The tarot has often been linked to what could well be called the occult, and it is for this reason that so many authors who dare to get involved in the area are treated with a slight air of contempt by the buying public. However, every now and then, some great tarot books do come out into the market and help to change the views of the buying public.
This one starts off with a great back-story on where and how tarot originated. This is a great aspect of the book, and really helps the readers gain grounding in the basics of the tarot and the relevance to everyday life. The author (Robert Place) then takes the book into a new area. Rather than focus just on the history of tarot, the book then goes on to look carefully at the symbolism behind the cards, but in a sympathetic way. This is rare in these times, and it is testament to the respect Place has for the subject. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the book is the deep and scholarly approach that Place takes to the artwork of the most famous set of cards, the Waite-Smith deck.
This book was created by the very talented Wilma Carrol. It is already recognized as a useful and practical way in which to, as the author claims: ‘learn to read tarot cards in two hours’. This is no empty claim. From the very start of the book, Carol manages to make the whole idea behind tarot cards and their reading seem very simple and understandable. The main premise behind her system is that people struggle with tarot because they think too much about what they believe the cards are trying to say. By using instinct and relaxation, she says, people can read tarot quickly and easily. The book provides a series of exercises that a reader can go through in two hours, so the claims in the title are correct. It is absolutely vital that the reader goes through the exercises though, because if they don’t, understanding could be seriously delayed. Compelling and clear, and engaging on every level, this book makes tarot easy and demystifies a lot of the worrying ‘debunking’ that has been taking place over the last few decades. A worthy addition to the tarot canon.
This particular gem is one of the most respected books for beginners around today. The key selling point here is that it is written in such a compelling style that you cannot fail to feel engaged with the journey the writer takes you on. Greer works hard to give you a completely valuable experience, one that you can learn from almost immediately. Rather than offer some objective stuff, with illustrations of ancient scholars and so on, she offers a true workbook. It is easy to get involved and take each lesson as a step on your journey towards mastering basic tarot. Each step is simple and clear, and you feel, as you make progress, that you are actually being taught by a teacher, not just a book with some exercises in it. The book works well as a reference tool too. Each card has a reference section devoted to it, bringing in-depth content that can help any student of tarot, whether old or new. Greer cares about her subject, and makes this clear. There are precious few books out there that treat the subject with such love and attention.
This book is well respected even by major writers on the tarot today. Containing many separate but combined essays and pieces on the tarot, it is well recognized as an authority on the subject, simply because it gathers together so much respected thinking in one place. There is not much out there now that can compete for it’s authority, and it is still referred to by established tarot scholars who want to tell their students where to find a good and basic grounding in the art. It is very easy to read, which makes it a key text for the beginner. On top of all this it is laid out in a nice and clear style, so there is nothing here to scare away the novice. This goes a long way towards making the text less of a weird, arcane piece, and it is for this reason that it is so well respected by scholars still. What has happened is that this book has become so well read that it has earned its place on the bookshelves of thousands of tarot scholars around the world. Once you take a look, it is easy to see why.
This is a seminal text, more loved than its predecessor because it is so thorough and comprehensive. A massive tome, and one that takes a good long while to get through, the Encyclopedia of Tarot: Volume 2 contains all of the factual and reference material you could possibly need to have in your life. What makes this edition so good is the wealth of reference material inside, backed up by vivid and effective illustrations that both serve a purpose informatively and excite the senses, due to their use of imagery that any tarot enthusiast will be well versed in. You are given the history of over 3000 cards in this volume, and this should ease the hunger of any enthusiast who wants to learn more. Perhaps the most obvious use for such a book is for collection purposes. If you intend to become a collector of tarot cards, and you have the time to put together a collection, you would do well to purchase this book. With the vast array of cards referenced and detailed in the book, you should be able to find a way through the curation of an extensive and valuable collection within weeks. There is much here to be excited by, and it is a true bonus to any serious tarot enthusiast’s bookshelf.
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