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Review: Seeing the World – Tarot Signposts on the Path to Perception

Seeing the World –
Tarot Signposts on the Path to Perception

Author: Jean-Claude Flornoy
Translated and Annotated by: David Vine
Editions letarot.com
2018
ISBN #978-2-914820-14-1

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“Seeing the World – Tarot Signposts on the Path to Perception” is the English translation of Jean-Claude Flornoy’s “Le pelerinage des bateleurs” (2007). A 332 page book, it is one of two iconic Tarot books that have recently come out (the other book being “Pamela Coleman Smith: The Untold Story”, by Stuart Kaplan, Mary K. Greer, Elizabeth Foley O’Connor, and Melinda Boyd Parsons).

This translation came into being in a very magical way, when translator David Vine began a correspondence with Jean-Claude Flornoy, which lead to them becoming friends. At one point Mr. Flornoy mentioned to Mr. Vine that he was terminally ill – his oncologist had given him two months to live. (I remember this time period, as there was a significant Tarot seminar being held in France that Mr. Flornoy was to be a presenter at. The Tarot world was excitedly looking forward to this – unfortunately, Mr. Flornoy died before the seminar. If I remember correctly, his wife, Roxanne, made the presentation.) Mr. Vine offered to translate the entire book (he had already translated one chapter) into English, and see that it was published. Mr. Flornoy gratefully accepted his offer. The world was gifted with incredible wisdom as a result of these two small acts.

Before going any further, you need to realize that I not only highly respect French Tarot historian Jean-Claude Flornoy, and his work, but I hold him in awe. He has done amazing work on restoring early Marseille decks (the Tarot of Nicholas Conver, the Tarot of Jacques Vieville, the Tarot of Jean Noblet, and the Tarot of Jean Dodal), as well as addressing divination itself, Tarot symbolism, and viewing the 22 Major Arcana of the Tarot as a “coded description” of the journey through life. Flornoy sees the Arcanum as the teaching which the Ancients, master builders of the Medieval cathedrals, chose to entrust to a game of cards.

Flornoy studied philosophy, worked as a potter-ceramicist, and was involved in the construction of several hydraulic power stations in France, as well as studying the Tarot for twenty years. Several years ago I queried Mr. Flornoy about interviewing him. His wife, Roxanne, responded, as Mr. Flornoy did not speak English. The result was an amazing interview with both Roxanne and Jean-Claude! You can see it here:   http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/learn/interview_flornoy.shtml. I am also going to include a link to an interview by Tarotist Enrique Enriquez, a gentleman that I totally admire! http://www.tarot-history.com/Enrique-Enriquez/pages/itw-EE-15-02-2010-eng.html.

This book represents Jean-Claude Flornoy’s view of Tarot from a psychological view, as well as that of spiritual development. Flornoy’s basic precept is that the journey that Tarot depicts is a psychological journey, rather than a spiritual one. The book is broken down into seven parts – Part One: History and Legend of the Tarot; Part Two: Tarot, Kabbalah and Sufism; Part Three: Jean Noblet, Master Card Maker of Paris, c. 1650; Part Four: The Pilgrimage of the Bateleurs, a Commentary on the 22 Major Arcana; Part Five: How To Use the Marseilles Tarot; Part Six: The Minor Arcana; Part Seven: Appendices (Rules of the Game of Tarots, 1637; Text by Thierry Dupaulis: Jean Noblet, Paris, Mid-Seventeenth Century; Bibliography).

The section on Tarot history speaks for itself. Concerning the Knights Templar we read: “The light of the sacred was all but extinguished on Friday, October 13th in the year of 1307 with the arrest of the leading authorities of the Knights Templar and then, definitively so, after Black Tuesday, March 19th, 1314. That day was marked by the burning of the chief Templars at the stake in the middle of the river Seine in Paris on the Ile aux Juifs, that is, the Isle of the Jews (though some of the men were executed elsewhere).”

In relation to the construction sites at that time, we read: “On the construction sites of the churches and cathedrals, it was not only the art of the building and of working materials that was handed down, but also, through the work in stone, wood and glass, an entire consciousness was assimilated experientially. Transmitted orally, from master to journeyman and from journeyman to apprentice, the tradition was lived in the stone, through the stone. Now, with the “strike of the cathedrals”, suddenly that system was in collapse. No one could guarantee the payment of salaries on the sites. The journeymen and the masters were being hunted by the Inquisition. In the end, therefore, they emigrated.” (This is important, because Flornoy basis his work on the late medieval apprentice-compagnon-master school of the great cathedral builders.)

The introduction to the section on Jean Noblet notes that he came from an age when the tradition was still being transmitted from master engraver to craftsman engraver at an introductory level. This puts Noblet “nearer the source” than those who came after him. His work is unique in the smallness of the card size, and in its age (it is considered to be the oldest deck in the Marseilles tradition). Another part of this section that I found intriguing was Flornoy’s descriptions of what the different colors used in the cards stood for. (An example would be the color red, in connection to the pouring out of blood.)

Flornoy sees the journey of the Tarot (and of life) in the following sequence: First Series – Trump I (incarnation) through Trump V – childhood; Second Series – Trump VI (first passion, the opening of the heart) through Trump X – apprenticeship of the building of the mental body, of the ego; Third Series – Trump XI (the self-made individual, reconstruction within and through the world of matter and the heart) through Trump XV (the period of COMPAGNONNAGE, of the building of the emotional body accompanied by the return of tears, emotional catharsis, the way of the heart and the ascent of vital energy); Fourth Series – Trump XVI (to die before dying, journeying while alive to  the other side … of reality); Remaining Arcana XVII through XX (This is the period of MASTERY, of the building of the energy body, of one’s masterpiece, the end of fear, the period of being “all heart”, and of the beginning of true education.); Trump XXI (This is the period of WISDOM, of the building of the sublime body, of the participation of individual consciousness in the World Soul. It is the period proper to the Master of the Age.); Unnumbered Trump – LE FOU (LE MAT) (LE FOU excuses himself and takes his leave. He sits astride the moment, extricates himself from the world and from life in the here and now. Past and future have both disappeared from his everyday experience. He has become the Holy Fool, the Idiot Buddha, the Divine Anarchist.)”

In presenting each Arcanum (Trump), Flornoy shows a full page black and white scan, the Key to the Arcanum, the Gateway, a discussion of the card, and the images in the card. For example: Le Bateleur (The Juggler) is the Gateway to Childhood. The Key to the Arcanum is Incarnation. The discussion includes the concept of rebirth, of being one of the cards in the Tarot where the central figure strikes a pose, along with a discussion of the tools shown in the card.

There is a short preface that I loved in “How To Use The Marseilles Tarot”– it is entitled “How Not To Use The Marseilles Tarot”. There is a reason – you will have to purchase the book to find out why!

I am totally impressed with this work! Many thanks to David Vine for the care with which he did the interpretation of Jean-Claude Flornoy’s work. Two master craftsman, resulting in an incredible, iconic work!

“Seeing the World – Tarot Signposts on the Path to Perception” can be ordered here – http://www.tarot-history.com/boutique/.

© August 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

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Posted by on August 6, 2018 in Tarot

 

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Review: The Hero’s Journey With Tarot: 33 Days To Finishing Your Book

Mapping The Hero’s Journey With Tarot:
33 Days To Finishing Your Book

Author: Arwen Lynch
Self-Published
2017
ASIN: B071WRCVTJ

Mapping The Hero's Journey With Tarot cover

Arwen Lynch has taken what was a 33 day eCourse and turned it into an e-book, so that the reader can work at their own pace. (Note: This review is of the e-book. It is also available in hard copy.) In her foreword Lynch notes that we are the creator/creatrix of our own world. This e-book gives the reader a framework for the world(s) that they are creating, a space for their imaginations to explore and grow. I absolutely love that the bibliography is at the front of the book, as is the list of recommended Tarot decks. (Note: The decks recommended offer a variety of styles, from traditional to fantasy. The reader can choose a style that works for them. I am going to offer up one more deck – the Shadowscapes Tarot, by artist Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.) The bibliography covers archetypes and how they relate to writing, with Mary Greer’s Tarot For Yourself acting as a foundation for interpreting each of the Tarot cards.

Lynch presents this e-book in thirteen primary lessons aimed at showing the reader how to use the Tarot to form a plot for their fiction writing. The first twelve lessons focus on the Hero’s journey, while the thirteenth lesson addresses the issue of theme for writing.

Lynch introduces Joseph Campbell’s work on mythology and the Hero’s Journey, as well as giving the reader a look at the background of the Tarot as it applies to writing. She also includes several spreads that will allow the reader to focus on the flow of their story. She explains how the imagery in the cards acts as a channel for intuition. She also notes that while the cards do have traditional meanings, that when using them as a tool for writing that there really is no set meaning. I am a professional Tarot reader and a writer – for me the traditional meanings in general do hold true in my writing. This may not hold true for those that are new to the Tarot.

This e-book is written using the structure of three “Acts”, following the Hero’s Journey:

Act I: DEPARTURE, SEPARATION

1. Ordinary World
2. Call to Adventure
3. Refusal of the Call
4. Meeting with the Mentor
5. Crossing First Threshold

Act II: DESCENT, INITIATION, PENETRATION

6. Tests, Allies, Enemies
7. Approach to Inmost Cave
8. The Ordeal
9. Reward (Seizing the Sword)

Act III: RETURN

10. Road Back
11. Resurrection
12. Return With Elixir

What a powerful template for writing! Lynch makes a point of saying that this template can be used for a new story, or for a WIP (work in progress). I found it interesting that she also chose to use film as a reference (specifically Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, Shrek, and Avatar). Emphasis is placed on the reader plotting their book with the big picture in mind.

We start out with building a character (or characters), using the Tarot Court Cards (who represent the people of the Tarot). There is a very nice, easy to use Tarot spread that will help you define/build your character. In this chapter we start to see the quotes that Lynch shares about writing, as well as her journal prompts.

She promptly moves into a spread that represents the Hero’s Journey for the reader’s story. This will form the plot for the reader’s book. The reader is shown how to read the cards that they draw – to differentiate what they see in the background from what they see in the foreground, to note any symbols that might be in the card, and to note how they feel about these symbols, what they feel the symbols might mean.

Each chapter is built around a Tarot spread created specifically for the topic, a story template, an example, a quote, and a journal prompt. Chapter Fourteen is an “added” chapter, in the Hero’s Journey is completed. Here Lynch addresses not the journey itself, but the theme for the journey. Here is where we make sure that the steps in the Hero’s journey reflect the theme of that journey.

Chapter Fifteen addresses the journal that the reader is encouraged to keep in each chapter. I have always been fond of journals, as they show my progress, and how I got to be where I am. A writer’s journal shows the progress of their writing, and how that progress developed.

Chapter Sixteen addresses the tool of Tarot, and how it is broken down. (Major Arcana and Minor Arcana). For each of the Major Arcana cards Lynch includes key words, symbols to be aware of, and key questions. For the Minor Arcana pips (numbered cards), she includes a keyword, and upright and reversed meanings. For the Court Cards there is a description of the individual represented in the card, and the energy they carry. There is also a discussion of each of the four suits, and what they represent.

Chapter Twenty-two is a presentation of Tarot spreads, including the Hero’s Journey spread.

The tone of this e-book is conversational, the topics easy to follow, and no knowledge of the Tarot is necessary. All the reader needs to do is to be open to developing a new way of looking at things, and to widening their perspective on writing. Lynch joins writers such as Corrine Kenner, Elizabeth Delisi, and Sierra Godfrey in applying the tool of Tarot to the field of writing. I found this e-book to be well organized, well written, easy to follow, and a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend it!

© July 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2018 in Tarot

 

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Review: Journaling the Tarot

Journaling the Tarot –
a little book of big questions

 

Author: Andy Matzner
Create Space
2018
ISBN # 978-1987796889

 

How do we accept …that we are not our history,
but our unfolding journey?
James Hollis (From the book.)

 

Andy Matzner is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist. He also teaches as an adjunct professor at Virginia Western Community College and Hollins University. He chooses to use the Tarot to empower himself and his clients, and is the author of several books, including “The Tarot Activity Book: A collection of creative and therapeutic ideas for the cards”.

 “Journaling the Tarot” is a 175 page book that presents two pages of questions that can be asked of each of the 78 cards of the Tarot. The questions are excellent, and easy to work with. My quibble here is that while Matzner has a page entitled “Instructions” at the beginning of the book, the page is blank. Individuals that are familiar with the Tarot, and familiar with journaling, would not need instructions. However, those that are new to the Tarot, or new to journaling, would benefit from even brief instructions.

I really cannot do a review here, so I will simply share representative questions from all levels of the Tarot (Major Arcana and Minor Arcana, including Pips, the numbered cards, and the Court Cards).

 

“The important thing is to never stop questioning.”
Albert Einstein (From the book.)

 

Major Arcana: The Fool

What message have you been ignoring?
What are you willing to risk for a better life?

Major Arcana: The World

How present are you in your daily life? What can you do to develop your ability to remain in the “here and now”?
What next chapter needs to begin in your life? How can you best proceed?

Minor Arcana: Ace of Wands

Who or what is currently inspiring you?
What price are you willing to pay to manifest your creative spirit?

Minor Arcana: Six of Cups

How are you sharing your joy with others?
On whom or what are you wasting your energy? What is the best next step for you?

Minor Arcana: Page of Wands

What are you enthusiastic about?
What is something that you’ve always wanted to learn (even if it has no practical applications).

Minor Arcana: Knight of Cups

What does it mean to “live fully”?
When you feel depressed, what can you do to feel better?

Minor Arcana: Queen of Swords

What are you tolerating in your life? Why? Is there something you need to do about it?
About what do you need to take the high road? Why?

Minor Arcana: King of Pentacles

Of what are you proud? Why?
How did you remain true to yourself?

This is an excellent tool for self-discovery, taking journaling to a whole new level!

 

© May 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2018 in Tarot

 

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Review: Pholarches Tarot

Pholarchos Tarot

Author: Carmen Sorrenti
Artist: Carmen Sorrenti
Published by Arnell’s Art
2018
ISBN #978-1-5323-6489-1

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Some of my favorite decks – decks that I might otherwise not have known about – have come to me through the auspices of my friend artist/author Arnell Ando. Such is the case with the Pholarchos Tarot. (I need to note that the copy that I am reviewing is an advanced copy –  currently the deck is only open to preorder (http://www.arnellart.com/carmen-tarot.htm).

This is a 78 card, Limited First Edition deck, accompanied by a 40 page companion booklet. The deck and companion booklet come in a sturdy lift top box. The suits are: Sparks (Wands), Spirals (Pentacles), Wings (Swords) and Coral (Water). The Court Cards are Dreamer (Page), Trail (Knight), Queen and King. The Major Arcana carry traditional titles, with Justice as 8 and Strength as 11.  

Pholarchos back

The cards are 3 ½” by 5”, of sturdy, semi-gloss, smooth finish card stock. The card backs carry an esoteric themed image, which is not reversible. The card faces have a ¼” black border. The Major Arcana show the card number (in Arabic numerals) and title in small white lettering, centered across the bottom of the card, or in one of the four corners. The Minor Arcana show the number (in Arabic numerals) and card suit, in small white lettering, in either in one of the four corners, or centered across the top or the bottom of the card. The Court Cards have the card title and suit in small white letters in one of the four corners of the card.

There are some interesting things to note – one of which is that the art medium is acrylic painting. The Aces are done in shades of gray and white, each showing a face with the eyes loosely covered with some type of scarf. The Trails are all also done in shades of gray and white. The overall impression of all of the cards is that of a fluid, imaginary world. There is a flowing to the art, rather than solid definition. I am a traditionalist when it comes to Tarot, but I do thoroughly enjoy these cards.

The companion booklet reflects the author’s ability to walk in the worlds of alchemy, mythology, dreamwork, astrology, and Tarot.  In her introduction she talks about coming from mountains that plunge into the sea, where the elements are forceful, and myths are dear. She shares the following quote from Charles Laughlin: “A society’s cosmology and symbolic system is ultimately the product of the creative imagination of its people.” This thought process has clearly been brought to the fore in this deck! Sorrenti talks about passion being with us all of the time, animating everything. This is so true!

The names of the suits are listed, along with a short explanation of them:

Sparks:  Here essence sparks into life, potency ignites. (In alchemy hints at calcinatio, trial by fire.)

Spirals: Incarnation spirals in and spirals back out, breathes in and breathes out. (In alchemy hints at coagulatio, trial by earth.)

Wings: Soar through realms of consciousness, conceive reality. (In alchemy hints at sublimatio, trial by air.)

Coral: Once a year, all coral around the globe spawns in unison by the flux of the August full moon, love’s orchestration. (In alchemy hints at solutio, trial by water.)

Each card is presented by number and title, number and suit, or title and suit, along with a short paragraph. Scans are not included with each of the cards, but full page, full color scans of the following cards are included:  The Lovers, Strength, Star, Dreamer of Spirits, King of Spirals, 10 of Wings, and 10 of Coral.

Pholarchos Tarot Ace of Sparks

Ace of Sparks

… that which ignites potency, engenders vision, pumps action. The trinity of flame, Aries child of Mars, Leo beloved of the Sun, Sag fledging of Jupiter. Here roars conquest, the spark of creation, what can you imagine, and what can you become? Hoodwinked, it is still every potential gaining speed, exhilaration, faith, reverberating flashes of excitement.

Pholarchos Tarot Dreamer of Wings

Dreamer of Wings

She’s often busy championing the underdog babies and she offers classes on the theory of knowledge – she can tightrope her way out of argument or convince you to play the spoons, eat parchment, celebrate your birthday at the opposite end of the year … and she may lend you thaumaturgical words for a rough night.

Pholarchos Tarot Strength

Strength

Inside your belly. The lion’s hunger insatiable, its eyes yellow alarm, claws ready-made scythes. It will not hesitate to rip right through you and make a mockery of your life in order to find food. It will have you unless you turn and look into those eyes, offer of yourself. Exchange on its own terms. Then it will, like the cards of old, open its mouth for you and let you take what you need when you need it. Your resolve and your fortitude must shine forth. Do not think you can bypass the wild center – it generates your will to live. Etch its mane somewhere along the castle walls, feed it the flesh of your devotion, practice touching your molton core.

 

Carmen-1-magician-100

The Magician

Mercurius, male and female both, orchestrator and instrument, dreamer and dreamed, begins the alchemical operations, that each voice may partake in the great unfolding. The male head drinks from the wolf and her moon while the female head sips the dragon and his sun; thus oppoites unite. The sky measures time that we may know what is ripe and what is moving – stones, waves, roots will do the same if you can perceive the echo.

Carmen-18-moon-100

The Moon

She may open a vein of longing to last for generations or take you back further than the usual couple thousand years; a bridge to a much older time. You find it in the dreaming, all those voices. we’re in that boat again. A man demonstrates an elemental feat, makes striking sounds instead of words, becomes the night. Mesmerized, you ride the swell of magnified feeling, Dionysian, electric. Our captain docks with her eyes closed as she considers those teachers that work with the Other side. She senses land mass changes through the ages, sees that piece of curve and strait while deep within she hears: the sea the sea the sea. How many turnings of pattern and labyrinth can you float in at once?

 

Carmen-trail8-wings-100

Trial of Wings

Just step through that small portal and meet the psychopomps who will ferry your journeys back and forth between the worlds. Do not be afraid, you travel every night – this is the way of things and the raven has your back. In air, you will be led to calm the frenzied mind or to brilliant argument or question: who is being dreamed?

Carmen-2-sparks-100

2 of Sparks

Gallop on my back, as hooves strike the cymbal of your rounded soul. Yearn for me. I am your West, your undiscovered territory, your untamable song of plenty, unchartered far horizon, the percussive calling of your life.

Carmen-12-hanged-100

The Hanged One

An archaic lineage comes calling. It is your turn to allow control to flood away, not knowing who you will be when it returns. The great river rushes through you. You are not alone in this surrender and everything moves in surprising ways. Ancient memory may return that you have been this way before at another turning of your soul’s necessity. Paulina risked being burned at the stake for bringing the queen back to life. She waited sixteen years for it to be the right moment. And her only words to the expectant and condemning crowd were: “It is required you do awake your faith”. And so the tale of winter becomes the tale of hope.

 

Each time you return to these cards you see something new – a new symbol, a nuance of color and flow. These cards can be used in all types of readings, but I would also recommend them for meditating and journeying. Do this only when you are ready for the journey!

© April 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written consent of the author.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2018 in Tarot

 

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Review: TarotNav – A GPS For Life

TarotNav – A GPS For Life

Developed By: Linda Marson
Artwork: Images from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems Inc.
GlobalSpiritualStudies.com
2017

 

I have followed Taroist Linda Marson’s “TarotNav – A GPS For Life” from its inception. Her work is incisive, inclusive, and a tremendous resource for an individual to take control of their own life through the energies in each of the 78 cards of the Tarot. Using her own lifelong experience in reading the Tarot for herself, Marson has created a set of 23 videos (based on the Major Arcana), with an accompanying e-book, that act to help the reader work through everything from life changing issues to simple, everyday life. The material in the videos was drawn from Marson’s “Ticket, Passport and Tarot Cards” 2006 TV series (which was based on a book by the same name that used stories of Marson’s travels around the world to explain the meaning of the 22 Tarot trumps).  

Each video is from 7-10 minutes long, which makes them very easy to work with. What better way to help interpret cards that may be giving you difficulty in a reading. Or, what better way to choose a card (or cards) to work with on specific issues!  There is an overview of the basic energy of each card, as well as how the directions that evolved from  “TarotNav – A GPS For Life” readings have actually played out in life.

Background from The Lovers video:

Here you see the Hindsight Spread which I designed as a way of reflecting on decisions made in the past. This opens the way for your TarotNav GPS to set you on a path where only the positive aspects of the past repeat themselves. In 2014, I used the Hindsight Spread to reflect on a decision in 2009 to spend a year studying Kabbalah. I knew the decision was right for me at the time, but it was fascinating to see a fuller picture emerge from the reading, one that reminded me of the importance of that decision and how I should keep using the map of the Tree of Life as a reference point in my life.”

What I consider to be a real bonus are two videos that demonstrate popular Tarot layouts – the Celtic Cross and the Horseshoe Spread.

The “TarotNav –A GPS For Life” e-book (51 pages) consists of basic meanings for all 78 cards, navigation tools or road maps … a series of layouts and guides to navigating your way through anything that life throws at you, and a workbook/journal for you to keep track of the questions you ask, the readings you do and the action you take as a result. (Marson notes that documenting your journey is an important element of the TarotNaving process.) The journal can be downloaded from the site as either a Microsoft Word document, or as a PDF. If the reader is working with the USB drive, Marson recommends printing out the e-book.

Note: The journal entries  include the readers name, the date, the layout used, the area of life being addressed, the question, a photo of the cards in the layout, an interpretation, a summary of the interpretation, an action plan based on the reading, how many time the question has been asked, the dates it was asked, what has happened since the question was asked previously, any recurring cards, and any other thoughts.

There is a choice of how “TarotNav – A GPS For Life” is delivered. You can purchase it on a USB flash drive (approximately 6 GB), or you can download it as files. More information (and sample videos) can be found here: https://globalspiritualstudies.com/product/tarotnav-a-gps-for-life/.

I am impressed with the ease of using this material – and I have to say that I adore the music used in the videos (from Canadian composer Rejean Paquin). There are printed instructions that come with the USB drive. Marson notes that the material can be downloaded onto a hard drive for easy reference, but she also notes that this is copyright material that should be respected – i.e. it cannot be reproduced or shared without written permission from her. This is common sense, and she delivers the message in a tactful, gracious manner. I hope that everyone who purchases this delightful life tool will act appropriately.

Note: Kudos to Marson’s daughter Marion Marson for the beautiful logo for “TarotNav – A GPS For Life”.

© December 2017 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2017 in Tarot

 

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Review: The Illuminati Tarot – Keys of Secret Societies

The Illuminati Tarot –
Keys of Secret Societies

Author: Casey DuHamel
Artist: Bob Greyvenstein
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
2017
ISBN #978-0-7643-5270-6

The Illuminati Tarot cover

The “Illuminati Tarot – Keys of Secret Societies” is a traditional 78 card deck, accompanied by a 176 page companion book. The box that the deck and companion book come in features a lift top, with the traditional Schiffer magnetic closure. The bios of the author and artist are featured on the inside of the lid. That in itself is very awesome!

The backbone of this deck is that it is an exploration of what are called “secret societies” – groups of people reflecting a unified philosophy that operate in the shadows of society (my definition). DuHamel’s background as a former member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an initiate of the AMORC (Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis – also known as the Rosicrucian Order) and as an ordained minister help to give her the perspective needed to see how these organizations may have influenced the origins of the Tarot, and to see the historical implications. This is backed up well by the illustrations done by Greyvenstein, an illustrator and graphic designer born in South Africa.

Five historically relevant secret societies are represented in this book: The Priory of Scion (through the Major Arcana), the Rosicrucians (through the suit of Cups), the Freemasons (through the suit of Swords), the Martinists (through the suit of Coins), and the Golden Dawn (through the suit of Wands). The attempt has been made here to examine the history and imagery relating to each card, to give in-depth card meanings, and to offer specific keywords that will help the student along their own path.

The 176 page companion book refers to the 78 cards of the Tarot as the “Royal Road”. While the companion book itself is an excellent resource, DuHamel has shared other resources, including individuals that study and write on the background of Tarot, throughout the pages. Arabic origins are presented, as well as some thoughts on the origins of Tarot that are generally considered to be myths (such as Egyptian mystery schools, and the nomadic gypsy culture). Heresy – the posit is made that perhaps the Visconti-Sforza Tarot is not the oldest Tarot, that the oldest Tarot may be a French deck entitled Charles VI (also known as the Gringonneur or Estensi Tarot). (Just joking about this being heretic!)

The backbone of this deck is that the Tarot shares links with secret societies both past and present. DuHamel references Tarot being used as a hermetic vehicle through such connections as Freemason Antoine Court de Gebelin (1719-1784), Rosicrucian and former Freemason Alphonse Louis Constant (1810-1875), and esoteric scholar Arthur Edward Waite (1857-1942).

The introduction to the pips (numbered cards) includes associations for Continental Tarot, Victorian Tarot, Modern Poker, the Elements, Elemental Direction, Attribute, Etherial Attribute, Humor, Quality, and Season. Associations include: Cups/Feminine/Winter, Disks/Feminine/Autumn, Wands/Male/Summer, and Swords/Male/Spring. The Court Cards carry traditional associations: Kings/Magi/Fire/Yod, Queens/Adepts/Water/Heh, Knights/Initiates/Air/Vav, Pages/Novices/Earth/Heh.

The presentation for the Major Arcana include a small (approximately quarter page) full color scan, the card name and number (in Roman numerals), a short quote, esoteric background, meaning (associations for Archangel, Cabala, Element, and Hebrew letter), a discussion of the card, and Keywords.

The presentation for the pips includes the card number and suit, in text, a small (approximately quarter page) full color scan, and Keywords.

The presentation for the Court Cards includes, title and suit, a small (approximately quarter page) full color scan, a quote, esoteric background, associations (Nature, Element, Tetragrammaton, Card Personage), and Keywords.

At the end of the book is an inclusive bibliography that allows the reader to do further research on their own.

The traditional structure for naming the Major Arcana has been kept intact, with Justice at VIII and Strength at XI. The suits are Cups, Coins, Wands, and Swords. The Court Cards have been renamed: Novice/Page, Initiate/Knight, Adept/Queen, and Mage/King.

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The cards are 3” by 4 ¾”, on glossy card stock. The backs are reversible, and feature a brown and gold outer border, followed by a thin black inner border. The centered image is that of a fleur de lis, with the outer two petals done in gold, and the center petal in silver. The card faces show the same brown/gold border, with a thin gold inner border. The Major Arcana show the card title in black, at the bottom of the card, against a gold banner. The pips (numbered cards) show the card number in Roman numerals in black, at the bottom of the card, against a gold banner. The Court Cards show the card title and suit in black letters, at the bottom of the card, against a gold banner.

The gold/brown coloring gives an “antique” feel to the deck. Each card has the Hebrew letter associated with it somewhere on the card. I loved the artwork – it is the type of deck where one continues to look for symbolism beyond the obvious, beyond the “first layer”.

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The Fool shows a modern day man, dressed in a business suit, with his dog at his knee. Meanings include Lumiel (Archangel), Path 32, Malkuth-Yesod (Cabala), Fire (Element), and Shin (Hebrew letter).

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The Chariot shows a male figure (representing Sir Isaac Newton), dressed in court cloths: a red jacket, red shoes, white stockings, and white cuffs. In his right hand he holds a blue apple (referencing the light coming through the church window at the Church of Saint Mary Magdalene, RLC, giving the appearance of blue apples dancing). In his left hand he holds a red apple. Meanings include Raphael (Archangel), Gemini (Astrology), Path 17, Binah-Tiphareth (Cabala), Air (Element), and Zayin (Hebrew Letter).

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The Wheel of Fortune shows a scribe (representing Nostradamus), seated in the outdoors, with an astrological chart in the sky behind him. Meanings include Raphael (Archangel), Virgo (Astrology), Path 20, Chesed-Tipharet (Cabala), Earth (Element), and Yod (Hebrew Letter).

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The Novice of Cups shows a male figure (representing Christian Rosenkreuz), dressed in a flowing blue robe, over a white shirt with long sleeves. Under his left arm he is carrying an esoteric journal, while his right hand grasps a staff. The background is murky, with what appears to be a castle on a hill in the distance. Associations include Dreaming the Dream (Nature), Earth of Water (Element), Heh (Tetragramaton), and young child (Card Personage).

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The Two of Cups shows two cups (one silver, one gold), standing in the middle of a wreath of roses. Keywords include attraction, romance, cooperation and harmony.

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The Mage of Coins shows a series of white stars against a dark background, representing spiritual consciousness. Associations include Benevolent Power (Nature), Fire of Earth (Element), Yod (Tetragrammaton), and older man (Card Personage).

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The Adept of Wands shows a female figure (representing Isis), standing. She is wearing a white dress, with an Egyptian headdress. In her right hand she holds a white lotus, in her left hand a gold ankh. At her feet rests a ram. Associations include Inner Grace, Outer Beauty (Nature), Water of Fire (Element), Heh (Tetragrammaton), and mature woman (Card Personage).

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The VII of Wands shows a hand coming up from the bottom of the card, with two hands in the middle of the card, one hand coming in from each side of the card. Three Wands cross in each direction, with the seventh Wand upright between them. Keywords include valor, courage, and overcoming obstacles.

I am very pleased with this deck and the companion book. I may not agree with everything that is presented, but I feel that it is good to have an open mind. I also hold the opinion that esoteric societies have had a great deal to do with the development of the Tarot. This deck, and its companion book, are best approached by someone who has at the least a basic knowledge of Tarot and Tarot history.

Note: There has been some confusion between the Illuminati Tarot: Keys of Secret Societies and Erik C. Dunne’s Tarot Illuminati. These are totally different decks that are both awesome in their own right.

© May 2017 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in Tarot

 

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Review: Tarot of the Crone, Third Edition

Tarot of the Crone –
Third Edition

Author: Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
Artist: Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
Publisher: Arnell’s Art
2017
ISBN #978-0-9894739-4-1

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Inspired by the ancient holy one. She is
grandmother, witch and hag. She has been
ignored or trivialized because she holds
powers that others fear or deny. Powers of
time and transformation, of death and shadow,
of wisdom and pain, of magic and wonder.
Ellen Lorenzi-Prince

I have followed this deck since its inception – as a handmade Limited Edition. To realize that this is the third birthing is absolutely amazing! The deck and companion book hold incredible power – power that we hold in our hands to help us to understand ourselves, to understand life, and to help others understand themselves and their lives. It is the power of transformation, the literal power of the Crone.

Tarot of the Crone is a 78 card deck with an 85 page companion book. Deck and book come packaged in a hard cardboard, life top box. The box has a black background, with a picture of the Star on the cover. The bottom of the box features pictures of the Priestess and the Wheel.

The Major Arcana follow traditional titles, with the following exceptions: High Priestess/Priestess, Hierophant/Tradition, Lovers/Crossroads, Wheel of Fortune/Wheel, Hanged Man/Sacrifice, and Judgment/Calling. Justice is VIII, Strength is XI. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords and Disks. The Court cards are entitled Beast, Witch, Grandmother, and Shadow.

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The cards are 3” by 4 ½”, with a glossy surface. The card backs are a solid black, which fits in well with the journey of transformation that this deck represents (the Crone’s journey). The card faces show a ¼” black border, with the card number/title in white at the bottom of the card. Roman numerals are used for the Major Arcana, with the numbers for the Minor Arcana written in text.

The companion book dedicates the deck to Hekate. In the front of the book is an explanation of who the Crone is, and how to meet her/bring her into your life. The Major Arcana cards are said to represent times when the Crone is speaking directly to the soul of the Seeker. The Minor Arcana represent qualitied or aspects of our magical, emotional, mental and mundane lives. There is a listing of the colors used in this deck, and what they symbolize. Each suit is based on two colors (along with black and white): Wands – Red and Yellow, for Power and Will, Cups – Red and Purple, for Feeling and Soul, Swords – Blue and Yellow, for Mind and Ability, Disks – Green and Brown, for Life and Flesh.

The prelude to the Minor Arcana defines the elements and the numbers, as well as the Faces (Court cards). Beast is defined as the primal instinct of the power. The wild and whole expression of the element. Witch is defined as the focused use of the power concerned with fulfilment and expression of self. Grandmother is defined as the mature expression of the power concerned with family and community. Shadow is defined as the element’s overdone, destructive and devouring power.

Each card is presented with a poem, an explanation of the cards energy, and a small, full color photo. (Note: Two cards are presented, with the full color photos following, side by side.) For the Magician, the poem reads:

I am the Something
That comes from nothing

 I am the Mistress of Illusion
I am the Mistress of Reality
 
I am the One
Who passes between

img014 The Fool is said to look beneath the everyday world. The Fool accepts the risk of becoming lost in the Void. Lorenzi-Prince goes on to say that we need to become formless and timeless to create a new future.

img015 The Magician is represented as a mask with living eyes. This is a force that manifests out of the void and into the world. Here we find will and confidence. We are reminded, however, that the mask is also an illusion. The Magician knows reality and illusion, and crosses freely between them.

img016 Crossroads features faces in shadow, with tripe Hekate standing at a crossroads on a moonless night. Hekate is not there to show us the way, she is there to challenge our path.

img017The Seven of Wands is associated with the theme of Risk. The cloaked figure stands amidst flames and lines of raw power. She embraces danger in the hope of further achievement. We are encouraged to trust our experience, and take educated risks.

img018The Beast of Wands is associated with the theme of Cat. A sleek black cat dominates this card. The cat combines instinct and intelligence to achieve her desires.

img019The Ace of Cups is associated with the theme of Grace. Lorenzi-Prince reminds us here that at the root of all emotion is the ability to feel.

img020The Five of Swords is associated with the theme of Contradiction. I love the five abstract swords in the card, and how they clash! We are asked to look at not only the other side of a situation, but to turn the situation inside out and look at that. Questions have a tendency to lead to more questions.

img021The Grandmother of Discs is associated with the theme of Homemaker. The small, loving acts of the Grandmother sustain the home, the community, and the world.

Tarot of the Crone continues to be the story of the transformation of the Crone. The white borders of the second edition have been replaced with (more appropriate, IMHO) black borders. The original poems are included, along with the interpretations that appeared in the second edition. Published in conjunction with the illustrious Arnell Ando, the deck, companion book and black box scream quality and professionalism. IMHO, this is a collectors item, and a must have for ritual work of many types. And yes – it flows well as a divinatory deck too!

© March 2017 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.

 

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2017 in Tarot

 

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