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The Big Book of Tarot Meanings, by Sam Magdaleno

This has to be one of the best guidebooks on the Tarot that I have ever read – and I’ve read quite a few over the years.

The Big Book of Tarot Meanings: The Beginner’s Guide to Reading the Cards by Sam Magdaleno

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 stars





Apart from the gorgeous graphics and energizing background colours, this author has covered just about every aspect of the interpretation of the 78 cards in a Tarot deck. I was impressed! (I want my own autographed copy, this book is that good!)

I actually had fun reading this one, because the author’s personality invariably shines through the text. Exclamations such as “Oooh la la!” often had me chuckling appreciatively. The Tarot can be an intimidating, complex study, but it is not all doom and gloom, as this very gifted author has just proven. This is definitely a reference shelf keeper, and the easiest reference manual to serve as a guide for the amateur (and not so amateur) reader.



(Digression Warning:)Surprised to find that I am into The Tarot? Don’t be: we Scorpios are the zaniest people!

I have always had a “spiritual” side to my forthright, no-nonsense personality. Over the years, as I have commented before, I have come to believe that we are all energy, good and bad, and that we are all here to evolve and help one another along on (and I dislike the trite use of this word) our “journeys.”

When I was a youngster, I wanted ANSWERS to all the mysteries in life. I knew they were out there, I just didn’t know how to access them. Numerology was interesting and revealed what I already knew: that I am heavily into RESEARCHING EVERYTHING, that I loathe dogma, and instead seek knowledge and truth in all things.

Palmistry wasn’t cutting it for me: certain lines in the palm are fixed, but many lines will change over time – that revelation just annoyed my impatient teen self! When I learned, years later, that Carl Jung and several other famous/infamous people were guided by The Tarot, I dove right in. Carl Jung used the images in the Tarot deck to illuminate or interpret what was going on in the unconscious mind – for himself and his patients. I have also always been fascinated by psychology – by “what makes us tick.”



It was only after many years of studying The Tarot, off and on, that I confirmed (horrendous light bulb moment!) that we have free will, which, in turn, means that the future, for the most part, is not fixed. Major Bummer!!! At that point, totally miffed, I put away my Tarot deck and my reference books, and carried on with my life – only returning over the years to my hidden cache whenever things got really rough and I was desperate for some internal guidance, to calm or understand my jumbled thoughts and feelings. (Carl Jung, I owe you one!)



There are some people who can’t step a foot out the door without consulting a Tarot deck. For me, this is just another type of dependent or addictive behaviour, a fear of exercising your own free will. Unless you claim to have rock solid magical or mystical powers, you will not always interpret the spread before you correctly. (And many times, a spread will totally not answer the question asked . Surprise, surprise – not!) In my own forays into dealing and reading/interpreting a spread, I know that “hindsight” has often proven a spread to be spot on, but how was I to know that the Justice or Judgment card I drew was heralding a parking or a speeding ticket that day? It could just have easily been predicting a just conclusion to a dispute at work, etc. My take thus far: learn from the hard-earned lessons in your life, examine everything and be brutally honest in your evaluation, and then let your intuition coupled with common sense be your guide. But, above all, strive to live your best life NOW. (If COVID taught us anything, it certainly underscored that!) (End of Digression.)




If you are a hardcore Tarot practitioner or just a dabbler – or if you need a reference guide for a mystic theme party or carnival! – The Big Book of Tarot Meanings is an invaluable resource. I highly, highly recommend this excellent, well illustrated book. My great thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for an arc of this remarkable guidebook in exchange for an honest review. Loved it!

N.B. The graphics used in this review were culled from the internet, and not from the book itself, due to copyright restrictions.




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