minor in your head, to the RW, that's a mental cue as well.

Stuart Kaplan's Encylcopedias are well worth hunting for secondhand, for the serious tarot student you probably can't do without. Big recommend - esp the first volume.



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Re: tarot and medieval times

Postby behanner » Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:22 am

There are a good number of other "divinaiton" things. Here is a link to one that uses dice from a late-15th century commonplace book.
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/te ... .001%3A4.3




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