Tarot and Other Meditation Decks

History, Theory, Aesthetics, Typology, 2d ed.

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About the Book

Arthur E. Waite and 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 its quality and the archetypal possibilities of its cards. Waite and Smith’s deck has become the gold standard for identifying, categorizing and analyzing contemporary Tarot and other meditation decks.
Developments in both visual and literary history and theory have influenced Tarot since its fifteenth-century invention 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 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.) has graduate degrees in History in Art and English Literature from the University of Victoria and has taught art history in Canadian and American universities for over twenty years. Her monographs include The Way of Inuit Art: Aesthetics in and Beyond the Arctic (2005) and Tarot and Other Mediation Decks: History, Theory, Aesthetics (2004). She is a contributor to the anthology King Arthur in Popular Culture (2002) and has published papers on interlace and Alan Lee’s Lord of the Rings’ illustrations, genre and Pre-Raphaelitism in Lady Audley’s Secret, and other subjects. She lives in Ontario, Canada.

Bibliographic Details

Emily E. Auger
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: ca. 200 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8679-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4720-3
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

Reviews of the first edition: “A unique and specialized art history…unusual, fascinating, seminal, and very highly recommended”—Midwest Book Review.