The place for art

Tarot as art between the absurd and the intellectual

The art of tarot is one of the many divination techniques most people have heard of. The fact is that, let’s be more or less credulous, it has known how to get to the roots of our society because even the most rational people need to find answers to implausible situations. Tarot is a deck of cards that for hundreds of years has been used as a means of consultation and interpretation of dreams, of some facts – which may be past, present or future – or of specific emotional states. Tarot in any religion has a different essence, everything will depend on the culture of the person who takes it.

This is how the art world evolved the Tarot during 600 years

If you’ve ever wondered where the practice of cartouching and the famous Tarot cards came from, you can’t go too far back: in the 18th century, the Protestant minister Antoine Court of Gébelin wrote a multi-volume book called Le Monde primitif, in which he claimed that the cards contained secrets from ancient Egypt, whose priests and priestesses had captured all their knowledge of the occult in illustrations, filling them with power and knowledge.

After that book, nothing was the same: although the deck of cards was mainly used for playing (like the Spanish or French deck) as part of the daily fun in an era without electric light, after de Gébelin’s book things changed forever, especially the Tarot illustrations, which for more than 600 have been evolving to adapt to modern times.

In this way, The Empress, The Hanged Man, Death, The Lovers and many more illustrations have been part of our religious, symbolic and historical iconography, and although not many people commune with cartouching and their beliefs, the small illustrations that over the centuries we have found on the surfaces of these cards are small works of art that reflect our most complex dilemmas and desires: all in a small print.

From the opulence of the Renaissance to Art-Deco

Nicolas Conver’s Marseilles Tarot, 1760

Let’s leave the legend aside: no, the Tarot cards were not born in Egypt, but in Italy, according to art history researchers, and have their roots in the Visconti and Sforza families, who commissioned the deck of cards from the artist Bonifacio Bembo. They wanted to simply play cards with something so exquisite that it would measure up to their family’s position, and to please them, Bembo included small family portraits with gold details and figures evocative of the early Renaissance.

Already by 1760, Nicolas Conver made the Tarot de Marseille, one of the best known by all, not only for its vibrant colors, but for its black borders and because it was the first deck used for divination by occultists such as Éliphas Lévi and Etteilla. It is one of the most sought after by art collectors, and even Alejandro Jodorowsky designed his own Tarot inspired by the iconic work of Conver.

However, there is no better known design than that of Pamela Colman Smith, who designed the Rider-Waite Tarot in 1909, the first made specifically for divination, and with the heritage of the Victorian era’s romance with all things ghostly, gothic and occult, it became even more popular, especially for its art deco motifs and elegance that appeared to come from the workshop of William Morris himself.

Ocutism, hippies and minimalism

Bill Greer and Lloyd Morgan Tarot, circa 1979

By the 1960’s, the old style of the Rider-Waite deck was replaced by Frida Harris’, made with the guidance of the famous occultist Aleister Crowley, and inspired by geometry, as well as the work of artists such as Hilma af Klint and the philosopher Rudolf Steiner, who “manifested” themselves through ancient and magical forces in Crowley, who in the end gave Harris directions on color and style.

A decade later, sexual liberation even reached the tarot, with images inspired by the book The Joy of Sex, LSD and transcendental meditation, artists Bill Greer and Lloyd Morgan put a bit of modernity, sexuality and Jimi Hendrix’s purple haze into the deck. Since then, cartoonists have used classic versions of the Conver and Colman Smith cards, but in recent years, interest in The occult and tarot art has resurfaced: in 2015, illustrator Michael Eaton made a Black Power Tarot, conceived by musician King Khan and filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, who decided to highlight artists, activists and iconic figures of black power.

Kati Forner Tarot, 2016.

However, one of the most beautiful decks made in recent years is that of graphic designer Kati Forner, who transforms the iconic figures of the deck into what they were from the beginning: minimalist symbols that could almost correspond to an application on our iPhone and not to physical cards, demonstrating that although the evolution of tarot iconography varies, at the end of the day we will always be enchanted by the mystical and hidden world that lies behind its images. Somewhere, Antoine Court de Gébelin must be smiling.

Tarot, the essence of art and its absurd official intellectualization in the contemporary world


There are four major centers in each of us, which the tarot synthesizes very well in its world card. I am referring to the mental, the emotional, the sexual or creative and the corporal. When it is the mind that directs, the whole universe becomes intellectualized and loses contact with the other three centers, which is what happens to many in this very mental world that we have been creating. Without intellect there is no value. Neither is it the emotional that leads, or the sexual, or the body itself disconnected from the other centers. This way they manipulate us every day seducing the emotional children we never tuck in, or the sexual adolescents in whom we are trapped, or our sedated body used to not feeling… trying to never be really present to choose what we want our life to be. They do it precisely by using art. An unofficial art that disguised as advertising, film, news, sport and culture, is responsible for telling our unconscious what it should believe and consume.

In reality, art is a powerful tool to transform the world in which we live and it requires the state of presence, as transmitted by the arcane 21 of the tarot. I refer, once again, to the world card and the total integration of the four centers. This card represents the total realization that evidences a state of consciousness acquired after having gone through all the states that were initiated with the nameless card: the madman, which represents total freedom, without limits. The tarot is a symbolic dictionary that perfectly understands our unconscious, a living work of art without rubrics. While the official world of art sells us its limited principles from the intellect, the power of art with capital letters acts on and for us within our daily lives every time we think, feel and breathe. Art is expression and as I pointed out before, a powerful tool to generate our own reality because it is the language of the unconscious. A world that does not understand the analytical language and if the language of rituals, colors, poetry, the act, music, intuition, magic …

To intellectualize art is to clip the wings to our expression and live the world from one hemisphere while trying to understand the impossible. If you want to know a fish you cannot dissect it, open it and divide it into pieces because the fish is gone and only a part of something that was a fish remains. You know the fish in the water, observing it as it swims, feeling its every movement. That is the fish. That is why you understand art when you immerse yourself in the creative universe that invites you to explore yourself and the world. Art does not need mind but presence. The problem is that if everything is art, the market falls. That’s why anything should be sold as exceptional with intellectual discourses that justify it. That’s why it can only be valued by a few, because in this way the market is in the hands of those who create a sustained reality to nourish them… and they have in their power the officiality that determines in us what is worth and what is not.

Everything is art as long as it is said by an artist inside a gallery, but if a can of soup is art, isn’t any can, any object outside of museums, also art? Then, why not frame an old spoon from home or a worn-out pen? Why revere any quip of the artist of the moment that is presented to us as the one that no longer goes and not a quip of our children, partner, siblings or friends?

The official contemporary art world is run by banks and intellectuals and is in museums and galleries, while another much more hidden art world keeps us amnesiacs lost through advertising, film and the official media. One submits us from the intellect. The other does so from the shadow by manipulating our emotions, passions, desires and beliefs. That if, the true world of the ART, the essential one, that that takes to us to be protagonists of the letter of the world, is in us from always and it is manifested every day when we breathe and we live, helping us to create a reality of which we would have to be conscious. ART is sacred and was used by the shaman to heal, to impress the unconscious and not to be trapped by external paradigms that limit and imprison. ART was the way to unite worlds and hemispheres in order to remain present through integration.

If you want to be free, to express and create a free art, do it expressing yourself consciously in your life, from the game, from your state of presence, joining the four centers. There the intellect is only a piece of a powerful gear. The absurd intellectualization of contemporary art is pure ignorance of those who only embrace life with the left hemisphere.

Tarot art, between the esoteric and the psychological


When Joaquin, a thirty-year-old lawyer, entered the room, he was a little disappointed. There was no crystal ball in the middle of the table, no dark curtains covering the windows, no incense, no fetal animals in the wings or any other suspicious gadgets like in the movies.

Instead, the room where Sandra (she preferred not to reveal her last name) shuffled her Spanish cards was white-walled, with photos of her relatives hanging from it. Unadorned, minimalist.

Sandra has been reading cards since she was 24 years old, when she was studying the ninth semester of dentistry at the University of Guayaquil. Now it is her second source of income, besides the dentistry office she opened at home; from 10:00 to 18:00 she works simultaneously in both activities.

He learned to decipher what the letters murmur with the obsessive interest of knowing his future. But “when I completed the study of the letters, I knew that I should not do so, since that was not their purpose.” She says.

“Cards warn you, they show you what you can’t see around you,” he explains. “They clear up your doubts about a specific question, situation, person, or conflict,” she adds.

The tarot is a set of 78 cards – divided into 22 major arcana with symbolic figures and 56 minor arcana numbered from 0 (ace) to 14 (king)-with deep archetypal content.

For example: Psychologist Alejandro Ruiz, explains, how everyone relates the king’s letter to power and the letter of death as the end of a cycle in life. This psychologist uses the tarot as an alternative therapy in some of his consultations.

Currently, several people resort to tarot as a spiritual or psychological guide. But how does psychology relate to tarot?

Ruiz says that it is a way of accessing the unconscious, through the meanings that these cards have. “It helps to read possible consequences of continuing to act as one has acted up to now,” he says.

According to him, they are non-traditional therapies that very few therapists use and are not made for just anyone. Psychologist Daniela Catán, a member of the Mandala Personal Development Center, agrees.

“This exercise can distort a person’s process, condition their mind and make them fatalistic if used in the first few sessions,” she says.

Catán also considers that tarot is useful in a therapeutic rather than esoteric use. “It is a way for the unconscious to reflect on what it means, what is missing, the information that was taken from this psychological session and what needs to be done with it.”.

He adds that the esoteric readings do not really read the future, but force people to create that reality that the cards “show”.

Sandra’s office is also visited by Nadia, a preschool teacher. It is the third time she visits the place.

“I do it because when she warns me about something it ends up happening. Sometimes, as she reads the letters to me, she exposes details of my problems that I haven’t even told her,” she says.

The first time she consulted the tarot was when she ended up with her son’s father. The cards showed her that her ex-husband was hanging around her house, getting up the courage to knock on the door. That he was thinking about coming back. One night, he came back. “It all came true,” she says.

She wants to go back. Sandra tells him that she can’t, that it wouldn’t be mentally healthy for her.

As Ruiz and Catán say, from a psychological standpoint, the person could become “addicted and end up interpreting what he wants to hear as a placebo effect. (I)

Tarot is shaped to the digital world


Throughout our lives there are many situations that make us doubt about our future. In Spain, this mystical art originating in Italy was implanted around the 15th century, and for years and years it has served to help many people who have needed advice or to promote some change.

The new technologies have generated a deep change in the relationship between Tarottists and believers of divination

Online tarot readings would not take long to arrive and join the technological revolution. Traditionally, going to a psychic or having information about how to solve certain existential doubts that we human beings have, was not an easy matter. To do this, one had to find the right person and go in search of him or her. This, moreover, made it impossible for many women and men to be interested in tarot. Why? The fear of being singled out or stigmatized made this art look suspicious.

The Internet has broken all this. First, because of the ease with which we can find information about seers or tarot artists, or about this art as mystical as it is curious. But, above all, because now it is available to everyone at any time, erasing any trace and stopping the social pressure around this subject.

With the art of tarot you can solve your existential doubts. Where?

The Cosmonaut is an information portal that offers articles on curious and interesting topics for the consumer. So much so that, in one of its posts, it provides an online tarot reading. This indicates that this type of practice also calls much attention to those who do not usually resort to it. Although this is not a specialized tarot platform, it is surprising how easily a tarot reading can be done. With only two minutes you can have a notion of the direction your life should take in the next few days. The way it works is as follows: the deck appears upside down and you choose three cards, which will later be raised so that you can see them and read their meaning.

And not only that, but this article provides you with other options. For example, a psychic roll or the Yes or No tarot, which allows you to resolve doubts through the formulation of simple questions that can be answered in the affirmative or negative.

It is not an exaggeration to say that for many people this mystical art is a good help in making decisions. We human beings are easily obsessed with knowing what destiny will bring us. This is the eternal doubt that we have had since the beginning of time. And it is that, in addition, we are curious and impatient by nature; this is one of the reasons that push us to look for answers desperately.

Some people do it once or twice in their whole life, just to try, in a more anecdotal way. But for many others, the art of tarot has become a moral support that pushes them to orient themselves or advise them when making certain decisions.

That is why, in order to introduce oneself into the world of esotericism, it is advisable to know what this practice is in order to create more or less expectations about it. The mystical arts are not scientifically proven, so they are always subjective, interpretable and vulnerable to be believed. It will depend, obviously, on the degree of credulity of each person. That is why we believe it is important to know oneself when it comes to letting oneself be carried away by a divining experience.

But the tarot is not only concerned with making general runs, but there are also runs that specialize in a particular theme. And, of course, one of the feelings that most often concerns us all is love. In this way, and also in a simple way, you will be able to resolve your doubts about love. You can ask if your partner is cheating on you with another person, if you are really in love with your husband or if that perfect girlfriend will appear at some point.

Are you worried about any of these issues? Then just choose 3 cards at random and read their meaning. In addition, you can comment and interact with other users who have felt the need to find advice.