REVIEW: Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings by Rachel Pollack

Here is a book that feels like you are listening to someone tell you tales as you sit across from her at some table in some café somewhere in time. Her voice rings true and clear in this book that is destined to be one of those classic must-have Tarot books. The only reason this book wasn’t on my top five Tarot book list last year? I didn’t have it yet. Part of me wants to know where Pollack’s been all my life.

tarotwisdom_cover

This is one of those books that will earn rave reviews for years to come. Rachel Pollack already knocked one out of the park with her Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot.

With Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings, you will feel like Pollack has taken you deep sea diving into the spiritual waters of Tarot. With an unapologetic voice, she shows how to get more out of each card than you might have believed possible.

I feared I would never get this review done because I didn’t want to come up out of the book. It submerged me into Tarot. I can honestly say that I learned something new about every card. That’s seventy eight lessons courtesy of this amazing writer.

My hat’s off to Ms. Pollack for her ability to weave history and spirituality together so deftly. She offers images of each card from the same six decks which allows you to compare the way the cards have changed. Of course one of those six decks is Pollack’s own Shining Tribe Tarot. I enjoyed learning more about her creation thoughts this way.

By using the historical timeline of tarot meanings that she excerpts from Paul Huson’s Mystical Origins of the Tarot: From Ancient Roots to Modern Usage, Pollack gives a brief look at the history of the meaning of the card. She uses that as a launching point for her deeper exploration of the card. From the Fool as literally insane to the optimistic wanderer we know today, Pollack’s explanation of how the old can still be used with the new is invaluable.

The bibliography alone is worth the price of the book. If you’ve ever wanted to peek at a Tarot scholar’s bookshelves, flip to page 461 for five pages of books. I counted how many there were. Do you think it’s a coincidence that there are seventy-eight books referenced in Pollack’s bibliography?

She doesn’t shy away from subjects that revolve around gender or feminism or other seemingly “not polite” subjects. I liked how she wove her own world view into the meanings. Make no doubt! Pollack has an opinion and isn’t afraid to share it.

Time and time again I found myself reaching for pen and paper (or the Notepad on my computer) to jot down various profundities from Pollack. Her ability to parallel her personal experience with the cards astounded me while entertaining me. I found myself laughing with glee as Pollack relates her mad dash across a busy city street in order to catch the right cab.

Here is a book that feels like you are listening to someone tell you tales as you sit across from her at some table in some café somewhere in time. Her voice rings true and clear in this book that is destined to be one of those classic must-have Tarot books. The only reason this book wasn’t on my top five Tarot book list last year? I didn’t have it yet. Part of me wants to know where Pollack’s been all my life.

But I know the answer to that after reading Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings. She’s been busily soaking up life experiences while studying Tarot so she could deliver this amazing book full of wit and wisdom and words guaranteed to take you deeper into the marvelous world that is Tarot. If you don’t have this book, why? What are you waiting for? Order it now. You won’t be sorry. The only problem is that you too may feel a bit evangelical. I have to stifle my urge to stand on the corner with this book in my hand while shouting, “GET THIS BOOK NOW.”

Sorry. Was that loud?

REVIEW NOTES:
The six decks featured are:

*Visconti Tarot
*Marseille Tarot
*The New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot
*The Egyptian Tarot
*Shining Tribe Tarot

Book Reviewed: Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications,U.S. (1 Nov 2008)
ISBN-10: 0738713090
ISBN-13: 978-0738713090
Rachel Pollack’s website

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Ok, not really. It’s one of the ways I keep feeding my Tarot habit!

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7 thoughts on “REVIEW: Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings by Rachel Pollack”

  1. Arwen, thank you for that amazing review. It’s wonderful to see that people are responding to this huge book. By all means, evangelize! You stand on the corner, I’ll supply you with coffee and donuts.
    Seriously, it was a risk writing what you call an unapologetic book on the Tarot’s deeper levels joined with its actual uses in our lives. From the early reactions it seems this gamble is paying off.
    Wonderful blog, by the way. Great source of links.

  2. Wonderful review! I bought this book a while ago, but I haven’t read it yet, because I want to have the time to really dive into it :).

    For everyone that loves this book, or Rachel Pollack, I highly recommend A Forest of Souls: a Walk through the Tarot, another one of her excellent books. In this books she does a lot of wisdom readings, using her Shining Tribe Tarot. I learned tons from that book, about Tarot, Wisdom readings, and the Shining Tribe deck. I plan to read it again soon, before or after Tarot Wisdom, I haven’t decided yet.

    Arwen, if you haven’t already, read that book too, especially since you still have Tarot Wisdom fresh in your memory! And then review it of course :).

    Greetings,
    Maaike

  3. Arwen,

    I enjoy this review of Tarot Wisdom and I’m gonna get the book too! I have read Forest of Souls as well; Rachel’s a talented writer.

    Another great book is The Secret Language of Tarot.

    And Arwen? Did you see the Lifetime Movie last night? I was titled Prayers for Bobby. If you haven’t seen it check your local listings for the next showtime.

    Brightest Blessings,

    Mark
    Aurora, CO
    USA

  4. And while we’re recommending great reads, an oldie but a goodie is Sallie Nicholls’ book “Jung and Tarot”. She takes us on a roller coaster ride through our own (in)sanity on the back of the Major Arcana viewed through a Jungian lens. 20 years ago when I was working as a naturopath it was a new book, and I’m still fond of it. A patient of mine was the sister-in-law of the author, and got my copy autographed for me. Not sure if it’s still in print, but it’s got to be worth a thorough search in all your favourite second-hand shops if it isn’t. I sometimes re-read bits of it with the Haindl deck in hand, which of course Rachel had something to do with . The Haindl is really good for any kind of meditative or solo work.

  5. That’s wonderful to hear. I’m relatively new to tarot but have heard great things about Rachel Pollack. I wonder, however, if it is a good idea to read both 78 degrees and tarot wisdom. As in, is tarot wisdom a expanded 78 degrees? I’m hoping someone will help me figure this one out since I’d really like to start reading either both or one of the above. I’m pretty short on the cash, so if tarot wisdom contains 78 degrees’ content, I’d get tarot wisdom and start the absorption process!

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