The Tarot of Cornelius Agrippa
The Tarot of Cornelius Agrippa is a collection of short essays, or prose parables, on each of the major arcana. Each essay is accompanied by an illustration from the Gioseppe Maria Mitelli deck.
By Frederick Morgan
Book - Published by Sagarin Press
Review by Bonnie Cehovet
This is one of those books that take your breath away, in the same category of Thursday Night Tarot (edited by Arisa Victor, based on lectures by Jason C. Lotterhand), or Women of the Golden Dawn (by Mary K. Greer). It is a limited edition (1000 copies), and consists of a series of small essays (termed prose parables), each matched to one of the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Accompanying each essay is an illustration from the Gioseppe Maria Mitelli deck of cards (engraved in 1664), from the private collection of Albert Field of New York.
The illustrations on their own tell a beautiful story. At times they are very close in symbolism to the cards of today, at times they are very different. But always they carry the energy of the card in question. Spending an afternoon with these illustrations is a respite well worth indulging in.
The cards are, as the author states, not presented in exact order, but that makes no difference. They are presented well. Morgan is not impressed with his own words - he writes in a vernacular that is easily understood, and keeps the flow of the story simple. His stories make the reader smile, while at the same time making them think.
You read the story of a small boy, walking away from his home with a bundle over his shoulder - a bundle containing bread, cheese, and apples, wrapped in a red handkerchief. The boy is never meant to return to his home.
Then there is the lady seated on a throne, between two pillars. She asks the character in the story "Who are you?", and then sends goose bumps down the reader's spine as she whispers "I have your name."!
Then there are the stories of the Sorcerer/King, the young girl and the lion, the bear who flew into the sky upon his death, and of the events that took place on a distant Star.
No stories of the Tarot are simpler, yet no stories of the Tarot are more profound.
© Bonnie Cehovet
Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.