by Jonathan Dee
I’m glad I read this tarot book, and it’s one I will keep for my library. However, it’s unlikely that I’d recommend it to anyone except a dedicated tarot scholar, historian, or academic. It’s one of the better books that addresses the history and esoterica of tarot. Unfortunately, however, it does have that “dry, academic” feel to the language. Additionally, Tarot Mysteries doesn’t really go out of its way to engage with a modern reader. I don’t see many tarot novices, especially with TikTok and YouTube available, having the patience or desire to read this.
That said, if Kabbalah, Zodiac or the 4 Grail Hallows approaches to tarot interest you, this is your book. The author gives each of these topics its own chapter and then revisits the esoteric elements in the card-by-card breakdown of Major/Minor Arcana.
The card-by-card breakdown is one that just about every tarot book includes in some form. This book’s approach to the card-by-card breakdown isn’t really any better or worse than others. It just doesn’t add much to the conversation, except the inclusion of the astrological and Tree of Life symbolism. These additions are solid, but not exceptional. There are definitely other books I’d refer to first, so for me, this book will be supplemental at best. The same card-by-card breakdown you can find in most beginner’s tarot books makes up the majority of page count. Because of the “page bloat”, it’s really only the first 60 pages and the last 15 that offer anything unique.
I’m glad I didn’t pay a lot for Tarot Mysteries, and I’d recommend checking it out from a library before buying it. I will keep it for my tarot library, but I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to find this one unless you are a student of esoteric tarot symbolism.