Christian Loring's tarot



anyone want to buy me a present ?


Already sold


Who is or was Christian Loring? When was this deck made?


Loring was a collaborator of Francis Rolt-Wheeler. The tarot must be from 1935-1939 AND NOT from the XIXth century as (wittingly ?) wrongly advertised. Inspired by Oswald Wirth as you have certainly noticed, but in a more accomplished style and with the minors.

ETA inspired by Falconnier too : the page of coins is a shackled slave or prisoner. And the king a Basileus : for what reason ?


Thanks for images Philippe!

Here is the introduction to the projected ‘Le Tarot Medieval’ series to be published in the occult periodical l’Astrosophie, in the July, 1935 edition, by Francis Rolt-Wheeler. Which I translated and posted some years ago (2008) while looking into this deck.

To our Dear Readers

THE SECRETS OF THE TAROT, the mysteries of the Rose + Cross, the search for the Holy Grail and the transmutation of the Philosopher's Stone are only four different aspects of the same thing: the discovery and exploration of the sublimities of the spiritual world, of these four ways, the tarot has the immense advantage of being pictorial; but its pictorial and symbolic side has suffered the terrible disadvantage that the drawings expressing its wonderful symbolism are all so archaic, so grotesque, so poorly made, or harsh in their colour that regrettably, given the symbolic and spiritual teaching of the tarot, forces students to use cards that shock and break their momentum.

Suddenly and quite unexpectedly, we were recently allowed to see a series of Tarot cards painted by Christian Loring (exhibiting at the Autumn Salon) of great finesse and distinction. The colours are beautiful and so subtle that it seems almost impossible to render these Arcana in Black and white. We have not lost hope that one day, a lover of beauty and spiritual thought - perhaps one or more of our readers? - Will reproduce this wonderful Tarot to leave as a legacy for future generations, or help us to do so, on a practical basis.

This is just the most beautiful set of Tarot cards existing in the world, and the world was waiting for ages!

We are proud to be able to show for the first time this new artistic version of the Tarot; when finished Astrosophy will have reproduced the entire series, Major and Minor Arcana, as frontispieces in the Journal every month.

Despite the increase in our expenses, we do not intend to increase the price of the subscription, which will remain the same, nor the price of the current issue, but the price of back issues, starting from the July, 1935 issue will be five francs, after the month of publication, because we are forced to make a big investment in advance, knowing that during the three years in which the Major and Minor Arcana of the Tarot appear, many new subscribers will ask for the entire series.

It is rare - oh so rare! - To find in the same person an artist gifted with such subtlety and charm, having impeccable design and control of harmonious shades of colour, as well as a serious scholar and occultist. As readers of Astrosophy know, “occultist” is not a title we readily give. Christian Loring is very advanced in Cabbalism and some Mysteries thereto unknown. We are keen that our readers believe in the true artistic and occult value of the paintings that will appear.

Interpretation of each Arcana will be given in the last two pages of our journal. It will perhaps permit us to say that these monthly two-pages form, as a whole, an initiatory study of the Tarot, much of the teaching is new, having only been given orally previously. These interpretations while accurate are brief, much more detail is in our great courses on Cabbalism, the lessons of which program can be found in our advertising pages. We advise our readers to keep their numbers carefully and bind them at the end of each volume because reproduction of the paintings and text of the Tarot is prohibited.

It would not be fair on our part, not to recognize the great merit of the work of other researchers in the same line. Christian Loring was inspired, with some modifications, by the Major Arcana as indicated by Oswald Wirth in his book: Le Tarot des Imagiers du Moyen Age, but, as a specialist in medieval art, is free from the rigid and awkward style of primitive times.

A modern, comprehensive Tarot with all the Minor Arcana having scenic tableau, was made by Ms. Smith, under the direction of Mr. A. E. Waite, in England; it is entitled: A Pictorial to the Tarot; Details are richer in ideas than they are pleasing from an artistic point of view, as Waite is the most prominent, the most learned, the most literary and most eclectic occultist of the twentieth century; Unfortunately, the artist lacks that "sacred fire" and the cards fail to emit any spirituality. There is also a German Tarot, Egyptian in character, on cards of small size, better for divinatory processes; if the Major Arcana are in no way inspired, at least they don’t interfere, and the Minor Arcana follow the tradition of geometric figures and symbols. But for those looking to accentuate the conjectural sciences along high lines, The Medieval Tarot will quickly become the focus, and the vibrancy of divination is there.

The most researched and detailed Tarot cards, with their magical correspondences, and cabbalistic zodiac (the Major Arcana only) are unquestionably those presented by "Enel" in his two books: Rota and Manuel de Cabbale Pratique, the foundation being a Cabbalistic-Egyptian synthesis; the study of these two books is almost mandatory for the student who seeks to deepen the Tarot.

A recent work, based on the Tarot de Marseille, of high value for the mystery of numbers is that of J. Maxwell: Le Tarot, les arcanes, la divination; this book gives no drawings, but is a beautiful study of symbolism. An effort to clarify the history of the Tarot was made by Bourgeat in his book: Le Tarot, aperçu historique, but the author is not a Cabbalist. Those who know how to extract the highest truths in the works of Eliphas Levi must be sure to read his book: La Clef des Grands Mystères. Finally, we cannot fail to express our great appreciation to our French popularisers, and must mention two books by Papus (Dr. Encausse): Le Tarot des Bohémiens, Le Tarot Divinatoire; and La Synthèse du Tarot by Georges Muehery, this last of frankly cartomancien character. For those who read English, a really important book this subject was written by Dr Thierens: A General Key to the Tarot, in which the astrological and theosophical treatment is admirable; this book is marked by a great independence of thought associated with a deep knowledge of the subject. The greatest esotericist today - Dion Fortune - is currently preparing a large-scale work on: The Mystical Tarot.

This small bibliography lists all the books that are necessary for a student of the Tarot, and it is striking to note that The Medieval Tarot of Christian Loring will, of all these systems, be the occult and artistic Tarot par excellence, because it was made by a soul in accordance with the Mysteries.

F. R.-W.

[Copies of l’Astrosophy up to the January, 1937 edition, are available to view/download from BnF – the editions from July 1935 to January 1936 include paintings with interpretations of the Trump cards 1 – 18.]

The Tax stamp is the 'RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE DÉCRET DU 12 AVRIL 1890' that was in use between 1890 to 1917, and from 1922 to 1940 - so maybe came out at the same time as the book in 1939?

Library description of book:


TITLE: THE TAROT MEDIEVAL. Illustrations Christian Loring.

LOCATION: PUBLISHER DATE: Cap-de-Croix, Nice : Editions Astrosophie, [1939] Reprinted from l'Astrosophy July 1935 to November 1939.

COLLATION not paginated.

FORMAT: 8vo (16x24cm).

BINDING: half-leather burgundy red in good condition a little rubbed on spine, back smooth gold title, author, irons and gilt, the plates are marbled.

ILLUSTRATIONS: very numerous plates of illustrations

CONDITION: Very cool nice condition, interior, without foxing.

F.Rolt-Wheeler also published a three volume work on tarot/cabbalah:

t. 1. Le Tarot ésotérique. Arcanes majeurs et Arcanes mineurs
t. 2. Les Sephiroth. L'Arbre de la connaissance
t. 3. Les mystèries. Les 32 voies de la sagesse.
Nice : Editions d'Astrosophie, (1936).

Which inspired Nice based artist Micheal Bellon's tarot (1980), which is dedicated to F.R-W:

Rolt-Wheeler also founded the English sister magazine 'The Seer' and had connections with English esoteric orders as well as French, he was long-time friend (and according to the site below 'disciple') of Dion Fortune for example -- and may claim to have introduced much of her work to the French through his translations of her essays -- many of which have been collected into a single volume:

Essais occultes & ésotériques de Dion Fortune, Sesheta Publications

The lwb that comes with the deck says 'editions Belaz'. Belaz was the name of his third wife (Yvonne Bélaz). According to his friend, the Italian occultist, astrologer, esoteric author & yogi Palamidessi: "A Doctor of Philosophy, Rolt-Wheeler was a symbolist of value and fecund master of esoterism, author of important works on the Kabbalah, numerology, occult cosmology, astrology, Esoteric Christianity , masonry, magic. He was born in London, December 16, 1876 at 7:30 am and died in Nice (France), where he lived, on August 21, 1960 at 10:30 am, as we were told by his wife and collaborator. Francis Rolt-Wheeler was educated in London, Dublin, Chicago and New York. We were honored by his friendship and we will never forget him for his qualities as an initiate and Anglican priest. He wrote in English and French. He ran for several years his review Astrosophy. He lived in his villa Adonais on the Avenue Cap de Croix, in Cimiez. Like ourselves, he published his writings in the form of handouts and volumes of books. He also devoted considerable study to the Tarot and Philosophies of India. He was a broad-minded man, a good builder of the Temple." (Archeosofia, Vol. II, p. 128).

Christian Loring also illustrated Rolt-Wheeler's "Mystic Gleams from the Holy Grail", a book on Arthurian legend and grail mysticism published by Rider & Co, in 1948. Other than that I have been unable to find out much about Loring himself.


He links spades to Fire, coins to Air (the winged creatures on the ace), cups to Water and wands to Earth, thus following Maxwell's correspondences


Rolt-Wheeler, Wirth, Falconnier, Maxwell... I have no idea who these people were, so those references don't really clarify who Loring was for me, as I am not familiar with many details of the history of tarot or certain esoteric societies. From that excerpt, it seems he was an illustrator who was commissioned for this and other projects. Beautiful work. Did the deck sell for the asking price?