The Tarot Deciphered is a tarot deck that claims to be based on the original, ancient Egyptian cards. It has been designed by two experienced tarot readers and uses traditional symbols and imagery.
The tabula mundi tarot review is a book that reviews the history of the Tarot and how it has been used throughout history. It also goes into detail about what cards mean in a reading.
T Susan Chang and MM Meleen Authors: T Susan Chang and MM Meleen Publisher: Llewellyn ISBN: 978-0-7387-6447-4 RRP: £26, available in print, Kindle, or audiobook (this review pertains to the paperback version).
Susan Chang and Mel Meleen initially caught my attention when I began listening to their podcast ‘Fortune’s Wheelhouse’ a few years ago. However, I must confess that the podcast soon lost my attention! They mentioned stuff like sephiroth, aleph, and kether, which I only faintly recognized as being “Qabalah-related.” However, this piqued my curiosity in learning more about the esoteric origins of the contemporary tarot, and I’ve been looking forward to reading this book to further my knowledge.
My initial impression of this book is that it is a massive tome that must be read on a table since it is too heavy to carry comfortably for extended periods of time! It has a hefty and solemn appearance, with informational charts and tables, as well as lengthy entries on each card. It is, nevertheless, well-structured and clearly set out, making it simple to find information, but it is unlikely that you would read it cover to cover. So, let’s get started…
First and foremost, the book is printed in black and white and is illustrated with a variety of cards. Chang and Meleen were unable to utilize pictures of the Thoth tarot owing to licensing restrictions, as stated in the introduction. This is a real pity, since I believe the book would have benefited much by the addition of the Thoth pictures, particularly because each card’s section includes an explanation of Thoth symbolism. However, the writers had little control over this, and they do an excellent job of providing images of other decks, some of which are Thoth-based.
A brief introduction precedes major parts on the Major Arcana, Minor Arcana, and Court Cards, as well as a conclusion and a section of Tables and Diagrams. A reading list, as well as a bibliography of the writers’ sources and an index of art credits for all the images used, are provided for additional study.
There is a chapter for each card after an introduction to each part of the Majors, Minors, and Courts, which contains explanations of the golden dawn titles, elements, astrology, and qabalah as they relate to each sector of the tarot. For majors and minors, these chapters are comparable in length and include identical material. Each chapter’s sections are shown in the table below. Each chapter begins with a summary of the correspondences for each card. The next parts, such as “astrology” and “symbolism,” go into more detail on the associations mentioned in the summary.
|Synopsis||Themes and keywords; card number; astrological signs and dignities; Hebrew letter and meaning; the path on the tree of life; color scales in the four realms; and card number||Dates (based on the astrological decan in 2019-20); astrology; element; decan; Picatrix picture and meanings; Agrippa image and meanings; Sephira; colours; related majors; associated minors; themes and keywords;||Sephira; Tetragrammaton; I Ching; Geomantic figure; Golden Dawn crest; themes and keywords; element; astrology; star group; dates; related majors; associated minors; Sephira; Tetragrammaton; I Ching; Geomantic figure; Golden Dawn crest; themes and keywords|
|Astrology||Yes, there is an additional factor.||Yes, there is an additional factor.||Yes, as well as decans that are connected.|
|Mythology||Yes, as well as alchemy.||Yes, as well as the season.||No|
|Symbolism in RWS||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Symbolism of Thoth||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cards That Go Together||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Further investigation is required.||Yes||No||No|
There is a lot of material covered here, and as the ‘further investigation’ sections for the Major Arcana suggest, there is still more to learn if you are so motivated. My favorite parts are those that address mythology, owing to the fact that my understanding of mythology is somewhat superior than that of astrology and qabalah, allowing me to discover connections and possible interpretations more quickly. The mythology part is especially fascinating since it includes material not found in many other tarot books. There’s a debate on how the Egyptian Ma’at and the Greek Themis may be related to the Justice card, for example. Many of the myths mentioned in these parts are Greek mythologies, although there are also allusions to Egyptian, Sumerian, and Arthurian tales.
In general, I would recommend this book to serious tarot enthusiasts. It covers a lot of material in a methodical way, but I don’t believe it’s very user-friendly for beginners unless you’re already familiar with astrology, qabalah, and mysticism. I’ll certainly be utilizing it in combination with other books and studies, and I’m confident that as my knowledge and comprehension improve, I’ll be able to gain more out of this thorough book when I return to it over time.
As an example:
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