Tag Archives: Tarot

Review: I, Crowley, by Snoo Wilson

By Psyche | December 10, 2006 | Leave a comment

I Crowley: Almost the Last Confession of the Beast 666, by Snoo Wilson
Mandrake of Oxford, 252 pp., 1997, 1999

A novel written as an autobiography of Aleister Crowley, I, Crowley depicts the years he spent in America, where he first met Leah, and the occurrences of the Abbey at Cefalu, concluding with Raoul’s death there.

It has been nearly sixty years since Aleister Crowley’s death, fifty at the time of the first publication of this book. A controversial figure in his time, he remains so today. In Crowley’s voice, Wilson writes: “The comic contradictions degenerators’ various ‘takes’ on my character are simply the price paid for individuality, and can be safely ignored by seekers after truth”.

One can sympathize with this view, though in fact the presentation of his character, life and writings are often heavily filtered by both his detractors and advocates alike; and depending on the final image desired, details are carefully selected to support these views. Fortunately, Wilson spares us such vulgarities, and attempts to capture Crowley’s spirit and style, and he is almost successful – a high compliment.

Wilson demonstrates his extensive knowledge of Crowley’s life, works, attitudes and mannerisms, as well as the contradictory nature of the Beast himself in exploring his inner workings.

The chapter headings follow the trumps of Crowley’s Thoth Tarot deck, and numerous footnotes and illustrations serve to further inform the text.

Irreverent and often funny, I, Crowley is a wonderful read; recommended.


Visconti Tarot Kit, by A A Atanassov

By Psyche | October 6, 2006 | Leave a comment

Visconti Tarots Kit, illustrated by A. A. Atanassov, companion book by Giordano Berti and Tiberio Gonard
Kit: Lo Scarabeo/Llewellyn Wordlwide, 0738702935,78 (+2) (deck), 159 pp. (book), 2002

The kit edition of the Visconti tarot published by Lo Scarabeo and distributed by Llewellyn Worldwide in North America, consists of a 78 card tarot deck, accompanied by a book of the same name detailing a brief history and descriptions of the cards.

Berti notes in the introduction that ‘today, in private collections, museums and libraries in Europe and America there are still sixteen packs of tarot cards attributed to Visconti commissions, but as he states “none of them are complete, unfortunately.” However, the Visconti decks of the Milanese court provide examples of some of the oldest surviving tarot decks. Continue reading


Black Flame Tarot, by Jennifer Chen

By Psyche | June 19, 2006 | Leave a comment

Black Flame Tarot, by Jennifer Chen
Companion book: Guide to the Black Flame Tarot, Komodokat Productions, 78 (+2), 2005

“The Black Fire flames to life when we remember ourselves, and it charges forth when we cast our will into the universe. It burns away lies and illusions, and purifies that which is absolute within us.”

The Black Flame Tarot derives its name from the Satanic movement of the 1960s, the “Black Flame” denoting the “divine gift man gained from a rebellious cosmic figure.” It stands a symbol for “man’s highly evolved sense of self-awareness, and the possibility that consciousness being of a cosmic origin.” Continue reading


Review: The Mystery Traditions, by James Wasserman

By Mike Gleason | February 2, 2006 | Leave a comment

The Mystery Traditions: Secret Symbols and Sacred Art, by James Wasserman
Destiny Books, 1594770883, 147 pp., 2005

This profusely illustrated volume gathers together a dazzling variety of imagery. These images do far more to illustrate the Western Mystery Traditions than any text could. That is not to say that this book does not contain written descriptions. It does. But the images, including several sets of Major Arcana of Tarot decks, do a much expanded job.

It contains illustrations in a variety of topics – Astrology and Cosmology, Kabbalah and the Tree of Life, Initiation, Magick and the Gods, Secret Societies (a new addition to this revised volume), Sexuality, Alchemy, Tarot, and Symbolist and Visionary Art. These images have almost all been printed before, but this assemblage is, in my experience, unique.

The majority of the images are presented in colour – some of them quite stunning. On top of everything else this book represents a gathering together in one place of images, any one of which can easily serve as a focus for meditation.

Each chapter includes a short introduction (four pages or less) of the material contained within it. And each image is properly placed within its time period, even though these images surely transcend any such limitations.

It is difficult to find words to describe this work. The images are gathered from so many times and locations; the writing of the introductory section of each chapter is so succinct; and the overall impression is so overwhelming that it should be approached, I feel, in small doses. To attempt to comprehend it in one or two sittings does a disservice to the work, and to yourself.

Allow the images in this book to work their magick on you. Permit them to stimulate new thoughts and inspire changes both in how you perceive yourself and the wider world. The benefits you reap will, most likely, be beyond your current comprehension.

This is one of the most visually stunning works I have seen in a very long time. I would have expected a much higher price for the quality, or a much lower quality based on the price. The combination of excellent quality and reasonable price was a very pleasant surprise. If you are interested in symbolic representations of mystical themes, this book belongs in your library. It is a book to be savoured and enjoyed on an on-going basis.


Review: The Lost Girl, by Dotti Enderle

By Mike Gleason | September 4, 2003 | Leave a comment

The Lost Girl: The Fortune Tellers Club, Book 1, by Dotti Enderle
Llewellyn Worldwide, 0738702536, 125 pp. (+ preview), 2002

This is a series intended for the middle school crowd. It is light in tone and although some parts might be considered “spooky” there is nothing terribly frightening or threatening.

Three young girls (Juniper [whose mother reads tea leaves], Gena, and Anne) each use their growing, individual talents to help each other in their times of difficulty. It is reminiscent, in a lower key way, of the “Witches Night Out” series by Silver RavenWolf.

As with any group of young folks, there is the popular one (Anne), the quiet one (Gena) and the “odd” one (Juniper). This leads to the various kids taking the lead in various circumstances.

The books are easy to read, not at all preachy, and fun. They illustrate a variety of divination techniques from the very simple (the Magic 8 Ball) to the more traditional (Tarot, scrying, and tea leaves).

This first book deals with every parent’s worst nightmare – a young child missing. The three members of the Fortune Tellers Club don’t start out to find the youngster (Laurie Simmons). Instead they are looking for Gena’s lost retainer.

Juniper, being the “experienced” one of the group, feels the call to help locate Laurie. When none of her usual methods (scrying and Tarot) work, she resorts to trying new methods – in this case, psychometry. She becomes so focused on finding Laurie that she dreams of her.

Add to the psychic confusion the turmoil and angst which is so much a part of the pre- and early-teen years (especially during the summer when there are more hours to agonize over such) and you have a story which any youngster can identify with.


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