Saturday, September 27, 2008

Book Review: The Secret Language of Tarot

Symbol systems are an essential part of the hermetic path, tarot is one of the most central symbol systems. Eliphas Levi said that given enough time, a person could learn everything they needed to know about esoteric wisdom using only a deck of tarot cards. That's a slight exaggeration in my opinion, but he has a point. Even if you don't believe in a collective unconscious accessible to everyone, you must admit that symbols like castles, swords and crowns have lifelong associations for those of us who were brought up in a Western culture.

Tarot, however, can be intimidating for beginners. The Secret Language of Tarot by Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone can help. Instead of presenting a beginner with meanings of 78 cards, and another set of meanings if the cards appear upside-down, the symbols are discussed one at a time. Some hermetic concepts and mythology are included with the explanations.

There are also guided visualizations given for some of the symbols. Guided visualizations are useful because they get your conscious mind out of the way, allowing your subconscious to play connect-the-dots with the symbols given. Further along the path, there will be other guided visualizations based on the Tree of Life; these visualizations are called pathworkings.

That brings up the best feature of this book. It's not only an introduction to tarot, but also excellent preparation for entering a mystery school. If you're getting started on the hermetic path, you should pick up a copy.

2 comments:

The Seeker said...

Another great Tarot book you might want to check out is "The Complete New Tarot". It is the best yet that I've seen and is very thorough.

Larry Coleman said...

Thanks for leaving a comment. I'll put the book on my list.