Seventy Eight Degrees Wisdom Rev Tp Paperback – Nov 20 1997
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'Rachel Pollack's Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom is on my 'Top Ten' list of all time Tarot greats! You can't do better than this for discovering how Tarot symbols offer insights into the meaning of daily events and guidance through life's quandaries. This classic book will never outgrow its usefullness.' Mary K. Greer bestselling author of Tarot For Yourself: A Workbook For Personal Transformation and Women of the Golden Dawn
About the Author
Rachel Pollack was born in 1945 in Brooklyn New York. She became a keen student and after graduating from New York State University she took a Masters in English Literature. Shortly afterwards she began her travels in Europe, spending over 15 years in Amsterdam where she began her lifelong passion for esoteric wisdom and ancient divination. She is a highly experienced tarot reader and teacher, and the author of several books.
She now spends her time teaching the Tarot and producing poetry for performance artists. She also has a great love of photography and avant-garde jazz. Rachel Pollack currently lives in New York and occasionally does readings on US television.
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Top Customer Reviews
Pollack writes insightfully and intelligently, including longer passages for each of the cards of the Major Arcana. She includes reversed meanings and encourages shuffling the deck so as to ensure some cards fall upside down for a reading. She provides two examples for each card, one from A. E. Waite's deck illustrated by Pamela Coleman and the other from various other decks. Pollack notes that when she first wrote her book no one compared the different pictorial representations of various decks. She includes points of agreement and disagreement with interpretations from Waite's "The Pictorial Key to the Tarot", Aleister Crowley's "The Book of Thoth" and other works.
Unlike many contemporary authors on Tarot, Pollack subscribes to the notion that one can use the Tarot not only for interpretation of current circumstances but for seeking advice. She describes how to cast the Celtic cross a descriptive tool which can be used to gain insight into a present situation. She also shares a layout she created that the reader can use to gain insight into possible courses of action regarding work situations. Of the many books I've read on Tarot so far this one is the best.
Although I wouldn't normally recommend this book for the Tarot beginner, I'd recommend it highly to serious students of Tarot wanting to know more about the many different meanings of Tarot cards. Some beginners might find Pollack's usages of the definitions of cards to be more than the superficial ones.
Going far beyond the "This one covers you" school, Pollack gives many different ways to interpret the meanings of Tarot cards, both from a spiritual viewpoint ("What does this card mean to you?") and a metaphysical viewpoint ("What does this card mean to the person you're reading for?"). It also allows for meditation and self-study of Tarot cards.
Although set up like a standard Tarot book, with chapters covering the Major Arcana, the Minor Arcana, and some readings, (including a sample reading or two) Pollack's definitions of the cards goes far beyond the ordinary superficial "Death means something in your life is going through a major change - you are about to stop one thing and start doing another." Each card has a picture - many from the Rider-Waite deck that most Tarot card readers start with, but some from other decks that you may not have seen. Each card has numerous definitions - and even some examples of what that card might mean when in certain placements in a Tarot card reading, both regular and reversed.
I've no other books in my Tarot library that are more heavily thumbed than my old copies of the two "78 Degrees" books, and I was very glad that Pollack has found a publisher willing to not only reprint them, but allow her to revise them and include both books in one volume. Highly recommended for serious students of Tarot.
It gives the historical, mythological, spiritual, etc., meanings and attributions for each major card and also her personal insights and experience. She does the same for the minor cards, however, she doesn't go much into history and myth here but delves into her own experiences and interpretation. She also has GATE cards that allows the reader to get connected to particular cards that elucidate the intrinsic meanings of the suit. I'd love for her to do a book about meditations on the tarot.
To the back of the book there is an exposition on doing divination with the cards and she gives examples of the two spreads she covers to explain them better. Her Work Cycle spread is one with promise although I was left wanting a little more. I can't seem to find a resource where one can learn more about this spread.
There is one thing that I would ask every newbie to do when studying the cards. Get a resource that details occult symbols and colours. See how they fit into the particular cards and then you have a more detailed description of the cards. The meaning of some cards often don't appear in the artwork (figures etc) however the colours (red, orange, black etc) and the symbols (white rose, black staff, circle, etc) will clear up anything you have a question about.
Also, see MK Greer's book: Tarot for youself and Rachael Pollack's new book: The Forest of Souls.
Most recent customer reviews
This was my first book used as an introduction into tarot. I thought it was ok, went into some history, briefly captured how to get ready for a reading and focused on describing... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Despite all the rave reviews, I found this book only average. Although it does give historical information on each of the cards, somehow it didn't totally meet my expectations. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Shirley-Ann Rubis
Indeed this book is excellent! Very deep, detailed, profound in the explanations and at the same time interesting and simple to understand. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Ang
You don't know what you don't know until you open up a book and read about it! Some serious "aha!" moments occured within the first couple of chapters alone.Published 20 months ago by Sarah
This book is amazing and sure is a must have. The definitions are quit profound and give alot of value to the readings. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Monasoleil