Tarot Magic Softwaretm5.jpg (42262 bytes)

This new software package is quite impressive. To start with, it gives the user a choice between ten different decks - from the common Rider Waite and Marseilles decks to the exotic Tarot of the Stars. The decks are:

  1. Ibis
  2. Gran tarot Esoterico
  3. Marseilles
  4. Oswald Wirth
  5. Medieval Scapini
  6. Rider
  7. Stairs of Gold
  8. Tarot of the Stars
  9. Visconti- Sforza
  10. Grand Etteilla

There is also a choice of eleven pre-defined spreads:

  1. Advice - 3 cards
  2. Celtic Cross - 11 cards (with significator)
  3. Days of the Week - 7 cards
  4. Horoscope - 12 cards
  5. Life Cycle - 9 cards
  6. Relationship - 10 cards
  7. Right Livelihood - 6 cards
  8. Self Knowledge - 3 cards
  9. Star of David - 6 cards
  10. . Time Line - 5 cards
  11. . Tree of Life - 10 cards

What makes this program special is that it provides position unique meanings for the entire deck. The Fool will have a different meaning when it appears in different positions in the spread. Cyber Tarot by Harper Collins has a similar feature, but it only works for the Major Arcana. This program also provides an extensive Tarot reference section with articles on Tarot History, Esoteric Tarot, Tarot and Astrology, Tarot and Qabala and several other topics.

This program is very easy to use. When you put the CD in your CD drive, the installation program automatically comes up. It guides you through the installation process quite easily. The program itself is also very user friendly. When you run it you hear some introductory information and are shown a path leading to a castle. You can follow the path and go inside or you can just press the mouse to dispense with the pretty graphics and get right to a reading. Once inside the castle you are in a room with an open book on a podium, a bookshelf with books and a table covered in a green cloth. The open book is your Tarot Journal. The bookshelf contains the reference articles and the table is where you get your reading. You click on the item you are interested in. If you click the table, you are brought to a close-up of the table. A Tarot deck is on the right side of the table as is a spread symbol. There is a piece of paper on the left side of the table. In the lower part of the screen there are shuffling and dealing options. You can use the deck on the table or click on the deck to choose another. You can also choose a different spread by clicking on the spread symbol. The paper is for writing out your question, though you are not required to do so. Once you have chosen your deck and spread you go through the shuffling steps. If you do not shuffle long enough, the program will let you know with a message like "The deck is only 75% shuffled. Would you like to shuffle some more?" Once you are satisfied with your shuffle and cut, you deal the cards. The screen will then look like this.

You can have the cards interpreted as you deal them by clicking on the cards, or you can wait till you have dealt the entire spread and have the spread read to you one card at a time. When you click each card you are shown a blow up of the card next to its meaning based on its position in the spread. There is a menu next to the meaning with the following choices:

Main - this shows the meaning of the card in the position that you saw when you clicked the card. It is the only meaning that will be read aloud.

General - a detailed generic meaning for the card that is not position dependent

Position - a description of what the position represents in the spread

Notes - brief upright and reversed meanings for the card

The meanings provided in this program are quite detailed. I also found that the Main (positional) meanings were well thought out. While the meanings differed for spread positions, they do not differ among decks. The meaning for the Ten of Swords in the Advice position is the same whether I used the Marseilles deck or the Tarot of the Stars, or any other deck provided. You can use the icons and symbols on the screen to do most tasks, or you can place your mouse at the top of the screen at any time and get a set of pull-down menus.

The reference section is also very well done. A series of articles by Christine Payne-Towler covers a myriad of Tarot topics. There are over 100 pages of articles here - enough for a book. The articles are in fact excerpts of a soon to be published book titled: The Underground Stream: Esoteric Tarot Revealed. These articles are NOT light reading. Payne-Towler’s primary interests are the esoteric Tarot and Tarot history. These are not "how to" articles. You can read some sample articles here.

The Tarot Journal allows you to save your spreads for future reference. It remembers the date, the question, if input (remember you don’t have to type in a question), the spread used and the cards and their meanings.

If you prefer to use your own deck you can still make use of this program. You have the option of fanning the cards out and choosing the cards you want to put in a spread. You deal your own cards in one of the programmed spreads and then pick the cards you dealt from the program's deck to reproduce your draws. You can fan the cards out across the bottom of the screen to allow easy choosing of cards. The cards will then be arranged in order and face up. As you move your mouse across the fanned cards, the card name appears, allowing you quickly identify and choose the cards you want to use. You can also print your readings. The printout will show the cards laid out in the spread and you can choose which meanings you want to print. You can see a sample spread printout here and the meanings printed out here. There is one function that I would have liked to see - the ability to design and save your own spreads. The publisher states that additional decks and spreads will be available for download in the future.

I would recommend this program to anyone interested in tarot, regardless of skill level. Its ease of use belies a very comprehensive set of card meanings and references. Beginners will find it useful to learn how cards are interpreted as the card appears in different positions in the spread. More seasoned readers will find the program useful as a "second opinion." The fact that it has ten different decks alone makes it worth the price. You would have to spend well over $100.00 to buy these decks and some, like Tarot of the Stars, are difficult to find. The many articles are an added bonus. The program is available for PCs and Macs

You can order this program from the Tarot Magic web site

Tarot Magic
By Visionary Software
List price $69.95, but you can order it for $39.95 here.

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This page is Copyright 1999 by Michele Jackson