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Reading the Tarot: Understanding the Cards of Destiny

How to interpret the cards correctly and understand their real-life applications.

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3 comments on “Reading the Tarot: Understanding the Cards of Destiny

  1. One of the best tarot books ever This was an excellent book. It was easy to fowllow and understandible. It had a picture of every tarot card and clearly and beautifully explained what it the cards meaning and how to apply it to a reading. It is easy enough for my nine year old brother to understand. I think all beginners should ave this book, yet it is a must have for advanced tarot card readers. I hope you enjoy this book!

  2. For the seeker A good book for the seeker it was very informative and easy I recommended it to beginners and those who need to brush up on there skills.

  3. This review is about the 1990 edition, not the more recent 1995 edition sold here. But both are 208 pages, so I doubt if there have been any revisions to the edition I’m using.Dr. Martello writes in the first page of the introduction that the purpose of this book is to show you how to “read” the Tarot, how to make sense out of the cards, and how to use them in a practical way. The book does appear to be geared to only the “fortune-telling” or divinatory aspect of Tarot. Then there’s a quote found on page 75 (emphasis mine): “The meanings given to each card here are to help you learn their symbolism, to identify WITH each card, to get you STARTED. These are idea STARTERS, pychic instigators ["instigators?"]…” Good point. If taken in that sense, it’s a fair beginner’s book (I’m a novice myself by the way). But it is often rather easy to attach too much weight to what an author says a particular card means. If the book’s primary purpose is to stimulate your own original thinking and NOT take what he writes as gospel, I would say it’s a marginally acceptable beginner’s book. But I still can only give it two stars.Since there is no “Look Inside” option and scant information about the book, here are a few notes.The author, Dr. Leo Louis Martello is an ex-ordained minister who now researches philosophy, psychology, and the Old Religion (witchcraft).It’s based on the classic original Rider-Waite deck.Seven pages on the origin of Tarot.One page about color symbolism – but ONLY about RED & BLACK (life/death, good/bad,day/night, hot/cold/ summer/winter, light/dark, ego/id, consciousness/ unconsciousness, heaven/hell. He addresses colors only from a dualistic Yin/Yang perspective. No other colors are mentioned here. He refers to colors a few times in the card pages, but only in passing, and not in regard to symbolism.Three pages about number symbolism (But only the numbers 1 through 13).Eleven pages about card layouts of which there are six different spreads.(“Simplified Method”(7-cards): Celtic Cross(10 cards; he puts the 3rd card at the top of the cross, 4th at the bottom, 5th at the left, & 6th at the right: Wheel of Fortune(8-cards): The Next Twelve Months (using ALL the cards!)Obviously 12 doesn’t divide into 78 evenly, so January – June receive 7 cards each; & July – December only receive 6 cards each. The Astrological Tarot(I think only 12 cards, but ambiguous directions), and a Simplified Method II – “Another simplified method is to read the middle pile of cards after the Tarot has been cut into three as in Figure 3.6 [shows 3 piles with two cards beneath each top card]. Just lay them out side by side and read them in relation to each other Then have the subject pick cards from one of the piles. He will ask the reader questions about his life, and, based on the cards, the reader will answer them.” That’s the entire extent of the explanation. What does he mean? It seems confusing and unclear to me. IMHO, from a beginner/novice perspective, these spreads are too complicated & involve a very difficult application of interpretive faculties. There are too many card juxtapositions from which to orchestrate a meaning. Except the last simple 3-card one (if it is indeed 3-cards, but I don’t think so. I’m not quite sure).The Major Arcana & Minor Arcana each get a one page preliminary general discussion.All 76 cards get a one (left) page discussion with a full (right) page picture of the card in B&W. For the Major Arcana, he has: Description (just a brief description of the picture itself), Symbolism, Meaning, and Reversed meaning. The Minor Arcana (Ace-10_have: Description, Meaning, a memory-aid two-line Rhymed couplet, and what the particular card means with a few selected possible other cards in combination. The court cards have: Description, Symbolism, Coloring(skin, eyes, hair), Depiction, Comments (which are miscellaneous observations – but not often having to do with combinations with other cards). Oddly, there are NO reversed meanings given for any of the Minor Arcana.For the four suits, Pentacles, Swords, Cups, Wands, he gives attributes for the associated element respectively (earth, air, fire, water); direction (east, north west, south); and the regular 52-card deck parallel as follows:Pentacles = diamonds; Swords = spades; Cups = hearts; Wands = clubs. Arthur Edward Waite, however, in “The Pictorial Key To The Tarot” indicates Wands = diamonds andPentacles = clubs. I found it extremely curious and even a little unsettling that Martello would switch two of Waite’s regular deck suit affiliations with no explanation, even though he uses the Rider-Waite deck in the book. Except for the fact his grandmother & great-grandmother were Sicilian witches & it was probably their tradition. I will say that Martello’s suit correspondence makes more intuitive sense to me…

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