When I first saw the title for this book, I thought it was really clever, from an internet search point of view. It’s very close to Arthur Edward Waite’s The Key to the Tarot, later to become the Pictorial Key to the Tarot. The similarity ends there though. While Waite’s book is written in his famously meandering and spiritually elitist style, Sarah Bartlett’s book is clear, concise and above all, readable. It’s easy to understand and will be accessible to all levels of readers, though this book really is aimed at the beginner.
Bartlett has written a number of books but her most famous is surely the ubiquitous, Tarot Bible. While small in size, that book has just over 400 pages and covers secondary subjects to tarot, numerology, astrology, kabbalah, esotericism, to name but a few. Looking through both of her books reveals much repeated material, albeit redressed for this latest edition. The tarot card meanings are mostly identical, though often reworded and there are a number of tarot spreads that have made it to both books. The difference between these two books is that The Key to Tarot is purely tarot focused and besides a nod to ‘astrological affinities and numbers’, there are no secondary subjects. To quote Anthony Louis, this is tarot pure and simple…
This is the second deck from publisher, Quarto Knows. It is the follow on from their redrawing of the Pierpoint Morgan Visconti-Sforza Taroccchi deck. In what was seemingly a successful foray into tarot deck publishing, Quarto has stayed with the theme of ancient decks. This time the focus is on the Tarot de Marseille. The same creative team were used to produce this kit, namely Rachel Clowes as the deck artist and Mary Packard as the book’s author. It comes in a large book-like box that will support itself on any bookshelf.
Not to be confused with Kat Black’s Golden Tarot (a renaissance collage deck with gilt edges), this Golden Tarot is a redrawing of the Visconti-Sforza deck.
For this review, I will be using the US Games Pierpoint Morgan issue of the Visconti-Sforza tarot as the comparison deck and point of reference as I believe this is the deck the publisher has used as their base for this production.
The creative team for this project is Mary Packard (book) and Rachel Clowes (cards). Surprisingly neither has a tarot or occult background. Surprising because both their individual efforts sit well together and would not be out of place in anyone’s tarot library.
On Wednesday, 25th March, 2015, the unthinkable happened – my web host deleted my site, with all the latest back ups, database and recent adjustments. Poof! Six years of blood, sweat, tears and delight gone in 60 seconds. One minute it’s there, the next it isn’t.
Whilst in a little shock, I soon realised I wasn’t in tears and set about looking for the most recent copy of the database that I had on my laptop. February 2014 – a whole year out of date. Well at least I still had a copy of most of the content.
Tarot Beyond the Basics, by Anthony Louis
A number of tarot books are published every year and while they serve the market well, not many really break rank from the tried and tested formula of presenting to the new tarot reader. Tarot books that speak to the intermediate or advanced tarot reader are not easy to find, or are limited to focusing on a single subject within the genre. Until now.
Tarot Beyond the Basics breaks the mould and sets a new standard. Prior to this excellent work, my own go-to books have been Theresa Michelson’s The Complete Tarot Reader, Liz Hazel’s Tarot Decoded, and the time-honoured 78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack.
Buddhism encourages new followers to go slowly and adopt the practices gradually. This is sound advice. Buddhism isn’t just another religion or philosophy to learn about, it’s also culturally different from anything we’re familiar with in the West, and is presented in many Eastern languages. Gradual suits me just fine.
On the Buddhist path, compassion is pretty much a prerequisite and one I very much agree with. Only it can be really, really hard to feel any sense of compassion when we hear and read such disturbing news across the media. It can be really difficult to feel compassion for our fellow man when they can be so annoying, egotistical, spiteful, hurtful, inconsiderate…
Guest post by Barbara Moore
Tarot is an excellent tool for spiritual work; most of us who use and love the cards know this. One common method is to incorporate the cards into a meditation practice, often by using one card as a portal. Adding scent (via candles, incense, or essential oils) to meditation can enhance the practice. This post combines all three: tarot, meditation, and scent.
Tarot cards are more than just a collection images, a game, or a fortune telling device. They are, together and individually, doorways into the human experience. We find themes such as balance, opposing forces, and enlightenment repeating through the cards. Tarot is powerful because it is not just a collection of images but a complete system. The system affects meanings as much as the images. The cards within the deck are in dialogue with each other. We can gain even more wisdom when we eavesdrop on those conversations. There are many ways to do this. One is to study pairings or groupings based on visual similarities.
What is the Way of Nowhere?
Physically, it’s a book. Philosophically, it’s a new way to view life and how we live it. Spiritually, it’s a way to embrace many eclectic cultures to produce a modern system of creativity, self-reliance and self-knoweldge. But best of all, it’s 8 Questions to Release Our Creative Potential – which as we all know is perfect translated into a tarot spread.
Using time-honoured Native American, Pagan and Buddhist beliefs, the full system helps you explore yourself in a gentle and productive way. In our tarot spread, we’re going to explore the eight questions. It’s up to you how much further you want to explore yourself in this way (though I highly recommend it).