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What would be the benefit for getting a tarot reading at the renaissance festival this weekend?


  1. It allows you some personal contact with the reader.
    It’s a new experience.
    It’s probably cheaper than most readers elsewhere.
    It’s fun.

  2. Well, at best it might be fun – but please don’t take it very seriously, I don’t think that a pack of playing cards will reveal your future. If you take some time to think about it, the notion of future knowledge is plagued with logical objections, running into the same problems and paradox’s as time travel.
    Also, although tarot cards are a renaissance creation, dating from Italy in the mid 15th century, they were NOT used for fortune telling for another 350 years!
    Tarot cards were originally created for playing card games. They were made by adding an extra suit of picture cards to the existing Latin suited playing cards. These extra cards took as their theme a Christian triumph procession, hence their original name trionfi, meaning triumphs, and from which we get our word trump. It was the invention of tarot that marked the invention of trumps in card games – so, if you’ve ever played bridge, whist, spades, hearts, etc, tarot is their great, great, grand-daddy.
    Certainly, looked at with modern eyes, some of the images look rather mysterious but when we look at them in the context of the renaissance period, we discover that all of the images were popular figures in Christian art of the time – which is why, contrary to popular myth, the church never objected to them. Look at the Female Pope for example, she looks a little heretical to us now but at the time she was a common figure in religious art, used to represent things like the New Covenant and the virtue of Faith. Another strange card is The Hanged Man, suspended by one foot – very odd. However, in Italy, this card was called The Traitor, because that’s how they executed traitors then, suspended by one foot and left to die slowly and publically. No mystery at all.
    The games however, became very, very popular. They quickly spread beyond Italy and at one time tarot was the most popular form of card game throughout continental Europe – where they are still played today.
    It seems to me that a Renaissance festival should be teaching the tarot games rather than offering fortune telling!
    If you would like to get into the real spirit of renaissance tarot, then you can find many rules to the games here:
    You can also learn more about there history here:
    The Game of Tarot by Michael Dummett (Duckworth 1980)


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