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Join Date: 05 Aug 2001
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Inspiring Books


I've mentioned this book before in a different thread... I thought I'd start a new thread on books we find deeply inspiring.

I must admit, there are many. I usually find something inspiring in each and every Tarot book I've read (I don't recall how many that is).

For me, the most inspirational is Valentin Tomberg's Meditations on the Tarot published by Elements (Tomberg's name is not mentioned, and the author is listed as anonymous... such a prolific and old writer!!!)

Tomberg seems able to truly use the Major Arcana as gateways in his own meditative Hermetic spiritual path... and share his insights reverentially.
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The Tarot book that has inspired me the most is probably Amber Jayanti's Living The Tarot, and Tarot Journeys, by Yasmine Galenorn

Kiama
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'the tarot revealed' by paul fenton-smith...to me this guy's a genius ;-) when i read this book everything finally started to make sense!
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'Lo all,

Terrific thread, jmd. I'd like to tell you about the Tarot book I found most inspiring, but I'm not sure I'm playing within the rules. You decide.

To begin with, I can't give you the name of the book, but after you've read this you probably won't want to know anyway.

In that long ago and far away time I'd acquired my first Tarot deck and Tarot book at an esoteric bookstore in Denver, Colorado. (Aquarian, and "Psychic Tarot.")

The first time I went to the bookstore, I was entranced. The dark interior was cosy, shadows hiding the mysteries, the smell of incense in the air and strange music playing. The woman there was jolly and bright, with a nice laugh. Well, soon I was hooked on Tarot, wanted to know more, and wondering why all my readings with the Aquarian deck were all moonlight readings in melancholy shades of gray.

My second visit was totally different. No music was playing. Despair and gloom hung in the air. The woman was so obviously despondant it was like encountering a physical force. Without thinking I blurted out, "What's wrong?"

"We've been Hexed," she said, sounding like dark and doom and descended upon us all, each and everyone.

"Huh?"

"It's the Witch Wars," she whispered.

"Here?" I asked, thinking, perhaps, that she was involved in some contretemps with a rival bookstore I'd heard about but never visited.

"All over the world," she said. She told me that even as we spoke, powerful spells were being conjured to remove the hex from her store. My inclination was to pump her for information, for my own selfish entertainment, but she was so obviously upset, I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Instead, I spotted a bin of used books next to the counter, saw the word "tarot" on the cover of one, and quickly pulled it out and bought it. Cheap. Then just as quickly left.

I didn't get home until late that night, just as a Rocky Mountain thunderstorm, with heavy rain and smashing winds began lashing over the city. The electricity in my apartment building was out.

Now, a new book is a treasure I can't wait to dive into, so I lined my coffee table with candles and sat on the carpet to read. I had my Tarot deck, which I was in the habit of mindlessly playing with sometimes when I read, a wine glass, and, I confess, a screwtop jug of country red wine. Music would have been nice, but was impossible.

If I'm piling coincidence upon coincidence and contrivence upon contrivence, well, in fiction that is bad. "Purple prose" comes to mind. But we all know that in real life, anything can happen, in any order..

(Folks, this is getting very long, and I do want to tell you about this book. I'll start another thingy.)

Talisman
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To continue . . .

So, I'm sitting in the dark with a thunder-lightning-wind-rain storm outside for sound effects, getting ready to read this new book by candlelight.

Let me describe this book. The battered cover may once have been red. The book had been printed somewhere in Europe, and was a first and almost certainly only edition. It must have been written in English, since I can't imagine anyone translating it, but the author had a very uncertain grasp of the language. The style was archaic and awkward, and the word choice made many sentences incomprehensible. The typesetting was very sloppy, which didn't help either, in company with many typos.

The book was also travel-stained and battered, leading me to ponder how it had made a journey from where it was created to the middle of the North American continent.

The title was something like, "The Ancient and Authentic Gypsy Secrets of the Tarot." I do recall there was a typo in the title.

I was absolutely fascinated, bespelled, and I read it through the remainer of the night, cover to cover, pausing only to refill my wine glass -- or to laugh out loud at the absurdities piled on absurdities, applesauce and horsefeathers, bunkum and balderdash.

If there were a contest for the most ludicrous Tarot book ever, I'd happily submit this as my entry, and bet money on its victory. If the author were a "gypsy," he belonged to a tribe of one. Perhaps he was an escaped lunatic who'd stumbled into a print shop.

After I'd read the last page, I blew out the candles and curled up on the carpet to sleep.

In the morning, after chasing away the wine fog with a pounding hot shower and fortified by a steaming mug of hot coffee, I retrieved the book from the coffee table and sat with it at my kitchen table. The curtains stirred when a cool morning breeze came in through an open window, and bright yellow sunshine poured in the east-facing window.

This was the "real" world. Witch wars and ancient Gypsies! Good grief! Nonsence.

But this wierd book remained just as crazy and incomprehensible in the light of day.

In spite of all this, I have to confess that the book was "inspiring" for me, more so than any other on the subject. It caused me to really think about Tarot, and think about it in new ways, and it planted the seeds of opinions I now hold. I know, for example, that I'll never think the same way about a Tarot spread again.

Let me try and explain what I'm trying to say. Say you're a writer. It is pretty easy to learn something by reading bad writing. You recognize that what you're reading is bad and make a mental note not to repeat what you see as mistakes. But you can't read Shakespeare and quite discover how to do right what he did right, or every new reader could be a new Shakespeare.

Anyway, there must have been something in that book. I know it made a vivid impression on me. So, does it count?

(Here's a P.S. for anyone who read this far. You might ask, "What happened to the book?" Answer: I dunno. Three or four years ago, I came to one of those obvious well sign-posted forks in the road. I packed 98 and 3/4th percent of my life in boxes and stored them in my mother's garage. Now in that monsterous pile of boxes, there are probably close to a thousand books. It's possible that someday I'll open the right box, find the ancient Gypsy, and look at it again. And maybe I'll sniff, toss it aside, and idly wonder why it ever made any impression on me at all. I dunno.)

Talisman
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Great story Talisman

A couple old faves from me-

The Symbolism of the Tarot - P.D. Ouspensky

Tarot Classic - Stuart Kaplan

A new fave-

An Illustrated Guide to the Tarot - Jonathan Dee



Freddie
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JMD great thread!!! Talisman wonderful story, very vivid I could envision the whole thing ~giggles~ ... thanks for sharing.

I must confess that I am awful about purchasing books on the Tarot and never finish them as I jump from one to the other *LOL*. I guess I use them more as reference books than anything. I will say that 78 Degrees of Wisdom, the Mary Greer workbooks, and Qabalistic Tarot by Robert Wang rank as my favorites so far. I will definetly check out some that you guys have mentioned ... and Talisman ~giggles~ I want to read your Acient Gypsy book *LOL*.

Love & Light,
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o.k. Tal- since I live in Denver, 'ya Really got me curious what bookstore , if it's even still around...............and just guessing, the book was by Buckland , or maybe Crowley....? And , I Do think the book counts because it affected you.
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purplelady,

Well, I lived on Humboldt Street (ever notice how many things are named after Humboldt, and nobody knows who he was). I was three or four blocks from Colfax Avenue, and the bookstore was three or four or five blocks east on Colfax.

I really didn't make this up.

And I wasn't "disguising" the name of a famous writer. What I read was really goofy.

An example. The "ancient gypsy" said a good Tarot spread should always contain the question that was asked -- or, the question answered. You all put one thumb to your nose and waggle your fingers; I'm a believer.

Lets not even talk about Lyonesse.

purplelady, give a big hug to Ed Bryant. Sometimes I miss Denver.

Talisman
Top   #9
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Hi Tal! Humbolt st. rings a bell , though I'm not all that familiar with that area of Denver. I can think of various stores on colfax though . "Wings"a small wiccan store , o.k. not sure if that's on colfax. Then there's "Isis" a bigger store on colfax. "Journey" or "journey's" on colfax or alameda (this great memory comes with age!that's sarcasm in case anyone doesn't get that). My favorite used to be "nic nack nook metaphysical bookstore" (yes that's the whole title.)South of colfax. They were the best for tarot decks because all the decks were displayed on an aisle where you could personally browse them , take the cards out of box , etc, at your leisure, and look at them . I know of no other store like that , and most have decks behind counter or locked display case. But last time I was at nic nack nook , all the display decks were shabby and in disarray on a bottom shelf. Kind-of sad! I got real tired of Denver and longed to leave for years . However , now I'm in Thornton, north suburb of Denver , and I like it much better here!
Well , I guess I'd better talk about tarot books since I'm here! Just went on a spree! 2 old favorites are "motherpeace: A way to the goddess", and "Tarot dictionary and compendium" by Jana Riley. This is for those who like the shopping approach! (I Love to shop!) You can look up any card and get a short summery of what each of 15 famous tarot writers has to say about that card! It's helpful if you're looking for many views or interpretations or an overview of that card.I also got "tarot for dummies"(that would be me!) by Amber Jayanti, supposed to be really good , certainly looks full of information. "Tarot for a new generation" by Janina Renee, And "Tarot and the Journey of the Hero" by Hajo Banzhaf. This book looks incredible,it chronicles the fool's journey(only majors) but has pages written on each card with many illustrations of different things from history that he wove into the story.Have not read it yet but it Looks inspiring!
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