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Origins of the Tarot, by Dai Léon

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I'll be honest, I'm having a difficult time reading this book. I definitely go for the scholarly, wide-ranging, in-depth exploration style of book, but for some reason my brain starts to glaze over after a few paragraphs of reading this. Perhaps it's the wiriting style, or the sheer mass of the book.

I think I'll wait until colder weather, as this may be a book best appreciated through longer contemplation/hibernation....
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Yeah, I find the premise a bit odd. As I have said before, I have seen earlier theories like this. I haven't read the book so it is a bit premature for me to comment really. I certainly have difficulty with there being any real Sufi influence on the major arcana. Some of the cards are right out of the New Testament (Strength, Judgement) & I have always believed that the Tarot images are more a product of the Renaissance & possibly neoplatonism than anything else.
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I like pages 481 to pages 502 as a keyword list to expand


associations of Bolognese patterns with modern thinking.

I am thinking the whole book is an explanation of his 'summary list' with the pictures...and if he had written his short keyword summary list first with the pictures, then people would be to refer to the referenced chapter and discussions in the later text.

In fact, I started by looking at the book first backwards--index, bibliography, last chapters...then I believe, the value of this for me as a reference became clearer.

But that was because I like the old-fashioned Italian patterns and I like thinkers who like to see history sometimes in a creative framework, where someone's mind sees a different meetings, twains and crossroads between East and West...

Cerulean
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My favorite analogy is, just because we know that the ancient Egyptians wrote with styluses, doesn't mean that the Bic Pen originated in ancient Egypt.

I wish that the occult field had better scholars -- and there are a few, indeed -- but it mostly seems that we've settled for starry-eyed crackpots for far too long. Eliphas Levi was a terrible model for scholarship, and why Crowley appeals to any but the most immature teenager is quite beyond my comprehension.

Nevertheless, stuff like this can make for interesting reading (the book Tarot Symbolism comes to mind). It's published by one of my very favorite publishers too, North Atlantic Books, the same folk who've been publishing ALL of Theodore Sturgeon's short stories (up to volume 12 now!).

I've been avoiding this book though, mostly because of the synopsis that makes it sound like another made up "seeeeekkkret history" book -- one where the author assumes that all cultures in all periods of history were somehow aware of, and communicating with, each other (providing everyone knew the super secret handshake). I may just go to the Bodhi Tree tomorrow and check it out.
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Origins of the Tarot


Has anyone found this deep and rambling book worthwhile in whole or in part? A key chapter to read to stimulate the reader?
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Information, please!


I had the Origins of the Tarot book but passed it on to someone here. The notes I took on it (a table of correspondences) remain, and now I want to use it and don't have all the information!

The book is based on an historic deck that has a non-"standard" majors order.

Can anyone please tell me the name of the deck?

In this thread, Cerulean says it's a "Bolognese" deck? Is that what it's called?

I remember Robert Place did a very limited edition restoration of the deck, and it was on sale at The Tarot Connection for a while, but it's not there now. And it's not on Place's sites either.

And it's not on the book site referenced here by fyreflye either.

Any and all information is welcome! Thank you!
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The card references listed in the front of the book are:

Este & Visconti Triumphs courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University
Charles VI Triumphs courtesy of the Bibliotheque nationale de France
Woodblock Triumphs courtesy of the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts
Zen Ox Herding Pictures derived bfrom Zen Monk Shubun's copy of Sung Dynasty Chan Master Kaku-an's original pictures, the former preserved at Shokokuji, Kyoto

The woodblock prints are easy enough to figure out, but none of the other cards are identified when used.
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Yay, Rodney, very helpful as always!

Yes, that's that I was thinking of, the woodblock prints from Budapest.

Thanks so much for looking it up for me. Now I can kind of sound like I know what I'm talking about!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelcat View Post
Yay, Rodney, very helpful as always!

Yes, that's that I was thinking of, the woodblock prints from Budapest.

Thanks so much for looking it up for me. Now I can kind of sound like I know what I'm talking about!
You're quite welcome. I thought I had the book, but then couldn't find it, so checked my spreadsheet to confirm I had it and still couldn't find it. Finally found it behind the tarot decks in bags....
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I read this book in July 2009, about the time it was published, and I suddenly felt an urge to read it again. I am just flowing along with it without being too critical. Leon refers to Traditionalist philosophers who are usually dismissive of modern science, and also to scientific and evolutionary philosophical sources. I want to gauge my own reactions now, nearly eight years on.

The deck that Leon uses is actually available as a facsimile from Robert Place:

https://robertmplacetarot.com/the-fa...dcut-tarocchi/

Not cheap, but no doubt a quality product.

Patrick
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