Tag: Tarot

Top 5 Foundational Books on Tarot

By Psyche | March 4, 2013 | 2 comments

There 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. Continue reading


Tarot and accuracy

By Psyche | December 8, 2008 | Leave a comment

Tarot journal, photo by LimerykA woman who reads playing cards recently acquired her first tarot deck, and made inquiries on a forum I participate in as to the difference in accuracy between the two, and the “difficulty”.

Frankly, such questions are frustrating as they are not terribly meaningful in and of themselves, but as someone who reads cards professionally myself (I’ve read tarot cards for more than ten years, and I read for various clients, at corporate events, private parties and fundraisers, as well as lecture on the subject), I can attest that they are common. It might help if we first separate fortune-telling from divination. Continue reading


Review: The Housewives Tarot, by Paul Kepple & Jude Buffum

By Psyche | March 17, 2007 | 1 comment

The Housewives tarot: A Domestic Divination Kit with Deck and Instruction Book, by Paul Kepple & Jude Buffum
Cards: Quirk Books, Quirk Books, 78 cards, 96 pp. booklet, 2004

The Housewives Tarot consists of 78 cards, 22 trumps or major arcana and 56 minor arcana. The cards come in a mock recipe box, complete with actual recipes on the tabs that separate the minor and major arcana, and instruction booklet. The cards are styled as pure fifties kitsch; charming and often irreverent with clever interpretations of traditional modern esoteric tarot symbolism. Continue reading


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


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