Red Wheel sent me a copy of Jonathan Dee’s book, Tarot Mysteries. I hadn’t heard of Mr. Dee before, but he had a long, long career as an astrologer and reader in England, and was a prolific writer. Regrettably, Mr. Dee passed away a few years ago. I am thrilled, however, for this late introduction to his wonderful writing.
In the book, Mr. Dee identifies as an historian and it’s clearly evident in the text. The first section of the book is dedicated to the history o the cards, the Qabalah, the tarot and astrology and the Four Grail Hollows. The Hallows were fascinating to me – I’d never heard the cup, wand, pentacle and sword referred to as such. The Grail as the cup, the Spear of Destiny for the Wands, the Sword of Power for the swords and the Stone of Kings for the Pentacles. This chapter explores the order of the Golden dawn, the Quest Society and additional medieval lore. It’s really fascinating – true or not – and i love learning new perspectives on the cards that I thought I knew so well.
Following the history chapters are overviews of the Minor and Major Arcana, and some guidance for reading the cards and basic spreads. This is all pretty general information, but the way it’s written is so FRIENDLY. There is a short alternative title for each card, an esoteric title, a summary, the astrological tie-in, discussion of symbolism and positive/negative meanings. It’s written clearly and in depth, but it’s very accessible. My son is 11 and is learning the cards, and I’m giving him this book to use as a learning tool. This doesn’t mean that the book is written for children, but that it’s written for beginners and is super approachable. At the same time, I’ve been readings books like this since there were two Germany’s and I learned quite a few things from Mr. Dee.