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The Tarot Fortune Cards - Elemental Associations


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timtoldrum

The Tarot Fortune Cards were issued by Thomson Leng through their My Weekly in 1935.  A common misnomer for the cards is the Thomson Leng Tarot (echoing the Rider Waite appellation). 


Considering their publication and timeline, the Tarot Fortune Cards are quite unusual. Either the artist (unknown) or someone else (unknown) was well-versed in the early 20th century tarot and divination. Particularly, continental sources: Jean-Baptiste Pitois and Eudes Picard.  We see this demonstrated by both the placement of the Fool (card no. 21) and adoption of pip and honour designs seemingly adhering to Picard’s elemental associations (Cups with air and Swords with water).

 

Part of Picard’s writings were translated into English in The Encyclopedia of Occult Sciences (re-printed as The Complete Book of the Occult and Fortune Telling) by Poinsot. This translation was made after the cards’ publication.


The cards were utilised by the occultist Madeline Montalban and utilised in her articles in Prediction Magazine. Montalban utilised meanings in The Complete Book of Fortune. Again, this was not published until 1-year after. 


@katrinka @Decan and anyone else can contribute. 
 

Material to be Cited:


Card Reading (Minetta, 1910).
How to Read the Tarot Fortune Cards (accompanying booklet, Thomson Leng, 1935).

Complete Book of Fortune (1936).

The Encyclopedia of Occult Sciences (Picard & Poinsot).

Prediction Book of the Tarot (Montalban).

 

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One of the most cited facets of the Tarot Fortune Cards is the pips’ elemental attributions. These are derived from the writing of the astrologer Eudes Picard in his tarot text Manuel Synthétique et Pratique du Tarot. I have been unable to source a copy.
 

Picard assigned the suits thus:

 

  • Sceptre with Fire.
  • Denier with Earth.
  • Epée with Water.
  • Coupe with Air. 

 

In the Tarot Fortune Cards, Sceptres are titled Rods and Deniers are Pence.

 

Picard does not clarify his rationale for his arrangement. @Decan has offered an insightful understanding based on the synthesis of the celestial and mundane houses.
 

Picard also appears to favour binaries: Sceptres and Coupes are favourable, whereas the Deniers and Épées.  If one considers Sceptres and Epées, and then Coupes and Deniers, their is a connection in their designs (straight v. round, masculine and feminine). 
 

Leaving aside these speculations, Auntie Tarot and some other practitioners using the deck have questioned if the Tarot Fortune Cards are Picard-based.  This due to the appropriation of Pamela Colman Smith’s designs on many of the cards.  
 

At this time, I believe the suits are Picard-based; however, just as Colman Smith deviates from the Golden Dawn cabal, so does our artist at times.


Let us consider the elements. 

 

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Four Elements 

 

From the Middle Ages, the Aristotelian conception of the elements have proven dominant with each one being the product of four qualities: heat, coldness, dryness and moisture.  Few, however, followed Aristotle in his assertion that air is primarily wet and water primarily cold.

 

Of these four attributes:

 

  • Heat and coldness are active, or primary.
  • Dryness and moisture are passive and secondary, arising from the toing and froing between the heat and coldness.
     

Each one has qualities:
 

  • Coldness is heavy, slow, and centripetal.
  • Heat is light, fast, and centrifugal.
  • Dryness is hard and resistant. 
  • Wetness is malleable and slippery.

 

Each element is formed through the interaction between one of the primary qualities (heat and coldness), and one of the secondary qualities (moisture and dryness).
 

  • Water arises through the interaction of coldness and moisture. It is slow, introverted and receptive (cold) but adaptable, flowing, and irrigating (moisture).
  • From the union of heat and dryness, we see Fire.
  • Air arises from a mixture of heat and moisture.
  • Elemental Earth is formed through a mixture of coldness and dryness.

 

In the diagram below (taken from my blog) we can see the traditional triangular emblems for the elements.

 

  • The two upright triangles represent the two active elements, air (yellow) and fire (red). Both elements derive from the primary quality heat.

 

  • The two inverted triangles denote the passive elements, water (blue) and earth (green). Coldness is the primary quality of both these elements which passive.

 

Elements that share the same primary modality have the same mode (active or passive) and are friendly.

 

However, elements that share the same secondary quality (either moisture and dryness) will have a differing mode but are not incompatible, acting in a nonpartisan manner and are thus neutral.

 

Those elements that have no shared qualities are inimical to each other. These neutralise.

 

You can see this in the diagram below: friendly elements are placed horizontally next to each other; neutral elements touch vertically; inimical elements face each other diagonally.

 

ADC75B90-1449-45E3-9A5E-8FD1CFA9EAB7.png

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Elemental Dignities 
 

The aforementioned relationship that exists between the elements is the basis of elemental dignities.

 

First outlined by MacGregor Mathers, in his typology for Book T, the theory was devised to determine prominent cards and those which were immaterial within the reading.

 

He gave no source; however, he resided in France and was fluent in French. He most likely appropriated it from French practitioners, as most Anglo-Saxons did.

 

Over time, elemental dignities have been interpreted as indicative of beneficence and sometimes also conflated with reversals or seen as an alternative to reversals. Whether this stance has merit is dependent on the cartomante; it is not, however, consistent with the concept of dignity.

 

Dignity neither refers to goodness nor inversion but instead to how congenial the environment is for the element to function.
 

In an environment contrary to its own nature, elements can become chaotic and unsteady and struggle to manage its affairs. The greater the difference the less operative the element can be.

 

Should the element be dignified one will find a more constructive and stable expression.

 

Elemental Triads

 

MacGregor Mathers’ instructions centers on interpreting cards in lines vis-à-vis counting, and as in classical cartomancy, reading the card in conjunction with those either side. These flanking cards are the conditions the central card’s (element) finds itself, e.g. its dignity.
 

Dependent upon the cards’ elemental attributions we can find cards neutralised (opposing elements) or strengthened (same element) as well as friendly (same mode) or counterbalanced/neutral (same secondary quality).

 

If we look at the image below, I’ve put the four aces in the four cardinal directions:

 

  • Rods in the East/Fire
  • Pence in the South/Earth
  • Swords in the West/Water
  • Cups in the North/Air. 
     

In this arrangement the cards are 180 degrees from the suit they are inimical to: Rods v. Swords and Cups v. Pence.
 

Rods is friendly with Cups and neutral with Pence.
Swords are friendly with Pence and neutral with Cups. 
 

7DDFEB0D-61D8-4DFD-83F6-3A2032716C12.jpeg

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Continuing the examination of dignities and the Tarot Fortune Cards I will share an example.
 

In How to Read the Tarot Fortune Cards, there is a spread called The Royal Road of Life. The draw utilises the pips and the trumps separately. @katrinka posted an example, previously. It’s an interesting spread.  Curious, I cast my own reading.  
 

The second, third and fourth cards were the Six of Pence, Two of Cups and the Nine of Pence, respectively. These three cards flummoxed me.  Due to their positioning, I assumed that they should cover my teenage and early twenties or thereabouts.

 

If we consider the instructions, the Six of Pence tells us to, ”Act cautiously with regards to money matters, for this card signifies financial disputes.”


The Two of Cups says: ”The chooser of this card will attain wealth but is warned against allowing himself or herself to become misery.”


The Nine of Pence advises: ”This is a sure sign of success for you and yours.”

 

None of these made sense.

 

The two Pence cards flank the Two of Cups. As such, it is undignified.  This means that it is weak and struggling to express itself constructively. 
 

It was then that I realised what these refer to.  
 

When I came out, several members of mother’s family stopped talking to both myself and my mother. My father had prior loaned money to my uncle Vasile, who refused to pay it back. Over twenty years on, it was never repaid; my father never met with my maternal relatives thereafter. 
 

The undignified Two of Cups indicates the hostility to my (then future) relationships. Interestingly, at the time (late Uni), I was told I would find it difficult to progress in my career if I was out. I was also told not to let landlords know.  That did trouble me; only a few years later, there would be Matthew Shephard’s murder and the in the Soho Bombing. 
 

These events did have a significant effect. Interestingly, Picard has grandmother as a sub-meaning for the Nine. My maternal grandmother had a profound effect on my life and did not turn her back on my mother or my siblings and I. She also had a big thing about owning your own home in order not to be at the mercy of a landlord lol

BEB4D2A4-E874-4168-B60A-A3E13C17A0C0.jpeg

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2 hours ago, Decan said:

Not sure that I can contribute but I follow this thread of course!

That's a good thing that you have Picard's writings translated into english!


It’s just for general observations. You can post your insights.


We only have his basic pip significations.  And they are basic. I have nothing to compare them to. We are at the mercy of the translator. 

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13 hours ago, timtoldrum said:

 

Leaving aside these speculations, Auntie Tarot and some other practitioners using the deck have questioned if the Tarot Fortune Cards are Picard-based.  This due to the appropriation of Pamela Colman Smith’s designs on many of the cards.  
 

At this time, I believe the suits are Picard-based; however, just as Colman Smith deviates from the Golden Dawn cabal, so does our artist at times.


Excellent thread! 😃

There is no doubt in my mind that they're Picard-based. 

While there is a lot of RWS style imagery in the deck, The Thomson Leng is definitely not following the Golden Dawn. The RWS-style images strike me as something the artist decided would be more visually appealing and easier for the target market than the occult/alchemical/astrological symbolism in the Eudes Picard. But the placement of the Fool, the elemental stuff, and some of the other visual elements like this Chessboard are Picard's:

compare.jpg.6c65d8a3030f37eca94e038b19e2f208.jpg

 

Cups - Air. Note the butterfly on both cards. 

compare11.jpg.fe77054030d3b05a77a3b5ceaf254bfd.jpg

 

Swords - Water:

compare11111.jpg.58088338346b08dfe19ca4051528ec85.jpg

 

And the Scepters suit breaks completely from RWS and follows Picard. While Picard, the TL, and the GD all correspond these to Fire, you can't miss the differences between these and the RWS - and their similarities to each other.

compare1.thumb.jpg.b6d151a643bf817f2be4b1518a666ea0.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Yes excellent thread!

 

12 hours ago, timtoldrum said:

Picard does not clarify his rationale for his arrangement. @Decan has offered an insightful understanding based on the synthesis of the celestial and mundane houses.

I would say more a little personal theory, insightful I'm not sure.

There is something I didn't mention on the other thread about this question because I didn't want to go towards the complexity of astrological stuff (with all the jargon), but there is a famous traditional text that Picard knew (since he knew his classics): The Cabal of the Twelve Houses Astrological from Morinus

In this text on the Houses it is said that the Houses of the last Triplicity (of water) are "the dark angle", and they are refered to as "Afflictions"

 

Quote

The fourth Triplicity, is that of the dark angle, (in the middle of the night, or bottom of heaven) called the fourth house, and the Cave or Den of the Planets; attributed to old-age, and termed the Triplicity of Passion, Affliction, and Death; whereunto every man is subject, for the sin of Adam. The two other houses of this Triplicity are the 12. and the 8.

 

    1. But the first Affliction of Man, in the order of nature, is a sorrowful expectation of the Natural Death of his Parents: or rather (speaking Cabalistically) it is that stain of Original Sin, which our Parents imprint in us, and through which we are from our very Births made obnoxious to every misery, and at length, to death it self. And therefore the Parents and their Condition, during the life of the Native, as also Death, and heritages left by them to the Native, do possess the principal house of this Triplicity, viz. The Angle of the fourth house.
    1. The second Affliction consists in the hatred, deceits, Machinations, Treacherousness and Injuries of Enemies, especially Secret ones: So likewise in Prisons, Servitude, Poverty, and all other the Miseries a Man suffereth in his whole life-time. Now, for that all these are Enemies to Life, therefore they are contained under the onely consideration of an Enemy, in the 12. house, which is truly called the valley of miseries, and immediately followeth in this Triplicity, according to the motion of the Aequator.
    1. The last Affliction, inhabiting the 8. House, is the Death of Man himself, which is an End of this Temporal, and the Beginning of an Eternal Life: wherefore according to the second motion, or the motion of the Planets, which is from West to East, there is an entrance made from the 8. house into the 9. which is the house of Life in God: whereby man is given to understand that he is to pass by the second motion of the Soul, which is attributed to the mind or reason (as the first and rapt motion, is to the Body or sensitive appetite) from a Temporary Death., unto a Life in God, which is Eternal.
https://www.renaissanceastrology.com/houseswharton.html

 

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12 hours ago, timtoldrum said:

Continuing the examination of dignities and the Tarot Fortune Cards I will share an example.
 

In How to Read the Tarot Fortune Cards, there is a spread called The Royal Road of Life. The draw utilises the pips and the trumps separately. @katrinka posted an example, previously.

 

I need to return to mine and look at it in that light. Thanks for this - it's a very striking difference.

ETA: The real head scratcher in mine was card 6:

 

Capture.JPG.2f2615129147ba942775f2e0fa641df2.JPG

 

"The King of Rods puzzles me. I'm supposed to pay special attention to it, but there was no Rods man who altered the course of my life. The instructions say "This card shows that you will succeed in any undertaking, and announces some pleasant and quite unexpected news. It also proclaims you to be a person of honesty." I'm not sure what it refers to. Maybe I should start playing the numbers? IDK."

 

But the King of Rods' fire has earth piled on top of it, and water in its path to the right.  It's rendered ineffective. So the reading does make sense now.

Thanks for the reminder! Dignities are something I've tended to ignore, lumping them in with endless 777-style correspondences, and wanting to cut to the chase and just read the cards. Lol. But they were helpful here. 😊

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On 11/17/2020 at 10:21 PM, katrinka said:


Excellent thread! 😃

There is no doubt in my mind that they're Picard-based. 

While there is a lot of RWS style imagery in the deck, The Thomson Leng is definitely not following the Golden Dawn. The RWS-style images strike me as something the artist decided would be more visually appealing and easier for the target market than the occult/alchemical/astrological symbolism in the Eudes Picard. But the placement of the Fool, the elemental stuff, and some of the other visual elements like this Chessboard are Picard's:
 


I agree. It is certainly not a Smith-Waite clone, or even a derivative/hybrid.


As for the Golden Dawn, no. As you know, I don’t think that the Smith-Waite is a ”GD deck.” We don’t know much about the genesis of the pips’ designs and most believe the spot cards owe more to Pixie than Waite. After all, Colman Smith deviates so much — would anyone see the Two of Wands and think of victory over another?
 

The dominance of the Smith-Waite is a recent development — I have never seen evidence that it was success on release. Certainly, no one in 1909 - 1939 seems to see it as representative of standard meanings.
 

If we consider the writings of the time (Minetta, Sepharial, Poinsot, Complete Book of Fortune and others), they are far more diverse than people think and far closer to the continental sources. And thus far closer to these cards, too. 
 

Maybe I am biased, but I have no doubt on the elemental associations here.

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On 11/18/2020 at 6:43 AM, Decan said:

Yes excellent thread!

 

I would say more a little personal theory, insightful I'm not sure.

There is something I didn't mention on the other thread about this question because I didn't want to go towards the complexity of astrological stuff (with all the jargon), but there is a famous traditional text that Picard knew (since he knew his classics): The Cabal of the Twelve Houses Astrological from Morinus

In this text on the Houses it is said that the Houses of the last Triplicity (of water) are "the dark angle", and they are refered to as "Afflictions"

 

 

 
Yes. You are quite correct. Morin was also a strong proponent of the cause and effect that echoes Picard’s trump v. Pip. I think you have just nailed the basis or origin of Picard’s associations, here. 

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On 11/18/2020 at 7:24 AM, katrinka said:

 

I need to return to mine and look at it in that light. Thanks for this - it's a very striking difference.

ETA: The real head scratcher in mine was card 6:

 

Capture.JPG.2f2615129147ba942775f2e0fa641df2.JPG

 

"The King of Rods puzzles me. I'm supposed to pay special attention to it, but there was no Rods man who altered the course of my life. The instructions say "This card shows that you will succeed in any undertaking, and announces some pleasant and quite unexpected news. It also proclaims you to be a person of honesty." I'm not sure what it refers to. Maybe I should start playing the numbers? IDK."

 

But the King of Rods' fire has earth piled on top of it, and water in its path to the right.  It's rendered ineffective. So the reading does make sense now.

Thanks for the reminder! Dignities are something I've tended to ignore, lumping them in with endless 777-style correspondences, and wanting to cut to the chase and just read the cards. Lol. But they were helpful here. 😊


Yes; the King is weak, here. Pence and Swords are friendly, so the King is undignified. I don’t bother much with dual associations (fire of fire, et cetera). So, I would say it shows that there wasn’t a King type man (“friendly and sympathetic dark man, most likely a family man”) or opportunity to realise an enterprise based on talent or skill (Picard mentions artists and scientists).

 

The first tarot I had was the Smith-Astrop Elemental Tarot. There is no emphasis on dignities, but you start to note combinations when the suits are just fire, earth, air or water. I don’t find the combo lists (FFF, FWF, et cetera) helpful. But keeping the suits’ in mind they can help determine agency.
 

For this deck, the concept was how I satisfied myself that we had Picard’s associations on the cards. Using those favoured by Waite, and so on, just did not play out.

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8 minutes ago, timtoldrum said:


Yes; the King is weak, here. Pence and Swords are friendly, so the King is undignified. I don’t bother much with dual associations (fire of fire, et cetera). So, I would say it shows that there wasn’t a King type man (“friendly and sympathetic dark man, most likely a family man”) or opportunity to realise an enterprise based on talent or skill (Picard mentions artists and scientists).

 

 


And that's exactly how it happened. 
Proving once again that the information is always there on the table, whether we're seeing it or not!

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You know my mantra: The cards are never wrong. 
 

On a side note, I have found these cards do have a circadian nature and can seize on some surprising details and events. I am enthralled. It ticks so many boxes for me — time-neutral, no nudity, no fluff. 

 

I am also convinced that the cards were at least created under the direction of a woman. The cards have reinforced that belief, too. I’ve asked twice and the Queen of Rods came out. I have a such a strange feeling that we might even know of her. 

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They do have a feminine ambience to them. I never gave it any real consideration, after all, they were designed with a female market in mind. But now that you mention it, yes, it does seem that way! And looking at them side by side with Picard's Tarot only reinforces this. 

It wouldn't be the first time a woman's contribution was minimized, or, in this case, obscured. (The Crowley Thoth, the Rider Waite....)

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18 hours ago, katrinka said:

They do have a feminine ambience to them. I never gave it any real consideration, after all, they were designed with a female market in mind. But now that you mention it, yes, it does seem that way! And looking at them side by side with Picard's Tarot only reinforces this. 

It wouldn't be the first time a woman's contribution was minimized, or, in this case, obscured. (The Crowley Thoth, the Rider Waite....)


Yes. It’s Smith-Waite and Harris-Crowley. After all, where would tarot be if not for the artist? Considering the renewed interest in Pamela Colman Smith, it is strange how many people still cling to the “Rider-Waite.” Rider never used that title.  It’s why I prefer not to use the Tarot Fortune Cards. 
 

The circadian nature and evident mundane focus does indicate, to me, someone who knew what they were doing. Someone knew tarot but also who read cards, and accepted prediction as part of divination. Someone like Minetta. 

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It is now my practice to use the Tarot Fortune Cards at least once each day. This does not include daily draws; however, weekly readings are done (to follow).  Observing the suits’ associations is one reasons for this.  
 

This reading was done on Tuesday. Last week, my colleague learned two of our colleagues were paid more than us despite being both less experienced and qualified. I accepted this (it’s far from uncommon), but my colleague did not. I thought about raising it with my boss and asked they cards if it would be a favourable response.

 

The cards as they fell: 

 

10 of Swords — 8 of Swords — King of Rods 

 

The King of Rods is my significator — I have black hair, but with grey streaks. Ordinarily, a court at the end acts as an arbitrator. However, here, it is neutralised as the flanking cards are inimical. The central card is strong.

 

The 8 of Swords has Smith-Waite tones, but also reminds me of De Géblin’s tentative la prudence. The booklet gives the 8 of Swords, “It is the symbol not of unending bondage, but rather of endurance.  It means a big change in your life; but it will be best for you in the end.”

 

That itself cannot be ruled out. Certainly, it may influence decisions next year. That said, I adhered more to Picard and the Book of Fortune. The latter gives the (upright) 8: “quarrels, rivalry; also illness”.  Picard sees the card as “condemning justice”
 

The 10 of Swords is “unhappiness, sorrow, depression, poverty” (Book of Fortune) and “enemies and illness.” (Picard) 


I read these cards as a clear no. That my lesser salary was less because of my past ill-health (depression/poverty and illness) when compared to my colleagues (rivalry, condemning). 


My boss advised me that due to my need for flexible working and not being able to undertake certain duties I do not perform the same duties as my colleagues. She was quite surprised that I raised the matter and gave it short-shrift. This is indicated with the extremely undignified King. 

B24B55B6-AB12-44F1-B682-088B8E5BD501.jpeg

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On 11/20/2020 at 10:54 AM, timtoldrum said:

The circadian nature and evident mundane focus does indicate, to me, someone who knew what they were doing. Someone knew tarot but also who read cards, and accepted prediction as part of divination. Someone like Minetta. 

 

That's entirely possible. 
I was looking for more information on Minetta, and there just doesn't seem to be any. Unlike Sepharial, who we know was Walter Gorn Old and who has a wikipedia page and various other biographical information online, I can't even find her real name.

Now I'm wondering not only if she directed the creation of this deck, but who she actually was. I've seen speculation that she's Cicely Kent, but I don't really buy that.

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8 hours ago, katrinka said:

 

That's entirely possible. 
I was looking for more information on Minetta, and there just doesn't seem to be any. Unlike Sepharial, who we know was Walter Gorn Old and who has a wikipedia page and various other biographical information online, I can't even find her real name.

Now I'm wondering not only if she directed the creation of this deck, but who she actually was. I've seen speculation that she's Cicely Kent, but I don't really buy that.


Minetta is a mystery. I’ve tried tracing her on and off for 9 years.  Her first book, What the Cards Tell, appears in 1896. It is a charming little book — complete with a little story at the end.  
 

In 1913, Card Reading reproduced much of the 1896 content; however, it is not identical. Although both manuscripts utilise the same readings, there is some difference in interpretations.  They are fuller; more refined. That could be just the product of maturity (17 years).  But Minetta also gives different definitions for multiples in the two texts.  For example, 4 upright aces are success in 1896.  In 1913, they are an evil combination (one I agree with). Some are the same but others differ.

 

It is in 1913 that Minetta tackles the tarot. As the book was published by Rider, it utilises the Smith-Waite deck (“...new designs by Miss Pamela Colman Smith”). However, Minetta’s interpretations are influenced, not by Waite, but by Jean-Baptiste Pitois. For the reading, she utilities a Tree of Life but it is delineated in a predictive manner (very good spread). 

 

Later, Minetta goes on to conceive a Piquet-style deck, specifically for cartomancy, and also provided the instructions for a Lenormand Oracle published as the Gypsy Bijou Fortune Telling Cards. Then there was a book on tasseomancy. 
 

Caitlín Matthews never told me why she believes Minetta was Cicely Kent. Kent’s books use Minetta’s tirages. Kent also did a tasseomancy book. But Kent differs, too. Kent does not agree with Minetta on significators for spouses, et cetera.


It’s possible that Kent did the 1913 book, but she could also have just learned from Minetta. I really don’t know. I haven’t found any real details on Kent, either. 

 

52D0FE27-6845-40F2-B812-7EE95FD8033E.jpeg

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BD779227-F315-472A-BC81-2E2865EDADAB.png

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11 hours ago, timtoldrum said:


Minetta is a mystery. I’ve tried tracing her on and off for 9 years.

 

If you haven't found anything in all that time, it may be one of those things where we're waiting for something to turn up in someone's attic. 
Surely Rider would have paid her by check and kept records? Or someone would have kept written correspondence? 
Which may have been thrown out or destroyed in the Blitz for all we know.
 

Quote

Her first book, What the Cards Tell, appears in 1896. It is a charming little book — complete with a little story at the end.  
 

In 1913, Card Reading reproduced much of the 1896 content; however, it is not identical. Although both manuscripts utilise the same readings, there is some difference in interpretations.  They are fuller; more refined. That could be just the product of maturity (17 years).  But Minetta also gives different definitions for multiples in the two texts.  For example, 4 upright aces are success in 1896.  In 1913, they are an evil combination (one I agree with). Some are the same but others differ.

 

She evolved. The best readers do.
(And I want to emphasize the difference here between changing ones views through experience over the years, and relative newcomers thinking that things from earlier eras should automatically be changed. That's one of my peeves, as you well know. 😁 If I somehow managed to purchase a lovely old Victorian home, I certainly wouldn't do away with the transoms and drop the ceilings! )

 

Quote

It is in 1913 that Minetta tackles the tarot. As the book was published by Rider, it utilises the Smith-Waite deck (“...new designs by Miss Pamela Colman Smith”). However, Minetta’s interpretations are influenced, not by Waite, but by Jean-Baptiste Pitois.


Paul Christian? Interesting...!

 

Quote

 

For the reading, she utilities a Tree of Life but it is delineated in a predictive manner (very good spread). 

 

That does it. 
I made do with excerpts for lo these many years, but I just ordered a copy. 😄

 

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Later, Minetta goes on to conceive a Piquet-style deck, specifically for cartomancy, and also provided the instructions for a Lenormand Oracle published as the Gypsy Bijou Fortune Telling Cards.

 

That was from another publisher, IIRC. More potential paper trails...

 

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Then there was a book on tasseomancy. 

 

That seems to be the easiest one to find. It's been reprinted, and it's available (legal and free of charge) on the archive https://archive.org/details/teacupfortunetel00foul/

 

Which is odd, considering that the really interesting works are the cartomantic ones. There's even speculation that the Tarot thumbnails are PCS's original line art: https://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=132480

I suppose it's similar the way that Lori Bruno has reprinted Martello's witchcraft books, but not his books on card reading. We're personae non gratae, apparently.

 

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Caitlín Matthews never told me why she believes Minetta was Cicely Kent.

 

🤣 
Yes, that's exactly the person who was speculating!
I can agree with her that Minetta is NOT Waite, though.
 

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Kent’s books use Minetta’s tirages. Kent also did a tasseomancy book. But Kent differs, too. Kent does not agree with Minetta on significators for spouses, et cetera.


It’s possible that Kent did the 1913 book, but she could also have just learned from Minetta. I really don’t know. I haven’t found any real details on Kent, either. 


I'm guessing the latter. The odds would favor that, there were far fewer books published in those days.

Edited by katrinka
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timtoldrum

On learning that some thought Minetta was Waite I was shocked.  When you get the book, you will know why.  The language is so different—and, as Waite had written on playing cards and French cartomancy,  as Grand Orient, they are worlds apart.  You can compare the two lol.

 

From what I was told, Rider suffered heavily during the London Blitz.  The plates for the Smith-Waite were supposed to have been destroyed.  Most believe the original drawings were, too (albeit Pamela Colman Smith’s correspondence  indicates that she would had retained them).  But that is also mystery: none have ever turned up, and no drafts (unlike Harris' paintings). 
 

As to what else was lost, I cannot say.  I've never seen or found anyone with Minetta's playing cards.

 

Minetta knew Paul Christian's writing.  The Hanged Man and the Devil are the Victim and Typhon.  On several occasions I have thought someone might have had to edit these — to make them match Pixie’s drawings.

 

I'm glad you're getting her book.  It is one of the more interesting ones I've found; along with Charles Platt's.  I've not worked out why Minetta has not been offered as a facsimile edition. However I can hazard a guess: the line drawings and US Games.

Edited by timtoldrum
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This morning I received a response from one of the archivists at Thomas Leng.

 

The TL archives are incomplete for this period. However, the cards were oversaw by Alf Cook Ltd. who owned Universal Playing Card Co. Ltd. These were later taken over by Waddingtons. 
 

From what the archivist said it would have been Alf Cook Ltd who dealt with the cards, the artist, et cetera, and TL just gave them away. 
 

I will try and track their archives. 

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