Review by Bonnie Cehovet
The Thoth Tarot came into P. C. Tarantino's life at a crossroads time, when decisions needed to be made, but the way was not clear. Through working with this deck as a tool of empowerment, she was able to move her life in a positive direction. Since 1984 she has been teaching the system of Tarot as a tool of empowerment. What more can we ask of these lovely esoteric cards!
The first things that impressed me about this book were its organization, its concise sense of presentation, and the fact that it went far beyond the scope of just presenting information on the cards. With this book in your hand, you will have a tool of self-discovery that is fun to use, while at the same time hitting all of the salient points for a highly esoteric deck.
"Tarot for the New Aeon" is broken down into the following sections: Introduction, Thoth Tarot Advisor, Symbols of the Thoth Tarot, and Personal Guidance Cards. In her introduction, Tarantino covers Tarot history (the only weak section in this book), an interesting bio on Aleister Crowley (including the well known edict "Do What Thou Wilt Shall be The Whole Of The Law" from his "The Book of the Law"), notes on the Egyptian God Thoth (and on bringing the skills inherent in this deck into the twenty-first century, through offering a method for illuminating your thoughts, understanding your emotions, and consciously clarifying your will and intent.
The basics of the four suits are presented, as well as a structure for reading with the cards. it is here that the structure of the book comes clear, as Tarantino defines the three sections of this book as: (1) advice based on the cards in your readings, (2) details and definitions of the meaning of the symbols, and (3) reading the cards from a lifetime path perspective.
The reader is encouraged to work with the Tarot in a manner that is comfortable with them. For example, if ritual is something that you are comfortable with, then include ritual in your study and use of the cards. However, if you are not comfortable with ritual, or it is simply not something that you use, then it is not necessary to include it in your work with the cards.
In discussing upright and inverted cards, Tarantino suggests that inverted cards may be read as potential energy that is currently not being used. Negative cards are seen as pitfalls in the life path that we have shown. My personal take on this - viewing inverted cards as pitfalls, the reader has a wonderful avenue for working with the Seeker on actions that they can take to gain control of their lives. She also addresses the scenario where the cards just "do not make sense".
My favorite part of this section was addressing the issues of phrasing questions. Tarantino has included a wide variety of sample questions that act as a wonderful template for working with the cards in an informed manner, whether for yourself or when reading for someone else.
Spreads are also addressed, including sample readings. Position definitions are given, but a template as to how the cards were to be laid out are not. I really think this if fine, as it allows the reader to take the position meanings and place them in a manner that makes sense to them. Included are a basic Three Card spread, a three card Past/Present/Future spread, a three card Morning spread, a six card Relationship spread, a seven card New Year's spread, and a seven card Illumination spread. The advice given at the end of the spread section: Honor Your Intuition!
The section on the "Thoth Advisor" is prefaced with a table of contents listing page numbers for each of the cards. The cards themselves are presented with black and white scans - one in the upright and one int he inverted position. A full page of interpretation is given for each of the seventy-eight cards. I thought this was quite an innovative manner of presenting this information!
The section on "Symbols in the Thoth Tarot" is also prefaced with a table of contents listing the page numbers for each of the cards. The Major Arcana is presented in light of the 3X7 theory, where the Fool stands alone above the cards, with the remaining twenty-one cards broken down into three lines of seven cards each, describing the journey the Fool is taking.
The Major Arcana are presented with a black and white scan and the meaning of the card on one page, with the symbols found within the card, and their meaning, on the facing page. The Pips (numbered cards) are presented with a black and white scan and a short paragraph on the symbolism within the card. The Court Cards are presented in the same manner as the Major Arcana. With the esoteric nature of this deck, this is information that is more than important ... it is essential to understand.
I loved the section on Personal Guidance Cards. This is the section of the book that I consider going beyond the presentation of the cards, and really going beyond simple "added value". This section is a huge gift to the reader and the Seeker. Tarantino show the reader how to define Personality Cards, Soul Cards, Inner Teacher Cards, Challenge and Opportunity cards.
These cards allow us an incredible look into our own psyche, and allow us to make better informed decisions in our lives. This section is incredibly easy to work with, as well as being a lot of fun! The interpretations for the cards in each category are short but thorough, and present a great way to work with the Tarot.
In her End Notes, Tarantino includes two appendixes - Appendix I covers Qabalah and the Tarot, Astrology and the Tarot, Alchemy and the Tarot, and Patterns (recurring cards/numbers within a reading). Appendix II acts as a quick reference to the meaning of the cards in the "Thoth Tarot".
I am impressed with this book, and feel that all levels of Tarot student would find something to interest them. The information is presented in a straightforward manner, is easy to understand and easy to implement. This is a good book to add to any Tarot reference library.
© August 2007
Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.