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The Tarot Handbook ~ Angeles Arrien


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I'm not sure what our more seasoned witches and Tarot obsessors think about this, but I stumbled upon this book while looking for a cheesy 'love spellbook' (as a gag gift *evil cackle*) for a friend's b-day.



Title: The Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols

Author: Angeles Arrien, PH.D., Anthropologist and Educator; President of the Angeles Arrien Foundation for Cross-Cultural Education and Research

Publisher: Tarcher/Putnam

ISBN: 0-87477-895-6

Copyright: 1987

In-brief: Tarot symbols from a psychological, mythological, and cross-cultural perspective


It uses the Thoth deck as its example throughout the Major/Minor Arcana, but what I find fascinating (as it will eventually be my declared major!) is how psychology is combined into reading and displaying the cards. Arrien's attention to detail is impressive, and while the whole book can overwhelm with the information presented, the author managed to maintain orderliness and kept the text concise and universal at the same time. This was a major benefit as opposed to some Tarot guides that are either fluffy (rainbows and warm fuzzies, no bad here!) or too narrow-minded (this means you'll win a million dollars, or you're an idiot).


Few things that I really enjoyed:

- Quotes scattered throughout the pages that the author found to be helpful, insightful, or inspiring.

- The diverse, huge bibliography that ran the gauntlet of angles of the Tarot.

- With each book studied and listed in the bibliography, there is a brief summary of the book's subject matter if the title isn't that clear. Each summary is also quite blunt. (Ex. The Illustrated Key to the Tarot, by LW De Laurence - An inferior version of Waite's book)

- Profile/Personal Summary Cards based on loose mathmatical algorythms (sp?)

- If you don't want the long-winded version of the Card, you can flip to the Summary Appendix and get a brief synopsis.


Things I wasn't too peachy keen on:

- Every page is literally packed full. This can be overwhelming

- While (like everything) the Tarot is up to the interpretation of the querant and the spread and the etc. etc., the explanations and guides sometimes leads you only in one direction, sometimes blocking your inner intuition. Does this make sense? I can't really explain it properly, I think...


Overall so far (jury is still out on it) I'm finding this book to be informative and good for readers in all stages of Tarot. There's basics in there and more complex concepts and those nifty little tidbits that any advanced practitioner delights in stumbling over (regardless of path/career/etc.)



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Guest 53rdspirit

Excellent review Twisted!


I thoroughly enjoy the Tarot, that is reading, studying, the imagery, the symbolism, the psychology, the art --all of it--and I have quite a collection as well.


Don't comprehensive bibliographies just rule? I have sold and purchased books on bibliographies alone.


Thanks again for the review.




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