Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Tarot Revelations Paperback – June 1, 1987
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From the Back Cover
Introduction by Colin Wilson: "For two centuries now, the human spirit has been in revolt against the world of the Gradgrinds, and their obsession with "facts, hard facts." The Romanticism of the 19th century was one long shout of defiance. The Romantics exaggerated the problem out of weakness and a sense of vulnerability. And people like Dick Roberts and Joseph Campbell are restoring it to perspective, and bringing about a reconciliation that is based on insight and strength. If they succeed, the intellectual perspective of the 21st century could be more exciting than anything we can imagine."(Colin Wilson)
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Foreward by Joseph Campbell " . . . for what in the Marseilles deck had most excited my imagination had been its reflection of what I thought I recognized as a tradition expounded by Dante in his Convito. A single philosophical strain, it seemed to me, could be recognized as supporting, on one hand, the mighty edifice of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy and, on the other, the enigmatic imagery of a contemporary pack of cards.
Whereas the imagery of the Waite deck is of a strikingly different style and source. Richard Roberts, accordingly, has pointed, in his analysis of the symbolism of the Waite-Smith deck, not only to its background in esoteric astrological, gnostic, and alchemical traditions, but also, by anticipation, forward to the archetypology of Jung - who, in developing his insights, was significantly influenced (as he everywhere lets us know) by the same gnostic and alchemical texts from which the members of the Order of the Golden Dawn drew inspiration.
So that in our separate examinations of the Waite-Smith and Marseilles Tarot decks, Richard Roberts and I have found ourselves continually breaking into areas of much greater expanse and richness than either of us had anticipated when we started.
But in the end, always, we have come to revelations of a grandiose poetic vision of Universal Man that has been for centuries the inspiration both of saints and of sinners, sages and fools, in kaleidoscopic transformations. It is our hope and expectation that our readers, too, may be carried through the picture play of the magic of THE MAGICIAN's wand and guidance of THE PROPHETESS, to insights such as may lead, in the end, to the joy in wisdom of THE FOOL." (Joseph Campbell)
Symbolism Of The Marseilles Deck by Joseph Campbell
"The earliest set of Tarot cards of which actual examples survive was prepared in 1392 for King Charles VI of France by the painter Jacquemin Gringonneur. Seventeen of their number are preserved in Paris in the Bibliotheque Nationale, and the imagery resembles that of the Marseilles deck.
What the set of four suits represents are the four estates, or classes, of the medieval social order. The Swords signify the nobility; the Cups, suggesting the chalice of the Catholic Mass, are for the clergy; the Coins, for the merchants, or "third estate", the townsmen, the burghers; while the Staves, Clubs, or Batons, stand for the "churls," the peasantry and servants.
We notice, first, that the opening card, The Magician, is of a juggler manipulating miniatures of the signs of all four suits: Swords in the form of knives, small cups for the Cups or Chalices, dice and coins for the Coins, and for the Staves or Clubs a wand. He is in control, that is to say, of the symbols of all four social estates, able to play or conjure with them, and so, represents a position common to, or uniting, them all, while leading - as we shall very soon see - beyond their highest grades. Twenty numbered picture cards follow, which have been arranged here in five ascending rows of four cards each, to suggest the graded stages of an ideal life, lived virtuously according to the knightly codes of the Middle Ages. And then, beyond and outside of this numbered series, comes The Fool, whose card, like our Joker Wild, is unnumbered. I have placed him outside and at the end of the set, to signify his freedom to roam as a vagabond, beyond as well as through all of the numbered stations, trumping them all."
"And so we are brought to the condition. . . of The Fool, the wandering mendicant saint or sage, known to himself as that intelligible sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere. . .And we passed, then, through death-to-the-fear-of-death; whereupon he portal opened of the way to the knowledge of that mystery which, in theological terms, would be known as the Image of God within us. Plato recognized the sensible world as a reflex of the intelligible. What is known as above is thus here below, and what is not here is nowhere.
But have we not noticed, also, that The Magician is holding in his left hand the same wand that the World Dancer holds in hers, while in his right, instead of the conch, there is a coin - of philosophical gold? Little wonder if the clergy of those days were at pains to warn their flocks against the unauthorized lesson lurking in these cards!"
PREFACE by Richard Roberts
In the following pages I shall demonstrate: 1. That the Keys of the Tarot Major Arcana depict numerical archetypes, which stand as the pre-formative powers behind material manifestation.
2. That the pictures on each Key are geometrical reflections of the numerical archetype of each Key.
3. That the Magic Nine layout of Keys reveals the way in which the numerical archetypes interact with one another, and, hence, presents the most profound interpretation of the Major Arcana.
4. That Tarot is an alchemical revelation, revealing the descent and ascent of Hermes/Mercurius/Thoth.
5. That the path of this descent/ascent follows the traditional Ladder of Souls, or Stairway of Planets, disguised as seven triads of Keys, Zero (The Fool) transcending the sequence of 21 Keys.
6. That since the Stairway of Planets was the path of the descending and ascending soul of man, the Tarot Major Arcana constitute a western Book of the Dead.
7. That if the spiral of serpent or caduceus is followed through the Major Arcana, alternatively regenerating and returning to unity, like the expanding and contracting rhythm of the cosmos, further revelations appear in which we may read the monomyth of the world's religions, the Monad's descent from Above to Below, and the consequent ascent to Above.
8. That this descent from Above represents spirit's incarnation into the elemental world, from the mineral kingdom to man, demonstrated by the correspondence of the four suits to the four Grail hallows and the four fixed signs of the zodiac.
9. That in addition to the alchemical conjunction or sacred marriage of King Sun and Queen Moon, the Major Arcana reveal an astrological correspondence to the conjunction of Sun (Leo) and Moon (Cancer) at the summer solstice of 2000 B.C.
Chapter IX: THE CADUCEUS AND ASTROLOGY: Yet another symbol of the Great Myth is the sacred wand of Hermes, encircled with the evoluting serpents, linking rod and staff to World Tree, Stairway of Planets, and the numinous symbols of the East and Near East, Mountain, Tree, and djed pillar. Originating in the 4th millenium B.C. the concept of World Navel/Tree is the sense of a Center, or Axis, which extends from the macrocosm, where the sun's serpentine course is from pole to pole during the year, to the microcosm, the cells of the human body which bear the spiral coils of DNA, carriers of genetic evolution. The true Fool may read in the caduceus symbol, therefore, his own initiation into the mystery dimension of cell and psyche, where Above and Below merge infinitely.
Finally, through our spiral reading of the Major Arcana, we followed the path of the cosmic uroboros, expanding and contracting, regenerating and returning to unity, also the microcosmic double helix of DNA, preserver of our ancient psychic history, at once vehicle and pathway for archetype, god and devil. The Major Arcana, as a contemporary Book of the Dead, reflect Western man's aversion to death and he material power which the Devil exerts over him through the credo that his material form is the limit of his autonomy. Thus the body is not easily forsaken, nor easily enjoyed during the lifetime, since the tenacious clinging to materiality is graceless because it is motivated by fear.
The Hermetic alternative view enables one to play the life as a kind of drama of one's own creation, a dream, perhaps, that the dreamer dreams. Mechanistic chance, cause and effect, are not operative in this view of the universe; hence, joy, vitality and dynamic interplay between man and cosmos manifest in daily experience. When tragedy manifests, such a man displays his heroic potential, for he realizes the tragedy - like the joy - is his personal creation, a test for his further expansion of consciousness. Whether joyous or tragic, man and cosmos hold a dialogue in which the One grows in one, and one evolves in the One. This, then, is the ultimate sense of a Book of the Dead: return to the splendid, shining consciousness of the golden One, who during the lifetimes was being born within, or rather, maturing, since the One had created the egg/child/man. To die, then, is to exchange form for non-form, energy transformed or stepped up to a higher level. But mind, spirit, soul - called the Ineffable what you will - is that aspect of eternity which Divinity shares with us, and we with That.
And at the end of time, when the serpent uroboros grasps his tail in his mouth, then the infinite dimension of the cosmos shall be swallowed as if by a Black Hole, matter shall collapse, galaxy on galaxy, until All That Is is contained once more within the still point of the Monad.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book that Roberts wrote is a moderately interesting examination of the Waite-Rider arcana through a Jungian lens, but I was so ticked off that I'd been sold a book that perported to be by Campbell and yet had finished the portion written by Campbell in about fifteen minutes that I didn't get much out of it. My problem, I know, but the bait-and-switch thing REALLY bothered me!
p. 3: Part I-Exoteric Tarot: Symbolism of the Marseille Deck by J. Campbell
p. 27: Colin Wilson's Intro to Part II
p. 39: Part II Richard Roberts' Esoteric Tarot: Symbolism of the Waite/Rider Deck:
p. 41: Preface
p. 43: I. The Great Myth
p. 49: II. The Infinite Ladder
p. 59: III. The Magic Nine Arrangement
p. 101: IV. Alchemical Descent
p. 133: V. The Alchemical Ascent
p. 167: VI. Patterns in the Magic Nine
p. 193: VII. The Hermetic World
p. 229: VIII. The Book of the Dead
p. 259: IX. The Caduceus and Astrology
p. 286: List of Footnotes [actually endnotes w/o explanatory material & mostly Jung, Cirlot, & Case as well as Waite, Campbell, Frazer, & a few others)
p. 295: Color Plates--too small but drawings are interspersed in text to some degree
Thus Campbell & Wilson's portions are quite small; it's really a Roberts book (Wilson only introduces Roberts' work--was Campbell's an afterthought?). Despite brevity, Campbell makes acute observations e.g. pp. 23-4: "The 4 signs of Ezekiel's vision...in the 3rd & 4th millenniums BC, however, were read as zodiacal references to the 4 equinoxes & solstices: Taurus, the Bull, the Spring equinox; Leo the Lion, summer solstice; the Eagle (now Scorpio), the autumnal equinox; & Aquarius, the water-carrier, the winter solstice" & p. 25: "turn card 12, The Hanged Man, upside down & the legs will be seen to be in the same position as those of the dancing figure of The World. The implied idea is of each of us as an inverted reflection, clothed in the garments of temporality, of the noumenal or "Real."
Roberts provides p. 293: "3 treatments given to the Major Arcana, numerical, alchemical, & astrological" for which p. 247: "Our task is rather like that of the restorer of a painting which lies beneath several layers of other pictures added over the years. One has to know how much to rub away--& where to stop!" But there's the rub! The amount depends on the level of abstraction (inverse of level of detail) one uses as context ~ a microscope with several lenses. What's seen differs by lens (~the 4 levels of interpretation, PARDES in Kabbalah). Roberts mostly uses 2--individual elements on a card & certain card layouts (arrangement), for each of his 3 "slide stains" [my terms] i.e. numerology. He did an exhaustive (& exhausting) survey of symbolic meanings to card elements, mostly reflecting his 3 "stains." But, stains sometimes mask important highlights & alternate stains may be better. He does introduce bits from Kabbalah, Hinduism, Gnosticism, & Hermeticism & heavily uses Jung (Collected Works of C.G. Jung: 21 Volume Hardcover Set). It's surprising that there are so few quotations from Waite--whose deck is being analyzed, esp. since Roberts attributes a multitude of meanings to Waite's deck not given in Waite's THE PICTORIAL KEY TO THE TAROT: BEING FRAGMENTS OF A SECRET TRADITION UNDER THE VEIL OF DIVINATION--stating that Waite was being spiritually coy. He assumes Waite was fully conscious of his usage of symbols--not likely IMHO. This reminds me of a cartoon in which a critic analyzing a painting--strongly disagrees with a bystander. The expert states his credentials, & the bystander states that he's the artist! Attributions are risky. Some correspondences seem far-fetched to me; he uses Jung but also ignores him (e.g. p. 222: he considers the Tarot a western Book of the Dead but overlooks Jung's dark sea voyage & p. 109: the Ox-herding pictures Buddhism and Jungian Psychology &Buddhism and the Art of Psychotherapy (Carolyn and Ernest Fay Series in Analytical Psychology)). He also states p. 280: "It would be naïve to assume that these are haphazard relations" which reminds me of the game of finding 2 persons w/same B'day in a small group--though non-intuitive, it almost always occurs. Thus, p. 209: his criticism of science as "materialistic" reflects his ignorance of statistics & set theory such that his correspondences frequently seem forced. His axe to grind makes him ungrounded. Many symbols are synchronistic/unconscious. Further, per Jung, symbols are amorphous--need personal interpretation--once they are given specific meanings they become signs & lose their power. Roberts, I think, preserves their power through Jungian amplification--what the symbols mean to him. Per Jung, a dog may not be man's best friend if the man was mauled by one when young--his dream image of a dog differs. Thus, Cirlot's Dictionary of Symbols can mislead. Personal is not archetypal.
Antithetically, he misses many (to me) obvious correspondences: p. 160: "In alchemy all opposites contain an element of the other" but ignores the Yin/Yang symbol with a black dot in the white half & vice versa; his extrapolation of lines to form a mandorla (almond shape) could be an ellipse--planetary orbits; p. 153: doesn't see a parallel of the Fool to Sufis ] despite the many Moslem alchemists; argues for Persian influences but ignores the Chinese The Secret of the Golden Flower: A Chinese Book of Life to which Jung wrote a pithy introduction; p. 214: describes horns as symbols of cycles--but ignores their fecundity/earthiness (Bull & goat); & doesn't see that Waite vs. the Marseille deck made card 15, the Devil's, chains removable by the man/woman (over their heads) due to the slack!
On a theoretical level, Roberts creates two card layouts, Magic 9 (Ch. III & VI) & Caduceus (Ch. IX). They're interesting, but he implies they have an inherent value. There are many possible layouts; one could argue their symbolic value too. BTW, the Magic 9 (typical numerology) is called Modulo 9 in mathematics & is based on the decimal system. It doesn't work in other number systems (e.g. binary or hexadecimal). I agree with his helical approach to progress (though not original to him). If one arranged the cards to represent the growth cycle, the order might be considerably different. His omnipresence of Mercurius seems ~Mercury poisoning. Much of his analysis rests on relative symbols/levels vs. Jungian archetypal ones. Strangely, some of his referential arguments go back to 4000 BCE, yet he seems unfamiliar with ancient Hekhelot literature which became part of Kabbalah (Kabbalah: New Perspectives) & p. 93: the Kabbalistic Tree of Life which he describes incorrectly (see The holy Kabbalah;: A study of the secret tradition in Israel as unfolded by sons of the doctrine for the benefit and consolation of the elect dispersed through the lands and ages of the greater exile). Waite certainly was familiar with these.
I do agree that p. 112: "The psyche has conferred value on the universe through its own evolution of consciousness." Thus, we create the meaning (e.g. in synchronistic events). I believe Roberts has done just that--more expressionistic than archetypal, not too well organized, highly Sensate (detailed & short on Intuitive--i.e. systems thinking, Existential Psychology, & Jung as scientist (Jung's claim). This probably follows his prior Tarot and You. I did like his one fun pun, p. 236: "A labyrinth is a form of Recycling Center." Still, Roberts has provided a plethora of symbol interpretations & methods which can be valuable as a starting point for one's own amplifications & proved IMHO the alchemical nature of the Tarot. But, I would differentiate personal (conscious), archetypal (collective unconscious), & mixed (personal unconscious/subconscious) meaning. Unfortunately, lack of an index limits this book's usefulness as a reference resource. Since this is a theoretical or transcendental text, for a more concise & divinatory use of Tarot, see Eden Gray's "The Tarot Revealed: A Modern Guide to Reading the Tarot Cards" & The Complete Guide to the Tarot.
This really is mostly Richard Roberts' book, and unfortunately, his observations are not nearly as accessible. He goes deeply into the numerology, astrology and alchemy of the Rider-Waite tarot, which will be a fascinating read for anyone invested in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the RWS school of tarot. His writing is pretty dense and academic, though, and it's up to the reader to decide how ultimately interested they are in any of the segments he presents.
I'll further another reviewer's observations about this book needing more illustration and just a bit more... effort. I think that's what I was wanting: this feels like a first draft, or a hastily assembled work. I would have loved to have had more input from Campbell, a more accessible presentation from Roberts, and have the publication of the book be more solid, i.e. more pictures and better referencing (a good table of contents and index would have been great).
So yes, there's definitely fantastic knowledge in this book. I'm glad I have it and I'd recommend it to any academic student of tarot, but know that it's not the book it could have been. If it had lived up to its potential, it would be one of the more profound books I've ever read. As it is, there's plenty here, but you'll have to do some work to get the most out of it.
Tarot from a Jungian and mythological perspective is what you will get with this highly interesting work.