The Tales Behind Tarot: Discover the Stories Within Your Tarot Cards

Leaping Hare. May 2023. 224p. ISBN 9780711280663. $29. PARAPSYCH
From the title, one might expect historical or mythical stories about how each of the renderings of the tarot came to be. Instead, the author, who conducts storytelling workshops in the UK, has created five narratives, one for the Major Arcana and one each of the four tarot suits—Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles—that illuminate the meaning of the mystical and sometimes elusive illustrations of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck. This seminal deck, designed by A.E. Waite, illustrated by Pamela “Pixie” Coleman Smith (both members of the influential metaphysical group Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn), and published by the Rider Company in 1909, has become the translational basis for literally hundreds of tarot decks and launched the modern era of tarot. Davies’s stories, particularly the narrative of the Fool’s Journey (Major Arcana cards) and the identified themes of individual pips (Minor Arcana), highlight the esoteric elements of Smith’s drawings, demonstrating a keen understanding of the traditional interpretation of this foundational tarot deck.
VERDICT A good read providing mnemonics for those who are beginning their tarot journey or a deep dive on the Rider-Waite-Smith deck for the more experienced tarot reader.
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