Tag: oracles

Top 5 foundational books on tarot

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Tarot, photo by Derek GaveyThere are some books that are required reading for the serious tarot enthusiast, and this list represents my top five foundational books on tarot - books that will provide a solid historical, symbolic and esoteric foundation for any student.Transcendental Magic, by Eliphas Levi1. Dogme et rituel de la haute magie (available in English as Transcendental Magic), by Éliphas Lévi (Alphonse-Louis Constant)First published in 1855 as Dogme et rituel de la haute magie, it became a foundational text for the French occult revival. It was translated into English by Arthur Edward Waite in 1896 as Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual and gained wider recognition among English-speaking occultists on both sides of the Atlantic.Dogma et rituel became the first occult text to weave elemental, alchemical, astrological and planetary theory with kabbalah, the tarot and ceremonial magick, synthesizing the first wholly integrated system of magick. It served and continues to serve as the basis for much symbolism found in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Ordo Templi Orientis, and various contemporary mystery schools. While lacking in historical accuracy, and allowing for many liberties taken with its symbolic integrity, Dogma et rituel remains an important historical work for this reason. Read More

Teachings of the Santeria Gods, by Ocha’ni Lele

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Teachings of the Santeria Gods, by Ocha'ni LeleTeachings of the Santeria Gods: The Spirit of the Odu, by Ocha'ni Lele Destiny Books, 9781594773327, 270 pp. (incl. glossary and index), 2010Teachings of the Santeria Gods centres on the diloggun, a method of divination involving cowrie shells cast on a mat. The backs of the shells are filed down, but the important thing is the “mouths” of the shells—how many are facing upward gives the diviner the number of an “odu.” Each odu comprises an almost-endless array of stories (the pataki) about particular orisha, or cautionary folk tales. This is what makes this style of divination so interesting; the choice of the story to be told to the querent, and the ebo (sacrifice to be made in order to banish the querent’s ill-luck, avert disaster, or appease angry spirits, among other things) to be made gives a diviner near-infinite possibilities. Read More

The Language of Birds, by Dale Pendell

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The Language of Birds, by Dale PendellThe Language of Birds, by Dale Pendell Three Hands Press, 71 pp., 2010Pendell views divination as being directed by spirits or gods, likened to possession or seduction, weaving poetry and meditation through myth and history. Etymologies offer shifting meanings, and we learn "Cicero thought fish too dumb to speak for the gods".Interspersed throughout are lists of divination methods, including some rather obscure ones, such as alectryomancy - divination by roosters pecking grain, gelomancy - divination from laughter, myomancy - divination by squeaks of mice, or (my favourite) tiromancy - divination by milk curds or the holes on cheese. Read More

Afro-Brazilian Tarot, by Alice Santana and Guiseppe Palumbo

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Afro-Brazilian Tarot, by Alice Santana and Guiseppe Palumbo Kit: Llewellyn Worldwide, 0738709603, 78 cards plus instruction booklet, 2006I’m not sure what I expected when I requested this deck for review (although I was sure that the artwork would be impressive, based on other decks from Lo Scarabeo). Oh, I’m familiar with both the Tarot and with Candomble (the Afro-Brazilian equivalent of the Afro-Cuban Santeria), and I do understand the desire to provide divination decks which go outside the commonly accepted parameters which are associated with the Tarot.The deck, which is a standard deck as far as number of cards and divisions, is accompanied by a multilingual instruction booklet (English, Italian, Spanish, French, and German, I believe) which gives very basic meanings for each of the cards, as well as an extremely simplified layout (in keeping with the traditional divination method of the Yoruban people, which the Tarot is definitely not).Although the suits carry the traditional names – chalices, pentacles, wands and swords – some of the images are slightly unconventional. The chalice suit is represented by soperas, which are traditionally used as containers of the physical representation of the orixas; the pentacles are represented by opon, the plates used in traditional divination by cowry shells and the shells themselves; while the wands and swords are more conventional. Read More

Runes, by Laura Tuan

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Wooden Rune Kit, by Laura Tuan and Lo Scarabeo Kit: Wooden runes, accompanied by a book, Runes: The Gods’ Magical Alphabet, by Laura Tuan, Lo Scarabeo, distributed by Llewellyn Worldwide, 9780738713939, 64 pp, 2008 This set consists of 25 runes, a black bag, and a 64 page book. I have minor quibbles with some of the information contained in this book, as well as the inclusion of the 25th (blank) rune. However, before I explain what I object to I have to say that the runic set itself is well made, for the most part. The runes are burned into the surface of the wooden tiles rather lightly. In fact, the rune “Rado” is almost indistinguishable from “Wunjo” in the set I received. A slightly deeper burn would make them more durable in the long run, but perhaps the purchaser could make this modification themselves, as a way of putting their own energy into the runes.In the traditional 24 runes of the futhark set there are Read More

Transparent Tarot, by Emily Carding

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The Transparent Tarot by Emily CardingThe Transparent Tarot, by Emily CardingThe Transparent Tarot, by Emily Carding Schiffer Publishing, 9780764330032, 280 pp., 72 cards, 2008Emily Carding provides a rather extensive book with her tarot deck, I felt I would cover them together. It's nice to see a deck that's published without the dreaded "little white book". The Transparent Tarot comes with a book that's nearly three hundred pages long, a book that's appreciated even as a seasoned tarot reader, and would be invaluable if this deck happened to be someone's first.Carding explores the cards one by one in a standard fashion, not only describing her art and interpretation but relating it back to the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot to help people understand where she is coming from and how she is viewing the deck and revisioning it in her creation. Read More

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