The Game of Saturn

Limitation  800 standard hardback 71 handbound exemplars
Dimensions  280 × 222 mm
Extent  320 pp
Illustrations  Full colour throughout
Bindings  Fine ‘Drakon’ edition handbound in quarter black python and shantung with custom marbled endpapers, all edges gilt, finished with a silk ribbon and enclosed in a solander box: Sold out

Standard ‘Algol’ edition bound in black shantung cloth with imperial purple endpapers: £66 plus postage

Please note, due to the format there will be no paperback or digital edition of this title. 

We estimate the standard editions to begin shipping in mid March, with the fine editions to follow.

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The Game of Saturn is the first full length, scholarly study of the enigmatic Renaissance masterwork known as the Sola-Busca tarot. It reveals the existence of a pagan liturgical and ritual tradition active amongst members of the Renaissance elite and encoded within the deck. Beneath its beautifully decorated surface, its imagery ranges from the obscure to the grotesque; we encounter scenes of homoeroticism, wounding, immolation and decapitation redolent of hidden meanings, violent transformations and obscure rites.
    For the first time in over five hundred years, the clues embedded within the cards reveal a dark Gnostic grimoire replete with pagan theurgical and astral magical rites. Careful analysis demonstrates that the presiding deity of this ‘cult object’ is none other than the Gnostic demiurge in its most archaic and violent form: the Afro-Levantine serpent-dragon, Ba’al Hammon, also known as Cronus and Saturn, though more notoriously as the biblical Moloch, the devourer of children.
    Conveyed from Constantinople to Italy in the dying years of the Byzantine Empire, the pagan Platonist George Gemistos Plethon sought to ensure the survival of the living essence of Neoplatonic theurgy by transplanting it to the elite families of the Italian Renaissance. Within that violent and sorcerous milieu, Plethon’s vision of a theurgically enlightened elite mutated into its dark shadow – a Saturnian brotherhood, operating within a cosmology of predation, which sought to channel the draconian current to preserve elite wealth, power and control. This development marks the birth of an ‘illumined elite’ over three centuries before Adam Weishaupt’s ‘Illuminati.’ The deck captures the essence of this magical tradition and constitutes a Western terma whose talismanic properties may serve to establish an initiatory link with the current.
    This work fully explores the historical context for the deck’s creation against the background of tense Ferrarese-Venetian diplomatic intrigue and espionage. The recovery of the deck’s encoded narratives constitutes a significant contribution to Renaissance scholarship, art history, tarot studies and the history of Western esotericism.

Contents

Preface
Introduction

I · Decoding the Deck’s Hidden Symbolism
The deck’s structure & major themes
Hidden meanings & ancient lore
The esoteric worldview of the Renaissance elite
Planetary powers
The Alexandrian theme
The Babylonian theme
The Carthaginian thesis

II · The Rites of Ammon & the Cult of Saturn
The rites of Ammon
The Ferrarese cult of Saturn

III · Theurgy, Ritual Magic & Sorcery
The theory and practice of theurgy and magic
Sexual magic and alchemy

IV · Art, Diplomacy & Espionage
The deck’s origins
Diplomacy and espionage

V · Conclusions

Appendices:
Evidence that the Sola-Busca’s design was derived from a literary rather than an artistic blueprint
Hidden codes and secret ciphers
Summary of the Doctrines of Zoroaster and Plato