Tarot cards on bookcase

Last Saturday took me to London. Though town was filled with its usual mix of exchange students and protesters, I managed to avoid the crowds and swung by Watkins Books on Cecil Court. I usually visit with a good friend, and somehow we always manage to time our arrival with that of a Harry Potter walking tour. They were there again and as ever it was hard to resist the urge to barge in somehow, perhaps if only to redeem Divination as a subject. I’ve never quite got over Hermione’s dismissive ‘…such a woolly discipline’.

Tarot cards on bookcase
Tarot shelves at Watkins Books


Despite being confronted by the image above, somehow I managed to avoid a new deck purchase – it’s actually easy to feel overwhelmed by the choice at Watkins – but I don’t think I have ever left the shop without buying something. Instead I found myself with a very heavy tote bag of books right at the start of the day.

Robert M Place, long term tarot reader, writer and creator, released last year a doorstep of a book.  His The Tarot, Magic, Alchemy, Hermeticism and Neoplatonism came home with me, along with Lo Scarabeo’s Tarot Compendium and Tarot Beyond the Basics by Anthony Louis, published by Llewellyn.

None of these is your beginners guide to the Tarot, but the Place book is certainly very readable so far. I am now at the stage where I want to delve deeper and connect the threads between diverse religious and esoteric traditions within the framework of the cards and all of these volumes offer ample opportunity to do just that. Reviews will follow once I’ve ploughed through around two thousand pages!

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