The Tarot Gypsy Tales by Carol Jean Rose                Review by Michele Jackson

This book is one of, if not the, most beautiful books in my library. It is hand bound with black velvet covers. The paper is thick and textured. There is a one inch thick, grosgrain ribbon place holder worked into the binding, like those found in better Bibles. The package is a sumptuous delight to the eye and hand. The text begins with an introduction to the Tarot which describes the structure of the deck and some historical information, both factual and speculative. This is followed by a chapter titled, "The Greater Secrets," which provides a fairly short and traditional upright interpretation, followed by a poem designed to evoke the feeling and meaning of the card. I am not a great poetry fan, so I do not want to comment on the poetry's technical merits. I did find some of the poems quite evocative of the traditional meanings of the cards, and I found that others shed new light on some meanings or gave me pause for thought. Rose uses myths and stories from a variety of cultures in her poetry. Some are obscure enough to send you to the glossary in the back of the book. These are not cute little rhyming jingles, a la Eileen Connolly's mnemonics; rather, these are intended to provide an aid to interpretation. There is much more interpretive meat in the poetry than in the prose. The text on each card is illustrated with one or more line drawings from several decks, including the Hermetic, the Waite-Smith, the Egyptian, the Ravenswood, the Native American or the Rolla Nordic.

The next section, titled "The Lesser Secrets," follows the same theme in describing first the court cards, and then the Ace through Ten of each suit. The poetry in this section is shorter than that found in the section on the Major Arcana.

There are several Appendices. Appendix A is a description of the Tarot decks used to illustrate the book. Appendices B and C provide information on the mechanics of doing a reading with Appendix B discussing ritual and C describing the Celtic Cross Spread. Appendix D contains a bibliography, which provides a brief summary or description of each book listed. Most useful in my opinion is Appendix E, which is a glossary. Carol's poetry shows her to be well educated and I picked up several new vocabulary words in the course of reading her work.

Due to the price, I would recommend this book primarily to collectors and bibliophiles. The beautiful look and feel of the binding work does not come cheap. It would make a lovely gift for your favorite Tarot enthusiast.


The Deuce of Cups is the card of nurturing emotions, of recognizing relationships for what they are. It echoes feelings, reflects on them and files them away in memory. It's about incorporating your emotional experience, developing a sensitive part of your Self.

Deuce of Cups
It's opposites begin relationship
Attraction is the key
that frees the tree within the fertile pip.
Observe polarity:
send down your root, upshoot your sprouting tip.
Surrender will to womb of motherhood
Let sensitivity
unearth your budding glee.
Nurture emotion till it's understood.
Or better yet, lie under lover. Good.
Accept a second place.
Subordination has a certain grace.
Recline in Magna Mater's sacred wood.
The Tarot Gypsy Tales by Carol Jean Rose pg. 225

You can order this book from Rosehips Productions