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)
Pages: 276
Bibliographic Info: 196 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8679-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4720-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v

Preface to the Second Edition 1

Preface to the First Edition 3

Introduction 5

One. Tarot and Visual Art 19

Two. Tarot and Literature 62

Three. Tarot as Tarot 100

Four. Tarot and the Archetypal Shadow 154

Conclusion 198

Appendix 199

Chapter Notes 223

Tarot Decks Cited 239

Meditation and Other Decks Cited 244

Bibliography 246

Index 259

Book Reviews & Awards

Reviews of the first edition:

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