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Join Date: 01 Mar 2016
Location: Ohio, US
Posts: 15
Question on Tarot History

I'm doing some research work for a deck that I'm working on and was hoping that someone here could point me in the direction of a good resource on historical meanings of Tarot cards. For example, I know that the Hanged Man used to be The Traitor, being hung upside down as a form of tortured execution. I know that in some traditions, Judgement is replaced with The Crown.

I have a variety of little snippits of knowledge, but I'm hoping to find a resource that has a bigger compilation of these. Ultimately, I'm trying to make a deck that takes that older imagery and incorporates it with the newer imagery.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 27-09-2016     Top   #1
CrystalSeas's Avatar
Join Date: 29 Oct 2008
Location: Hawai'i, USA
Posts: 1,383

Check out Benebell Wen's "Holistic Tarot". Nearly 1,000 pages of Tarot knowledge

“Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man.”
Henry Adams
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Old 27-09-2016     Top   #2
Join Date: 01 Mar 2016
Location: Ohio, US
Posts: 15

Oh wow, good call. I had heard of this book before, but never realized that it was such a comprehensive guide to the history. Amazon order made post haste! Thank you for the tip!
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Old 27-09-2016     Top   #3
among the cherry blossoms
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Join Date: 27 May 2016
Location: Washington, D.C., USA
Posts: 316

Hi draque, do you have Robert Place's The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination?
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Old 03-10-2016     Top   #4
Join Date: 23 Oct 2013
Location: England
Posts: 194

Paul Huson's Mystical Origins of the Tarot is pretty good. He covers both the images and the development of the interpretations. His ideas on the link between the trump designs and the mystery & miracle plays is particularly interesting.
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Old 16-10-2016     Top   #5
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Join Date: 18 Jan 2010
Location: Washington USA
Posts: 232

Brian Williams' "A Renaissance Tarot" is an excellent source of information on the mythological, artistic, and cultural background of the major arcana.
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Old 17-10-2016     Top   #6
Join Date: 17 Dec 2009
Location: Wales, UK
Posts: 91

Mystical Origins of the Tarot gives the evolutionary occult meanings for the cards, which seems to cover your needs. It's easier to find than Brian's excellent book.
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Old 23-10-2016     Top   #7
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,296

It's been three weeks since the original poster was here, but what the heck, I'll throw in my two cents. Robert O'Neill's Tarot Essays is a motherload of historical iconography and meanings. Hope this will be useful.
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Old 23-10-2016     Top   #8
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