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An illustrated guide to the art and history of the tarot from the creators of Morbid Anatomy and Strange Attractor Press

Stars, Fools and Lovers will explore the world of the tarot through dozens of original and forgotten cards, from the well-known Rider Waite Smith deck to Austin Osman Spare's recently discovered Major Arcana, as well as reinterpretations by contemporary artists

This lavishly illustrated book explores the art, history and symbolism of the enigmatic tarot. The tarot's origins stretch back to ancient Egypt but the cards as we know them today have their roots in Europe in the 18th century as playing cards. Since then, the seventy-eight card deck has become one of the most popular visual oracles of all time and one of the most adaptable too. Along the way it has inspired seekers, occultists, artists, film makers, writers, pop stars and fashion designers -- its influence can be seen in the work of the Surrealists as well as the TV series Twin Peaks



Perhaps the reason for this is because the tarot has an uncanny ability to put us in touch with truths of which we are not consciously aware. The tarot, with its intuitive symbology, provides a bridge to our own unconscious. Or, as some believe, it provides access to invisible worlds beyond our understanding. Regardless of your beliefs and approach, Stars, Fools and Lovers will provide you with the tools you need – along with a wealth of visual inspiration – to begin your own exploration of its complex and rich world.



Stars, Fools and Lovers will contain an array of cards drawn from original and forgotten decks as well as creative reimaginings by contemporary artists. Alongside these images, the book will explore how, over centuries of use, the tarot’s archetypal imagery has evolved and the cards' meanings have shifted. It will investigate the hidden history and many interpretations of the Major Arcana, deciphering the archetypes behind each figure and plumbing their complex histories, and trace the ways in which artists and illustrators from around the world have reinterpreted the Arcanas according to their cultural backgrounds and the problems they faced.



This book includes a history of the tarot and its use, as well as instructions on how to read the cards intuitively, to follow its traditions without dogma and suggests ways to experiment with the cards to find inspiration and enlightenment. The book will also present the thoughts of a variety of professional tarot readers about the pleasures and pitfalls of practical cartomancy.


Written and collected by Morbid Anatomy's Joanna Ebenstein and Laetitia Barbier – herself a professional tarot reader – and Strange Attractor Press's Mark Pilkington, this book is equal parts art book, how-to, history, and a meditation on tarot symbolism and its uses. Please pledge to help us make this book.




Book designs and cover are for illustrative purpose and may differ to final design.


Joanna Ebenstein is a Brooklyn-based artist, writer and the founder of Morbid Anatomy. She is the editor of Death: A Graveside Companion (2017), author of The Anatomical Venus  (2016) and co-author of Walter Potter's Curious World of Taxidermy (2014).

After studying art history at the Sorbonne in Paris, Laetitia Barbier became the head librarian of Morbid Anatomy and is a professional tarot reader in New York.

Mark Pilkington is the founder of the London-based Strange Attractor Press and the editor of its irregular Journal. He is the author of Mirage Men (2010) and Far Out: 101 Strange Tales from Science's Outer Edge (2007). He has written on music, art, film, cultural history and esoterica for publications including The Guardian, Frieze, Fortean Times, Boing Boing, The Wire, Sight and Sound, and has contributed to numerous anthologies.

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