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"Midwinter of the Spirit", "True Detective" - depictions of tarot, occult


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SerafinaPekkala  SerafinaPekkala is offline
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"Midwinter of the Spirit", "True Detective" - depictions of tarot, occult


Did anyone see the first episode of this ITV show "Midwinter of the Spirit" starring Anna Maxwell Martin? Or read the books it's based on?

This series follows country vicar Merrily Watkins, who is one of the few women priests working as an exorcist in the UK. When a grisly murder takes place in her local area, the police come calling for her assistance.

It's a somewhat dark show, a little in the vein of "True Detective" with its satanist imagery at ritualistic murder scenes (and in both shows there seems to be some thread of misogyny in the crimes of these devil worshippers).

I was interested to see how the Merrily character would talk about the occult and how tarot would be treated in the plot.

The show seems to share moral viewpoint with its main character - catholicism is light and good (the story does seek to examine the problems of the religion's power structure though) VS. hippy-dippy stuff which will seduce you and lead you inevitably to satanism and acts of evil...

This show's depiction of tarot, along with a few films i've seen that represent tarot, always seem to use it as a shorthand for devil worship. Why do you guys think there's so little depth or accuracy in how tarot has been depicted in works of fiction? It so often seems to be equated with devil worship. Why has it got such a bad rap in popular culture?
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Emily  Emily is offline
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I haven't watched it yet, I did see it advertised but didn't fully realise what it was about.

I have no love for the catholic church so it might not be my cup of tea but your post has made me curious as to what the show is about so I'll watch and then repost.
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Well I watched it and was surprised to really enjoy it. I like the lead character Merrily, she isn't quite what I expected.

The tarot scene was short but I was pleased to see that they used a Soprafino, the Classic Tarot LoScarabeo and not the usually chosen Rider Waite. But they did go down the road as showing their tarot reader as psychic, which many of us aren't, so she read the cards with a little bit of intuitive license.

I'll watch it again next week.
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SerafinaPekkala  SerafinaPekkala is offline
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Thanks for giving it a look Emily, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emily View Post
I like the lead character Merrily, she isn't quite what I expected.
Yes I really love how the actress plays her as well. I'm quite tempted to seek out the books, but satanic stuff and demonic possession really freaks me out haha so I might be too much of a wimp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emily View Post
The tarot scene was short but I was pleased to see that they used a Soprafino, the Classic Tarot LoScarabeo and not the usually chosen Rider Waite.
I was interested in the spread the lady was using, where all 78 cards were laid out with three main ones in the middle - it might be a very common method but I haven't come across it before. It seems like using EVERY card would make for a really lengthy reading if you were going to go over the placement of every card?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emily View Post
But they did go down the road as showing their tarot reader as psychic, which many of us aren't, so she read the cards with a little bit of intuitive license.
I haven't watched episode 2 yet, but i got the sense that the lady knew the daughter's friend with the purple hair and when she was talking about the deceased father's photograph with him wearing the red jumper, my mind went immediately to the earlier scene where the daughter was showing her friend pictures of the photos on her phone. I suspect her friend got this lady to approach the daughter for the reading in the toilets and had already told her about the girl's dead after & the photos -- so it was a fake reading basically. Why, i have no idea, but this witchy friend character is clearly being set up to be a bad person who is exploiting the daughter's grief.

it's pretty well-done show, I'm gonna try catch episode 2 tonight if I can.
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It will be interesting to see how the show progresses. There isn't anything like it on at the moment now Penny Dreadful has finished.

I was thinking of having a look at the books too but might wait until after the series has finished in case the books are really different.
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Emma313  Emma313 is offline
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I wouldn't worry about it just artistic license
Means nothing , tarot card readers aren't devil worshippers even if the devil exists, seems more apt for some creepy USA horror film yawn

I started to watch the first episode and switched off when I read it was about an exorcist lol...wasnt in the mood...religion is bad enough without making it as bad as the Devils they portray are the problems...

Got it in sky catch up. So going to watch it now lol see if it's any good as a whole
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I really love this series! apparently there is a whole series of books by Phil Rickman about the religious exorcist protagonist Merrily Watkins. This is actually the second book in the series (but first to be adapted) and some of the book fans are annoyed they put 500 pages into 3 episodes. The book is much slower and psychological. It was adapted to screen by Stephen Volk who brought us the terrifying Ghostwatch and afterlife. There is an interview with Phil Rickman here where he talks about he sees 2 exorcists every week to talk with them. I definitely felt the series is from someone with an interest in that area but I have slight reservations about if the themes and pagan / wicca are lumped with satanism. But let's see how it turns out, it would be easy to lump it all in together! I hope this is more intelligent than that! I don't think tarot reading is lumped with devil worship yet, it's just a woman who may do both.

In episode one the vicar's daughter met the tarot reader in the pub. I thought it was really well done, I thought it was Tarot of Marseilles Emily but I am not good at the classical decks, you could well be right about the Soprafino . I felt the advice she gave was a good reading with insight! (you wonder if Phil Rickman has had many many readings ). She said something like the Tower card representing her trying to hold everyone up in support after the death of the Father and she has to be careful of crumbling from it, like the card picture. The reading she gave actually gave me new ideas about the cards! I can't remember the rest! Anyway in episode two we found out the lady is a lot more sinister! (no spoilers).

love this series and it is terrifying but also my interest area!
I will try and get the episode and take a screen shot of the tarot reading, I thought it was very well done! But hope the theme doesn't lump in everything with devil worship!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danieljuk View Post
I really love this series! apparently there is a whole series of books by Phil Rickman about the religious exorcist protagonist Merrily Watkins. This is actually the second book in the series (but first to be adapted) and some of the book fans are annoyed they put 500 pages into 3 episodes. The book is much slower and psychological. It was adapted to screen by Stephen Volk who brought us the terrifying Ghostwatch and afterlife. There is an interview with Phil Rickman here where he talks about he sees 2 exorcists every week to talk with them. I definitely felt the series is from someone with an interest in that area but I have slight reservations about if the themes and pagan / wicca are lumped with satanism. But let's see how it turns out, it would be easy to lump it all in together! I hope this is more intelligent than that! I don't think tarot reading is lumped with devil worship yet, it's just a woman who may do both.



In episode one the vicar's daughter met the tarot reader in the pub. I thought it was really well done, I thought it was Tarot of Marseilles Emily but I am not good at the classical decks, you could well be right about the Soprafino . I felt the advice she gave was a good reading with insight! (you wonder if Phil Rickman has had many many readings ). She said something like the Tower card representing her trying to hold everyone up in support after the death of the Father and she has to be careful of crumbling from it, like the card picture. The reading she gave actually gave me new ideas about the cards! I can't remember the rest! Anyway in episode two we found out the lady is a lot more sinister! (no spoilers).



love this series and it is terrifying but also my interest area!

I will try and get the episode and take a screen shot of the tarot reading, I thought it was very well done! But hope the theme doesn't lump in everything with devil worship!

I am a huge fan of "afterlife"! Have never heard of this series before but will have to look this up!

I always say where will the entertainment industry be without the Catholic Church LOL
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The Happy Squirrel  The Happy Squirrel is offline
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Is the title of the books the same as the series?
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The Happy Squirrel  The Happy Squirrel is offline
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So I just read this article. She is a Vicar in the Anglican Church. I did wonder about a woman priest in the Catholic Church (I understood that as the Roman church and not the Church of England)

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