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The Scent of the Secret Rose: Ithell Colquhoun and the Tarot

A Live Talk by Robert Shehu-Ansell
Pagan Phoenix Spring Conference
Parkhouse Centre, Bude, Cornwall
Saturday 12 March 2022


As the pandemic subsides, we are looking forward to a return to live events. Our first in 2022 will be ‘Twenty-First Century Tarot’, the theme of this year’s Pagan Phoenix Conference in Bude, Cornwall. The day will feature three talks on the tarot:

  • Rachel Pollack (live online): Rachel in conversation with Levannah Morgan
  • Robert Shehu-Ansell: The Scent of the Secret Rose: Ithell Colquhoun and the Tarot
  • Julian Vayne: Transformation of the Tarot

There will be a choice of workshops of ‘Demystifying The Business of Tarot’ with Anna Shepherd, ‘Court Cards and Elements’ with Judith Noble, or ‘Past Life and Ancestral Tarot’ with Michele TW.

Tickets are available here.

Twenty-First Century Tarot
Pagan Phoenix Conference
Parkhouse Centre
Ergue-Gaberic Way
EX23 8LD
United Kingdom

Saturday 12 March 2022


We can confirm FULGUR PRESS will be releasing  the long-awaited deck, ITHELL COLQUHOUN: TARO AS COLOUR at this event. Maison Shehu will also be attending, offering the first limited edition release of the esoteric perfume, Huit Étoiles.


Robert Shehu-Ansell

In 1977, the Newlyn Gallery in Cornwall exhibited a series of 78 tarot designs quite unlike any previous. Bold and complex, these strange works employed a radical non-figurative approach that seemed to reject long-held notions of tarot symbolism. The artist was Ithell Colquhoun, then aged 70. Who was Colquhoun and why did she produce these designs? And why then, toward the end of her long career as an artist? Fully illustrated with examples of her card designs and other archival images, this talk will explore Colquhoun’s long relationship with the tarot, from 1930–1977. Beginning with her work while at the Slade School of Fine Art, c. 1930, it will trace the development of her thinking from the early figurative approaches to the fully abstract Taro as Colour. Throughout, we will explore her fascination with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and in particular, the way these interests became conflicted with her involvement with Surrealism, c. 1940.

Live Talk: 45mins + Q+A