The Rohrig-Tarot Book by Francesca Marzano-Fritz and Carl W. Rohrig   
Review by Michele Jackson

If you are interested in purchasing this book, click here.

Users of the beautiful Rohrig Tarot deck, have been waiting for some time for the appearance of this book. The deck is obviously based on Thoth, but Carl Rohrig's art stands independent of Lady Freida Harris' work. I suppose it was assumed that an artist savvy enough to base his work on Crowley/Harris had something profound to share with us. If it wasn't immediately apparent in the deck, then an explanation of his work would reveal it to us. We now have an explanation of the Major Arcana in this book. In my opinion, the Major Arcana in this deck were fairly straightforward to begin with. The Minors, on the other hand, would benefit greatly from some expository information. Unfortunately, this book does not provide it.

The book opens with a one and one half page introduction to Tarot, which is subdivided into three sections:

  1. What is Tarot?
  2. What Help Can Tarot bring?
  3. The Origin of Tarot

If you are interested in this information, look elsewhere. This is one of the skimpiest introductions I have ever seen, rivaling, if not surpassing in brevity, those found in the little booklets that accompany most decks. In fact, pulling out the little booklet from the Rohrig deck revealed that the introduction to the book is identical to the introduction provided in the little booklet. Surprise, surprise.

We are next provided information on each of the Major Arcana. Here we do find some information that sheds light on Rohrig's symbolism. We find that the woman shown in Judgment and in the High Priestess is the same person. We are also told that the young man in the Hanged Man is nude. A quick check of the German edition shows that this is correct for the German edition, however he is not nude in the US/English version of the deck. The book shows the US version of the card. Why wasn't the text corrected? The section on each Major Arcana card begins with a quote. Most of the quotes are from German writers, but others are included as well. The book endeavors to explain the correspondence between the Rune, and Hebrew letter on each Major Arcana card. Suffice to say that I found the Qabalistic explanations idiosyncratic. Although the explanations are easy to understand, I would not recommend this book as a source for those interested in esoteric Tarot. Much of the information provided has a decidedly New Age flavor.

The sections on the Court Cards and the Minors are a major disappointment. We are provided brief, generic divinatory interpretations, with no explanation of the symbolism whatsoever. They are virtually identical to those provided in the little booklet that comes with the deck. This is the section that would have most benefited from some insight into the artists choice of symbols. Finally some spreads are given, which again are identical to those in the little booklet that accompanies the deck.

The book is beautifully illustrated, with full size, glossy pictures of the scenes from each card, sans the border information. The back of each illustration page is blank, providing space for writing in notes. You may as well use it for writing your own insights since you will not be getting many insights from this book.

Recommended for those who do not own the deck, but would like to have the images, or for those who use this deck as their primary reading deck, and would like a little more information on the Major Arcana. Aside from that there is nothing here that is not in the little booklet that comes with the deck.

The Rohrig-Tarot Book
Author: Francesca Marzano-Fritz and Carl Rohrig
ISBN: 1-885394-18-7
Available from Wolf Distributing (800) 377-6650

If you are interested in purchasing this book, click here.


Excerpt

If you can simply observe what you are and stay flexible, you will find that you can progress infinitely. Krishnamurti

VIII. Strength

The Charioteer in the seventh card has learned the lessons of self-reliance, self assertion and courage. Now we encounter Strength depicted as a woman. The eighth card in the Rohrig tarot depicts a young woman in the throes of ecstatic, passionate surrender. Everything about her expresses sensuality and the pleasure she experiences through being inside her own body Experiencing and surrendering herself wholeheartedly, she represents Shakti, Shiva's divine consort, who gives strength to her husband through their tantric, sexual connection. She is the holy one who surrenders herself to her divine beloved in mystical union.

The lion in the foreground symbolizes the lower instincts in human beings: suppressed sexuality, envy, hatred, jealousy, greed for money, lust for power. But this woman has tamed her lion; now he reclines at her feet and he almost seems to be grinning at the fact that a tender woman has succeeded in taming him. The strength that this woman wields is the overpowering force of love. Although she doesn't fight, she tames; without vanquishing. Yet she is victorious and, although she doesn't oppress, she nevertheless transforms.

From The Rohrig-Tarot Book, pg. 41



This page is Copyright 1996/97 Michele Jackson