Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Review: Tarot Talismans

Tarot Talismans: Invoke the Angels of the TarotTarot Talismans: Invoke the Angels of the Tarot by Sandra Tabatha Cicero

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tarot Talismans is an introductory book on using the tarot in spiritual practice, but you wouldn’t know it at
first glance. A casual leaf through this work may leave you feeling slightly intimidated, as I was; there are lots of charts,graphs, and diagrams, and I suspect that many tarot enthusiasts may have dismissed it as just another list of tarot correspondences. But I looked deeper into the book, and I’m very glad that I did, because while it does provide an extensive amount of correspondences, it’s an excellent reference in harnessing the power of tarot imagery in your personal spiritual practice.

The first part of the work explains how talismans and amulets work, as well as a section on magical ethics. Elemental, astrological, and kabalistic correspondences of each tarot card are also given, and can be very useful if readers would like to go beyond the rituals provided in the book and design their own.

For those unfamiliar with working with the tarot in this way, the authors provide detailed instructions for performing the rituals, from preparation to completion, with explanations of why each particular tarot card was chosen. The rituals themselves are used for various purposes, such as protecting a home, enhancing psychic ability, and prosperity. I was very pleased to see a ritual to consecrate a tarot deck, which is essential before using any deck for spiritual, rather than divinatory, purposes.

The authors dedicate a large portion of the work to describing tarot angels, which represent the specific energy that each card embodies. For each card, specific angels, keywords, and other information, like suggested invocations, is provided. For example, one of the angels representing the Five of Pentacles is Mibahayah, who “helps one receive consolation” and “rules over morals, religion, and piety, and grants protection in one’s spiritual endeavors.” This information could be used by a tarot enthusiast to work with the energy of the Five of Pentacles and understand the wisdom it is trying to impart.

The ecumenical nature of this book makes it appropriate for use by those of any spiritual persuasion, and the authors make a concerted effort to exclude no one. The techniques in this book are magical in nature but can be easily applied to a particular spiritual path. While the book describes angels and has invocations taken directly from the Bible, equivalent gods and goddesses from Egyptian, Greek, and Roman pantheons, as well as work with pentagrams and many other symbols, are provided.

What I was surprised and pleased to find was a short comparison of card meanings from five different tarot decks. While many of today’s tarot card meanings come from the Golden Dawn, the authors show that even the choice of tarot deck used when performing rituals with the tarot can make a difference. They compare the Lovers and the Six of Swords from the Golden Dawn Magical Tarot, the Thoth Tarot Deck, the Universal Tarot, the Babylonian Tarot, and the Tarot of Marseille. This will send the reader back to the Little White Book or paperback for his or her favorite deck
to see how it might best be used spiritually.

Tarot Talismans is perfect for those tarot enthusiasts who want to take their knowledge of the tarot to the next level and make it an integral part of their personal spiritual practice, and it fills this role admirably.

Tarot Talismans: Invoke the Angels of the Tarot by Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero, Llewellyn, 2006.
ISBN-13: 978-0-7387-0871-3; ISBN-10: 0-7387-0871-2. $19.95

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