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Tall Dark Stranger: Tarot for Love & Romance Paperback – June 8, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; 1ST edition (June 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738705489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738705484
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,814,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Corrine Kenner specializes in bringing metaphysical subjects down to earth. Her work on the tarot is widely published, and her classes and workshops are perennial favorites among students in the Midwest. Corrine is a certified tarot master, and she holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from California State University, Long Beach.


Corrine is the author of Tall Dark Stranger, a handbook on using tarot cards for romance, and Tarot Journaling, a guide to the art of keeping a tarot diary. She was also the creator of Llewellyn's Tarot Calendar. She is a contributor to the 2005, 2006, and 2007 editions of the Llewellyn Tarot Reader. A former newspaper reporter and magazine editor, Kenner edited Llewellyn's popular Astrological Calendar, Daily Planetary Guide, and Sun Sign Book. She is also the author of Crystals for Beginners.


Corrine has lived in Brazil, Los Angeles, and the Twin Cities of Minnesota. She now lives in the Midwest with her husband Dan and her daughters Katherine, Emily, and Julia.


You can find her website at www.corrinekenner.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

Tarot's Romantic History

For centuries, the Tarot has been used to answer questions about love and romance. From teenage girls in Renaissance Italy to contemporary cartomancers, the cards have been shuffled and spread in search of tall, dark strangers.

Love at First Sight Picture yourself in Italy, in the year 1440. You are living during a momentous time in history. The Renaissance has begun, and culture is literally being reborn. For the next two hundred years, society and culture will undergo a dramatic transformation, as Europeans leave the dark ages of medieval times behind and give birth to the modern world.

The leading thinkers and artists of the day are inspired by the golden age of Greece. Age-old myths are told and retold, and the ancient gods and goddesses are everywhere- in art, in song, in poetry, and in drama. Young people are even memorizing the classic philosophical works of Plato and Aristotle.

In the winter of 1440, a teenage girl named Bianca Maria Visconti found herself immersed in the heart of Renaissance art and culture when she was sent to visit the royal court of d'Este in Ferrara, Italy, a regional center of Renaissance art and culture. Bianca was the daughter of a duke, so she was a member of high society. In those days, young nobles would travel from palace to palace to study and spend time together. Their pursuit was high-minded: the young aristocrats were preparing to assume the rulership of their country. So by day, Bianca and her friends would read, ponder, and debate the great works of science, history, and literature.

But at night, they played cards.

Bianca was especially fond of a new card game called tarocchi. It was a complicated pastime, because it involved a whole host of literary and mythological figures, all of whom embodied the virtues and ideals of the ancient Greeks and Romans. There were twenty-two cards that depicted allegorical figures like Justice, the Wheel of Fortune, and the Moon. There were also four suits in each deck, numbered one through ten, as well as four sets of court cards-a page, a knight, a queen, and a king.

Bianca was so captivated by the game that when it was time for her to go home in January 1441, one of her friends gave her a set of fourteen hand-painted cards to take with her. And later that year, when Bianca was engaged to marry a young man named Francesco Sforza, her father Filippo actually commissioned a deck of his own to commemorate the wedding.

Bianca's tarocchi deck, of course, was the forerunner of today's Tarot. And Bianca's wedding deck, the Visconti-Sforza Tarot, is one of the oldest Tarot decks still in existence. To this date, it also rates as one of the most romantic decks of all time. In fact, the Lovers card may even be a portrait of the newlyweds Bianca and Francesco, dressed in their wedding best. Many of the surviving cards are housed at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City, and you can find replicas of the deck practically anywhere Tarot cards are sold.

At first, tarocchi was a game reserved exclusively for royalty and upper-class socialites like Bianca. Typically, adventurous noblemen would discover card games on their travels, and then bring them home to entertain the ladies at court. From there, the pastime spread-to the cooks in the kitchen, the maids throughout the palace, the gardeners.

Before long, the game moved off of the palace grounds and out into the rest of society. Initially, Bianca may have been attracted to the game because the cards themselves were breathtaking. Every card was a miniature masterpiece, hand-painted with expensive pigments that had been ground from semiprecious stones and gilded with real gold. Later, the designs were simplified a bit, as wood-block printing made it relatively easy and inexpensive to produce card decks for the masses. Playing cards soared in popularity. Parents even bought specially designed decks for their children to use-in part, to keep them entertained, but also in the hope that their children would pick up a few moral lessons from the game.

The Game of Life Ultimately, a core set of ethical values and beliefs were at the heart of tarocchi. While most people treated the cards as a game, it was a game with meaning-because those who played it, like Bianca and her friends, were well versed in the allegorical symbolism of the cards.

Renaissance people were trained to see beyond the literal and the obvious. They spoke the secret language of symbols that was firmly woven throughout their culture and their studies. That language was the foundation of their worldview. Bianca and her friends had been taught that the world was a place of symmetry and order. They believed that four elements-earth, water, air, and fire-combined to form the physical world. They believed that mankind was the measure of all things and that humanity's place was squarely at the center of the universe.

They also studied the metaphoric language of astrology, in which the movement of the planets measured and reflected the forces that shaped human existence. They knew that the sun was more than a mass of incandescent gas: it represented enlightenment and the illumination of God's will.

Bianca and her friends were well versed in the corresponding symbolism of mythology, too. They knew that Apollo was the Roman god of the sun, Venus...(Continues)


More About the Author

Corrine Kenner specializes in bringing metaphysical subjects down to earth.

She has written more than a dozen books, including Tarot and Astrology, Tarot for Writers, Astrology for Writers, and Tarot Journaling. She's also the creator of The Wizards Tarot and The Epicurean Tarot, and she's the co-creator of The Tarot of Physics.

Much of her work has been translated for a worldwide audience: her books and decks are available in Chinese, French, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish.

A former newspaper reporter and magazine editor, Kenner has also edited five anthologies and several astrological publications, including Llewellyn's Astrological Calendar, Daily Planetary Guide, and Sun Sign Book.

Corrine was raised on a family farm in North Dakota, close to the Canadian border in the central United States. She has lived in Brazil and Los Angeles, where she earned a degree in philosophy from California State University. She now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband Dan, a software developer. They have four daughters who range in age from 11 to 24.

You can find her website at www.corrinekenner.com.

Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Pete on July 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is a sheer insult both to a Tarot enthusiast and to the reading public in general. It is outrageously shallow and unintelligent, consisting of shameless copy-pasting and degraded second-hand knowledge.

There's nothing you can gain from this book. What you get is a constant repeating of more or less same words, phrasings and interpretative patterns. The interpretations of the cards are wordy, muddled, and completely lacking any consistent point of view - there's scarcely any »love and romance« there. Instead, you read things like this: »There is more to the Temperance card than meets the eye, however. In fact, the card is one of the most meaningful and romantic cards in the Tarot deck. [Follow two long paragraphs babbling about Archangel Michael, then arriving to this »most meaningful« aspect of the card:] If you are looking for romance, you might find it at the seashore or on the beach.« (pp. 126-127) Wow. And on page 175 we read for the Four of Cups: »Obviously, there is more to the Four of Cups than meets the eye - especially for the guy under the tree.« There's more to the cards than meets the eye, oh, really?

And one example of that shameless, empty-headed copy-pasting that abound in the book. Tarot has four suits of Minor Arcana and among them four Pages. In Ms. Kenner's book these are described on pages 161-162 (Wands), 189-190 (Cups), 217-218 (Swords), and 245-246 (Pentacles). On all of these pages about the Pages we read exactly the same descriptions. I repeat - exactly the same! If you'd like to experience this yourself, read the following passage four times:

»All of the Pages in the Tarot deck embody the elements they represent. Elementally speaking, the four Pages of the Tarot are all earthy, physical creatures.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Es on October 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very excited when I bought this one year ago.but was very sorry that I bought it later on.
It is not accurate.the outcome does not make sense in real life.Sounds like made up.
It feels like a game book.
I only done a couple of spreads and then left it in my book shelf ever since.I Havent touched it again.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By FatChickDancing VINE VOICE on March 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a couple of Corrine's other books, including the critically acclaimed Tarot for Writers. I purchased this one because I'm usually very uncomfortable doing love & romance readings. The stereotypical vision of the gypsy with the kerchief and hoop earrings proclaiming eerily, "You vill meet a tall dark stranger..." has always irked me, as do most stereotypes. So I get the irony of the title compared to the well-composed and deeply meaningful prose within the book. Corrine guides the reader away from the superficial remarks and easy catering to what love-smitten people want to hear, and gives the reader tools to bring forth many considerations of what the power of love can do to a person's life, good and bad.
She takes each card in the deck and translates its romantic aspects, which are not always easy to grasp. She demonstrates how to put together a sensitive and satisfying read for the querent that is neither sugar-coated nor blunt, yet flowers with hope, patience and beauty. Superb job, nicely written, and although I still try to avoid romance readings for the emotional hand grenades they can be, I feel this book has helped equip me to do an acceptable reading without "pulling the pin."
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