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The Atavist Tarot Boxed Set Hardcover – 1 Nov 2002

3.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Quantum; Har/Crds edition (1 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0572028105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0572028107
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 18.4 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,763,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

'Sally's work has hung in collections and exhibitions in Hong Kong, Paris, Germany and the States alongside that of both contemporary artists and great masters like Picasso, Rembrandt, Palmer and Durer. It has even replaced the gap left when transport and humidity prevented the safe arrival of the Ravenna Murals for the 'We Three Kings' exhibition in 1995. Being controversial helps too. Ironically, the same three paintings had been the centre of a censorship row. They were removed from a solo show in Oxford, having been labelled 'too powerful and disturbing'. 'Sally's work remains a personal visual interpretation of the world and its forces. She creates work around archetypes in her search for the roots of language. Hence the deliberate use of symbols with obvious connotations yet multi-layered interpretations. Her distinctive work has been described by critics as visionary. To say that Sally's work has taken the art world by storm would be selling her short.' Ian Kuah, Stratos magazine, USA 1998 'Sally Annett's paintings combine the subconscious and underlying truths of human emotions, with compositional trickery, post-modern painterlyness and multi-layered imagery all bound together through her creative process.' Stephen Snoddy, Director of Milton Keynes Gallery. In the Atavist Tarot, Rowena Shepherd has had the chance to bring together her academic interest in religious and mythological symbolism and tarot cards, and her training in the Western mystery tradition, in particular her knowledge of the qabala. Rowena first started studying the imagery on tarot cards at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, where she took two degrees in Art History. She has continued to pursue her interest in world religious and mythological symbolism, and edited the Thames and Hudson dictionary of symbols, 1000 Symbols, (2002). However, the ground-breaking and startling imagery of Sally Annett's deck inspired her to take her interest further, in particular using her training in the Western mystery tradition, she has assessed the imagery in terms of the qabala, and has found a way of using this deck to train intuitive side of the mind, not only to produce better readings but also so that it can act as a doorway through to the spiritual realms. The quabala section would also prove extremely useful to any student training in the western mystery tradition as it brings the four dimensional aspects of the quabala to life.


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Format: Paperback
The imagery is radically different from standard illustrative images on decks like the Rider Waite, this might be a stumbling block at first as you have to think about reading this deck differently. This visual step sideways is complemented by the interpretations which help the reader to use abstract Qabalistic interpretations and move away from the "tall dark handsome stranger" type of reading. It is perhaps not the deck to give to begginers, but is excellent for those who already feel comfortable with tarot but want to challenge their own standard readings of the cards and improve their intuitive ability. There is also an excellent section on the history of the tarot at the back.
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Format: Hardcover
A challenge to use because the cards are larger than normal, but I found the strong colours of the cards helped me find a different way of thinking about their meanings. The readings in the book were also thought provoking. I particularly like the short descriptive prose passages for each of the major arcana, and the idea of each of the sections being named after rooms in a house. Also bringing in the idea of the number of the minor arcana cards representing balance or imbalance was also inspiring. The history section at the back was really interesting and the first time have read anything about tarot looking at specific examples of it surviving from the past, fascinating, all in all a good read and a different way of getting into the tarot.
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By A Customer on 12 Jan. 2005
Format: Hardcover
From a classical standpoint, I found this deck, and most particularly the companion book of definitions, a disappointment.
Tarot is especially associated with Qabalistic symbols as keys to accessing the unconsious. These keys are ancient and have built up with them energies that provide tested and true pathways into the inner worlds.
One might try to associate the artwork in this deck with those traditional symbols and use them to forge new pathways. The problem, clearly, is that the artwork is lacking in enough detail to even come remotely close to beginning such an association.
If you are experienced in Qabalistic symbolism and have studied the classics enough to overlook the lack of real detail in this deck, you could, with effort, use the deck as a sort of possible vague stimulous for magical work. Unfortunately, while a pretty deck, the Atavist Tarot is more a dreamy curiosity better suited for fortune telling, rather than a real working tarot, and it's asscociated companion book is a shallow skate over the surface of what is really an ocean of immeasurable depth.
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Format: Paperback
During my search for a Tarot deck I was particularly drawn by modern, mixed-media decks, and the Atavist Tarot, published by Foulsham caught my eye. As you can see from the back of the card, the deck incorporates a variety of styles and the artwork is vibrant and non-traditional. I especially liked the use of photography in cards like the 10 of Cups, and the way that images were digitally manipulated by the artists. Several cards - such as Fortune and Moon - were compelling and magnetic in their intensity, reminding me of Rothco paintings. However, to work with the Atavist deck in its entirety was a challenge for a beginner like me. The images range from being fairly literal, such as the cups I mentioned above, to downright abstract, so much so that with the Major Arcana it can be troublesome to know which card you are looking at without referring to the text.

I do refer to written guides, such as Eason's, when working with the cards, but these often encourage the reader to use her intuition as well as referring to the established meanings of the Fool, the Magus and so on. For me, the abstract nature of this deck meant it was difficult to connect to the cards and interpret them psychically. I suspect I would need to refer to the companion book frequently, to make much headway; however, I prefer to use guides which are not related to a specific set of cards, such as Personal Development with Tarot (Personal Development Series) (Summers & Vayne).

So, with reluctance, I say that the Atavist Tarot is not for me. I felt as though I was visiting an exhibition at the Tate Modern, which I desperately wanted to enjoy, but didn't.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9ce3887c) out of 5 stars 1 review
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d165fb4) out of 5 stars Self Agrandizing Mediocrity 9 Sept. 2005
By D. Ehrman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I purchased this companion book to the Atavist Tarot as a matter of curiosity. My husband gave me the deck several years ago. I looked it over, then put it away since it lacked both beauty and usefulness as a working tarot. This past spring while packing for a move, I ran across it again.

Something said on a tarot forum piqued my interest enough to acquire the companion book of the Atavist Tarot.

Looking at the deck and the book, one can see that artist Sally Annett did not use traditional or even meaningful symbolism. (images are hazy or integrate photographs in a collage sort of way) I counted no less than 8 cards where she had used herself as a model. (see photos on the book)

The book itself claims 2 things: First that Ms. Annett knew nothing of tarot when she did her paintings for the cards, and second that she has been studying tarot for most of her life. Which is it? From what I see, I am tending give credence to the first statement.

Reading the companion book, one may see the usual division of the deck into it's suits. The Major Arcana and Minor Arcana have their own sections. Rowena Shepherd, in a wooden, and somewhat tedious way, provides card explanations, a few layouts that can be tried. She lays out the background of tarot, giving nod to her art history background, both dry and factual, with the occasional drip of of sheer speculation on tarot origins. Further, she ties in Qabala to the cards. Most certainly, Qabala is well known in relation to tarot, unfortunately Ms. Shepherd appears to not have a true understanding of it.

One of the things that strikes me most about this book is the impression it gives of information copied from other sources, very little in the way of original thought or new ideas.

The point being, choose another deck and other books if you want a real tarot and a quide to actually understanding it.
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