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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 3 September 2001
I very quickly got frustrated with the simplicity of many books on the Tarot. The tendancy of books to go light on explanation and heavy on arbitrary sounding lists of card meanings might work for some, but I find that I prefer to go a little deeper.
This book has let me do that. Rachel Pollack explains in detail the symbolism present in each card and suit. The major arcana get several pages each, the minor a rather shorter description ranging from two to three paragraphs up to a page or three. The detail into which she goes make her explanations very interesting - for example, did you notice that the robe worn by the Queen of Cups (Rider Waite Smith deck) is trailing in the water, whereas that of the King of Cups is not. Ms Pollack points that out, and explores what meaning it might have.
As well as discussion of the individual cards, the book also contains several very useful chapters on readings.
All in all, a more advanced book for people who like to think.
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on 26 August 2008
I have been doing Tarot since I was a small child as my mother was a well known psychic and Tarot reader. When I was 19 I had the good fortune to stumble across this book. Even though I already read the Tarot this book opened me up to a new level. I started teaching Tarot by the age of 21 and now I am 42 it has been a life long passion. Rachel Pollack is probably the best Tarot teacher in the world and I owe a lot of my success and understanding to her natural brilliance. It is not an easy read but a very rewarding one. The Tarot world is indebted to Rachel for this break through classic. If you are at all interested in Tarot then this book is essential reading.
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Being relatively new to Tarot and eager to get my hands on anything that can help me on my journey, I bought this book along with my first ever tarot deck. Deemed to be one of the definitive authorities on Tarot and cited widely and often in many other books on Tarot, a first reading confirmed that this book would be an essential for those more well versed in Tarot than I am. Whilst I found it fascinating, my lack of basic knowledge meant it was extremely hard going in places and I have to admit that I have laid it aside for the time being. Do not forget that I am a total beginner and so whereas the reviewer below found it to be like A Level, I found it like trying to get the PhD without first having the Batchelors degree.

Pollack goes much further than giving the usual or traditional meanings of each of the cards, preferring instead to go into thorough analysis and discussion of the esoteric nature of each card and the Tarot in general. The author also deals with the reversals of each card.

Originally published in two separate volumes, one for the major arcana and one for the minor and court cards, this edition sees the two halves join as a whole, providing a journey into and far beyond what you know about Tarot.

I think this is hard going for the beginner, particularly if you are not familiar with the traditional meanings of the cards - i definitely think buying this as an accompaniment to my first deck is like trying to run before i can walk, however, having said that, I can definitely see that once I've knuckled down on the basics, this book is going to help me enhance my readings and my understanding of the Tarot fourfold.

If you are an experienced or even 'advanced' reader, you will definitely need this in your collection - not only will it help you boost your esoteric understanding but you may even realise that there are many more angles to the Tarot than you may have previously thought.

Definitely a worthwhile investment for those serious about Tarot.
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on 7 March 2001
Rachel Pollack writes in a clear,straight-forward style.Through using case histories she illustrates how the Tarot can be used not only for divination but also for personal and spiritual growth,without being too Californian about it.It is a very user- friendly book.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 October 2007
These days most anybody can do a tarot reading. There are literally hundreds of different decks all complete with canned readings for each card. In a way, it's rather like reading your daily horoscope as the results are rather generalized to match virtually anyone.

Definitely, not every tarot reader is equal in quality. The best readers go beyond simplistic generalizations. They not only tailor their layouts and reading results to match the individual but also look to the deeper meanings of the cards. These unique abilities are both invaluable skills and amazing talents.

Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom is a must have resource for anyone wanting to do real tarot readings. The author has an inherent ability to see depth within the cards that many need to be taught to notice. Within this book, she shares her valuable insights and urges the reader to follow suit. Originally this book was two books separating out the major and minor arcane. This new format brings these important references into one easier to access resource.
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on 14 September 2011
It struck me today as I leafed through Rachel's marvelous and deeply insightful book just how much I get and learn from it every time i dip in, how many layers she covers. I felt the need to write a review just to say thank you. Over the years no book has been more used by me than this, i am starting to think of it as a grand accompaniment on this journey called life, as the wheel of the tarot turns and reveals greater understanding as each archetype shows up in your life, this book has never disappointed. I was truly amazed today to realise as the years go by the greater meaning Rachel's work has, it doesnt get old, with every reading of her words more is grasped. A true oracle and having looked at many this stands out as by far the most solid, grounded and magical of all I have encountered.

For beginner or adept alike this book to my mind is a must.
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on 13 September 2011
A must have guide for anyone interested in the in-depth meanings of tarot. I got this book when I purchased my second deck as I wanted to understand the cards better and learn some history about the origins of tarot.
In general with tarot I am a novice, the most I've used my deck for is for basic fortune telling, and have never looked into depth about the sub-conscious messages behind card readings. This book changed my view point of tarot from being a card game for telling the future, to a form of meditation and self reflection. The descriptions of each card are detailed, but not as complex as I first thought from looking at other reviews of this book. I had little previous knowledge of individual card meanings and found this fairly easy to understand, when I took the time to read though the book properly - and not skim read!
While looking at more tradtional decks, this book shows how to look at the deeper meanings within the symbolism of the card and so can be used with less traditionally designed decks - with some practise.
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on 11 August 2007
Rachel Pollack is an extremely knowledgeable writer on the Tarot. This book is very 'meaty' and gives one something to get one's teeth into. She goes into the symbolism of the Major Arcana at a deeper level than most, revealing esoteric information that is other writers may not have addressed. Her explanation of the patterns of the Major Arcana and the way she works through it open up different levels of understanding. Not a book for begginers.
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on 19 July 2007
Rachel is one of the brightest stars in the Tarot world. When I first delved into the world of Tarot I thought it was all a bit weird and that it wouldn't amount to much. How wrong I was.

My Tarot tutor pointed me in the direction of Rachel's book and it's become a well-thumbed and much referred to volume on my shelves. And I've been delighted to see Rachel speak as she travels the world. She has amazing depth and breadth of knowledge on Tarot and various related subjects and is able to communicate them simply and clearly. And with great humour.

A great book - perfect for the beginner and well worth a read (or re-read) to those who already have some knowledge of the subject). Simple and easy to read with lots of useful information.

Highly recommended.
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on 17 April 2009
This is a cult book on the tarot,a must read for anyone learning or gaining for wisdom. Its more advanced than some of the other books on the subject, but very intersting all the same. Good addition to your library.
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