The Tarot of Austin Osman Spare

Originally published at: The Tarot of Austin Osman Spare | Boing Boing


That shadow puppet seems a bit, shady.

Maybe a disclaimer is in order: Your results may vary.


Interesting from a historical standpoint, but too much “quabbalah” (as Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi zt"l called Western occultism’s appropriation of Jewish kabbalah) for my tastes.

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Hmm… interesting as maybe an art piece; I have a few decks like that that, although one is my main ‘working’ deck (Lee Bradford’s Sweeney Tarot). The others are the D&D Tarot Deck (Not to be confused with the Deck of Many Things or Tarokka deck) and a reproduction of that most accursed, possibly haunted of items, the Windrow-Ravenswood Deck.

(I’ve never used the latter at all, as it’s purely an art item for me; the guidebook for it also has a good horror story woven into it of the lovecraftian style.)

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I can vouch for the first edition of this book. The cards and the book are fascinating. Very well done.

It’s a personal deck, that is made by Spare for his own use. Kind of a Memory Palace of his own studies. I’m sure it could be used as a learning tool for students of Tarot, but I doubt it would be a ‘main’ deck for anyone but him.

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The art certainly has an interesting style. To me it highlights the “handmade mystery” feel that’s missing from the typical Rider-Waite types of decks. (While I like the looks of R-W, I think the art has a polished “commercial quality” to it.)

I also enjoy listening to the talented patter of the confidence tricksters that draw people in to “tell their fortunes”. A friend in college was exceptional at reading people, and feeding vague lines back to unwary freshmen, and it was always hilarious. I tried, but I lack both the charisma and the ability to effectively tell lies (I break out in laughter way too early.)

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My brain keeps on misreading the title as “The Tarot of Autism”. That could be an interesting project.

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