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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!
Be careful reading this book, it might change your view on tarot more than you could imagine.

I have been working with the Thoth deck for about 18 years now. As I am interested in Magick, occultism etc. in general, I purchased many books over these years dealing with various issues. However, I was always kind of dissapointed when I looked for new publishings on...
Published on 18 Oct 2010 by Orsolya

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 2-1 could do better!
I was really very disappointed with this book after reading the reviews here, so I'm presenting to you another perspective.
I found it somewhat difficult to persevere with this book for a number of reasons. First of all I feel it is important to stress that I do not believe this to be a beginners book, some ready knowledge of the tree of life and kabbalah is, I...
Published on 12 Aug 2004


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 2-1 could do better!, 12 Aug 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Tarot and the Magus: Opening the Key to Divination, Magick and the Holy Guardian Angel (Paperback)
I was really very disappointed with this book after reading the reviews here, so I'm presenting to you another perspective.
I found it somewhat difficult to persevere with this book for a number of reasons. First of all I feel it is important to stress that I do not believe this to be a beginners book, some ready knowledge of the tree of life and kabbalah is, I think, necessary. The book has no index, glossary or references/footnotes. If one is going to reference 'Hegelian dialectics' some reference or simple explanation or at least pointers would be helpful. I also found the writing style and ordering of information somewhat confused and 'bitty'. I believe that the writer has been a little over ambitious and the book/writing fails to live up to that ambition. He is tackling a complex system in too short a text, which, in my opinion lacks weight and authority, it reads to me like a 1st year degree students valiant effort (sorry!) it lacks a mature writing style and the text seems unresolved.
I think this book would benefit from re-writing, re-ordering, re-editing and more professional proof reading - there are some appalling typos in this book.
Finally, the tarot to which the writer refers is Crowley's Deck Of Thoth and in my opinion, you'd probably be better off with the Book of Thoth rather than this little book.
Tarot and the Magus reads as a great book proposal, that needs some development and refining and definitely needs more work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!, 18 Oct 2010
This review is from: Tarot and the Magus: Opening the Key to Divination, Magick and the Holy Guardian Angel (Paperback)
Be careful reading this book, it might change your view on tarot more than you could imagine.

I have been working with the Thoth deck for about 18 years now. As I am interested in Magick, occultism etc. in general, I purchased many books over these years dealing with various issues. However, I was always kind of dissapointed when I looked for new publishings on tarot because every single book followed the same pattern:

1. Introduction to tarot in general
2. Divinatory meaning of each card seperatley
3. Divinatory techniques (never even mentioning the Opening of the Key Spread!)

An exception was Crowley's Book of Thoth which gives deeper insights but if you just started with tarot this is 'not an easy read'.

Paul Hughes-Barlow tries something completely different:

He starts his book by explaining the Opening of the Key Spread which is a Golden Dawn divinatory technique (and later you might discover that it is much more).
It is amazing, how the author shows the connections between tarot and kabbalah by introducing the links between certain cards.

His technique of pairing cards which at first sight do not have any connection gives deep insights into 'the story' of the reading. Same goes for the author's technique of counting the cards. To apply Paul Hughes-Barlow's techniques means to get 'the story' without having to learn at least 30 meanings of each card to be able to get a glimpse of what the h.. is going on.

For me reading 'The Tarot and The Magus' was like switching a button from 'off' to 'on'. Of course I knew (to a certain degree) what some symbols meant and of course I understood what a certain Major Card was attained to. What I did not know was how to interpret the cards in relation to each other.
And this is exactly one of the major issues Paul introduces us to: Reading out a single word is nice but being able to read a whole book in context is a lot better.
And what happens? Suddenly you are not confined any more to one 'meaning' of a card but you can read the whole story. You understand why certain cards go together via kabbalah and Gematria (certain Hebrew letters have numerical values so every word in Hebrew is a number).

But there is even more in The Tarot and The Magus.

For example, what struck me, was that even reading only a few paragraphs in this book led me to new paths which I had thought far away from me. To be more accurate:
I never thought of reading anything relating to shamanism. It seemed so far away from the issues I was interested in which was mostly ceremonial magick, egyptian mysteries, tarot and kabbalah. However, after reading the few pages in this book which give you some idea on shamanism I was astonished. Suddenly I saw links between osiris' death, shamanism and our own spiritual paths which at certain times includes being killed and raise like a phoenix from the ashes.

I can't get rid of the feeling that this book 'talks' in a way that is hard to explain. I have always believed that books have some vibrations/energies and often it is the gap between the lines that talks to you... Sounds strange? Well, words are insufficient to describe experience at some point. I strongly believe that some people will understand.

Besides, The Tarot and The Magus teaches you to deal with practical questions like charging for tarot spreads, how to read cards for a public audience, etc.

I think the best title for The Tarot and The Magus is not 'book on tarot' anyway, for there are some extras regarding sex magick, Goetic invocations and Liber 231. Therefore, I believe it should be called a 'Grimoire' which starts as an easy read but culminates in a short but very intensive way teaching magick that in my opinion is a mixture of Golden Dawn and of course Crowley but enriched with the author's own partly shamanistic path. I felt like there was something added to GD's stuff, like a second skin which we all posessed but seemed to have forgotten. I'm getting theatralic now... sorry.

At last, you can find highly effective meditations, an essence of Liber 231, pairing of the Major Cards and of the Hebrew alphabet. A short guide to self-initiation makes the work complete.

Summary:
It is seldom that a book had a hold on me for such a long time. I simply love it. So, my recommendation is: read, read, read!!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant, 15 Feb 2004
This review is from: Tarot and the Magus: Opening the Key to Divination, Magick and the Holy Guardian Angel (Paperback)
A superb book outlining what i would consider the missing link to a full understanding of the tarot. This book has so much to offer the tarot novice and the expert alike .
This book provides the means to to analyse the cards from a more 'scientific' angle ultimatly giving us an alternative when we fail to connect intuitively from looking at a spread.
It is not necessary to outline the methods used in the book it is safe to say that an individual who has no knowledge of the tarot can learn something that is so effective , they have a firm foundation to further their learning. The adept can experience a completely new way of viewing the cards adding subtleties to readings that would ordinarily be overlooked.
This book will open your eyes to the magic of tarot to such a degree that the tarot itself will become your favourite book .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Timely Addition to the Classic Texts!, 14 Feb 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Tarot and the Magus: Opening the Key to Divination, Magick and the Holy Guardian Angel (Paperback)
As a devotee of Paul's work on his "Supertarot" website, I was very pleased with my recent purchase of this book. Simply, ALL the material with which I had become familiar (Elemental Dignities, Card Pairing and Counting) is present here, but in improved book format. This, together with significant new material, in a stylish volume, attractively illustrated with (monochrome) images of the Crowley-Thoth deck, makes this book a wonderful addition to any Tarot or Magickal library.
For those (like me) in the process of honing personal systems of divinatory "meanings" for the cards, the methods described here allow significant progress towards producing useful readings in the interim. Separation of the "mechanistic" part of reading (forming a basic Tarot "story") from the subjective or intuitive process, allows additional meaning to be added as a THIN layer, according to the experience and the progress of the individual reader. As a bonus the book could even be used with other popular decks based on the Thoth structure but e.g. with more pictorial minor arcana scenes.
The book is structured around the traditional Eleven Chapters of Magickal texts of history. A cursory glance at the text reveals too a significant departure from the usual format of introduction and end material, surrounding a lengthy list of card meanings! Each chapter here, begins with illustrated pairs of Major Arcana cards, but selected according to a new, intriguing take on an ancient Qabalistic (Atabash) sequence. (Lest anyone be put off by the notion, suffice it to say that this provides an interesting and logical take on the card orderings!) The Aces and the Minor (including Court) cards then take their place in their chapters, according to more familiar Qabalistic "Tree of Life" places.
Rather than the usual basic commentaries on card meaning, the text here concentrates on more useful, pertinent observations by the author or provides commentary on Crowley's original text. In this sense, perhaps the book becomes more appropriate for someone with some BASIC notions of Tarot? Despite that, it remains an eminently approachable text and, above all, appropriate to anyone with the serious desire to learn (a lot!) more.
The novel card ordering is also used to advantage, using Gematria values of the card combinations to generate new meaning and even to suggest hithertoo occult (sic) significance e.g. in the Tarot card ordering. Specific topics (cited above) then form the remainder of each chapter. This also had the effect of curbing this reader's inate tendancy to "skip about" and miss out on crucial information!
Half way through the book, we are lead, albeit fairly seamlessly, into more Magickal areas inferred by the Title? Again no very specialist knowledge, experience or initiatory status is needed, but a basic understanding of the terminology might be an advantage? This could e.g. already be within the grasp of the many readers, particularly those familiar with or already using the Thoth deck.
Many of those will also be familiar with the attribution of various "spirits" to the Tarot cards. Previously, decks such as Duquette's popular "Tarot of Ceremonial Magic", gave correspondences for Enochian Angels, Goetic Deamons, Shemhamphorash Angels and the lesser known Spirits of Crowley's Liber 231! Despite this, the neophyte could perhaps be forgiven for being a little confused over exactly HOW these entities related to Tarot or indeed could be used?
Methods for evoking the Goetia are perhaps common enough in (even) beginning texts on High Magick. But these often seem to depend on a process of cajoling reluctant entities, followed by extreme effort to restrain the powers thereby released! Here, it is the authors contention (and indeed experience), that all these (especially Liber 231) spirits appear as a direct and painless consequence of the presence of certain "unaspected" (qv) cards revealed by the practice of the reading techniques described in earlier chapters. At very minimum ths represents a significant contribution to the working and understanding of the relatively unfamiliar Liber 231 alone.
Despite the reviewer's own Magickal experience being limited to "theory" in many of these areas and a background in professional science, laced with skepticism, I have found the topics discussed in this book totally captivating. True knowledge of this material is perhaps indeed something to which anyone might aspire? Overall this book presents a wonderful insight into the workings of a modern-times, practicing Magus and Tarot Reader. Great stuff!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eleven, 21 Feb 2005
This review is from: Tarot and the Magus: Opening the Key to Divination, Magick and the Holy Guardian Angel (Paperback)
When I first stumbled upon Paul Hughes-Barlow's website I knew I'd found something very special. Here was a place I could learn about what the Tarot was really for and how to use it properly. When I discovered there was also a book called Tarot and the Magus I knew I had to buy it. On first reading I wasn't disappointed. It in NO way keeps to the original formula of the web-site but gives the reader something new.
There are eleven chapters in total. This number is not arbitrary and was in fact deliberately chosen as the number of 'transformation and change'. This gives me an opportunity to let the book explain its fundamental purpose:
".....to enable the Magician to speak to his or her Holy Guardian Angel, through the offices of the Goetic and Liber 231 spirits, and to understand the basis of all the Golden Dawn rituals to be based upon eleven."
All eleven chapter begins by pairing two Major Arcana using Gemetria and a brief description of the minor cards. Each successive chapter gives details and various techniques for using the Opening of the Key Spread.
What I was most pleased with was the way the book was able to combine methods of divination and magick. Certainly the end of the book gives various magical techniques for using the Tarot, the most important of which being the study of unaspected cards. Ultimately this unlocks a powerful method for the appearance of spirits from Goetic and Liber 321.....eventually allowing conversation with one's HGA.
I would highly recommend this book to lovers of Tarot and magicians alike. Used in conjunction with the web site a powerful system of change and Transformation through the tarot and the Opening of the Key Spread is given.
When I first stumbled upon Paul Hughes-Barlow's website I knew I'd found something very special. Here was a place I could learn about what the Tarot was really for and how to use it properly. When I discovered there was also a book called Tarot and the Magus I knew I had to buy it. On first reading I wasn't disappointed. It in NO way keeps to the original formula of the web-site but gives the reader something new.
There are eleven chapters in total. This number is not arbitrary and was in fact deliberately chosen as the number of 'transformation and change'. This gives me an opportunity to let the book explain its fundamental purpose:
".....to enable the Magician to speak to his or her Holy Guardian Angel, through the offices of the Goetic and Liber 231 spirits, and to understand the basis of all the Golden Dawn rituals to be based upon eleven."
All eleven chapter begins by pairing two Major Arcana using Gemetria and a brief description of the minor cards. Each successive chapter gives details and various techniques for using the Opening of the Key Spread.
What I was most pleased with was the way the book was able to combine methods of divination and magick. Certainly the end of the book gives various magical techniques for using the Tarot, the most important of which being the study of unaspected cards. Ultimately this unlocks a powerful method for the appearance of spirits from Goetic and Liber 321.....eventually allowing conversation with one's HGA.
I would highly recommend this book to lovers of Tarot and magicians alike. Used in conjunction with the web site a powerful system of change and Transformation through the tarot and the Opening of the Key Spread is given.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just the book, 25 Jun 2013
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This book has set me up well in doing tarot for myself, it is easy to read and once you do a few reading for yourself the book helps to keep the momentum going.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Chip, 15 Oct 2011
This review is from: Tarot and the Magus: Opening the Key to Divination, Magick and the Holy Guardian Angel (Paperback)
The book came in a very good condition ad it came on time. I was very impressed by the service. Marvelous stuff!
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5.0 out of 5 stars New Angle on an Old Subject, 13 Feb 2004
This review is from: Tarot and the Magus: Opening the Key to Divination, Magick and the Holy Guardian Angel (Paperback)
It is impossible to get far in a serious exploration of Tarot without encountering the ideas of the Order of the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley's later refinement of their system. Most professional readers, myself included, acknowledge a debt to that system, yet few books treat it as a foundation. This book is a refreshing exception. The author demonstrates the value of the Opening of the Key spread, which most writers portray in a way that makes it look stilted and redundant. He then shows how much more can be done with a deck of Tarot cards than simply reading future patterns. This book would be a worthwhile addition to the library of any serious student of Tarot but there are two groups who would especially benefit from it. One is the group who have gone at it as I did twenty years ago, reading anything they can lay their hands on, and have managed to confuse themselves utterly, as I also did. The other is that group who think they already know all about Tarot and have somehow outgrown it. This book can show them that Tarot is far larger than they ever imagined.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff!, 11 Feb 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Tarot and the Magus: Opening the Key to Divination, Magick and the Holy Guardian Angel (Paperback)
If you're looking to take your tarot readings beyond the Celtic Cross stage I cannot recommend this book enough. It takes the system of elemental dignities described in the Golden Dawn Book T and makes it fly. Everything is spelled out with examples from the initial cut of the cards down to a system of 'unaspected cards' (I must admit I have yet to get my head round this last section). The beauty of this system is that you can just deal out 3 cards and get an answer far more nuanced than a 10 card spread in 'traditional' style, or you can go the whole hog and read all 78 cards in both directions!Or anything in between. The book is also stuffed full of the authors musings on magic, shamanism and various spirits. The only reason I don't give a full five stars is that if anything he has put too much in the book and at times one is slightly overwhelmed.
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