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5.0 out of 5 stars A book to grow with, 5 May 2008
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This review is from: Essence of the Tarot: Modern Reflections on Ancient Wisdom (Paperback)
This is an exceptional and unusual Tarot book. So many books on the market seem to follow the standard format which simply introduces Tarot and then steps the reader through each card from the Fool to the King of whatever the author places as the last suit of the minor arcana, trotting out a divinatory meaning of each card and then wrapping up with some spread layouts and sample readings.

Essence of the Tarot takes a more ingeniously slanted approach. While Essence of the Tarot DOES step through the cards, the difference is that the focus is only and entirely on the Major Arcana (the minor arcana is not covered) and whilst divinatory meanings for each card are given also, the true focus of the book is not on "how to read the tarot" (although some spreads are presented) moreover, it is the spiritual journey through the Major Arcana that is the important focus and the true value of the book.

Some may feel that a Tarot book that only covers the major arcana is incomplete, but that is missing the point of the book. The Major Arcana, being the spiritual journey, deserves a book all of its own because it is within the major that we find the deepest lessons and learning. Of course the minor arcana is important also (and perhaps may deserve a different kind of book dedicated to it alone), but by focussing on the essence and truths of each card of the 22 Major cards, the reader is taken on an intriguing and enlightening journey. This is accomplished in two ways, as the first half of the book imparts the "ancient wisdom" of each of the cards, discussing the archetypes and energies that each card represents in an engaging way. Each card is covered well. I got the feeling that while the author's discussion on each was not necessarily of immense length, she made sure that every sentence added something to the understanding, and imparted a different facet of knowledge about the card in question, building up an overall picture of all the "essence" it contains. The result is a succinct but very densely packed analysis of every card in the major arcana, which I found akin to savouring a tasty meal. Her words are nourishing, stimulating and thought provoking. She also explains the astrological symbolism and why each card is ruled by the element and planet that it is associated with. The second half of the book again goes over each card in turn, but this time applies "modern wisdom" and insights from modern life as to how the tarot is both relevant and can manifest itself in our everyday lives.

I found myself reading perhaps one or two cards at a time, then putting the book down to go away and contemplate on what I had read. That is not to say that I didn't want to read on to the next one and learn more, as I actually found the book quite hard to put down as it is written in an engaging style that draws you in. But to fully absorb each card into your psyche, I found that tackling a few pages at a time and then assimilating what you had read before continuing worked quite well for me. In this way, I feel it is a book to learn from and grow with, as one grows with the Tarot. Often this happens very subtly and I found myself not actually realising just how much I was learning at the time, yet phrases and key messages from the book kept coming back to me over a period of several days, and I realised that it was this book, more than most of the others that I have read on the subject that fulfils my need at this time as I am ever seeking to deepen my awareness and understanding of the profound impact of these cards.

So if you are looking for a "how to learn the Tarot" book, then I would suggest that you perhaps look elsewhere (and there are plenty of other good ones to choose from!) as this book may not suit an absolute beginners as a first book, but if you are already familiar with Tarot and want to deepen your understanding and immerse yourself into the archetypes behind the Major Arcana then this book is certainly a great buy! I would recommend it either as a companion to other books to increase knowledge and bring new insights into your readings, or it works equally well as a meditation tool where you pick and focus on one card at a time and absorb the learning more intuitively. A must-have essential for the modern day, and a great addition to any serious Tarot student's library! Highly recommended ! :)
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4.0 out of 5 stars From Coffee-bean to Cafetiere, 11 Aug. 2007
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Miss W. Merrymoon "Willow Merrymoon" (West Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Essence of the Tarot: Modern Reflections on Ancient Wisdom (Paperback)
If you are looking for a Tarot book which gives a modern slant on an ancient system, then this is the book for you. The whole book is devoted to the Major Arcana, but divided into two distinct sections. In the first section, Megan Skinner has looked at each card individually from a traditional standpoint, and conveys the information in a readily digestible manner, thus giving a good grounding with each card. In the second section, she has again addressed each card individually but brought it into a modern setting, so that it relates to everday life. She gives some very good real-life examples of how the cards relate to people, which makes it feel like the Tarot is available to everyone. A great book - highly recommended.
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Essence of the Tarot: Modern Reflections on Ancient Wisdom
Essence of the Tarot: Modern Reflections on Ancient Wisdom by Megan Skinner (Paperback - 1 July 2004)
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