Tarot Dictionary and Compendium by Jana Riley                              Review by Michele Jackson

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This book is a handy reference to have. Like its predecessor, Butler’s Tarot Dictionary it
is a compilation of interpretations by various authors. It does not have the card
descriptions included in Butler’s book however. The author has included some classic
Tarot writers as well as modern ones, though a few of her choices are not what I would
call well known Tarot writers, having contributed only one book to the genre. There is a
section on correspondences, though I feel it is poorly laid out. 
 
Rather than devote a section to each card, Riley chose instead to group the cards based on a 
wheel of correspondences she provides. Each card is grouped with its “companion card”, i.e.,
The Emperor and Tower are companion cards, both being found under Aries in Riley’s wheel.
If I want to look up the correspondences for the Tower, I can’t just look on the page after
the Devil, I must first go to Riley’s wheel and figure out who she grouped it with. I find
this an unnecessary annoyance. This book is not intended to teach how to read cards.
Aside from the interpretations there is a short section describing the Tarot, a small glossary of Tarot terms, a section with three spreads and a short section that provides Riley’s views on why divination works.
 
Interpretations for the following authors are provided in this book:
 
Angeles Arrien
Norma Cowie
Aleister Crowley
Pamela Eakins
Gail Fairfield
Mary Greer
Vicki Noble
Rachel Pollack
Jana Rile
Juliet Sharman-Burke
R.J. Stewart
A.E. Waite
Barbara Walker
James Wanless
Oswald Wirth
The interpretations you will find in this book are not as full as those found in books
written by the above, but are nonetheless useful if you want some other views on a card,
and buying this book is certainly cheaper than buying a book by each of them. There are also
pictures of cards from decks created by the above when applicable.
Tarot Dictionary and Compendium
Author: Jana Riley
ISBN: 0-87728-821-6
Publisher: Samuel Weiser

If you would like to purchase this book, click here.


Excerpt
I have tried to use prominent material from each tarotist's definitions of the cards. Sometimes they use a phrase, or a principle or law which describes the essence of the archetype. When a tarotist intentionally stresses an important part of an archetypes nature by word or phrase, it is presented first in italic. At the end of each section readers will find space to add their own favorite tarotists and personal ideas if they wish. There is also space left after each card in chapter 6 (Layouts) for the same reason.
Tarot Dictionary and Compendium, page 15


This page is Copyright 1996/97 Michele Jackson