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"Le Tarot Medieval" by Loring & Rolt-Wheeler
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 Posted: Fri Jun 27th, 2014 08:23 am
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Kwaw
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[Introduction to the projected ‘Le Tarot Medieval’ series to be published in the occult periodical l’Astrosophie, in the July, 1935 edition, by Francis Rolt-Wheeler. Translated by Köy Deli. Corrections and amendments welcome.]



To our Dear Readers

THE SECRETS OF THE TAROT, the mysteries of the Rose + Cross, the search for the Holy Grail and the transmutation of the Philosopher's Stone are only four different aspects of the same thing: the discovery and exploration of the sublimities of the spiritual world, of these four ways, the tarot has the immense advantage of being pictorial; but its pictorial and symbolic side has suffered the terrible disadvantage that the drawings expressing its wonderful symbolism are all so archaic, so grotesque, so poorly made, or harsh in their colour that regrettably, given the symbolic and spiritual teaching of the tarot, forces students to use cards that shock and break their momentum.

Suddenly and quite unexpectedly, we were recently allowed to see a series of Tarot cards painted by Christian Loring (exhibiting at the Autumn Salon) of great finesse and distinction. The colours are beautiful and so subtle that it seems almost impossible to render these Arcana in Black and white. We have not lost hope that one day, a lover of beauty and spiritual thought - perhaps one or more of our readers? - Will reproduce this wonderful Tarot to leave as a legacy for future generations, or help us to do so, on a practical basis.

This is just the most beautiful set of Tarot cards existing in the world, and the world was waiting for ages!

We are proud to be able to show for the first time this new artistic version of the Tarot; when finished Astrosophy will have reproduced the entire series, Major and Minor Arcana, as frontispieces in the Journal every month.

Despite the increase in our expenses, we do not intend to increase the price of the subscription, which will remain the same, nor the price of the current issue, but the price of back issues, starting from the July, 1935 issue will be five francs, after the month of publication, because we are forced to make a big investment in advance, knowing that during the three years in which the Major and Minor Arcana of the Tarot appear, many new subscribers will ask for the entire series.

It is rare - oh so rare! - To find in the same person an artist gifted with such subtlety and charm, having impeccable design and control of harmonious shades of colour, as well as a serious scholar and occultist. As readers of Astrosophy know, “occultist” is not a title we readily give. Christian Loring is very advanced in Cabbalism and some Mysteries thereto unknown. We are keen that our readers believe in the true artistic and occult value of the paintings that will appear.

Interpretation of each Arcana will be given in the last two pages of our journal. It will perhaps permit us to say that these monthly two-pages form, as a whole, an initiatory study of the Tarot, much of the teaching is new, having only been given orally previously. These interpretations while accurate are brief, much more detail is in our great courses on Cabbalism, the lessons of which program can be found in our advertising pages. We advise our readers to keep their numbers carefully and bind them at the end of each volume because reproduction of the paintings and text of the Tarot is prohibited.

It would not be fair on our part, not to recognize the great merit of the work of other researchers in the same line. Christian Loring was inspired, with some modifications, by the Major Arcana as indicated by Oswald Wirth in his book: Le Tarot des Imagiers du Moyen Age, but, as a specialist in medieval art, is free from the rigid and awkward style of primitive times.

A modern, comprehensive Tarot with all the Minor Arcana having scenic tableau, was made by Ms. Smith, under the direction of Mr. A. E. Waite, in England; it is entitled: A Pictorial to the Tarot; Details are richer in ideas than they are pleasing from an artistic point of view, as Waite is the most prominent, the most learned, the most literary and most eclectic occultist of the twentieth century; Unfortunately, the artist lacks that "sacred fire" and the cards fail to emit any spirituality. There is also a German Tarot, Egyptian in character, on cards of small size, better for divinatory processes; if the Major Arcana are in no way inspired, at least they don’t interfere, and the Minor Arcana follow the tradition of geometric figures and symbols. But for those looking to accentuate the conjectural sciences along high lines, The Medieval Tarot will quickly become the focus, and the vibrancy of divination is there.

The most researched and detailed Tarot cards, with their magical correspondences, and cabbalistic zodiac (the Major Arcana only) are unquestionably those presented by "Enel" in his two books: Rota and Manuel de Cabbale Pratique, the foundation being a Cabbalistic-Egyptian synthesis; the study of these two books is almost mandatory for the student who seeks to deepen the Tarot.

A recent work, based on the Tarot de Marseille, of high value for the mystery of numbers is that of J. Maxwell: Le Tarot, les arcanes, la divination; this book gives no drawings, but is a beautiful study of symbolism. An effort to clarify the history of the Tarot was made by Bourgeat in his book: Le Tarot, aperçu historique, but the author is not a Cabbalist. Those who know how to extract the highest truths in the works of Eliphas Levi must be sure to read his book: La Clef des Grands Mystères. Finally, we cannot fail to express our great appreciation to our French popularisers, and must mention two books by Papus (Dr. Encausse): Le Tarot des Bohémiens, Le Tarot Divinatoire; and La Synthèse du Tarot by Georges Muehery, this last of frankly cartomancien character. For those who read English, a really important book this subject was written by Dr Thierens: A General Key to the Tarot, in which the astrological and theosophical treatment is admirable; this book is marked by a great independence of thought associated with a deep knowledge of the subject. The greatest esotericist today - Dion Fortune - is currently preparing a large-scale work on: The Mystical Tarot.

This small bibliography lists all the books that are necessary for a student of the Tarot, and it is striking to note that The Medieval Tarot of Christian Loring will, of all these systems, be the occult and artistic Tarot par excellence, because it was made by a soul in accordance with the Mysteries.

F. R.-W.

[Copies of l’Astrosophy up to the January, 1937 edition, are available to view/download from BnF – the editions from July 1935 to January 1936 include paintings with interpretations of the Trump cards 1 – 18.]

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32706073h/date.r=l%27Astrosophie.langEN

Last edited on Fri Jun 27th, 2014 10:04 am by Kwaw

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 Posted: Fri Jun 27th, 2014 08:31 am
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Kwaw
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As far as I know 'The Medieval Tarot' was never produced as a deck. But I think the paintings by Loring and text of Rolt-Wheeler were brought together in a book, c.1939 (?).

Does anyone here have any more information on the deck? Or even a copy of the book? If so would they be willing to share some scans of the deck? It is not public domain, so a selection (of trumps, courts and pips) within the limits for the purpose of review as per copy-right requirements.

It would be nice to have a record of this deck somewhere online (tarotpedia?). Also, while there is plenty of information on Francis Rolt-Wheeler to provide some background, there is next to nothing about the artist to be found on-line. Does anyone know more about the artist, Christian Loring?

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 Posted: Fri Jun 27th, 2014 10:17 am
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Kwaw
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Everyone here is probably familiar with most of the books in F. R-W.'s brief bibliography, apart from maybe "Enel" (certainly a new one on me). Enel wrote a trilogy on the typical occult cabbala we are familiar with, but what might be of interest to some is the tarot images he illustrated his text with.

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 Posted: Fri Jun 27th, 2014 10:53 am
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tarotcol
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This was printed in black and white in a French magazine back in the 1930's over a number of issues, four or so cards images per issue.

I have an almost complete run of these.

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 Posted: Fri Jun 27th, 2014 12:15 pm
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Kwaw
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Ah - jeolous. Yes, if anyone wants to take a look at the trumps the magazine up to January, 1937 is available at the BnF (link at bottom of my first post). As the project started in July, 1935 you can at least see the trumps 1-18 (if only they were available for a few months more - at least we could have seen all the trumps!). Initially, for the trumps at least, it was one image with two pages of text per issue - did they increase the number of images per issue for the courts and/or pips? Could you share a few examples of the courts and pips with us? I thought at some point they were collated into a single book, but I not sure (whether in B/W or colour, again, don't know). I wonder where the paintings are and who currently has copyright - as I said, there is nothing online about the artist, bar a few links to some books he illustrated (one on the Graal, with text again by Francis Rolt-Wheeler). According to F.R-W. they were exhibited, or to be exhibited, at the Autumn Salon - so a catalogue may be available (Autumn Salon '34/'35?) which might give some idea as to how they looked in colour.

Last edited on Fri Jun 27th, 2014 12:20 pm by Kwaw

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 Posted: Tue Jul 1st, 2014 08:28 am
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AdamMcLean
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Here are the two missing Majors Le Jugement

Attachment: Jugement.jpg (Downloaded 183 times)

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 Posted: Tue Jul 1st, 2014 08:28 am
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AdamMcLean
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and Le Monde

Attachment: Le Monde.jpg (Downloaded 179 times)

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 Posted: Tue Jul 1st, 2014 04:19 pm
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OnePotato
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Kwaw wrote: As far as I know 'The Medieval Tarot' was never produced as a deck. But I think the paintings by Loring and text of Rolt-Wheeler were brought together in a book, c.1939 (?).

Does anyone here have any more information on the deck? Or even a copy of the book? If so would they be willing to share some scans of the deck? It is not public domain, so a selection (of trumps, courts and pips) within the limits for the purpose of review as per copy-right requirements.

It would be nice to have a record of this deck somewhere online (tarotpedia?). Also, while there is plenty of information on Francis Rolt-Wheeler to provide some background, there is next to nothing about the artist to be found on-line. Does anyone know more about the artist, Christian Loring?

Hullo Kwaw.

A few years ago I saw this presented as a deck. I bid on it at auction, but lost, so I don't have many details. I remember that it was a bit worn, and it's possible that it was home made, possibly cut from the book and mounted. I'm pretty sure that it was in color. It was very nice, and it struck me as surprising that it wasn't better known. At the time, I did a little homework, and couldn't find much more than you've posted here, and what's in Kaplan.

Last edited on Tue Jul 1st, 2014 04:23 pm by OnePotato

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 Posted: Wed Jul 2nd, 2014 10:16 am
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AdamMcLean
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Are you sure you are remembering this particular tarot and that it was in colour?

It seems so unlikely that a colour printed book of these images would not
now be locatable. Colour printing in 1939 was very expensive and usually
reserved for large edition popular books. The Loring tarot designs consisted
of 22 + 4 Aces + 16 Courts = 42 paintings (the pips were simple pen line
drawings). A book of this period with 42 colour illustrations would have
either have been produced for the mass market (as with other books of
Rolt-Wheeler) in which case we could pick them up easily in second hand
dealers, or it would have been a special highly prized small limited edition,
in which case it would have survived in the hands of various collectors
and one would find it selling by specialist dealers.

I find it so unlikely that colour reproductions would have been made of
the paintings at that time (1940s) and not survived in the hands of dealers
or collectors.

The black and white reproductions have survived through l'Astrosophie
monthly magazine, copies of which can still be found. These black and white
images were bound up in book form in around 1939 and a few copies of
this book still exist, but despite asking various specialist dealers in Grail and
mystical material, no one has ever seen coloured reproductions of these paintings.

So I wonder if you are remembering the same work. You were likely going by
small scans on an auction site, so it may not be easy to link these to the existing
black and white reproductions.

If these reproductions existed only a few years ago, then for the reasons
above, it is unlikely that this came from the 1940s, but arose out of modern
reproductions. This would indicate that the original paintings still exist
together as a collection and that someone was able to recently photograph
and reproduce these. If this is so, then these paintings could yet emerge
again from obscurity, which would be good news.

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 Posted: Wed Jul 2nd, 2014 10:44 am
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AdamMcLean
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The Pip cards 2-10 were simple pen drawings rather than paintings. The Aces and the Courts were painted.

Attachment: Threes reduced.jpg (Downloaded 169 times)

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 Posted: Wed Jul 2nd, 2014 12:00 pm
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AdamMcLean
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Although it is not easy to tell from the black and white printed images, which
though they have been printed on a fine surfaced art paper, the printer has
used a relatively coarse half tone screen, I have the impression that these
were small watercolour paintings rather than large works. In some areas,
particularly the skies, there appear to be the usual artefacts created by
washes of watercolour.

Also I noted that in two of the images The Sun and the World, some parts
of the image are presented against circular areas which appear to have a
certain reflectivity. I have seen this in other reproductions of paintings
to be gold leaf applied in the background.

These are merely my impressions of the art medium used. I may be wrong,
but it could mean we should be looking for a portfolio of small paintings
on paper rather than large scale framed gallery paintings.

Additionally, the borders around each painting are not part
of each painting itself, as these appear to be the same in
all the printed reproductions.

Last edited on Wed Jul 2nd, 2014 12:57 pm by AdamMcLean

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 Posted: Wed Jul 2nd, 2014 04:25 pm
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OnePotato
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AdamMcLean wrote: Are you sure you are remembering this particular tarot and that it was in colour?

It seems so unlikely that a colour printed book of these images would not
now be locatable. Colour printing in 1939 was very expensive and usually
reserved for large edition popular books. The Loring tarot designs consisted
of 22 + 4 Aces + 16 Courts = 42 paintings (the pips were simple pen line
drawings). A book of this period with 42 colour illustrations would have
either have been produced for the mass market (as with other books of
Rolt-Wheeler) in which case we could pick them up easily in second hand
dealers, or it would have been a special highly prized small limited edition,
in which case it would have survived in the hands of various collectors
and one would find it selling by specialist dealers.

I find it so unlikely that colour reproductions would have been made of
the paintings at that time (1940s) and not survived in the hands of dealers
or collectors.

The black and white reproductions have survived through l'Astrosophie
monthly magazine, copies of which can still be found. These black and white
images were bound up in book form in around 1939 and a few copies of
this book still exist, but despite asking various specialist dealers in Grail and
mystical material, no one has ever seen coloured reproductions of these paintings.

So I wonder if you are remembering the same work. You were likely going by
small scans on an auction site, so it may not be easy to link these to the existing
black and white reproductions.

If these reproductions existed only a few years ago, then for the reasons
above, it is unlikely that this came from the 1940s, but arose out of modern
reproductions. This would indicate that the original paintings still exist
together as a collection and that someone was able to recently photograph
and reproduce these. If this is so, then these paintings could yet emerge
again from obscurity, which would be good news.
I believe it was in color because I don't think I would have been moved to bid on images that looked like the two you've posted here. I'm certain it was a deck, and not a book, as I recall asking about some issue with the box it was in.

Though it's hard to tell much from these photos, they feel like opaque watercolor, or tempera or gouache to me. But we'd really need to see better images to be sure.

I disagree about it being unlikely that color images would have come from the 1940's, as I think it far less likely that a more recent (color) repro would be so rare or unknown.

I've found that there's not a lot of distinction made between the relatively ordinary, and the extraordinary in the tarot collecting world, so It wouldn't surprise me at all if there was a color version of this buried in a pile somewhere. In any case, someone certainly has it, as they beat me at auction.

I'll see if I can find anything in my archives, but it may be in deep storage on an old machine somewhere.

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 Posted: Thu Jul 3rd, 2014 12:52 am
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Kwaw
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Thanks Adam / OP

Here is a picture of the 12 issues of 1937, which were recently auctioned on ebay:

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2014 07:11 pm
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OnePotato
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Well, I stand corrected- it wasn't a home made deck, and it wasn't worn out.
It was a commercially published deck, produced in France.

Here are some photos from the auction that I lost.
(I do not own this deck.)
Looks like the pips are a different rendering than what is shown in the magazine, though in the same general design.

Attachment: LoringCards.jpg (Downloaded 152 times)

Last edited on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 07:23 pm by OnePotato

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2014 07:12 pm
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OnePotato
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Here's the World card, in all its glory:
Looks like watercolor, with a bit of opaque gouache as well.
Maybe a bit primitive, but quite nice.

Attachment: LoringWorld.jpg (Downloaded 150 times)

Last edited on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 07:14 pm by OnePotato

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2014 07:18 pm
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OnePotato
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The box is missing one end "lid".

It has an unusual round hole to allow the tax stamp that's on the two-swords to show.
(The cards are placed in backwards in the pic.)

Attachment: LoringBox.jpg (Downloaded 152 times)

Last edited on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 07:18 pm by OnePotato

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2014 07:20 pm
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OnePotato
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Here is the Two-Swords, showing the tax stamp.
Also, a spread from the small book.

Hard to believe this is such an unknown deck, but there it is.

Attachment: Loring2sBook.jpg (Downloaded 153 times)

Last edited on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 07:27 pm by OnePotato

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2014 07:32 pm
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AdamMcLean
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Wow ! What a great find. It is obviously not a reworked
version reconstructed from the black and white reproductions,
but a printing of the original paintings. We can see that
quite clearly by comparing the World cards.

It is good news because it is likely that other copies will
turn up in time.

Another problem solved.

Last edited on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 07:46 pm by AdamMcLean

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 Posted: Fri Jul 4th, 2014 08:46 pm
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Kwaw
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Thanks OP!

Tax stamp isn't that clear, but clear enough I think to see that it is the 'RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE DÉCRET DU 12 AVRIL 1890' that was in use between 1890 to 1917, and from 1922 to 1940 - so maybe came out at the same time as the book 1939?

Library description of book:

AUTHOR: Francis ROLT-WHEELER

TITLE: THE TAROT MEDIEVAL. Illustrations Christian Loring.

LOCATION: PUBLISHER DATE: Cap-de-Croix, Nice : Editions Astrosophie, [1939] Reprinted from l'Astrosophy July 1935 to November 1939.

COLLATION not paginated.

FORMAT: 8vo (16x24cm).

BINDING: half-leather burgundy red in good condition a little rubbed on spine, back smooth gold title, author, irons and gilt, the plates are marbled.

ILLUSTRATIONS: very numerous plates of illustrations

CONDITION: Very cool nice condition, interior, without foxing.

F.Rolt-Wheeler also published a three volume work on tarot/cabbalah:

t. 1. Le Tarot ésotérique. Arcanes majeurs et Arcanes mineurs
t. 2. Les Sephiroth. L'Arbre de la connaissance
t. 3. Les mystèries. Les 32 voies de la sagesse.
Nice : Editions d'Astrosophie, (1936).

Which inspired Nice based artist Micheal Bellon's tarot (1980), which is dedicated to F.R-W:

http://expo.artactif.com/bellon/

Last edited on Fri Jul 4th, 2014 09:45 pm by Kwaw

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 Posted: Sat Jul 5th, 2014 09:12 am
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AdamMcLean
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The wonderful appearance of a surviving examples of the printed version of the
Tarot Medieval has led me to ask why more examples have not surfaced.

One could speculate that its publication was untimely, occurring in 1940 just as
France was invaded by the German forces. Nice, from where l'Astrosophie was
published, was in Vichy France, and one wonders if Rolt-Wheeler, being British,
had to flee the country. It appears that l'Astrosophie ceased publication until the
late 1940's. It could be that having printed copies of the tarot, Rolt-Wheeler was
not able to distribute these by post, and he may even have had to abandon his stock.
So although the tarot may have been printed in a substantial edition, it could
be that few copies survived the War.

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 Posted: Sat Jul 5th, 2014 10:52 pm
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Kwaw
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Yes, the war situation probably is the reason for the decks virtual disappearance - while the situation in 1940 may not have been in immediate danger, being in unoccupied territory, nonetheless under the control of the Vichy government he probably faced the possibility of internment - one hopes that some of the many esoteric societies and associates he was connected with saved some material. A member of the Gnostic church he was particularly associated since his relocation to Nice with the neocatharsist movement.

quote:
"The term 'Astrosophy' seems to have been invented by a certain Francis Rolt-Wheeler, who can be regarded as a great initiate. He was also one of the twelve secret advisers of the papacy. I had with him a long epistolary relationship. He is now gone, but he left a series of books and a Review of hundreds of numbers at least, which is called 'Astrosophy'. He was the voice of the Astrological Institute he founded in Carthage. Also, he played a secret role, not in the course of the war, but in some representative events, about Montsegur.* He obviously tried to fathom the mysteries of the "Mount of the Sun", which is also the Mount of solemnity and universal security, the "rock" referred to in the Gospels.

"The main direction of Astrosophy, is the wisdom of the stars. It consists of several aspects which I will summarize in three figures. The first aspect is perfectly accurate dating of major global eras. For about two centuries, many have sought vigorously to know at what time the sun entered the sign of Aquarius. The response of Astrosophy is very accurate, and is based on irrefutable findings which I will elaborate further.

"The relationship between astrological ages, the numerological eras, the tarot and planets, are also part of Astrosophy.

"Finally, I will talk about the arrival of planetary archangels and also great odysseys of the soul before and after death. All these adventures are still part of the astrosophy.

"If you want, we'll start at the beginning, that is to say, the dating of the world's major eras."

end quote
François Brousse,** Paris Conference 1985.
(His lectures (1984–1990) touching on "astrosophy" (wisdom of the stars), a word formerly used by F. Rolt-Wheeler (1929) but to which François Brousse attributed deep importance as cycles or cosmic eras through which souls travel [L'astrosophie ou la science divine des étoiles, (Astrosophy or the Divine Science of the Stars) Ed. Dervy-Livres, Paris, 1989]. in May 1939 he published “Les Tours de la nuit” (The Night Towers) in L'Astrosophie, in which
he announced the fall of the facist dictatorships (this was four months before France and England went to war against Hitler).

*Montsegur is the key place in the modern mythology of the neocatharsists. Rolt-Wheeler was associated with Prosper Estieu's review 'Montségur', and Antonin Gadal with the 'Graal Pyrénéen, and co-founder on July 26th, 1937, with Maurice Magre , of the “Company of the Friends of Montségur and the Holy Grail”, which was banned in 1942 following German occupation.

Kwaw

François Brousse also wrote on Tarot, an online extract with tarot illustrations (24 Major Arcana) by Raphaël Brière here:

http://www.licorne-ailee.com/Tarot/tarot.htm

click on picture of card for larger picture plus text (in French).

His tarot is based upon what he learnt from American Yogini CAJZORAN ALI (Zorah):

quote:
Another revelation from the Yogini to the young poet was the Tarot of India and Egypt, a collection of twenty-four figurines or archetypes representing the twenty-four principle cycles, planets, religions, philosophies, methods and eternal masters in world history. “Poetic inspiration, dreams, madness and also fantasy, folklore, mythology and religion are reflections of these universal archetypes that we find in all peoples and that seem to have sprung up miraculously in perfect harmony, order and parallelism..."
wikipedia entry

(The two extra trumps were also included in LE TAROT ATLANTE, by Bernard Mirande.)

Attachment: XII.jpg (Downloaded 131 times)

Last edited on Sun Jul 6th, 2014 01:50 am by Kwaw

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 Posted: Sun Jul 6th, 2014 02:08 am
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Kwaw
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Kwaw wrote:

quote:
"The term 'Astrosophy' seems to have been invented by a certain Francis Rolt-Wheeler, who can be regarded as a great initiate.


The term 'Astrosophie' does not appear however to have originated with Rolt-Wheeler, The Universal Dictionary states:

f. ÉTYM. 1846; de 1. astro , et sophie. ❖ ♦ Didact. (sc.). Étude des astres dans le cadre des sciences occultes. || L astrosophie, science ésotérique. || Lois de l'astrosophie.

It appears in the Dictionnaire de la langue française, by Émile Littré (1872-1877):

ASTROSOPHIE (a-stro-so-fie) s. f.
Terme didactique. Connaissance des astres.

ÉTYMOLOGIE

Termes grecs signifiant astre et doctrine.

Rudolf Steiner used the term in some of his lectures in 1924 -- it's possible Rolt-Wheeler got the term from him.

Last edited on Mon Jul 7th, 2014 03:16 pm by Kwaw

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 Posted: Sun Jul 6th, 2014 04:31 pm
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OnePotato
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Not sure when this deck was published.
Here is a photo of the cover of the book, so that you can compare it to the library entry:
Looks like "Editions Belaz" was the publisher.

Attachment: JudgementBook.jpg (Downloaded 119 times)

Last edited on Sun Jul 6th, 2014 04:43 pm by OnePotato

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 Posted: Sun Jul 6th, 2014 04:39 pm
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OnePotato
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Here is a NY Times article on Mr. Rolt-Wheeler, which places him in NY in 1915.
If the story is true, it seems he wasn't a very nice guy.

Attachment: RoltWheelerTimesSSS.jpg (Downloaded 124 times)

Last edited on Sun Jul 6th, 2014 04:41 pm by OnePotato

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 Posted: Sun Jul 6th, 2014 05:24 pm
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John Matthews
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I have seen this before. It appears to be true. But that doesn't mean the tarot is not an amazing thing.

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 Posted: Sun Jul 6th, 2014 06:24 pm
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John Matthews
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I would be interested to know more about François Brousse and the sour of the quotation give above.

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 Posted: Sun Jul 6th, 2014 07:05 pm
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OnePotato
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Kwaw wrote: .......Suddenly and quite unexpectedly, we were recently allowed to see a series of Tarot cards painted by Christian Loring (exhibiting at the Autumn Salon) of great finesse and distinction. The colours are beautiful and so subtle that it seems almost impossible to render these Arcana in Black and white. We have not lost hope that one day, a lover of beauty and spiritual thought - perhaps one or more of our readers? - Will reproduce this wonderful Tarot to leave as a legacy for future generations, or help us to do so, on a practical basis.....

<snip>

....We are proud to be able to show for the first time this new artistic version of the Tarot....

....It is rare - oh so rare! - To find in the same person an artist gifted with such subtlety and charm, having impeccable design and control of harmonious shades of colour, as well as a serious scholar and occultist. As readers of Astrosophy know, “occultist” is not a title we readily give. Christian Loring is very advanced in Cabbalism and some Mysteries thereto unknown. We are keen that our readers believe in the true artistic and occult value of the paintings that will appear....

...It would not be fair on our part, not to recognize the great merit of the work of other researchers in the same line. Christian Loring was inspired, with some modifications, by the Major Arcana as indicated by Oswald Wirth in his book: Le Tarot des Imagiers du Moyen Age, but, as a specialist in medieval art, is free from the rigid and awkward style of primitive times.


According to the Astrosophie introductory statement, it sounds like Christian Loring created this deck entirely on his own, inspired by Wirth, and that Rolt-Wheeler first discovered it at an exhibition of the paintings, after it was complete. Rolt-Wheeler then picked it up for serial publication in his journal, and used it to promote the sale of his courses in Cabalism. He says this was the first showing, so the deck was published afterwards, likely as a result of exposure in the magazine. Reading between the lines, my guess is that it was published with an eye toward competing with the Rider-Waite. The war may very well have disrupted the sale or even destroyed the inventory one way or another. Perhaps only some already-sold copies are all that survive.

In hindsight, I certainly wish I'd bought this copy, as it was not entirely out of reach, but I wasn't sure of its rarity, and I was onto something else at the time. In any case, I'm sure another will turn up eventually.

Last edited on Sun Jul 6th, 2014 07:06 pm by OnePotato

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 Posted: Sun Jul 6th, 2014 08:14 pm
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OnePotato
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A little bit of digging suggests that Christian Loring was an illustrator.
I see that he illustrated "Mystic Gleams from the Holy Grail", a book on Arthurian legend and grail mysticism written by Rolt-Wheeler and published by Rider & Co, in 1948.
So the two were working together after the war.

Last edited on Sun Jul 6th, 2014 08:15 pm by OnePotato

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 Posted: Mon Jul 7th, 2014 02:43 pm
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Kwaw
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OnePotato wrote:
Here is a NY Times article on Mr. Rolt-Wheeler, which places him in NY in 1915.
If the story is true, it seems he wasn't a very nice guy.



Possibly, but maybe she was an unstable person who was constantly threatening suicide and he just broke. Hard to judge without his side of the story, but on the face of it, hard to defend his actions as anything but cruel. It was a widely publicised scandal (as was his stint in prison, for refusal or inability to pay maintenance - after 3 months inside his debts were wiped clean) that ruined his career in America. He had achieved some success as a journalist and prolific writer of fiction for boys, and works of an educational nature, and offered government posts -- so it is difficult to believe he couldn't afford to pay, as he claimed. Not sure what happened to his wife after, but his daughter (and son?) was later raised by his sister, Ethel Rolt-Wheeler, who also contributed to his magazines (he also had a sister magazine in English, 'The Seer'):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethel_Rolt_Wheeler

She was a friend of W. B. Yeats and served as member of the committee of the Irish Literary Society in the 1890's which he co-founded in 1892. Here is one of her books online, that maybe of additional interest to some as it was illustrated by Austin O. Spare (his first commission as a book-plate designer and illustrator).

Behind the Veil, 1906:

https://archive.org/details/behindveil00roltiala

Last edited on Mon Jul 7th, 2014 05:22 pm by Kwaw

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 Posted: Mon Jul 7th, 2014 03:01 pm
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Kwaw
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John Matthews wrote:
I would be interested to know more about François Brousse and the sour of the quotation give above.

It's translated from the French, the original is here:

http://www.unsagedebonnecompagnie.fr/index.php?post/2009/04/20/L-Astrosophie-La-sagesse-des-etoiles

The link to his tarot is in at the bottom of the categories box on the left.

About Brousse himself there is a wiki entry in English here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fran%C3%A7ois_Brousse

Last edited on Mon Jul 7th, 2014 03:50 pm by Kwaw

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 Posted: Mon Jul 7th, 2014 03:36 pm
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Kwaw
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Kwaw ... A member of the Gnostic church he was particularly associated since his relocation to Nice with the neocatharsist movement.


He also founded the English sister magazine 'The Seer' and had connections with English esoteric orders as well as French, he was long-time friend (and aoccording to the site below 'disciple') of Dion Fortune for example -- and may claim to have introduced much of her work to the French through his translations of her essays -- many of which have been collected into a single volume:

Essais occultes & ésotériques de Dion Fortune, Sesheta Publications

http://www.sesheta-publications.com/Collection-Essais-Nouvelles.html

(Second Volume down)

Last edited on Mon Jul 7th, 2014 03:44 pm by Kwaw

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 Posted: Thu Jul 10th, 2014 11:31 pm
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Kwaw
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OnePotato wrote:
Not sure when this deck was published.
Here is a photo of the cover of the book, so that you can compare it to the library entry:
Looks like "Editions Belaz" was the publisher.



Belaz was the name of his third wife (Yvonne Bélaz). According to his friend, the Italian occultist, astrologer, esoteric author & yogi Palamidessi: "A Doctor of Philosophy, Rolt-Wheeler was a symbolist of value and fecund master of esoterism, author of important works on the Kabbalah, numerology, occult cosmology, astrology, Esoteric Christianity , masonry, magic. He was born in London, December 16, 1876 at 7:30 am and died in Nice (France), where he lived, on August 21, 1960 at 10:30 am, as we were told by his wife and collaborator. Francis Rolt-Wheeler was educated in London, Dublin, Chicago and New York. We were honored by his friendship and we will never forget him for his qualities as an initiate and Anglican priest. He wrote in English and French. He ran for several years his review Astrosophy. He lived in his villa Adonais on the Avenue Cap de Croix, in Cimiez. Like ourselves, he published his writings in the form of handouts and volumes of books. He also devoted considerable study to the Tarot and Philosophies of India. He was a broad-minded man, a good builder of the Temple." (Archeosofia, Vol. II, p. 128).

Last edited on Sat Jul 12th, 2014 09:53 pm by Kwaw

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 Posted: Fri Jul 18th, 2014 09:44 pm
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John Matthews
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Would it be possible to get the details of the auction house that offered the deck for sale? If they were willing to let me know who bought them it might be possible to get a look at the pack....?

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 Posted: Tue Jan 9th, 2018 05:36 am
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WORLDCLASSPLAYINGCARDS
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I OWN THE ORIGINAL PAINTED DECK AND NUMBERED EDITION BOOK

Attachment: E3CEF512-B95C-48BD-B523-3DFC38E8E481.jpeg (Downloaded 43 times)

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 Posted: Sun Jan 21st, 2018 07:11 am
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goldenweb
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A fascinating thread and amazing that someone has an actual copy and posted the image above. Although I'm not deliberately adding to my collection at the present time I can't help wondering if a reprinting is on the cards...

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 Posted: Fri May 25th, 2018 10:22 am
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John Matthews
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I am interested in reprinting this Tarot. Would you be willing either to allow us to consult your copy or make a digital copy?

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 Posted: Sat May 26th, 2018 11:56 pm
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gregory
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Might there not be copyright issues ?

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 Posted: Sun May 27th, 2018 11:42 am
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John Matthews
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As far as I can see not. I have been unable to trace any of the family of either losing or Rolt-Wheeler. My plan is for a very small, limited edition done though my own company, Mythwood Books. I have the full text ( in French) and copies of several of the major Arcana and have enough on the life of RW to furnish an introduction. All I need now is the deck to scan in.

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 Posted: Sat Jun 2nd, 2018 02:14 pm
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John Matthews
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Any thoughts World Class Playing Cards

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