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The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination Paperback – Mar 17 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: TarcherPerigee (March 17 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585423491
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585423491
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #302,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Booklist

*Starred Review* This may be the best book ever written on that deck of cards decorated with mysterious images called the tarot. Dozens of books provide sketchy information on the cards' history and evolution before turning more discursive on how to interpret them. Place inverts that formula. Well-researched, entertainingly written chapters begin the book with information on where the tarot comes from and how it gained so much prominence as a tool for divination. Far from developing from deeply magical sources, as many have claimed, the tarot was originally just a deck of cards used for playing games. Even at the start, however, those games included some fortune-telling. Over the course of centuries, the cards' lore was enriched by thoughtful practitioners who added cards, elaborated their meanings, and connected their imagery to mythology and dreams. At the beginning of the twentieth century, an inspired young artist, Pamela Smith, drew upon her occult training and her own visions to create the now classic Rider-Waite deck. In a comprehensively researched and passionately argued chapter, Place restores Smith to her rightful position as the genius behind the deck. That Place also offers excellent guidance to actually reading the cards makes the book that much more appealing, as a how-to as well as a why-bother. Patricia Monaghan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Robert M. Place is an internationally known visionary artist and illustrator. He is recognized as an expert on the Western mystical tradition and the history and philosophy of the Tarot, and his work has appeared in many books and publications. Place is also the designer, illustrator, and coauthor of the highly acclaimed Alchemical Tarot and The Angels Tarot. He has appeared on The Discovery Channel and The Learning Channel and has conducted lectures and workshops throughout the country, including the Open Center and the Omega Institute in New York and the International Tarot Congress in Chicago. Place's work in precious metals have been displayed in museums such as the New York State Museum, the American Craft Museum, and the White House.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars 42 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! March 4 2014
By Frost - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
absolutely the best book written about the tarot to date. finally a book that is as well written as it is well informed with a wealth of information about the real and actual origins of the tarot. I very much appreciate the honesty of this book with its objective intent to inform correctly the birthplace of the tarot. Instead of to appease myriad and often ego driven people who claim the tarot as their own and ( in the last hundred years or so ) have added so many various and diverse symbols to the tarot that it has only corrupted the tarot from its intended meaning via its pure and symbolic message. that said, as a tarot enthusiast and a tarot professional I just have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book and took something away from reading this material, in that, not only did I learn a great deal more about the tarot that I didn't know before, but I also became a better tarot reader for the experience.......
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Serious, Factual Material on the Tarot Sept. 19 2006
By paradoxgod - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for those interested in a seriously researched, non-bogus treatment of the Tarot's history and symbolism. The subject matter is on occult and mystical matters, but the tone and presentation is historically matter-of-fact, NOT another rehash of the same mishmash mystical hokum found in SO many other books. Reading it is like browsing through a well-designed museum exhibit : a very well organized and ordered arrangement of historical facts that puts the Tarot in realistic historical context. Do we know for absolute certain when and where the Tarot started? No. The same way we don't/can't known when precisly when or where anything else started, for that matter. But after reading this book, you'll have a multi-century vista of contextual peoples, places and events that ground the Tarot's symbolism and history to earthly, tactile phenomenon, without necessarily diluting any of its mystical, divinatory impact.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Recommend More Highly April 10 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're not familiar with Robert Place's art work, you should be. Go get one of his Tarot decks right now. Hurry! We'll wait...

If you *are* familiar with his art, then you only need to know that this book is like his art -- absolutely top notch. Like his illustrations, his explanations of complex history and symbolism are clean, clear, and elegant.If you're not familiar with Robert Place's art work, you should be. Go get one of his Tarot decks right now. Hurry! We'll wait...

If you *are* familiar with his art, then you only need to know that this book is like his art -- absolutely top notch. Like his illustrations, his explanations of Tarot history and symbolism are clean, clear, and elegant. Place is that rare combination: a serious scholar and an inspired artist.

If you have even a passing interest in Tarot, you want this book. As another reviewer wrote, it is an instant classic.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight for lovers of Tarot, art, and scholarship. Oct. 1 2005
By Kata - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am an avid student of the Tarot as well as an art historian and college professor. Robert Place's book is scholarly without being pedantic. His understanding of the way images influence their times and are, in turn, influenced by their times is admirable. His clear writing and jargon-free analysis (currently rare in academia)will delight all who love art and Tarot. I have enjoyed every page.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Tarot History Dec 18 2010
By amazon customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Remember a school or college professor that was smart and very serious about the subject, but still knew plenty about it? This is how I imagine Robert M. Place in class (take a look at his pictures on the back cover of his book). I have a strange feeling that he has fine humor, but not while writing about Tarot. Sometimes this book might tend to feel on the heavy side, and it is because it covers at great depth the history of Tarot. Of the three subjects that it deals with (history, symbolism, and divination) history is definitely its strength. If that is what you are looking for, this is a good book to read. The section in symbolism is good, but again because of its solemnity it is no fully engaging sometimes. The part of divination is the one that I liked the least. Mr. Place doesn't read reversal (up-side down cards), interestingly enough Arthur E. Waite the creator of the rider-waite Tarot deck, which is the one that Mr. Place uses for his examples does read reversals. In addition to this Mr. Place focuses mainly on three card readings, and there are about six ways that he describes for reading the spread. I find that this can be confusing and misleading. The two additional spreads that deal with the seven chakras and astrology seem very interesting; but again using three cards each chakra, or houses in the astrological chart, can be confusing. I am not saying that is useless, but I do think that it might need a lot of practice. It would have been beneficial to have more examples in the book. The section in divination is a very short section compared to the rest of the book.