• Women of Tarot
  • Author and Illustrator: Cat Willett
  • Publisher: Running Press Publishers
  • Recommended retail price: $24 USD, $31 CAD
  • ISBN: 978-0-7624-8287-0
  • Date of publication: 18 June 2024
  • Country of origin: US
  • Reviewed by Mary du Plessis

  

Women of Tarot is described as an illustrated history of divinators, card readers, and mystics. That intro certainly piqued my interest, and I was intrigued by the format of the book, which is as visual as it is verbal. To put it simply, the illustrations and the accompanying text layout is stunning, inviting, and a pleasure to read.

The book opens with an illustrated historical timeline of tarot, beginning with Mamluk cards from the Middle East, circa 1250 AD. It walks us through the evolution of tarot, culminating in the part the Covid-19 pandemic played in reigniting interest in all-things occult. Tarot being at the forefront of this resurgence as uncertain times lead people to look for the answers that help them make sense of the world.

The opening chapter is a comprehensive history of tarot, and each subsequent chapter is the mini biography of sixteen notable women of tarot. Some are at once recognizable, such as: Marie-Anne Lenormand, Pamela Colman Smith, Lady Frieda Harris, Eden Gray, Mary K. Greer, and Rachel Pollack. Others are not known primarily for their connection to tarot, but rather to the mystical arts: Helena Blavatsky, Marie Laveau, and Moina Mathers. And a few came as a complete, and pleasant, surprise: Nefertiti, Harriet Wilson, Zora Neale Hurston, and Teresa Urrea.

The biography of each woman is understandably brief, given the nature of a compilation of this sort, but also satisfying. There has been much written elsewhere about most, but this point of this book is to highlight how the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Their contribution as individuals is impressive, to say the least, but the collective impact they created is the wealth and breadth of tarot as we know it today.

Cat Willett pays homage to these Women of Tarot in her beautiful and inspiring new book. As readers, querents, and students of tarot, we rest on their shoulders.

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