On ‘The Tarot of Leonora Carrington’

Chloe Wyma at Artforum:

Carrington made The High Priestess, one of only two cards to have been dated, in 1955, around the same time she and her friend Remedios Varo were haunting the metaphysical clubs established by the disciples of Russian mystics P. D. Ouspensky and G. I. Gurdjieff. Esoterica had long been fashionable in Mexico City. Diego Rivera, when called on by the Communist Party in 1954 to justify his membership in the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis, said the group was “essentially materialist.” But Carrington and Varo’s occultism was especially committed, prodigious, and syncretic, encompassing tarot, alchemy, witchcraft, Kabbalah, and indigenous Mexican magic and healing practices. Carrington’s library included at least thirteen titles on cartomancy by authors including Ouspensky, A. E. Waite, Joseph Oswald Wirth, and her friend Kurt Seligmann (who reportedly fell out with André Breton after correcting his interpretation of a tarot card). A March 1943 issue of the Surrealist journal VVV records, alongside Carrington’s recipe for stuffed beef in sherry wine, her aborted attempt with Roberto Matta to invent a new divinatory system that would be to tarot “what non-Euclidian geometry is to Euclidian geometry.”

more here.