Guest post by Bonnie Cehovet
Tarotpedia is a wonderful online site, a collaborative effort initiated by Jean-Michel David and the Association For Tarot Studies. It serves as a literal encyclopedia of Tarot for the Tarot community, and is an excellent resource. Anyone can become a member and assist in the growth of this site. Participation is encouraged, whether it is simply noting an omission, making suggestions or contributing directly to the page. All of us in the Tarot world together can do so much more than one or two of us alone, IMHO.
I want to add a personal note here – I have followed the Association For Tarot Studies site and work for some time now, and have become a member. I am in the U.S., they are based in Australia, but the twain does meet! I have a great deal of respect for the Association’s work, and the high quality of material on this site.
Topics covered include Tarot History, Tarot Decks, Tarot Usage, Tarot Books, Tarot Cards and Tarot links. A good place to start is on their featured Tarot History page, which actually starts out in the 1400’s – before Tarot existed. Here we learn about playing cards, and how they migrated to Europe by way of the Mamluk Empire.
There is a detailed timeline on the history of Tarot, beginning in the 1400’s, including some beautiful scans of older decks. This is a good place to start looking at the sequence of the Trumps, where the imagery began, and who was comissioning the decks. We follow the movement of the Tarot from Italy, to France, Germany and Switzerland and beyond, and the importance of the game of tarocchi.
We read about the Tarot de Marseilles style decks, the development of modern Tarot decks, and the invention of occult Tarot. Traditional medeival allegory was replaced with thematic decorative images and the inclusion of numerals on the cards.
Included at the end of the Tarot History page are links to other theories on the development of the Tarot (theories that are generally not taken seriously by Tarot historians, but which may still be worth looking into). These theories include the Bardic origin of the Tarot, the Tarot of the Skull, the Astrological origin of the Tarot, the 5 X 14 Theory and the Medieval French Benedictine Theory of Origin.
The section on Tarot decks is a virtual treasure trove of material! There is an alphabetical list of Tarot decks, as well as an alphabetical list by artist. Most helpful! Site visitors can also search historical decks by date, by pattern (i.e. Bolognese, Sicilian, Minchiate, Marseille, Besancon, Belgian, Ettiella, Falconnier, Papus and Wirth, Golden Dawn, Waite-Smith and Crowley-Harris Thoth). The section on decks by characteristic include black and white, borderless, collage, photo collafe, digital, decks in development, Trumps only, mixed media, round and self-published.
Decks by theme include Animals, Plant and Minerals; Art, Anime, Manga; Esoterica (Alchemy, Astrology, Egyptian, Enochian Magic, Kabbalah, Occult and Hermetic, and Secret Societies (i.e. Freemasons, Templars and Rosicrucians).
Other categories include Mythological and Supernatural Beings (Angels, Devils & Demons, Dragons, Elves, Fairies and Gnomes, Monsters, Wizards and Witches), People and Places (Asia and Middle Eastern, Aboriginal, Celtic, Egyptian and more), Perspectives (Children friendly, Erotica, Gender and Sexuality, Gothis, Humous, Primal, Primitive and Primal, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Stories, Tales and Literature, Surrealistic), Religions and Mythology (Afro-American, Buddhist, Christian, Pagan and Shamanistic, Mythology).
Tarot Usage covers Tarot reading as counseling, Tarot reading as a divinatory practice, Tarot reading for the purposes of brain-storming, Tarot and Meditation, Tarot and Ritual, Tarot Games and Tarot reading as a profession.
I adore the section on Tarot books! Of course, I adore books of all kinds, but I love the way that this section is organized (my memory is slipping as I get older, so I remember part but not all of something). The site visitor can look up Tarot books by title, author, date of publication or subject (Classics, Deck Companions, Disciplines, Fiction, History & Theory, Introductions, Reference, Secular, Special Topics, Study Guides, and Youth. There is also an external link for Tarot books in languages other than English.
For anyone wanting to begin research on Tarot history, to research Tarot decks (or deck illustrators), or Tarot books (or authors), Taropedia is a wonderful place to begin. If you are looking for a specific category of deck or book, here is the place to find it. One stop shopping at its best!
I hope that you stop and browse this site – it is well worth your time!
Be sure to visit Bonnie’s excellent tarot website full of tarot articles, reviews and excerpts from her published works.