The Real Abraham Lincoln

Discussions of the arcane symbols of Tarot and other decks
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Symbols appear on each and every tarot card - visual signs that convey meaning. Some of them are highly individual and personal, others time-honored and traditional. Some are easy to understand, others difficult and multivalent. In this forum, we want to study symbols from different decks, traditions and cultures together using books, websites, lwbs and our own intuition.
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SteveGus
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The Real Abraham Lincoln

Post by SteveGus » 04 Aug 2017, 21:28

According to the National Geographic Channel documentary series The Real Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln did little else but play 'Tarot cards' all day shortly after Abraham Lincoln's assassination. I know she became interested in spiritualism after that, and had a variety of esoteric interests. But I am finding it a bit difficult to believe that Tarot cards were very available in 1860s America. She could, of course, be using an Etteilla deck. But I suspect instead that she probably actually used a Lady's Oracle or Lenormand style deck, which probably were more available in her lifetime.

Wondered if anyone else knew about this.
Le beau valet de coeur et la dame de pique
Causent sinistrement de leurs amours défunts.

- Baudelaire

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Charlie Brown
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Re: The Real Abraham Lincoln

Post by Charlie Brown » 05 Aug 2017, 03:17

I'm certainly no expert, but I knew that she was interested in the occult and would often hold seances and the like. I don't know about the availability of tarot cards, but she was extremely cosmopolitan (she was something of a fashion maven in her time) and, from what little I know, it does not seem outlandish to me that she would have had a deck brought back as a trinket alongside whatever else she had shipped over from Paris.
Charlie Brown
—“I’ve developed a new philosophy. I only dread one day at a time.”

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SteveGus
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Re: The Real Abraham Lincoln

Post by SteveGus » 06 Aug 2017, 23:04

Well, at least two different flavors of Etteilla decks were available at that time. If she read Tarot, I suspect that was what she most likely used.
Le beau valet de coeur et la dame de pique
Causent sinistrement de leurs amours défunts.

- Baudelaire

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