Tarot and Other Meditation Decks

History, Theory, Aesthetics, Typology, 2d ed.

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About the Book

Arthur E. Waite and artist Pamela Colman Smith’s Rider-Waite Tarot (1909) is the most popular Tarot in the world. Today, it is affectionately referred to as the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot in recognition of the high quality of Smith’s contributions. Waite and Smith’s deck has become the gold standard for identifying, categorizing, and analyzing contemporary Tarot and other meditation decks based on archetypes.
Developments in both visual and literary history and theory have influenced Tarot since its fifteenth-century invention as a game and subsequent adaptations for esotericism, cartomancy, and meditation. Updated for an evolving cultural context, this analysis considers Tarot in relation to conventional art movements, including Symbolism, Surrealism, and the modernist “grid.” Tarot has a strong relationship with post-modern art concepts such as the dissolution of the modernist hierarchy, Pattern and Decoration art, and collage. This work also explores the close connection between Tarot and the invention of the literary novel and includes new material on the representation of Tarot in film and fiction and a new chapter on the growing interest in the archetypal “shadow” and “shadow work,” particularly in deck design and its applications in the new millennium.

About the Author(s)

Emily E. Auger (Ph.D.) is a retired art historian and author of numerous reviews, articles, and books. Founder and chair of the “Tarot and Other Divination Methods” area at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association, she lives in rural southwestern Ontario.

Bibliographic Details

Emily E. Auger
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 200 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8679-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4720-3
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

Reviews of the first edition:

“A unique and specialized art history…unusual, fascinating, seminal, and very highly recommended”—Midwest Book Review.