Keywords for the Crowley Tarot (Anglais) Broché – 30 novembre 1999
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The title is started with "Keywords," but this is a much more valuable tool than that word implies. It start with a simple history of the Tarot, and then discusses several basic questions about Tarot-reading that most beginners want to know but are too shy to ask. One word of warning here though-the authors make some of the answers sound too concrete. While most of them are, things like whether or not to focus on your question while shuffling are very much debatable. It has been my experience that each reader needs to find out what works best for them. Just keep an open mind while reading this section.
I was very pleased with the spreads offered by the book. They are easy to understand and logical in their arrangements, and I have had great success with them. (They also include one of the best interpretations of the Celtic Cross that I have ever seen.) The book is also very helpful in that it includes a nice section on the quintessence, which is (again) easy to understand. The book doesn't look down on its readers, but it doesn't bog you down with information that really isn't necessary to have a working knowledge of the deck.
The largest section of the book is dedicated to the individual interpretations of the cards. This book does this the best of any Tarot book I have seen-including those for other decks. Instead of just listing a whole bunch of words, it breaks them up based on what area of life they pertain to, the more "positive" and "negative" sides of the cards, etc. And while the book does provide a little more information on the major arcana, I was thrilled to find out how much detail was still given to the minor as well-an area that is sorely lacking in many books.
But there is one thing that really sets this book above and beyond all others to me, and that is the explanations of the imagery on the cards. The Crowley deck includes symbolism from many different areas. While this makes it accessible to a wide range of students, it also means that people may miss out on certain areas that they aren't as familiar with. For example, I know plenty about the numbers, elements and astrological symbols seen on the cards, but I am still learning about the Kabbalah. "Keywords . . ." fills in this hole for me. And I cannot imagine trying to use the cards without at least a basic working knowledge of the astrological symbols seen on the cards-for people who do not study astrology, this book is invaluable.
In addition, it picks out the most prominent general images from the cards and provides interpretations for them. Even if you think that you know the cards inside and out, this book might surprise you by pointing out an aspect that you've missed. I find that learning the meaning of the more important images on the cards has greatly increased my ability to remember the lesser-known aspects of each card during readings-allowing me to see meanings and interpretations that I before would not have considered.
This book does not pretend to be a treatise on the magickal theory behind the cards, as the title clearly states. If that it what you want, you should read Crowley's works. But it is an excellent tool for working with the cards on a daily basis, and for learning ever more about them. And for once, the quote on the back is true: ". . . for students of the Tarot, from absolute beginner to advanced practitioner." I wish it had been around when I started with the deck.
Anzhaf and Theler begin with a detailed introduction and history of the Tarot, discussing two approaches to the cards and the theories of coincidence and a random oracle. Between games and seers. They go deeply into the different versions of the Tarot, showing comparisons and contrast to the Crowley deck. Crowley's art is rich with symbolism and throughout the book, the authors use this symbolism to enhance the reader's understanding of the meanings Crowley developed through his deck art. Further into the book after detailed descriptions of layouts and reader/seeker relationships and questions, we are presented with a section describing each card and its symbols. Each card has the aspects of "general, profession, consciousness, partnership, encourages and warns against" laid out for the reader to develop meanings. "Card for the Day" is a chosen card meant to show you what may be in store for that day, what you might watch for and your energy focus.
The authors very obviously know their subject and Crowley, his methods, secrets and philosophy are further revealed. A difficult figure in esoteric history, Crowley left the world with two minds. Either one appreciates the genius in the eccentricity, or cannot see beyond the eccentricity. It is my understanding that the Tarot he designed held keys to his magic and methods. This book reveals much of what Mr. Crowley tried to impart to the world of mystical study.
Definitely not a book for the beginner, Keywords for the Crowley Tarot is must-have for the intermediate or advanced Tarot practitioner. Once the connection of unique symbolism and card placement/ position is made, the reader begins to understand the intricacies of this deck. The authors' easy manner and well-designed presentation of information makes that connection easy and painless for any reader of the Tarot. Armed with new insight, anyone reading this book would find the style and methods of interacting with the cards greatly enhanced. A highly recommended reference volume.
I have noticed that most Newbies to the Thoth deck latch-onto this book, like a Prize ! Then, I return it to the shelf and tell them the ISBN #, so they can get their own copy.
I'll, do a more thorough review, in the future. For now, I just want to give the authors Kudos for their work.
The translation from German is sometimes not perfect; however, this is compensated for by the fact that the text is clear, informative and useful.
Choosing your favourite Tarot deck is a matter of personal taste, based on a number of factors. Starting from an attraction to a particular deck, people typically build up a rapport with particular decks and build up a case history of meanings. Having used other decks in the past I now regard the Crowley deck as my favourite. These cards have given me the deepest, and very personally meaningful responses.
However, to start using the Crowley deck, you defintely need a specialist reference book to help you, as much of the symbolism is quite different to other decks. In this respect Banzhaf's and Theler's book is to my mind the best I have seen.