Personality, Divination and the Tarot by Carl Sargent                         Review by Michele Jackson

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This book is written from a largely psychological perspective. The first chapter is an introduction to Tarot containing a short history. The second chapter is a brief overview of various schools of psychological thought. As someone who has never taken a psychology course, I found this section quite interesting, though those familiar with the subject may find it rather simple and elementary. This chapter is divided into the following sections:
 
Sigmund Freud: Mapper of the Unconscious Mind
Carl Jung: Beyond the Individual
Abraham Maslow: The Needs of Man
George Kelly: Constructing the World
 
There is not a lot of mention of tarot in this chapter, which is intended to give you some background for the authors views on Tarot. The next two chapters cover the Major and Minor Arcana and the last chapter is on using the cards. The book is written for the Marseille Tarot deck and each card is described in some detail. The author uses symbolism, numerology and of course, psychology to describe each card. Divinatory meanings are also provided, both positive and negative. The author says the negatives can be used as interpretations for reversals, but offers some spreads which use the negative interpretations based on the card's position. The interpretations of the Minors are non-traditional in many cases, because of the authors heavy reliance on numerology. I found his section on the Major Arcana much more useful and interesting. The final chapter on using the Tarot has some useful advice about giving readings and there are five spreads provided, including the astrological and Celtic Cross, but also some new spreads such as the self/other spread for relationship questions and a problem solving spread. Overall an interesting book which is very readable. It was published in 1988 and I haven’t seen it around on the shelves in stores in quite a while, but if you should run across a copy, it is worth picking up.
Personality, Divination and the Tarot
Author: Carl Sargent
ISBN#: 0892812192

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


Excerpt
For some ten years I taught abnormal psychology and the psychology of personality in the Psychology honours course at the University of Cambridge. This gave me a great familiarity with the psychologists who have written about human personality, including the giant Freud and his many descendants. When I first became interested in the Tarot, the parallels between the images within it and the writings of these psychologists was blindingly obvious. As I delved deeper into this, I found that this had in large measure escaped other writers. To be sure, some of them had linked the Tarot with the psychology of Swiss Carl Jung, but going beyond that single theory (and there are many theories of personality!), was very rare indeed. This book takes up the task, linking the Tarot with many personality theories, and claiming the Tarot is almost a ‘super theory’ of personality. One can hardly find an original insight in personality psychology which is not foretold in the imagery of the Tarot. The tarot is the ultimate tool for understanding ourselves, if we know how to use it. This book is a signpost to that fuller usage of this very old tool.
Personality, Divination and Tarot, pg. vi


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