In preparation for the upcoming Tarot section of this blog, complete with a brand new online Tarot reader, here is a television documentary on the history of Tarot cards. It’s narrated by the super-hammy Christopher Lee!
The best thing about the documentary is its brief outline of Tarot history. Its explanations of card meanings and interviews with Tarot readers are superficial and absurd. The interviewees tend to be of the type who predict actual events and make foolish assumptions rather than focus on what the cards suggest to a person and what they represent as possibilities in that person’s thinking. Most of the unfortunate people featured in this documentary are of the variety that the Tarot tradition should avoid at all costs. Pay no attention to them.
Enjoy the film for what it is and remember that if you have an interest in Tarot you won’t be disappointed in the new app which will be a very deep resource of information about the entire Tarot de Marseilles deck and will give full 10-card Celtic Cross readings with explanations and card details.
Alejandro Jodorowsky on the Spanish program ‘Negro Sobre Blanco’ discussing his ‘phsychomagic’ ideas about how people must understand the influence of the family tree and how breaking with habits or curses from the past is essential for health and happiness. Jodorowsky has long held to the idea that art must heal human beings and society. His use for systems of magic like the Tarot are never for divination but rather for understanding one’s self and one’s place in the world. He approaches his own thoughts and theories with humor and exuberance. I find him to be very magnetic as a speaker. I also find that his good nature seems to prevent people from aggressively arguing some of his general assertions. In other words, most people who interact with Jodorowsky do so with the attitude that they are dealing with a grand old man of wisdom. In many ways I think he is just that. However, one should not have that in mind when actually talking to him. I also think he’s a nice man who genuinely works to help people feel better.
With all of the talk recently about religions that forbid the fundamentally human act of drawing, it is perhaps refreshing to think about a spiritual pursuit that not only encourages the act of drawing, but expresses itself almost entirely through drawings. Alchemy is the subject of this fascinating film. It’s in eight parts and well worth clicking through all the way to the end. The later part of the film features some comments by Carl Jung and there are tons of illustrations to puzzle over. If you can get past some of the slightly amateurish narration, you will be well-rewarded with a presentation of ideas that might be completely new to you. The film gets more interesting toward the last three parts.
What I like about alchemy is the sense I get of people working toward something. The entire history of alchemy is one of people searching for what amounts to a spiritual understanding of themselves through constant questioning and investigation. This seems to me to be superior to most religious practice which primarily involves people accepting instructions from an outside and unverified source.