“…Tarot does more than just give us information. It gives us tools to make real changes in our lives. This is because Tarot works in pictures, and pictures are very powerful.” – From the book
Learning the Tarot can be a daunting task. These seventy-eight beguiling cards are laden with symbols, associated with the four elements (plus Spirit), and are often read reversed in addition to their upright meanings. For some, the sheer amount of information connected to the Tarot can be downright overwhelming.
Tarot author Rachel Pollack, author of the renowned book Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, has written an engaging new book designed for those just beginning their journey with the cards. Geared towards teenagers, Seeker – The Tarot Unveiled gives a brief overview of the origins of the Tarot, answers a few frequently asked questions regarding the cards (“Does someone have to give me my Tarot deck?”), and provides general upright and reversed meanings for each card.
Pollack dedicates two to three pages to each of the Major Arcana cards, while the Minors get about a page and a half of exposition. Pictures of the Universal Tarot are used in the book (although the author often mentions the Rider-Waite-Smith renderings), and a sidebar provides at-a-glance associations. For example, the sidebars for the Majors detail:
•Keywords •Astrological association •Musical Note •Gift (upright meaning) •Challenge (surprise events)
The Minor Arcana sidebars show:
•Keywords •Elemental Quality •Number Quality
The Court card sidebars are similar to the Minors, except that court quality replaces number quality. For example, the Page of Swords court qualities would be young and energetic while the elemental qualities would be air and mind. Keywords for this card are caution, alertness, intelligence, study, and high principles.
Pollack also dedicates three pages to the numerical patterns of the Minor Arcana and explains how these themes develop according to the suit and its own basic qualities. The end of book catalogues various 3-card spreads, as well as seven additional spreads using more than three cards (including the Celtic Cross). A few of these more complex layouts are spreads dedicated to special issues such as conflict, pressure, and sexual choice.
Seeker: The Tarot Unveiled is a fine introduction for those unfamiliar with the Tarot, especially for females ages 15-17. Pollack distills her wisdom into manageable chunks, bolstering confidence in young readers. Those already familiar with the Tarot won’t find much new here, but this book does provide solid, basic information for at-a-glance reference—especially with the helpful sidebars. Individuals over the age of 20 or so may tire of the references to SAT’s, teen pressures, backpacks, boyfriends, and college choices. Pollack shows individuals the what of Tarot and, to some extent, the why. However, if you’re someone who is serious about learning the Tarot and its traditional symbolism and correspondences—as well as how to read intuitively and form your own card associations—then I suggest getting 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card by Mary K. Greer or The Complete Tarot Reader by Teresa Michelsen, instead.
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