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Tarot's Influence in the Arts
by Marcia Masino, CTGM






Sculptress Niki de Saint Phalle has created a Tarot garden and house located in Garavicchio in southern Tuscany, Italy. It is a park consisting of monumental sculptures and architectural spaces inspired by the 22 Major Arcana, the art work is multi-media, metal sculptures, mirrored, glass and ceramic mosaics, etc. The building created for The Empress was actually her home. She began the project in 1980, based on a dream she had during an earlier part of her life. The garden and home was officially opened in 1997. A book chronicling her efforts and filled with photos of this extraordinary garden is "Niki de Saint Phalle, The Tarot Garden", edited by Mazzanti, Anna published by Charta, Milan www.artecontemporanea.com/charta

The Tarot was inspiration for a fabulous outdoor, theatrical presentation of Shakespeare in the Park, Buffalo, New York in 1994. Director and production designer, Nancy Doherty, created a theater set featuring huge versions of the Waite-Smith Tarot cards, eight feet tall. She chose the cards for Macbeth based on the play's main themes, therefore she used Death, the Wheel of Fortune, The Moon, Justice, The Tower, The Sun, Six of Wands, Ace of Swords, Ace of Wands and Three of Cups. Lord and Lady Macbeth were costumed as the King and Queen of Wands in beautiful crimson and gold velvet.

As the action progressed, it was played out in front of the Tarot cards that represented the story. For example, when betrayal and deceit was occurring, the action happened in front of The Moon. When justice was being challenged, the action occurred in front of Justice. The finale featured Macbeth being upside down as The Hanged Man. The costumes were designed based on the Court Cards from the Waite-Smith deck and it was breathtaking to witness the characters come to life!

Tarot often appears as a rich resource in the literary world. Author T.S. Eliot has a Tarot Reader interpret the Waite-Smith Tarot cards in his 1922 classic, "The Wasteland".

W.B. Yeats, a member of the mystic society known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a prominent 19th Century Tarot Order, wrote poems and myths using Tarot symbols.

Fantasy adventure author Piers Anthony wrote a trilogy entitled "Tarot".

Italian author Italo Calvino uses the mid-15th Century Visconti deck in his narrative fiction book "The Castle of Crossed Destinies". The premise is one of a gathering of speechless people struck mute by odd happenstance seeking to communicate their individual stories through placing relevant Tarot cards on a table at a strange pub. This book is published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovick Inc., a Harvest HBJ Book, New York, New York. This is a unique approach to story telling and can be educative as well. Try explaining your day or week or a dream through laying down a group of cards pertaining to your experience and ask others to try and interpret your situation.

Canadian fiction author, Robertson Davies, often used Tarot trumps as inspiration in his works. Tarot divination and archetypes are beautifully treated in "The World of Wonders", "What's Bred in the Bone", "The Lyre of Orpheus" and other novels.

Some of my favorites Tarot novels are "The Greater Trumps" by Charles Williams, Noonday Press; "The Zelator" by Mark Hedsel, Century Books and the classical occult novels by Dion Fortune, "The Winged Bull", "Sea Priestess", etc. I would also recommend "Brother of the Third Degree" by Garver, Spiritual Literature Library and Aleister Crowley's novel "Moonchild".

The Red Violin is an important film featuring the Tarot . A reading cast in one century affects many generations of people in a mysterious way.

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© Marcia Masino all rights reserved 1999.

Certified tarot Grandmaster Marcia Masino is the author of The Easy Tarot Guide published by ACS Publishing, California. She has finished her second book on intermediate and advanced Tarot. Her tapes on all level of Tarot study and Meditations on the Major Arcana are available directly from her at mmasino@globalserve.net.



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