Robert Swiryn graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Religion and is currently a practicing chiropractor on Kauai.
In 2010, Robert Swiryn released his new book, The Secret of the Tarot, How the Story of the Cathars was Concealed in the Tarot of Marseilles. The book took over five years to complete, and was the product of a synthesis of Swiryn’s long-time interests in art and religion.
In the thirteenth century, the Cathars, a group of Christian heretics, became the target of the Roman Catholic Church. The pope enlisted the help of the King of France, and together they began a campaign of brutal persecution which started during the Albigensian Crusade and ended in the formation of the Inquisition. The efficiency of those programs led most scholars to believe that the Cathars were all but annihilated. However, evidence points to the survival of some refugees who fled to areas like Lombardy, in Italy, where they were sheltered by more sympathetic religious sects.
In The Secret of the Tarot, Robert Swiryn offers a glimpse into the background of the Cathars and their medieval world, and how it was turned upside down by the political and religious powers of the time. But the unique factor of this thought-provoking book is found in Swiryn’s interpretation of the imagery of the tarot cards within this historical context. In Part II, he describes how the tarot provides a visual account of the personalities, events and spiritual ideals of the Cathar faithful. Each card in turn becomes part of a deeper, hidden message, as the images come to life.
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