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Sola Busca Tarot [Paperback]

Sofia Di Vincenzo
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: United States Games Systems (Oct 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572811307
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572811300
  • Product Dimensions: 18.8 x 13.2 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 918,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Sacred Tool 16 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback
Anyone who appreciates the Rider-Waite Tarot of Arthur Waite and Pamela Colman Smith will greatly appreciate this little book.

Black-and-white photographic images of the Sola-Busca Tarot were exhibited at the British Museum in London in 1907 -- and there it was these images which inspired Waite and Smith to create their own Tarot with all 78 cards illustrated, just as all 78 cards of the Sola-Busca pack are illustrated.

Pamela "Pixie" Smith took a lot of inspiration from the Sola-Busca images and, indeed, there are striking similarities between some of the Sola-Busca cards and her cards. The Waite-Smith Tarot was published in late 1909 -- exactly 100 years ago!

Waite and Smith were both quite familiar with Renaissance Alchemy. And Smith, in particular, was familiar with Renaissance clothing and color symbolism because of the fact that she grew up in the care of a theatrical troupe in England and had become an accomplished costume designer and set designer.

Alas, the Sola-Busca Tarot's lavish illustrations are an enigma to our contemporary eyes -- few people today have the Classical education and Occult initiation which Waite and Smith both had, having studied on both sides of the Atlantic and having been key figures in the Order of the Golden Dawn during its heyday.

So much of the symbolism of the Sola-Busca is lost to us.

Fortunately, this little yellow book by Sofia Di Vincenzo lifts the veil on much of the mystery of the symbolism. Sofia Di Vincenzo is an authority on Renaissance alchemy and writes in clear but quite authoritative prose about the colors and symbolism which pervades each card.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All About An Older Tarot Deck 4 Sep 2009
By N. Almack - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First of all, this is a book about the Sola Busca deck, not the deck itself (at least that's what I got when I ordered it). This particular deck isn't the standardised type such as Rider-Waite or the Thoth deck either. It's a precurser to those. Illustrations, Major Arcana, and intpretations are significantly different than what a modern tarot reader is used to. But as a historical side note the book is interesting.

The pictures I've seen of the deck far outstrip the black and white version in this book, and that was sort of a shame. OK, the pictures of the modern reproduction, it seems the original was in black and white, but those are not what he scanned for use in the book. But each card desription is detailed as to it's symbology. The significances at the end of the descriptions is very brief though.

As to the accuracy of the interpretaions who can honestly say? Were any of us studying it in the 15th century, in Italy? Experts can gleen some of what was accepted as fact, but no one can claim absoulute knowledge. Let's just say that I wouldn't try a reading using this book and the deck. But it's a lovely deck and the book is a worthwhile method for getting to know it better.

Oh, and the printing, paper and binding are all of nice quality. The book should hold up while you read it.
11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's not alchemy 20 Feb 2007
By Surrounded - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Louis Little Coon Oliver, a Creek poet, once mentioned the bronze "spatulas" that had recorded the history of his people in the old Alabama language. Long lost in the depths of the Mississippi, Oliver said that only a vision could recall those words.

I experience a similar emotion with regard to the Sola-Busca Tarot, a Ferrarese deck probably dating from the late 15th Century. The unknown artist who designed it, alas, failed to include a "little white book," which most modern decks include. Thus, the deck's original purpose is mysterious and subject to speculation.

This deck is notable in that the Minor Arcana cards depict scenes and figures, unlike the conventional Tarot de Marseilles and other contemporary decks that showed only the requisite number of swords, pentacles, cups, or wands. Indeed, the next deck with illustrated Minors was the Rider-Waite deck, four centuries later, and it's clear from even a cursory examination that Pamela Colman Smith based many of her own illustrations on those of the Sola-Busca deck.

The most obvious difference between the Sola-Busca and other Tarot decks, of its time or our own, is that it is strictly speaking a "Tarocchi" deck. The Major Arcana figures primarily depict warriors of Roman antiquity, rather than "The Magician," "The Hermit," and the other conventional Arcana. Thus, it has more in common with the various-themed Tarocchi decks popular in the 19th century, used primarily for card games.

The author of this book, in her attempt to explain the deck's meaning, makes the imaginative leap that the cards represent stages in "alchemy," defined by her as some sort of spiritual discipline or progression. Alchemy, however, was nothing of the kind; it was the systematic attempt to transmute base metals into precious ones or the "philosopher's stone," an imaginary substance with magical properties. Although the alchemists made many discoveries in chemistry (in fact, they are considered to be the precursors of that branch of science), their endeavor was doomed to fail. Limited solely to chemical manipulations, the elemental changes they envisioned would have required levels of energy unavailable at the time, capable of affecting subatomic structure. If an alchemist ever achieved this, we have no record of it.

The original, true purpose of the Sola-Busca deck is lost, and perhaps only a "vision" could discover it. My best guess is that it was intended as a game deck for Tarocchi, a card game similar to modern Contract Bridge. Its importance is primarily historical, being the first deck with illustrated pip cards, and as the inspiration for the important and influential Rider-Waite deck.

Thus, this book is misleading on two levels: as a misrepresentation of alchemy, and of the Sola-Busca deck itself. A cursory Internet search will reveal several web sites that identify the characters shown on the deck; perusal of these is recommended to anyone interested in this fascinating deck, providing far more useful information than the misleading flights of fancy contained in this book.

This website gives the correct descriptions of the cards:

http://www.lightspeed.ca/personalpage/hilander/sola/sola.htm
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