The

Mick

Sinclair

Archive

Juliet Sharman-Burke

January

1986

NME

book review

 
 
THE COMPLETE BOOK OF TAROT

Juliet Sharman-Burke

THE HISTORY of the tarot is as open to speculation and interpretation as the cards themselves. From China to Egypt, Spain to the Far East, the tarot seems to skip across geographical boundaries as easily as it does religious and philosophical ones. "Such (a) history does not in fact exist, " wrote A. E. Waite in The Tarot Of The Bohemians. So there.

The images on the cards are mainly of Pagan origin. The Gods of the old became the devils of the new when Christianity reared its head and the ancient creeds and doctrines were banished.

In the 19th century the French Magus Eliphas Levi connected the 22 cards of the Major Arcana to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet and thereby to the 22 paths of the cabalistic Tree of Life. More recently, psychologists have followed the work of Carl Jung in viewing the cards as representing stages of psychological development.

No one who has 'serious' contact with the tarot would deny that the cards act as an agent for a Force of some kind – whether external or internal is, like much of tarot lore, a matter for personal preference.

The reader (of the book) is taken on a 'journey', cast in the role of The Fool (a figure taking a bold step into the unknown), through the rest of the pack. The symbolism of each card is described in detail although the need is emphasised for the individual to develop personal associations with each one.

The author encourages meditation and even a mental 'climbing into' the cards, as though window frames, to converse with the inhabitants.

Few present the esoteric arts to the popular market well. Fortunately Juliet Sharman-Burke is one who does. There is nothing here for the advanced occult student but plenty for the would-be tarot reader needing a starting point for deeper research.

 

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