So I was at one of my favorite new-agey stores outside of Indy a few weeks ago, and a cool thing caught my eye.
Yup, it’s a tarot deck, which is a weird thing for me to buy because I have no idea how to read cards. Basically, I bought it because it looked cool.
This is the description of the thing on Amazon: “In 1994 a researcher working in the Italian National Library in Rome discovered a manuscript containing 80 mysterious paintings, believed to have been devised by the mysterious prophet Michael de Nostredame, better known as Nostradamus. The manuscript, never published in his lifetime, was handed down to his son who later presented it to Pope Urban VIII. After that, it remained forgotten and neglected.
A brief glance at these extraordinary images shows how heavily they draw on the symbolism of Tarot. It is the belief of Tarot experts, Matthews and Kinghan, that Nostradamus was designing his own set of cards, drawing upon the visionary insights gleaned from his prophetic writings and visions. Now this Tarot has been brought to fruition by two modern experts and its secrets revealed for the first time.
Visionary artist Wil Kinghan and New York Times best-selling author and longtime student of Tarot, John Matthews have devised a deck which incorporates Nostradamus’ images, fully updated to make what will inevitably be judged one of the most important decks of this age.”
Makes sense, right? Prophet designs tarot. Other people believe the book contains Nostradamus’ predictions for the “end of the world as we know it.”
However, before we get too excited, there is some doubt as to the origin of the paintings/book.
“A postscript by Carthusian librarians states that the book had been presented by one Brother Beroaldus to cardinal Maffeo Barberini, who would later become Pope Urban VIII (1623–1644). A further covering note suggests that the images were by the French seer Nostradamus (1503–1566), and had been sent to Rome by his son César de Nostredame as a gift. There is, however, absolutely no contemporary evidence that Nostradamus himself was either a painter or the author of the work, whose contents in fact date from several centuries before his time—nor, indeed, that he had ever heard of it, given that it did not finally appear in print until after his death. The postscript is in fact dated ‘1629’, and the covering note (not in Nostradamus’s hand) from which the Nostradamian title derives cannot, on the basis of its contents, date from earlier than 1689 – though an internal note does refer to a source dated 1343.” Wikipedia
However you want to interpret it, the art is pretty darn interesting. I have created a slideshow of my favorite cards from the deck for your perusal.