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on 3 July 2004
Liz Hazel is a very experienced Tarot reader and astrologer. In her book "Tarot Decoded", Liz explains the use of dignities. Liz writes clearly and in plain English about how you can use correspondences with the elements, the planets and the signs of the Zodiac in your Tarot readings.
Liz also describes how important it is to pick up on numerical combinations and sequences in a Tarot reading.
This is a terrific book for anyone who's interested in Tarot and astrology. The theory is very patiently explained and the book is full of practical advice, presented in clearly written worked examples. I'd recommend it for any Tarot readers who want to get to know more about astrology.
It would also make an excellent introduction to Tarot for people who already know the basics of astrology. But if you're a beginner to both fields, then this is probably not the book for you.

On every page, you can hear the voice of the author speaking to you with knowledge and authority. You really feel that Liz wants you to become a better Tarot reader. She's trying to get us to deepen our understanding of the way that the elements interact with each other. This is a really superb reference book to go back to again and again.
Nothing is there for show and nothing is wasted in Liz's writing. Every image is well chosen and straightforward.
There's a wealth of information in this book but it will take work to get to grips with it. For example, all the sample readings use the astrological glyphs for the planets and signs. If you're a complete newcomer to astrology, you'll have to give yourself some time to get to know the glyphs. In my experience, this is time well spent.
Liz uses the Golden Dawn correspondences and although she's not dogmatic about using this system rather than any other, she does say that the Golden Dawn attributions represent, "a good starting point".
The book is all about attributions so there's no discussion of reversals. All the cards are shown as upright in the example readings.
The appendices contain tables of Major Arcana, Court Card and pip card attributions and throughout the book there are wonderful diagrams such as the horoscope diagram of Court Card attributions showing the Zodiac signs with their associated pip cards and Court Cards by decan.
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I am glad I found this book. After trying to find research on how to add more depth to my tarot readings, I stumbled upon this. So glad I did. It gives so many new facets to a reading, incorporating various dignities (not just the elemental I was previously used to) and astrology. There is so much you can read into the cards dealt. No card is ever read in isolation anyway, but this book is my bible for deeper interpretation.

Each aspect is clearly explained and there are several spreads discussed to accommodate the content. This is not just another book explaining the meaning of a card or its position within a reading but rather the meaning of a card or cards, in relation to its position within the reading, its position with relation to other cards of similar elements, modes or numbers etc.

There is so much in this, that every few weeks I pick it up and re-read sections and still find new ways of interpreting the cards. If you read tarot and do not use, numerical, modal or elemental dignities to their fullest extent, you have so much to learn and this book will be all you need.
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on 25 April 2011
Elizabeth Hazel has been studying and working with Tarot, Runes and Astrology since the 1970s. 'Tarot Decoded' is her first book and she also writes for various newspapers and magazines including the American Tarot Association and newWitch magazine. In 2008 she produced 'The Whispering Tarot' which is accompanied by a CD, 'The Whispering Tarot: Softly Spoken Secrets'. Under her other name as Lady Vala, she creates incenses, perfumes and other such aromatic products. The author's stated intention in writing 'Tarot Decoded' is ".......not to insist that Tarotists use the attribution system taught by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (..........) but to provide guidelines and basic instructions for utilizing dignities of both occult and cartomantic origins" (p.xvii). Her target audience is anyone who reads the Tarot and wants to "take your readings to the next level" (front cover). The book is divided very clearly into sections. She begins the main body of the text by defining dignity as "the relationship between cards in a spread", followed by an introductory list of the different types of dignities, e.g. modal, numeric and locational. Following on from that, the chapters address in detail the various dignities and correspondencies, using sample spreads to demonstrate how the knowledge she is presenting may be applied in a 'live' reading. In a separate chapter Hazel describes in great detail four Tarot spreads -'The Cosmic Axis', 'the Twelve House Spread', 'the Zodiac Spiral Spread' and 'the Vala Cross spread'. Her instructions for reading the spreads are very complex, as illustrated by the following - (Zodiac Spiral Spread) "......analyse the spread by house content and then by comparing cards with axial relationships. Review the inhabitants of the four hemi-spheres and four quadrants. The cover cards give additional emphasis to the Cosmic Axis within the spread and should be related to the final, central axle card. The reader should consider elemental and modal dignity, numeric dignity, and the impact of the planetary trumps if they appear in the spread. Finally, there is consideration of the locational dignity.........." (p114). The final chapter is devoted to 'Demonstrations', i.e. examples of how to interpret the various dignities and correspondencies in a reading. There are six appendices showing tables of dignities, attributions and correspondencies, which are helpful in bringing together in a simpler form all that has gone before. Has the author succeeded in her intention? She has certainly presented a great deal of information for the Tarotist to "Take your readings to the next level" but how easily this can be accomplished is open to question. Her writing style of using complex and lengthy sentences may be a stumbling-block for some, and the interweaving of complex material through the book means that at times the readers of the book may find themselves getting tied up in knots. Personally, after reading Hazel's book, I had a severe case of intellectual indigestion and would probably have fared better if I had taken small bites at longish intervals. On the other hand, I do think that it is a very useful book to begin to get an idea of which, if any, of the correspondencies appeal and may be integrated into the individual Tarot reader's practice. Definitely not a beginner's book.
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on 27 March 2015

Some mind-boggling info contained in this book, new added different approaches to strengthen tarot reading accum.
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on 15 June 2010
This book more than exceeded my expectations. I found myself refering to it often. Great value.
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on 20 April 2013
This book does just what it says! I found this very interesting, useful and in depth. Just what i was looking for!
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