Complete Guide to Tarot Illuminati
Complete Guide to Tarot Illuminati is the extended companion book to the Tarot Illuminati, published in eBook format. Written by Kim Huggens, her eBook delves much deeper into the symbolism and imagery of the cards and also offers exercises and practices for use with the cards.
By Kim Huggens
eBook - 420 pages - Published by Llewellyn
Review by Lori Lytle
I had a crush on the Tarot Illuminati deck even before I was able to get my hands on an actual copy. When it arrived in my mailbox in May 2013, my admiration for this luminous deck continued to grow. Looking to learn more about how it came to be, I listened to an interview with the deck’s creator, Erik C. Dunne, and the writer of the companion book, Kim Huggens, on the Tarot Tribe – Beyond Worlds podcast. During the interview, Kim Huggens talked about the comprehensive, 600+ page companion book that she had originally written, and how she tearfully endured an editing process that ripped out huge hunks of her text in order to bring it down to a size that would fit in the boxed set. She said this with a sense of humor, as well as regret, and explained that this situation led to her creation of an e-book entitled the “Complete Guide to Tarot Illuminati”, which contains a more detailed, in-depth analysis of the cards and the symbolic systems contained within.
Kim Huggens has been studying Tarot since the age of nine, is the author of “Tarot 101: Mastering the Art of Reading the Cards” (Llewellyn, 2010) and co-creator of “Sol Invictus: the God Tarot” (Schiffer Books, 2007). When the author who was originally expected to write the Tarot Illuminati companion book became unavailable at the last moment, Kim stepped in and agreed to write the book with a daunting deadline of mere weeks.
The Complete Guide to Tarot Illuminati is a deep exploration of this deck, as well as an excellent resource for general RWS symbolism. The book includes sections on the Major Arcana, Minor Arcana and Court Cards, with a chapter for each individual card. The attention to detail is quite remarkable, as each chapter begins with a first person speech from the card itself, followed by a discussion of the symbolism and the possible meanings within a reading, and ends with useful and easy to digest keywords. Throughout the book, Kim also includes practical exercises, called “Making Light Work”, which adds a nice balance and keeps things from becoming too academic or theoretical.
The book concludes with a section called “Using the Tarot Illuminati” which includes several simple and easy to use spreads, as well as advice on how to use the cards without a fixed layout. The spreads are clear and elegant, and suitable for both beginners and practiced readers.
The sheer quantity of information that Kim provides in the e-book is what differentiates it from the hard copy that accompanies the deck. She calls upon her extensive knowledge of ancient cultures, religion and mythology (particularly that of Ancient Greece and Rome) to bring the images on the cards to life, and to help the reader create a strong personal bond with the deck. She also integrates a number of complementary systems into her explanations, such as astrology, numerology, alchemy and Kabbalah. The information that she provides is fascinating and could add great depth to readings, but beginners may find the vast amount of such diverse material somewhat confusing or overwhelming. This is a book that needs to be read in more than one sitting, and should be referred to multiple times, so that everything can really sink in.
The author mentioned that she hopes this e-book will eventually be published in hard copy, and I wholeheartedly second that emotion. This to me was the only drawback, as I found the e-book format somewhat tiring to read, and I suspect that this was also the reason why no illustrations beyond spread layouts were included in the book.
This being said, I strongly recommend this e-book to fans of the Tarot Illuminati as well as to all RWS practitioners. Kim Huggens provides a good combination of spiritual and scholarly information balanced with practical exercises, and what she has to say is useful for a study of both the Tarot Illuminati and all decks that follow the RWS tradition. Even if you already have the short companion book that came with the deck, I recommend purchasing the e-book. The information contained within goes far beyond the hard copy and is a pleasure to read.
Lori Lytle is a professional Tarot reader based in Toronto, Canada and the founder of Inner Goddess Tarot. Her email and in-person readings focus on empowerment and personal growth. Visit her website and blog at innergoddesstarot.com.