Wednesday, June 29, 2016

‘Brand new Masonic tarot deck’

The pollination of Masonic symbolism to tarot cards has intrigued me for a number of years. Both systems of symbols have venerable histories, coming into their own at approximately the same time (eighteenth century), and sharing in common influential personalities (Waite, Levi). When an artist marries the two traditions, the results can be noteworthy.

Before continuing, let me restate that for Magpie purposes, tarot cards are not for fortune-telling, but their symbols are useful for meditative and contemplative purposes—and not necessarily only when the cards bear Freemasonry’s symbols.

It’s certainly okay if you’re an experienced and well traveled Freemason who doesn’t know much about tarot cards. I’m no expert. But it is a quirky topic that I promise will engage you if you study it, as tarot definitely is “a peculiar system…illustrated with symbols.” Tarot decks of the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith variety, that do not even speak directly to Freemasons, nonetheless offer many images recognizable to the initiated eye.

Tarot decks that deliberately do consist of Masonic symbolism on the major arcana cards have been around for a while. Actually, you can find tarot cards with just about any theme depicted. There is a brand new Masonic deck published just this month by Lo Scarabeo in Torino, Italy.

Artist Patricio Diaz Silva of Chile has created 3x5 cards that put images from the Masonic lodge into the tarot milieu, and they’re beautiful. Seventy-eight cards, with the minor arcana cards being unillustrated. I think his concept of Masonic life is formed by what one generally might term “Continental Masonry,” meaning there are Scottish Rite and Templar images, plus women wearing aprons.

The following photos are copyright © Patricio Diaz Silva 2016, and are found on the web. The deck is available via Amazon and other on-line retailers.


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