I highly recommend this interview by Arlene deWinter with Paul Huson.

Long ago (1971) Paul wrote a book on tarot called The Devil’s Picturebook: The Compleat Guide to Tarot Cards: Their Origins and their Usage. It was one of my earliest tarot books and gave me a better sense of the true tarot history then most other books of the time. Along with his Mastering Witchcraft, I got a rich sense of classical and pagan witchy lore out of a more sophisticated European sensibility than was usually found in the U.S.

More recently Paul wrote one of the finest books on the Renaissance history of tarot – Mystical Origins of the Tarot: From Ancient Roots to Modern Usage, which I consider to be an absolute MUST for anyone interested in tarot’s past. It also offers the best material for those who want to read the cards using ideas that were likely associated with the images from the beginning. It is filled with rare translations and hundreds of drawings of decks, comparing them to related medieval and Renaissance artworks.Dame-Fortunes-Wheel

Paul’s most recent offering is a jewel-like deck from Lo Scarabeo based on the drawings he did for Mystical Origins: Dame Fortune’s Wheel Tarot. It is a richly colorful and eclectic rendering of what a more plebian deck of the 15th-16th century might have looked like, borrowing from several late 15th century woodcuts as well as the elaborate gold-leaf, hand painted decks of the nobles, along with some Marseille touches. The Minors feature scenic imagery based on Etteilla’s 18th century meanings (upon which both MacGregor Mathers and A.E. Waite based their cartomantic interpretations).

In my opinion, no tarot library is complete without Mystical Origins of the Tarot and Dame Fortune’s Wheel, and I guarantee that both will give you many long hours of  enjoyment as you dig out all those reproduction decks (or the Encyclopedia of Tarot) to compare the ideas and imagery.

Learn more and see the deck in action at Christine Payne-Towler’s recent Ark Letters post.

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