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The Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols Paperback – October 13, 1997


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The Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols + Thoth Tarot Deck + Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Jeremy P. Tarcher / Putnam; Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam Edition 1997 edition (October 13, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874778956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874778953
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Angeles Arrien is an anthropologist, educator, and award-winning author. She is also a consultant to corporations, organizations, and schools such as the Wharton Business School, Motorola Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Labs, the Fetzer Institute, and the Kellogg Foundation. She lives in San Francisco.

Customer Reviews

I recently purchased this book as a gift for my friend.
Alice Kashuba
I believe it's the most comprehensive and informative book I've known, especially since it focuses on the famous (or infamous) Thoth deck of Aleister Crowley.
Tina Keenan
Great book, very helpful with it's detailed descriptions of the cards in the Thoth tarot deck.
Lisa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Graham D. Lincoln VINE VOICE on August 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is an Amazing volume of information, based-upon Anthropological & Jungian interpretations of The Thoth deck. If you love the Thoth Deck or you want to understand the underlying Symbolism of All Tarot cards, this book will be a great asset to your studies and to your collection!
I wish I would-have read this book several years ago, when I first acquired it. However, a friend loved it so much that I gave it to her. Luckily, we live-together, now--and she was more than happy to share. Therefore, I had the opportunity to delve into this Fascinating work, researched by someone familiar with cross-cultural and psychological Symbolism.
There are so many levels of The Tarot & so much Symbolism, that one can do hundreds of readings and not notice a certain aspect or Symbol of the Tarot Card that is calling-out to you. Yet, this Splendid Handbook will give you absolutely astounding results! If a certain Symbol or Image pops-out at you, more-so than the rest of the card, during one particular reading (or several subsequent readings) this well-written & well-researched Tarot book will help you understand what the Cards are trying to tell you. In my opinion, this Lady knows her stuff !
For those who do not understand how Tarot cards work, the System is based-upon Contacting Psychological Symbols and Archetypes in the subconscious mind--as-in Jungian Psychology. The hands simply manipulate the information into revealing itself, through psychokenesis. This means, basically, that your Subconscious Mind is trying to tell your Conscious (Incredulous <g> ) Mind certain information. This is a great way to contact your Inner Emotions and Knowledge learned from the Higher Mind.
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61 of 74 people found the following review helpful By david on March 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
My main problem with this book is in the introduction. The author says that the reason for the book is that she didn't agree with Crowley's interpretation of the Thoth deck. (I have to agree that it's a difficult book.) She then tells us that she wants to present a universal view based on Lady Frieda Harris' visual interpretation. The fact is that Crowley assembled the images from his own knowledge and, being unable to paint as well as the deck deserved, he asked Lady Harris to do it. She knew absolutely nothing of the symbolism beforehand. He had to have her do some of the paintings two or three times before he approved them. Lady Harris' vision was the equivalent of that of an illustrator for a book she hasn't read. The author's rejection of Crowley is a rejection of the symbolism of the deck. And that calls into question either her understanding of universal symbolism or the very existence of such.

Beyond the reasons for the book, her interpretation isn't the worst I've seen. But it's a very personal interpretation, not universal as she intended. It's a little better than most books that are written for the purpose of fortune-telling, but probably not much good for meditation or insight unless you're the author.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
A friend once let me borrow her copy of the first addition of this book and I found it extremely helpful and had to get my own copy. Its approach to Tarot is very positive and user friendly, and is an extensive source of esoteric symbolism. Although its interpretations of the Thoth deck may very from some of Crowley's, I found them very in-tune with the energy of the deck. I recommend it often to friends. Wonderful!
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Slade Simon on August 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
The book's main focus is on Crowley's Thoth deck. Until I read the other reviews here, I never really considered the idea of it working for other decks. I have trouble seeing it as being helpful for any deck other than the Thoth deck. In the descriptions for each card, the book discussed the symbols used in the Thoth deck. Angeles does cover much more than that though.
In the discussion of the Major Arcana, you will find 3 to 4 pages discussing each card. Very detailed!! For anyone who uses the Thoth deck, only one version of The Magus (The Magician) is analyzed here. The original Thoth deck has three different versions of The Magus. Recently, the deck was changed to include just one. There is at least one version available now that has all three versions included again.
A few of the Major Arcana cards have been moved to a different number or renamed. In most Tarot decks, Strength is #8 and Justice is #11. In the Thoth deck, Justice/Adjustment is #8 and Strength/Lust is #11. (Adjustment and Lust are terms used in the Thoth deck.) Judgment (#20) is called The Aeon in this deck.
The Minor Arcana are presented in one page descriptions - great details. Although I understand the reasons, the decision to have the Kings, Queens, Princes, and Princesses (The Royalty Symbols) in their own sections makes the book sometimes difficult to use as a reference during readings.
Overall, I do find this book very well written. Even with my minor complaints, I would still recommend this book. For the Thoth deck, it is the best book I've seen and superior to Crowley's own book about his own deck. Personally, I would not recommend it for use with other Tarot decks. Some of the symbolism discussed might be useful for general knowledge but not for other decks.
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