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Tarot: A New Handbook for the Apprentice
This is one of the most comprehensive beginner books currently available. Connolly provides lessons, exercises and meditations, as well as interpretations. Her interpretations are traditional for the most part, and are quite thorough. Each interpretation has a short interpretation called “the key”, a rhyming verse interpretation to help you remember the meaning, a longer interpretation called a “guideline” and a comparison chart which provides card specific information concerning the Qabala, Astrology and other topics.
Connolly is not afraid to take on the tougher topics which most authors of beginner books shy away from, such as timing and Qabala. She covers all aspects of Tarot readings from obtaining and caring for a first deck, to esoteric mediation. Her explanations are straight forward, and she has a no-nonsense approach. Connolly does have a tendency to place too much emphasis on ritual and trappings. Specific instructions are given on how the deck must be stored, who should be allowed to touch it, exactly what type of table and cover are required for reading, what invocations should be made etc., etc. While respect for your deck as a tool is noteworthy, she tends to carry it to extremes. She also has a strong Christian slant. Most of her meditations are more akin to prayers, with references to God, Jesus Christ and the saints. Non-Christians may find this difficult to stomach, however Christians who are worried that Tarot cards are the tools of Satan, may find this book reassuring. Connolly also provides detailed information on reading cards in spreads, primarily through the sections entitled “Divination in Depth”. Each card has this section as well as the sections previously mentioned. It provides specific information on what the card means in proximity to other specific cards, for example: “Lovers and 10 of cups in Celtic Spread: Important union, could be a major step in life. Indication of marriage plans”.
Overall this is an excellent book. It is not overly simple, nor is it unnecessarily complex. Connolly provides plenty of learning advice and lots of exercises for practice. There are two versions of this book; one illustrated with the Waite-Smith deck and one illustrated with Connolly’s own Tarot deck.
Tarot: A New Handbook for the Apprentice
Author: Eileen Connolly
ISBN: 0878770453 (Waite-Smith version)

Excerpt:
Buying your first pack of Tarot cards is like buying a packet of seeds. You cannot expect flowers to grow overnight; you must plant and nourish the seeds and wait patiently for the blooms to appear. Adopt this same attitude with your Tarot cards and you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your esoteric seeds will bloom. Remember that the more you study and the more you handle your cards, the quicker you will begin to make spiritual progress.

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Copyright 1996/97 Michele Jackson