- Paperback: 155 pages
- Publisher: Noreah Press (June 25, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 096730430X
- ISBN-13: 978-0967304304
- Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.4 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,268,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Underground Stream: Esoteric Tarot Revealed 0th Edition
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About the Author
Christine Payne-Towler has made a life long study of the imagery, history and practice of the Tarot, Astrology, Kabbahah, Alchemy, Hermeticism, and other traditional branches of the Western Mystery Schools. Starting in 1970 with the purchase of used Tarot deck in a Salem, Oregon bookshop, her interest in occult imagery has burgeoned into a book and deck collection that spans centuries and continents. Contemplation upon these images over time has led to an understanding of the older Classical and European traditions of Tarot which have been nearly eclisped by the modern trend for innovation and eclecticism. In the early 1990's Christine was initiated into a Templar lodge with Martinist affliations, allowing her to further investigate the traditions associated with the imagery and esoteric content of Tarot. Happily, the Secret Society movement is still alive and well, and continues to provide a framework within wich striving individuals can align themselves with the great work of human evolution going on in all places at all times. Christine was made a bishop of the Apostolic Succession in 1995, completing the cycle that was begun a quarter of a century earlier.
Top customer reviews
Christine Payne Towler does an excellent job chronicling this shift from what was probably a simple card game to a powerful tool of divination and personal insight. There are a number of historical groaners in this book (she mentions the discredited Priory of Sion as if it were fact, for one example), and sometimes the speculation goes too far off the deep end for my tastes. But it is important to remember that the artists of the early Tarots did not live in a vacuum—the late middle ages and early Renaissance were eras steeped in magical and mystical theorizing, Christian allegory, and well as widespread interest in Greco-Roman and Egyptian cultures. So it is certainly possible those artists incorporated esoteric elements, despite some of the more well-known academics insisting otherwise. We simply don't know.
So keep your salt shaker handy, but don't dismiss this book as another unhinged pseudo history of these fascinating cards. Because whether or not the cards were intended as symbolic tools for divination and insight, since the late 18th century they have been a critical element of western esotericism and magical practice. If you work with Tarot (or teach it, as I do) you should be aware of this rich (if frequently speculative) history as well as the official, academic history, and Payne Towler has done a very thorough job pulling all the threads together. If another edition is ever produced, and I hope it will be, I hope the author removes some of the disproved, outdated material and also finds a better editor, as the text is riddled with typos. And this book definitely deserves a new release—and should be on every Tarot enthusiast's shelf.
The paper stock on this "book" is one step above newspaper quality. The same could be said for the cover on this very thin book.
This text cost, $24.95.
I rather stay with Stuart Kaplan's Encyclopedias, which are very professionally done, sans bigotry and Towler refers heavily from this original text.
This book is not geared toward interpretation of cards specifically for the sake of doing Tarot readings. This book is geared to give you an overall understanding of the absolute limits of what can be known about Tarot history and it's links to other sacred sciences. The natural result of your new understanding is that your interpretations will automatically open up, possibly quite dramatically (this happened for me). This book uncovers the mystery shrouding the links among Tarot and its sister sciences, such as Astrology, Hermeticism, and Kaballah in a way that no other work available today has even come close to. In fact, very few books and decks on the market today even address Tarot's relationship with it's sister sciences in any more than a cursory manner. And usually, when done so, even in passing, the Astrological and Kaballistic associations are completely off-base from the actual historical correspondences. Some readily available exceptions to this rule are: the Tavaglione tarots (Stairs of Gold), El Gran Tarot Esoterico (available at areyougame.com for 4.99), IBIS Tarot, Oswald Wirth Tarot, Cagliostro Tarot, and Tarot of the Ages.
The functional duty of Christine's labor of love is to give the upcoming generation of Tarot scholars, hobbyists, and professionals a cornerstone of digestible, encyclopedic, accurate Tarot history and sacred science correspondences from which to conduct our own further explorations into Tarot.
I found this book amazingly inspiring. Where other books on Tarot have left me hungry for "What it all REALLY means!?," and searching desperately for something more scholarly and academic, this book felt like being given a free, historical, panoramic synopsis of the answers I'd been seeking, which made it all suddenly click into place in a most exhilarating manner. My comfort level and trust of the structure, symbolism, ordering of the cards, and the purpose of Tarot as an overall system, has increased dramatically, now that I know these images are nestled deeply and inextricably into a cohesive, wide-ranging system encompassing several other sciences by which to cross-reference and research their true meanings.
Mouni Sadhu's _The Tarot_ (although somewhat inaccessible in some ways), and Oswald Wirth's _Tarot of the Magicians_, are two texts which have gone a long way for me in answering some of the deeper esoteric and eternal meanings of the Tarot within their proper correspondent contexts, after I had received schooling in that foundation from Christine Payne-Towler's book.
_The Underground Stream_ takes some mental work on the part of the reader because it is so wide in scope historically. This text does not give you "training" in the sacred sciences--that is something you will have to seek in other books. Again, what she *does* is formally and most properly introduce you to the whole family of sacred sciences through it's most illustrious and quite prodigal (in recent centuries) member, Tarot. This was the introduction I had been seeking for over a course of years. Unfortunately, none of the other authors I read could do this for me. After a cursory glance, in a short beginning chapter, at "Tarot History," they jump right into divination meanings. This is not to say there is not amazing work out there being done by some of these authors in the way of interpretations and creativity with Tarot---there certainly is. They are like the interior designers and Christine is a hard-hat contractor. We need them all.
This book does have some typographical errors. Also I could see some areas where she shared opinions about image interpretation that I might take in a different direction (and have, in my own work with Tarot). One can forgive the author however, because after all her superhuman research and work, it almost makes her seem human that she has some slight imperfections. One cannot help but respect her as an esteemed colleague and Master, despite these small issues. I owe a huge personal debt of gratitude to Christine Payne-Towler, as a Tarot reader. Chances are high you will feel some similar sentiment after you've read this book.
Most recent customer reviews
Of note is Christine Payne-Towler's magnificent references to the Bible.Read more