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A top tarotist’s secrets to personal growth, one card at a time. The two volumes of Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom have inspired a whole generation of tarot students. It has often been described by readers, booksellers, and teachers as the “Bible of tarot readers.” It is also often cited as one of the landmark books in modern tarot, and it helped to launch the “Tarot Renaissance” of the 1980s. The two texts, one for The Major Arcana and one for The Minor Arcana, appear together in this volume, which is a reissue of the 1998 edition first published by Thorsons. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom draws on mythology and esoteric traditions and delves deeply into the symbolism and ideas of each card. It also gives the cards a modern psychological slant based on the pictures rather than a system of occult symbolism. This endlessly useful reference tool provides a concise history of tarot, introduces common spreads, and is a clear and readable book for both the beginning and advanced tarot student.
The Daughters of Sophia EBC Review
Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom has come to be known as “The Bible of Tarot.” Readers will learn the intended and evolving meanings of the Major Arcana, and how to compartmentalize the Minor Arcana by understanding their elemental qualities. Pollack is brilliant in her highly structured breakdown, taking the overwhelming symbolism of the tarot, and breaking it down into a digestible framework.
As an indispensable tool for students of tarot, we wish we would have read this book before ever starting to learn the tarot because it would have saved so much wasted time misunderstanding how to use the cards and interpret their meanings.
Rachel Pollack is an impeccable scholar and does thorough research of her subject while also weaving in personal experiences to help readers relate to the journey that is the tarot reader’s experience.
Reading Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom early on your EBC is a smart thing to do because it will give your group a basic framework for conversations, and further study. Pollack also explains how astrology and numerology relate to the tarot which is helpful when layering these methods into your readings.
Readers will find that it’s a jumping-off point for all other tarot decks–even if they don’t adhere to the Smith-Waite structure. Students will come to understand the basis for the way tarot has been used in this century and why others have rebelled by creating decks in reaction to Smith-Waite’s limitations. Novices of tarot learn what tarot is and isn’t, while experienced readers find layers of structure within that didn’t even know existed! In essence, you don’t know what you don’t without first reading Pollack’s Seventy-Eight Degree of Wisdom, the Bible of tarot.
Work The Book
To work this book on your own, or in your EBC, you will need:
1.) A journal. In the case of this book, you might want to designate a whole journal to notes. It’s helpful to do practice readings as you go along depicting the evolution of the deck itself, breaking the deck up into its hierarchies of Major Arcana and Minor Arcana and the subsets of those. By doing this you can learn and remember the tarot more efficiently.
2.) A deck of Smith-Waite tarot cards. Specifically, the Smith-Waite deck because it’s the basis for the book, but also because most other decks are either made following the same structure, or they are some kind of reaction to it.
3.) Plan to do some readings with your EBC sisters with the intention of coaching each other through. Each person will have a unique way of interpreting the book and the cards themselves which can add to your own insights.
With Love and Light,
The Daughters of Sophia