Tag: Tarot

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.


Card Study

By Geno | February 20, 2002 | Leave a comment

From: geno@adonai.EBay.Sun.COM (Geno )
Subject: Re: Tarot card study
Date: 23 Sep 1993 04:19:47 GMT

<< 2) Study yr deck till you can picture precisely each card >>

[stuff]
<< Each to their own of course, but my feeling is that by studying the cards in advance you rob them of their “free will” by meeting them before the proper time. It also strikes me as a highly analytical approach for a non-analytical pursuit… >>

The cards do not have a will of their own. They’re a tool and nothing more. As with just about everything else, there is no “right” way that works best for everybody. Studying the deck isn’t really an analytical thing, it’s just a way of becoming completely familiar with it. You can give a good reading when you’re unfamiliar with a deck, but the drawback is that it will take you much longer to give the reading. Also, if you’re going to charge for your readings, it doesn’t make you look very competent if you’re constantly having to refer to your book to look up the cards.

When I first started, a reading would average 1 1/2 to 2 hours. That’s way too long. Of course, I started out just practicing on my friends, so they were patient with me. I also never asked for any money to do readings. Even after I became very proficient at it.

When it comes to knowing the deck, you’re really better off if you know the deck very well or don’t know it at all. If you become familiar with just part of the deck, or with just certain cards, you can change the reading from what it should be by subconsciously pulling those cards into it that you’re most familiar with. Then the person doesn’t get an accurate reading.

The 2nd problem is giving readings to people you know fairly well. What happens alot is that the cards may say something about that person which involves some drastic change in their life but you’ll look for some other interpretation because you know them and you tell yourself, “there’s no way this person’s going to quit their job or do this or that”. It’s very difficult to keep your personal knowledge about someone from having any influence in the way you interpret the cards.

My recommendation would be to become as familiar with the cards as you can. Also, spend a lot of time handling them. Keep them wrapped in silk and don’t let other people handle them unless you’re giving them a reading. Find the type of deck that you feel most comfortable with and use only that deck. When you’ve become very adept, then you can experiment with other types of decks.

<< Interesting. I know a lot of Tarot-philes who would agree with you that it is a ‘non-analytical’ pursuit. But historically, that’s not true at all. A lot, possibly most, of the symbolism built into, say, the Rider-Waite deck is based on Waite’s conception of the kabalah and how it relates to the Tarot. Since most of the decks now on the market are based on the Rider-Waite, to an extent they all incorporate this influence. The same could be said of the Crowley deck and its decendants, and between the two of them they probably account for 80% or so of the decks you could find. So all these decks are based very much on an ‘analytic’ approach to the Tarot. >>


Card Meditation for Major Arcana

By C D Burdorf | February 20, 2002 | Leave a comment

From: mascdb[at]gdr[dot]bath[dot]ac[dot].uk (C D Burdorf)
Subject: meditation techniques for Merlin Tarot
Date: 7 Oct 92 10:53:20 GMT

Ok, due to popular demand here it is.

This is the stuff from RJ Stewart’s workshop I attended two weeks ago on Merlin Tarot and Meditation. This is for meditating on the trumps only.

When meditating,

  1. Don’t use intense concentration
  2. Let your mind wander up and down and through the card
  3. First have your eyes open, then have your eyes closed.
  4. Build the image of the card in your mind without stepping into it.
  5. Then step into the card, feel the ground, temperature, smell the smells
  6. Set the card up about 10 feet away from you, take three steps towards it, imagine yourself walking into the card, sit behind it and meditate on being inside it, then walk out of the card.

Other techniques:

If there is a path on the card, walk your way up it. Work your way through the card

Dissolve the physical forms and concentrate on the powers and energies of the card.

Once inside the card turn around and look back out, it will give you a different perspective. Write your experiences down and meditate on them.

General pattern

IN->Forms->energies->out

It doesn’t have to be for a long time.

Meditate on the card before you go to sleep. It can make you dream about the card. Look at it again as soon as you wake up. Write down your dream and meditate on it.

When inside the card ask the people for advice if you wish. Pick a card that feels relevant to your problem.

Have fun,

Chris


Bad Cards

By Paul E. Meade | February 2, 2002 | Leave a comment

From: meade@twod.gsfc.nasa.gov (Paul E. Meade)
Subject: Re: posting of the tarot
Date: 2 Aug 1994 12:07:00 GMT

[...]

IMHO (but then, isn’t everything I post), NONE of the Tarot Cards (and especially not the Majors) are intrinsically good nor intrinsically bad. For example, I see the Hanged Man (often depicted a man hung upside down by one foot and not looking particularly distressed by it) as emblematic of a new, radically different point of view (the world turned upside down) which can lead to new insights (perhaps good, perhaps bad) about the world (or your life, or whatever). It reminds me of the fragment of Norse verse about Odin hanging ‘nine whole days’, pierced (with a spear?) and wounded, and coming away from the experience with an understanding of the runes.

Although this is not the standard line that you will find in BOOKS about the Tarot, I feel that it is most important for you to look at the cards and decide what they mean for YOU. After all, you are the one to whom they are going to be talking, so it’s best for you to establish the ‘language’ which they are going to use. And of course it’s not easy to decide what each and every card means – there are a few cards in my deck which don’t speak loudly to me, and I usually ‘go by the book’ for those cards. Curiously enough, I find that those cards don’t come up very often in readings. It’s also OK to let the meanings change over time as you become more familiar with the cards and more experienced at reading them – don’t think that the meanings that you assign to them now are set in stone for all time. Remember – the Tarot is a tool and how you use that tool is up to you.

One of my favourite cards is The Tower, which in my deck is depicted by as physical tower being struck by lightning and destroyed, while an a luminous extension of the tower continues to rise undamaged to a starry night sky. To me, this card perfectly embodies the idea of ‘per aspera ad astra’ (through difficulties to the stars), which is one of the most powerful images in my life – continuing on towards a higher goal in spite of mundane difficulties and pain.

- paul (meade@twod.gsfc.nasa.gov)


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