I recently read a beautifully illustrated art book on the Tarot, which inspired me to order the Dali Tarot set. This is a gorgeous reproduction of the Tarot Universal Dali deck that Salvador Dali created. In addition to the cards, which are large and of high quality, the set also comes with an oversized book that describes the symbolism associated with each card. All of this is packaged in a rich purple velvet case. I have to say, it was well worth the money.
In the Preface to the book, Annette Kroger provides a nice introduction.
In the mid-1970s, Salvador Dali created the Tarot Universal Dali, which was originally published as a limited-edition signed artwork. Based on the age-old tradition of tarot, Dali created a new artistic version by drawing on nearly 78 masterpieces of Western civilization from antiquity to modernity, including some of his own.
Thus, at the age of 70, he became one of the many great names in art history to surrender to the magic of playing cards.
For me, Dali’s artwork seems to tap directly into the deep recesses of the unconscious mind. And what is so useful about the accompanying book is that it draws your attention to the subtle symbolism that Dali incorporates into the artwork on each card. I will site an excerpt from the description of the Wheel of Fortune card.
The disk in the middle is divided into two parts, indicating human consciousness and the unconscious mind. Both parts of the image complement each other, but differences are also apparent. The lower section is filled with symbols and signs, while the upper areas are empty. This might suggest that the messages of the unconscious are conveyed through symbols alone.
If you are fascinated by Salvador Dali’s artwork, then this is a worthwhile purchase, even if you are not a reader of tarot cards. The artwork itself makes it well worth the $60 investment. I do have one criticism, though. The Preface and Introduction in the book, while highly interesting and worth reading, are gold text on a deep purple background. This makes reading very difficult, even if you are not vision impaired. Thankfully, the majority of the book is black text on white background, but you would think that the publisher of an art book would take into consideration the design aspects of color contrast between text and background. But this is just a minor flaw in an otherwise great set.
OK, so I know this is Stuff Jeff Reads, but I had to share this. My wife just returned home from a trip and brought me an amazing gift. Knowing how much I love a nice pen, she got me this really cool Salvador Dali pen. I don’t know if my writing is going to become more surreal as a result, but you never know.
Do any of my writer friends out there have a favorite pen, or a good pen story? If so, go ahead and share in the comment area below.
It’s Friday the 13th today, so I felt a poem on mortality would be appropriate.
Unfathomable Sea! whose waves are years,
Ocean of Time, whose waters of deep woe
Are brackish with the salt of human tears!
Thou shoreless flood, which in thy ebb and flow
Claspest the limits of mortality,
And sick of prey, yet howling on for more,
Vomitest thy wrecks on its inhospitable shore;
Treacherous in calm, and terrible in storm,
Who shall put forth on thee,
This poem immediately conjured an image of Dali’s “Persistence of Memory,” where time is depicted as fluid and rippling. It also reminded me a lot of the Pink Floyd song “Time.” I can’t help but wonder if Shelley inspired these other works.
If you think about it, this poem is way ahead of its time (pun intended). It’s my understanding that the view of time and space as waves is a fairly recent concept. The poem definitely does not present time in a linear manner; it is something that swirls around us, surging in waves, with a depth that is beyond our comprehension.
The strangest thing about this poem, though, is the sense of imminent mortality. Time is associated with death and the imagery used in the poem builds on this association. But here’s what really gets me. Shelley wrote this poem in 1821. He died the next year at the ripe age of 29. As I read through the poem a second and third time, I began to feel that Shelley was anticipating his death, that somehow he sensed that his life was nearing its end. I’ve always believed that poets and artists are able to tap into a state of consciousness that provides visions and promotes intuition, and I feel that Shelley certainly did so when he composed this poem.
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