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Legend Kit
The Arthurian Tarot

By: Anna-Marie Ferguson
Imprint: Llewellyn
Specs: Boxed Kit | 9781567182675
English | 6 x 9 x 2 IN
78 full-color cards, 6"x9" illus. book
Pub Date: September 2002
Price: $28.99 US,  $33.50 CAN
In Stock? Yes, ready to ship
Legend Kit

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The Tarot is a very old and sophisticated divinatory system. The wisdom and beauty of the mysterious cards have intrigued humanity throughout the ages. The Tarot embodies many profound and ancient teachings which pass far beyond their divinatory interpretations. For this reason, no one person ever truly comprehends all of its teachings, nor completes its study. The 78 cards of the Tarot are divided into two groups. The first 22 caeds are called the trump cards or Major Arcana-Arcana meaning secrets. The Major Arcana begins with the Foot card numbered zero, and ends with the Universe or World card numbered twenty-one. The trump caeds are rich in symbolism and can be considered the "Gate Keepers of Higher Knowledge." The remaining 56 cards, the Minor Arcana, are divided into four suits, each of which has fourteen cards: Ace through Ten, plus four court cards. The Minor Arcana tends to be less complicated than the Major, and helps to bring a card reading into focus.

The Tarot engages the student in a dialogue without words. Its language is symbolic; some of the paintings will seem to speak more to the reader than others. The same can be said of particular elements of the paintings, depending upon what is relevant to the reader at that time. Ultimately, each card will take on a higher personal significance as the individual becomes more familiar with the deck. The paintings embody the universal archetypes and mythological themes that are common to us all on a subconscious level. For example, the image of the cup or vessel speaks universally of fulfilment and nourishment. It is thought that this age-old symbolic language of the Tarot stimulates the subconscious and awakens the intuitive sense within the reader. Some archaic symbols are not quite so easily recognized or translated by the intellect; nevertheless, this does not diminish their ability to move us. Despite having lost direct contact with the significance of some of the ancient symbols, we are still instinctively drawn to and intuitively feel their essence. We do not, for example, fully understand the grand symbolism underlying the megalithic ring of Stonehenge or the Egyptian pyramids, yet many people are still attracted to and inspired by the ancient structures. It has been theorized that our universal appreciation, and occasional understanding of such things, may be due to our connections with what some philosophers have termed the anima mundi, or world-soul. The concept of the world-soul is closely related to that which the great psychologist Carl Jung termed the collective unconscious. The anima mundi is thought to contain the entire collective knowledge and memory, past, present, and future, of all living things. Thus, when the card reader moves beyond a mundane reading to a psychic reading, it is theorized that he or she has accessed that inherent part of the subconscious connected with the anima mundi.

A person does not have to believe in the prophetic ability of the Tarot to appreciate the cards, nor does one have to be a gifted psychic in order to read them. Naturally, those attuned to their intuitive sense will be able to take a reading a step further. With practice and patience, all can learn to read the cards and, hopefully, develop their psychic aware, ness in the process. The Tarot is a tool, and can be likened to a musical instrument. Most people can be taught the basics and can team to play a tune. Those with the desire and discipline can become accomplished musicians. And then there are those with natural talent and keen dedi, cation who are capable of becoming masters of their art. There are card readers whose accuracy seems uncanny, so much so that they are often called psychic readers. Then there are card readers who claim no psychic ability, but nevertheless can provide insight through the traditional interpretations of the cards alone. Lastly, there are those, whom I would like to think are a minority, who misuse the Tarot by manipulating a reading to suit or further their own means. Not only is it disturbing to think that the Tarot would be used to take advantage of rather than to help people, but it also undermines the reputation of the Tarot in general. Unfortunately, there is no certain way to prevent those who are so inclined from misusing the Tarot. As with anything, there is the potential for abuse, whether it be a trusted relationship, a pitchfork, or a wagging tongue. If someone decides to read the Tarot for other people, he or she must be responsible and relay the information with a certain sensitivity, tempered with a common sense. Many positive developments can arise from a reading performed with good will. The Tarot can inspire, comfort, and encourage. This was my intent in painting these cards.

There has been the misconception that the Tarot was wicked or diabolical. Fortunately, with more and more people taking the time to study it, this somewhat silly notion is fading. As mentioned previously, the Tarot is like any other object; when used for its intended purpose it is a valuable tool. In and of itself the Tarot is not wicked. Most now recognize it for what it truly is-one of the many paths to greater spiritual understanding and self-awareness. Amidst the growing tolerance and inquisitive atmosphere, some churches have accepted the Tarot and encouraged its exploration as a method of enhancing spiritual awareness. The Tarot does not belong to any one religion, rather it is a mosaic of many. The traditional Tarot embodies the imagery and motifs of a wide range of cultures and belief systems, including Hindu, Christian, Islamic, and Pagan to name but a few.

The religious diversity of the Tarot has added to the difficulty of establishing its origins. There are a number of theories as to its source, but none are conclusive. Egypt and India have been popular contenders in the past, yet neither has been proved and both are often dismissed by historians. There is also uncertainty surrounding the age of the Tarot. The oldest surviving decks date from the mid-fifteenth century. Of these early cards, the hand-painted Italian decks known as the Visconti-Sforza Tarocchi are perhaps the best known. These rich and beautiful cards were the property of the Visconti and Visconti Sforza families. Toward the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Tarocchi made its way to France, and from there spread throughout Europe. Although it is commonly believed that the Gypsies introduced the Tarot and playing cards to Europe, historical evidence to support this idea is lacking. All early references to the Tarot connect it with the aristocracy, and playing cards were known to Europe many years before the arrival of the Gypsies toward the end of the Middle Ages. The Gypsies, however, may have been influential in promoting the divinatory use of the Tarot in later centuries. Given the expense of the early ornate cards, the Tarot was generally the property of wealthy noblemen of the day. With the arrival of the printing process, however, the cards became available to a greater percentage of the population.

For the 600 years or so that the Tarot has been in print, its imagery has remained largely intact. Each artist who has traveled this royal road has reincarnated the age-old arcana in his or her own artistic style, and one suspects has drawn on the anima mundi, or something like it, in the process. Over the centuries such renowned artists as Albrecht Darer (reputedly), and more recently Salvador Dali have designed Tarot cards, as well as many talented and dedicated lesser-known artists. The poets William Butter Yeats and T S. Eliot both held a fascination for the Tarot; Yeats even took the time to draw his own personal trump cards. Art his, torians, philosophers, authors, and laypeople alike have all been seduced by the elegance and mystery of the Tarot. With the renewed interest of recent years it seems likely that this ancient imagery will continue to flourish in the modern world.


Spring is a busy time for the hearth witch. It is time to prepare the ground, plant seeds, and gather the early flowers and greenery of the year for food, remedies, and magical use. As I look around, the woodland and hedgerow trees are hazed with green as the leaves begin to unfurl. The fields are scattered with a blaze of yellow flowers at this... read this article
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