Friday 15 March 2019

Review: 78 Degrees of Wisdom: A Tarot Journey

If you are only going to buy one book about the tarot, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom would be a good choice. It is a classic -full of detail about the cards' history and the meanings ascribed to them through mythology, psychology and esoteric traditions. It also offers a great introduction to common tarot spreads.

But, there is a better choice - the new edition of the book, which came out this month.

Peter Turner, associate publisher at Red Wheel/Weiser, emailed me to say: "It hard to believe but it’s nearly 40 years ago that Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom was first published. To celebrate we’re publishing a new edition in March with a new preface and cover."

Although I am maxed out with a huge reading list from the MA literature course I'm currently doing, I couldn't turn down the chance to review this updated version of the book with new material by author Rachel Pollack.

What I particularly like about Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom is the depth of information it goes into about each card. As well as showing how tarot can be used for divinatory readings, it offers a huge amount of wisdom about the cards as showing a symbolic journey of personal development and spiritual enlightenment, using examples from various magical and religious traditions, and from post-Jungian psychology.

Rachel Pollack's message is positive, showing how even difficult life experiences offer potential for transformation, insight and growth. Yet she never shies away from tackling difficult or controversial issues - we each have our own devils to face and towers to destroy.

On its website, Red Wheel/Weiser says:
When it was first published nearly 40-years-ago, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom was an instant classic and inspired generations of tarot students. Often referred to as the “bible of tarot books” it has now helped to launch the “tarot renaissance” we’re seeing today. Drawing on mythology and esoteric traditions and delving deeply into the symbolism and ideas of each card, the book offers a modern psychological interpretation of the tarot archetypes rather than a system of esoteric symbolism.

You can view Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom on Amazon.

Links and previous related posts


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