Guide to the Tarot of the Sephiroth by Josephine Mori and Jill
Review by Errol McLendon
Several months ago, I reviewed the very insightful Tarot of the Sephiroth, a beautiful deck whose symbolism helped open up many doors in understanding the intricacies of the Tree of Life. Soon after the review came out, I learned that a companion book was in the plans. I waited with a certain amount of skepticism. My past experience with companion books is that they are little more than an over-padded extension of any LWB provided with a deck.
In this instance; however, I was mistaken. The guide begins with a very concise and understandable explanation of the Qabalah, compacted into eight pages. The authors have a great understanding of the messages hidden within the Tree, but they know the importance of putting this knowledge in terms that the average person can appreciate. Following this introduction to the Qabalah is a nice section on how the suites and numbers of the cards relate to the Tree. All this is pretty straightforward and not really unique, except for the awareness that not everyone is a rabbinical scholar.
The pages that follow are some of the most valuable for students wanting to work with pathwork, affirmations and meditation. For each Minor Arcana card, astrological associations, key symbols found in the card, a brief meaning, the sphere associated with the card and the sphere color are noted. The next section is labeled "Notes From the Creator". In this section, a great deal of insight is given into the soul of the card, including a description of the creator's contact with the cards through meditation and pathwork. In reliving the discovery of each card's energy with the creator, the reader also discovers a first hand relationship with each card. If the creator's experience with the card is not to the reader's liking, this section will, at least, set the reader on the correct path to discovering his or her own relationship with the card.
The Court cards are then covered, with a focus on each card's power. Kings, queens, princes and princesses represent the personalities found on the Tree of Life. The Court card associations will be nothing new to anyone who has read about the Qabalah; however, the novice to this area of study will find a new depth in their connections to the Court cards. Always the most elusive cards to interpret, I found the creator's notes particularly
helpful in introducing me to several directions from which to meet this interesting group of individuals.
The section on the Major Arcana cards is very similar, covering key symbols, color of the path and the spheres connected to the path of each card. Since the Major Arcana cards represent motion from one sphere to the next, the card descriptions include the energies of the path and the evolution of the path. These interpretations of the cards and how they relate to their associated path and spheres are a wonderful, two-way learning tool. For students of the Tarot, this knowledge will add new dimensions to readings once the element of evolution and transition is incorporated into the language the reader uses with their cards. For the student of the Qabalah, the normally accepted meanings of the Major Arcana, coupled with the meanings of the adjoining spheres on the Tree of Life, put a very complex system of knowledge into a very palatable form. As with the Minor Arcana
and the Court cards, the creator's notes are included as a reference tool.
In addition to an excellent interpretation for each card, the guide also offers several techniques of meditation for the sake of discovering your own truth within each card. The divination section also offers some very unique ways of using the cards for readings. I particularly like the Windows spread that utilizes a technique of choosing one of three piles to read from, based on the pile that attracts the reader. The Tree of Life spread is also a great concept for having all aspects of a person's life available for a reading. This allows the reader to choose how specific or broad a reading is, based on the number of cards turned up in the spread.
Page for page, The Guide to the Tarot of the Sephiroth is one of the most valuable deck companions I have utilized. By itself, it will serve as an easy introduction into the fascinating world of the Qabalah. Combined with the deck, which can be laid out on a floor in a large graphic recreation of the Tree of Life, the set becomes a tool
for developing your own individual place within the universe.
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The Guide to the Tarot of the Sephiroth by Josephine Mori and Jill Stockwell
Publisher: US Games
Errol McLendon is a Certified Tarot Master reading, teaching and living Tarot. Seven years ago, Errol bought his first deck of cards after receiving what he considered to be a very inaccurate reading in New Orleans. The rest is history. Errol is also an actor and director around the Chicago area, as well as a guest artist throughout Texas, Oklahoma and upstate New York. Visit Errol at his website.
Review © 2001, 2002 Errol McLendon
Page © 2002 Diane Wilkes