On Friday, June 26th the tarot community experienced a heartbreaking loss when we discovered the sudden passing of Nadine Bernadette Roberts. Nadine was a brave soul who withstood challenges that would make the most heroic cower, but you would never know it. Instead of falling victim to life’s tests, Nadine embodied courage under fire. It was in her nature to move from her heart rather than fear. This was most evident in how she offered a loving and positive regard toward all she met and to such a degree that everyone felt special in her company.
In 2011 my husband and I were fortunate to experience Nadine’s “brill” spirit when we met her at TarotCon UK, to which she later became a passionate presenter. During our return to the US we reminisced on the people we met at the conference. Nadine was definitely a highlight and like many we both felt elevated from the experience of meeting her. We are so heartbroken by this loss, yet incredibly thankful for the opportunity to have known and loved Nadine. How precious life is.
Nadine’s funeral will be held in the UK on July 9th. Her dear friends, Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin of Tarot Professionals have thoughtfully organized a Go Fund Me campaign to help Nadine’s partner, Alan and her family with funeral costs. Our tarot community, or what I like to call our Divi-Nation, is showing strong support by donating to the campaign with messages of love for Nadine and her family.
In an effort to add to the campaign’s goal I wanted to offer something Nadine would have loved, as well as something that would entice more people to get involved. For years I’ve owned a rare set of Freemason posters known as Tracing Boards. Each depict what’s known in craft Freemasonry as the First, Second and Third Degree boards and represent a codified example of moral, intellectual and spiritual development. This set of tracing boards are unique in that they were drawn by Lady Frieda Harris to which only a few hundred were made and even fewer that remain in excellent condition. Harris was also the artist who designed the best selling Thoth Tarot deck under the watchful eye of Aleister Crowley. The Tracing Boards are from a time when Harris was a Co-Mason:
Co-Masonry is, in brief, an offshoot of the Theosophical Society that, admits both men and women into Co-Masonic Lodges. Because Co-Masonry operates in breach of the landmarks of the United Grand Lodge of England, by admitting women, it has never been recognized as a regular branch of the society of Freemasons by regularly constituted bodies. Many regular Masons, however, appreciate the history of the Co-Masonic order and the sincerity of purpose and valuable philosophical contributions made by individual members of Co-Masonry, including Lady Harris’s renditions of the Tracing Boards… These evocative interpretations of the First, Second and Third Degree Tracing Boards were originally painted by Lady Frieda Harris. The designs incorporate the symbolism of the traditional Tracing Boards, but are distinctive for their modernity, and use of dynamic symmetry in rendering the designs.
[Harris’s] designs were undoubtedly influenced by her artistic training and experience. In 1937, Lady Harris began studying Projective Synthetic Geometry under the direction of Olive Whicher and George Adams based on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and Goethe. Frieda Harris also had utilized Projective Synthetic Geometry in her work designing the Thoth Tarot cards for Aleister Crowley: These cards were completed for exhibition in approximately 1942. She had considerable talent in esoteric art works.
-Freemasons of California, Mill Valley Lodge 356
The three posters (24ins x 14ins, c. 1975) are framed, under archival glass and in excellent condition. They were purchased in the UK from the reputable collector of occult books and art, Ben Fernee of Caduceus Books who states:
These posters have their own history. The original paintings were acquired by British Occultists in the 1970’s. Around 1976 a few hundred sets of these posters were printed. This is the only publication of these designs that there has been. Posters survive far less well than books, which are only rarely pinned to walls! Moreover posters are not collected by libraries, and their existence is not recorded in catalogues and bibliographies.
By donating £22 or more to Nadine’s Go Fund Me campaign your name will automatically be added to the raffle. In addition, Marcus Katz will also chose one person from everyone donating any amount of £1 or more to receive a signed copy of his book, the MAGISTER. The winners will be notified at the completion of the campaign.
Please consider donating, we would love for you to enjoy these items in Nadine’s name. Good luck and now go tell your family and friends how much you love them.