Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
LLEWELLYN JOURNAL
Article Topics
List of Articles
RSS Data Feeds
Mission Statement
Use of Our Articles
Writers' Guidelines

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

January/February 2016 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Journal
Print this Article Print this Article

Tools to Grow

This article was written by Barbara Moore
posted under Tarot

"If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
~Isaac Newton

For many of us, myself included, Rachel Pollack and her work were our entries into the mysteries and secrets and delights of tarot. She is like a fairy godmother and her work, blessings and gifts.

Her most recent work, The New Tarot Handbook, is another beautiful gift to us and it is also, for her, an homage to the woman she considers the Mother of Modern Tarot: Eden Gray. Some of us may not be familiar with Gray’s work or may write them off as "cookbooks" (some people call books of card interpretations "cookbooks" and attach a derogatory meaning to it, although I'm not sure why). What makes Gray worthy of the title Mother of Modern Tarot?

Rachel studied card interpretations through history in order to see how the interpretations evolved over time. In her analysis, Rachel noticed something strange. She writes, "Some of the modern meanings most writers took for granted did not appear in the older commentaries, not even A. E. Waite…. So where did they come from? Finally I realized—Eden Gray. I also might mention that Gray was the person who first described the tarot as 'the Fool's journey'."

Eden Gray’s work is short and direct. But tucked within those short entries is so much more, such deeper knowledge and awareness. The cards are often called "keys." Gray does not take you by the hand and guide you though the endless mansions and gardens of tarot, pointing out all the important parts. She is not a tour guide. Instead, she gives you, in a few sentences, a key that you can use to open the door and go through yourself, exploring at will, finding what you may. She encourages self-reliance and a sense of adventure.

As does our beloved Rachel Pollack, for I know of no one more adventurous than her when it comes to exploring tarot. Who else but Rachel would ask the tarot to show her the reading it gave God when he created the world?

For so many eager tarot lovers, 78 Degrees of Wisdom was our bible. In the several decades since that wonderful book was first published, Rachel has learned and experienced a lot. Imagine what treasures are hidden in the pages of The New Tarot Handbook. She gives us a wealth of knowledge, of course. But she also gives us tools and space to grow, to develop our own relationship with the cards, and to experience our own adventure while exploring the cards.

For example, one of my favorite features of this book is the spreads: one for each Major Arcana, one for each suit, and one for the court cards. These spreads give hints about the cards; they also open doors for us to learn how the cards relate to our lives and how we think and feel about them.

Like Gray's work, each card includes a short exploration and divinatory meanings for both upright and reversed cards. These entries provide enough information for a novice to do a great reading. They are chock full of so much wisdom that they give a more experienced reader much to think about.

The court cards often give new (and even experienced) readers a bit of trouble. Although this is not a workbook, Rachel describes some of her processes, which you can replicate. In fact, just for fun, and to see what your choices are before being influenced by reading Rachel's theme words for the cards, I suggest you do as she did:

Lay out all of the court cards and pick one or two theme words for each one, focusing on what makes each one unique. For example, passion might not be the best choice for the Knight of Wands because all the Wands courts share the trait of passion. So what makes the Knight unique amongst the other Wands courts? What makes him unique amongst the other Knights? Give it a try.

In addition, you can take inspiration from Rachel's spreads. She created, as mentioned above, spreads for each Major, the four suits, and for the court cards in general. Why not make your own spreads for each of the court cards? Or make one spread, perhaps a kind of "getting to know you" spread, and use it to do a reading for each court card?

This is the thing about great explorers and teachers, like Gray and Rachel. They don’t spoon-feed you; they give you a hand up so you can see farther. They give you a strong enough foundation so that you can move ahead on your own unique journey with confidence. That is the beauty, I think, of a smaller book. Rather than overwhelming and inundating, it creates interesting white space in your mind, giving you room to think rather than just ingest information.

Within the pages of this concise handbook, Rachel creates a sacred space with knowledge, understanding, and insight. What you do within this space is entirely up to you. But I guarantee, if you bring just a little curiosity, you'll do amazing things.

Barbara MooreBarbara Moore
In the early 1990s, at a party, someone put a tarot deck in Barbara's hands; she's held on tightly ever since. Tarot provides just enough structure so that we don't get lost as we explore the mysteries, plumb our dark corners, and locate our North...  Read more

RELATED PRODUCTS

The New Tarot Handbook
The New Tarot Handbook
Master the Meanings of the Cards
Rachel Pollack
$15.95 US,  $18.50 CAN | Add to Cart
Rachel Pollack's Tarot Wisdom
Rachel Pollack's Tarot Wisdom
Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings
Rachel Pollack
$24.95 US,  $28.95 CAN | Add to Cart

Please note that the use of Llewellyn Journal articles
is subject to certain Terms and Conditions

You might have noticed New Year's Day tends to fall at different times in different cultures. For example, Chinese New Year falls in late January or February (at the new moon of their first lunar month). The Jewish New Year (aka Rosh Hashanah, or "Head of the Year") occurs in the fall, at the beginning of the seventh month of their ecclesiastical... read this article
Altar Design: Drafting the Plans for Manifestation
Fall in Love with Yourself This Valentine’s Day: Uncovering Your Amazing Gifts through the Five Elements
Surviving Venus and Mars Retrogrades
How to Use Affirmations That Work
The Moon as Calendar and Timepiece

Most recent posts:
The Lovers
It seems fitting that around Valentine’s Day we look at the Lovers card. This one is from the Steampunk Tarot. I remember when we were working on...

Deciphering the Nature of Purifying Ritual Space
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Michael Furie, author of Supermarket Magic, Spellcasting for Beginners, and the new Spellcasting:...

Tarot Journaling and the Star
At the beginning of a new year, people often make a resolution to keep a journal. Keeping a journal has many benefits and can be done any number of...





The Abyss Surrounds Us The Abyss Surrounds Us
By: Emily Skrutskie
Price: $11.99 US,  $13.95 CAN
Llewellyn's Witch's Coloring Book Llewellyn's Witch's Coloring Book
By: Llewellyn
Price: $12.99 US,  $14.95 CAN
Llewellyn's Shadowscapes Coloring Book Llewellyn's Shadowscapes Coloring Book
By: Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Price: $12.99 US,  $14.95 CAN
How to Survive Mercury Retrograde How to Survive Mercury Retrograde
And Venus & Mars, Too

By: Bernie Ashman
Price: $16.99 US,  $19.50 CAN
Wheels of Life Wheels of Life
A User's Guide to the Chakra System

By: Anodea Judith
Price: $21.95 US,  $25.50 CAN