Sally Annett, the gifted artist, was raised in an academic family where her intuitive foresight was recognised and nutured. Sally was consulting her cards at aged thirteen and her depth of understanding is rare indeed. Alongside her painting, her further academic study of Tarot iconography and its multi-cultural interpretations has produced a unique multi-layered treatment with which to work. Rowena Shepherd also specialised in the history of Tarot imagery as an academic historian. Now a successful curator, she is a practitioner of the Western magical tradition and the book combines her life's expertise in both these areas.
'Sally's work has hung in collections and exhibitions in Hong Kong, Paris, Germany and the States alongside that of both contemporary artists and great masters like Picasso, Rembrandt, Palmer and Durer. It has even replaced the gap left when transport and humidity prevented the safe arrival of the Ravenna Murals for the 'We Three Kings' exhibition in 1995. Being controversial helps too. Ironically, the same three paintings had been the centre of a censorship row. They were removed from a solo show in Oxford, having been labelled 'too powerful and disturbing'. 'Sally's work remains a personal visual interpretation of the world and its forces. She creates work around archetypes in her search for the roots of language. Hence the deliberate use of symbols with obvious connotations yet multi-layered interpretations. Her distinctive work has been described by critics as visionary. To say that Sally's work has taken the art world by storm would be selling her short.' Ian Kuah, Stratos magazine, USA 1998 'Sally Annett's paintings combine the subconscious and underlying truths of human emotions, with compositional trickery, post-modern painterlyness and multi-layered imagery all bound together through her creative process.' Stephen Snoddy, Director of Milton Keynes Gallery. In the Atavist Tarot, Rowena Shepherd has had the chance to bring together her academic interest in religious and mythological symbolism and tarot cards, and her training in the Western mystery tradition, in particular her knowledge of the qabala. Rowena first started studying the imagery on tarot cards at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, where she took two degrees in Art History. She has continued to pursue her interest in world religious and mythological symbolism, and edited the Thames and Hudson dictionary of symbols, 1000 Symbols, (2002). However, the ground-breaking and startling imagery of Sally Annett's deck inspired her to take her interest further, in particular using her training in the Western mystery tradition, she has assessed the imagery in terms of the qabala, and has found a way of using this deck to train intuitive side of the mind, not only to produce better readings but also so that it can act as a doorway through to the spiritual realms. The quabala section would also prove extremely useful to any student training in the western mystery tradition as it brings the four dimensional aspects of the quabala to life.