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The American Renaissance Tarot

This has got to be one of the most intriguing, puzzling, intellectually enriching Tarot decks I’ve reviewed in a long time. The American Renaissance Tarot, designed by Thea Wirsching and illustrated by Celeste Pile, is a themed deck exploring the rise of transcendentalism as a literary movement in the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century. This was a complex period in American social and literary development, and the deck shows many perspectives on it. In particular, Wirsching highlights the way that transcendentalism intersected with the American Civil War, the racial injustices of 19th-century American society, and the rapid changes brought on by the end of slavery. And to add yet another layer, she further highlights the way that Spiritualism and occult interests bled into popular literary and artistic works.

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