The Bookworm’s
Guide to Tarot
By James W. Revak


Zain, C.C. (pseud. of Benjamine Elbert).  (1936).  The Sacred Tarot.
• Republished (1969).  Los Angeles: The Church of Light.  vi + 416 pp. + appendices; illus.; softcover.  The following review is based on this version.
3 Stars Intermediate  TTT
This title, among the first American books concerning Tarot, serves, in part, as a guidebook to The Brotherhood of Light Egyptian Tarot, which was designed by the author, founder of the Church of Light.  In this book he discusses the symbolism of the deck in fair detail.  However, sometimes this title is more a rich compendium of Occult or Western Esoteric philosophy than a methodical, practical approach to the Brotherhood of Light Tarot.  Nevertheless, the author examines Tarot from numerous perspectives, including its structure, the Hermetic Cabala, numerology, astrology, magic, Freemasonry, alchemy, and the Bible.  He also discusses how to use his deck for divination to a fair extent.  Unfortunately, his divinatory meanings (Major and Minor Arcana, upright orientation) are typically very brief and often ambiguous.  Additionally, his approach to divination is idiosyncratic; a user of it may have difficulty communicating with other Tarotists.  Still, individuals who regularly use this deck or have an interest in how traditional Occultism or Western Esotericism may be related to Tarot will find this book helpful and informative.  All cards from this deck are illustrated.


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Copyright © 2001 James W. Revak.  All rights reserved.  Version 2.0 (8/10/01).