Rachel Pollack's Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings Paperback – Illustrated, 1 November 2008
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- Paperback : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0738713090
- ISBN-13 : 978-0738713090
- Dimensions : 18.8 x 3.56 x 22.86 cm
- Publisher : Llewellyn Publications; Illustrated edition (1 November 2008)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: 69,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"At last--a master work by a master teacher! This book answers the core question every tarot reader wants to know, 'what are the earliest meanings of the cards?' Rachel then liberally sprinkles her account with lively anecdotes derived from forty years experience reading the Tarot. It doesn't get any better than this! Rachel Pollack has sorted, evaluated and made connections among the many myths, traditions, legends and conventions surrounding Tarot, crystallizing their essence into core concepts and a modern understanding guaranteed to deepen your readings and study."--Mary K. Greer, author of 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card
"Rachel Pollack's Tarot Wisdom is a master work born of 40 years of learning, teaching, reading and writing about the Tarot. Rachel's love of the cards and their history, mythology, art, stories and yes, wisdom shines through every page."--Ruth Ann & Wald Amberstone, Directors of The Tarot School and authors of Tarot Tips and The Secret Language of Tarot
"Tarot Wisdom provides readers with a guided tour of Tarot that could only be led by Rachel Pollack. It is, by turns, scholarly, personal, humorous, and wise...It's the most lucid and comprehensive series of card-by-card essays since 78 Degrees."--Mark McElroy, author of What's in the Cards for You? and Putting the Tarot to Work
"As is Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, Tarot Wisdom is a must have book for any Tarot library."--Aclectic Tarot
"A phenomenal contribution to the field, written in an approachable style and beatifully designed for newbie and veteran alike. I can't recommend it highly enough. No matter what deck you read with, you should have this book in your collection. I take my hat off to Rachel Pollack and to Llewellyn for this enormous gift to the tarot community."--Leah Samul, ATA Quarterly Journal
"An ambitious undertaking, but one that is unequalled in its scope and brilliance. Tarot Wisdom will transform the way that you look at each and every card."--Silver Wheel, the South Australian Pagan Alliance newsletter
"[Pollack's] writing style is still as engaging and easy as it was 20-some years ago...[Tarot Widom] is just as informative and impressive as Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom."--The Diva Digest
"I can't recommend Tarot Wisdom enough. [Pollack's] insight into the tarot has pushed me into delving deeper into the cards, and as a result, I have discovered many amazing things about myself and the world."--Feminist Review
About the Author
She is a member of the American Tarot Association, the International Tarot Society, and the Tarot Guild of Australia. With fellow Tarot author Mary Greer, she has taught at the famed Omega Institute for the past twelve years. She has been conferred the title of "Tarot Grand Master" by the Tarot Certification Board, an independent body located in Las Vegas, Nevada.
As a fiction writer, Pollack has been bestowed many honors and awards, among them the famed Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction (for Unquenchable Fire) and the World Fantasy Award (for Godmother Night). She is a recommended member of PEN International, and has written for numerous publications.
From the Publisher
From the Author of Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom
Beloved by nearly half a million Tarot enthusiasts, Rachel Pollack’s Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom forever transformed the study of Tarot. This much-anticipated follow-up to Pollack’s classic guidebook will inspire Tarot aficionados and inform a new generation of Tarot students. Enhanced by the author’s personal stories and insights gained over the past three decades, this book on tarot invites you on a fascinating and fun adventure.
Offering an abundant array of new ideas mixed in with enlightening discussions about Tarot’s checkered past, this tarot guidebook features innovative ways to interpret and use Tarot, and a wealth of original spreads to try for yourself—including spreads for predictive, psychological, magical, and spiritual readings. All seventy-eight cards are explored from fresh angles: history, art, psychology, and a variety of spiritual and occult traditions, using cards from seven diverse decks so you can easily contrast and compare. No matter where your starting point on the path of personal discovery, this tarot book will prove a trusted companion for your journey.
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Touted as the follow-up to "Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom", in most ways I think this book actually goes way beyond the original. "Seventy-Eight Degrees" will remain a "bible" because it takes a clear look at the Rider Waite deck, while also examining psychological aspects and offering practical and insightful approaches to a number of spreads. "Tarot Wisdom", though it is certainly accessible to the beginner, is more a book to grow with. There is much here even for the knowledgeable and experienced tarot reader.
The book is divided into four main sections: The Major Arcana, The Minor Arcana, The Court Cards, and Readings, as well as having a 25 page introduction. Each of the seventy eight cards is given from 2 pages (the Minors and Court cards) to 16 pages (for the Fool), with most of the Majors having at least 10 pages each.
As the blurb states, illustrations from seven different decks are shown, in black and white, to give a feel for the variety of meaning that has been expressed in each card. In fact, the same six decks are used to illustrate the majority of the Majors: the Marseille, Rider, Golden Dawn Ritual, Egyptian, Visconti and Shining Tribe (Rachel's own deck). Meanwhile, the Minors are illustrated with the Marseille, Rider, Golden Dawn, Visconti, Sola Busca and Shining Tribe. The Sola Busca is considered the first deck historically to have had illustrated pips, so its inclusion for the Minors makes sense, trying to show the development over time of the meanings attributed to and illustrations used for them. Finally, the Court cards show the Marseille, Rider, Golden Dawn, Visconti and Shining Tribe. I love this aspect of the book - it's not just academic information and lists, but also beautiful images and really seeing what she's talking about, and perhaps making your own new connections in the light of these comparative images.
This use of multiple images matches up with the fact that the book gives a wide variety of attributions for each card, including, but not limited to: Astrological, Kabbalistic, Pythagorean, Picatrix (from an arabic esoteric text), Elemental, Sephirah, Golden Dawn Title (for the Courts), Rider physical quality (for the Courts), Rider theme and associated Majors (for the Minors).
The bulk of the book is made up of a discussion of each card - including history, esoteric aspects, personal anecdotes, some questions it may raise - a whole spread for each of the Majors, and a spread for each suit, as well as a spread for the Court cards. There are also a number of one card and two card spreads, and six multiple card more general spreads. "Tarot Wisdom" also talks about, and gives some examples of, wisdom readings. Basically, you use the tarot to ask philosophical questions - divination in the sense of talking with the divine - rather than simply trying to find out more about your own, or someone else's life. This is a concept Rachel Pollack introduced in "The Forest of Souls", and which I find quite profound - I've always gotten a lot out of the wisdom readings I've done.
As well as a general introduction, the book gives an introduction to each of the sections. For the Majors, this discusses the correspondences that Rachel Pollack chooses to highlight: it's a non-systematic approach, focusing on what she personally considers most relevant. So, this may seem rather eclectic or opinionated to those who have a preferred system. However, this is partly explained by her discussion of the Majors as a path to spiritual enlightenment - as such it is a personal path, and also a mystery. The book is designed to give pointers to possible paths for different people, rather than claiming to give any definitive answers. In this respect, Pollack talks about the esoteric history of the Tarot, but argues for there being no "scientific" or correct interpretation. She explains her own structural approach to the Majors, dividing them into three lines of seven, representing three different phases in people's lives, but also looking at these as columns of three - the common threads that return at different levels and in different ways at various times. Although she offers "divinatory" meanings, Pollack mainly wants to open up the interpretation of the cards, rather than narrow it down.
The Minor Arcana introduction has a sub-section on the suits: their history; mythological, biblical, kabbalistic and elemental attributions; their relation to the Majors and the Virtues. Another sub-section on numbers: general numerology; Rider Themes (comparing all the Rider aces, all the Rider twos etc); Pythagorean and Kabbalistic numerology; and astrological decans.
As for the Court cards, Pollack offers a number of ways to explore them, including drawing a house for each "family" and asking questions about what they're like, where they'd live, and what it would be like if they swapped houses for the weekend with another Court (very a la Mary K.Greer - not surprising as they've been teaching together for nearly two decades). The section on "Permutations" uses a formula to create different "families" of the Court cards, for example Page of Cups, Knight of Swords, Queen of Pentacles, King of Wands, asking how this court would be different than if all the members were from the same suit, or from other permutations. There are also sections titled: "If Court Cards Are People, Who Are They?", and a discussion of "Significators", giving Waite's approach, and Pollack's own. Then, my favourite: "Movie Stars, Fairytales, Superheroes, and Noble Worthies" - exploring who each Court card could be from any area of interest, and suggesting a fun superhero quaternity method of looking at them (Hero, Partner, Nemesis, Sidekick). There are also sections on elemental attributions, the various name changes that have been made regarding the Courts (in particular by the Golden Dawn), and the Court Cards on the Tree of Life. Finally, she looks at the Courts as "A Progression of Qualities" - once again a structural, developmental approach. So, there's plenty to help deepen understanding of the Courts - and that's before we even get to the discussion of each card and related images!
As well as offering the spreads described above, the "Readings" chapter has a section discussing some "rules" about tarot reading - mainly to disclaim them. This was the most "beginner"ish section of the book, and one I feel it could have done without. However, I imagine it was felt necessary in order to be able to sell this as a book for every level.
Altogether, "Tarot Wisdom" is both academic and accessible, profound, yet profoundly readable. Whether you want to study it from cover to cover or dip in and out to find what you want at any given time, it's a wonderful, fascinating book, full of insight, anecdote, and information.