The Rabbi's Tarot
The Rabbi's Tarot: Spiritual Secrets of the Tarot covers each of the major arcana and their links with the Hebrew perspective. A good reference book, designed to deepen understanding of the esoteric foundations of the tarot.
By Daphna Moore Hughes
Book - Published by Henshaw Publications
Review by Bonnie Cehovet
Bottom line … “The Rabbi’s Tarot” lives up to its name … and more! It is an outstanding book that addresses the esoteric mysteries at the foundation of the symbolism of the Tarot, and deepens our understanding of the functions of the Superconscious, Self-conscious and Subconscious as we move along the Fool’s/Hero’s journey. An added bonus here is that the wisdom of the Hebrew interpretations are co-mingled with Christian beliefs, so that there is a balance between the two systems. This book serves as an invaluable reference source, and a priceless tool of empowerment for those wishing to better understand themselves, and grow as individuals.
In his introduction, Donald Michael Craig notes that the Tarot can be seen as a map to the universe … the entire universe … physical and non-physical, as well as the psychology and psychic makeup of every individual within that universe. He also notes that the first law of occultism is to “know yourself”. According to Craig, the original work contained within this book was done by a rabbi … hence the name of the book. In her dedication, Moore notes that she was entrusted to pass along this information, and that her chosen vehicle was the written word.
An entire chapter is devoted to each of the 22 Major Arcana. Full color, large, glossy scans are presented for each card (from the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot), along with associations for the Hebrew letter, the symbol for the Hebrew letter, the Elemental attribution, the color attribution, the numerical value, Syllables, sound (tone), planet, translation, and sign in the Zodiac. The back side of the page containing this information has been left blank so that notes may be made. Each of these pages is glossy paper stock, which the other pages are regular paper stock. From the book:
2nd Hebrew Letter – Aleph Symbol For – Breath of Life Element Attributed to – Air Color – Bright Pale Yellow Numerical Value – 1 Syllables – ALP Sound – E-Natural Planet – Uranus Translation – Ox or Bull Sign in Zodiac - Taurus
Moore starts out by advising that if the student wants to recognize and utilize the information contained within the Hebrew letters associated with each card, that they need to become familiar not only with the shape of the letter, but with all of its associations … to the point that all of the associations need to be memorized.
She does an excellent job of discussing each Hebrew letter (including pronunciation, and the fact that it is a Mother letter), and what it means, in a manner that is quite easily understood. Immediately we begin to hear about self-conscious and sub-conscious, intellect and will. There is such a level of information in this book that each time the student takes the journey, they are taken to a deeper and deeper level of understanding. This is material that needs to be worked with to be understood, and to be understood to be placed into the life of the student. From the book:
“In the card, The Fool, you have a picture of the I AM descending into matter and the equipment He brings with Him to ascend again out of it. This type of Intelligence is called the CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE. He who descends into matter ascends again out of it by self-cultivation.
First, through the cultivation he receives by the education of nature; Second, by the advanced cultivation he receives through group living, by what we call civilization and all it’s instrumentalities – government, philosophy, art, religion; and Third, by taking himself in hand when he has reached the point in evolution where he feels the compelling urge to do so, he speeds up his evolution by intensive work upon his organism as a practical occultist or mystic. Always from the beginning we feel the urge in us to create, which, in the end, takes us back to our source. Why do we feel it? Because THE FOOL brings his vision down with him.”
Moore goes on to say that the Tarot, if properly applied, helps us to objectify our dreams. In discussing the symbolism of the Fool, Moore notes that the vision of the Fool (i.e. what he sees) is out of sight. She notes that we do see what is in the upper corner of the Fool’s card in two other cards … it is the Angel … Man when he has become perfected. The white rose in the Fool’s hand represents purified (the color white) desire (the rose). We purify desire by balancing the acts of the conscious and unconscious. This is indicated by the two leaves that the white rose springs from. Moore has much more to say about the symbolism of the Fool, but these few words will show the intent and purpose behind her writing.
Each card is covered in this manner, interspersed with comments on Moore’s own insights into the Tarot.
I was impressed that included with the book was a partial page tear sheet entitled “Errata”, indicating (and apologizing for) two very minor typographical errors. This is a top quality book by nature of the material covered, and the thoughtful presentation by the author. This is a must have book for anyone intending to seriously study personal growth through the Tarot, or for anyone wanting to get a foothold into it’s esoteric nature.
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.