Artwork by Robert M. Place, The Ace of Cups from the Alchemical Tarot, The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery, and the Tarot of Marseilles
19th century occultists, such as Eliphas Levi, Paul Christian, and Papus, considered the Tarot an indispensable component of their tradition, and to give the deck an appropriately impressive pedigree, invented several imaginative versions of the history of the cards. These spurious origins of the Tarot have become such an accepted part of Tarot literature that they are often reported as fact. However, the Tarot was actually a creation of Renaissance artist in northern Italy and these occult fantasies can actually block us from a true appreciation of the mystical heritage illustrated in the cards.
In this class we will explore the true history and symbolism of the Tarot. We will focus on the actual history of the Tarot. We will trace the history of playing cards, from their creation before the 12th century in China, through Asia, and to the 14th century when a deck of four suits was introduced into Europe. It will then be demonstrated that an enigmatic fifth suit, called Trumps, was added to the deck in 15th century Italy, and that this combined deck came to be known as the Tarot. Then we will focus on the symbolism of the trumps as the Renaissance artist who created them would have viewed them and we will glimpse the mystical philosophy that they teach.
About Robert M. Place
Robert M Place is the designer of The Alchemical Tarot, The Alchemical Tarot Renewed, The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery, The Facsimile Italian Renaissance Woodcut Tarocchi, The Tarot of the Saints, The Buddha Tarot, The Vampire Tarot, The Angels Tarot, and The Marziano Tarot. He is the author of the books that accompany most of these decks. He has also authored The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination, which Booklist has said, “may be the best book ever written on that deck of cards decorated with mysterious images called the tarot.” He is the author of Astrology and Divination, Magic and Alchemy, and Shamanism, written for the Mysteries, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena series, and the author of Alchemy and the Tarot. He is the curator of The Fools’ Journey and the author of the catalog for this exhibition of Tarot art that originated at the LA Craft and Folk Art Museum in 2010. He was the guest of honor at the opening of the Tarot Museum in Riola, Italy in 2007. His Facsimile Tarocchi is included in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
He has taught and lecture throughout the United States, and in Europe, Australia, and Brazil. He and his work have appeared on the BBC series The Book of Thoth, the Discovery Channel series Strictly Supernatural, and on the Learning Channel and A&E. He has been a frequent guest on the Woodstock Rountable on WDST-FM, People are Talking on WKZE-FM , and Mystic Musings on KKUP FM, Darkness on the Edge of Town on KTLK FM, and the Tarot Tribe on Blog Talk Radio.
Admission is $10