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"Gnostic Tarot" book

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NightWing's Avatar
NightWing  NightWing is offline
Join Date: 16 Nov 2004
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 578
"Gnostic Tarot" book

I've been considering getting a copy of the Lee Irwin book, "Gnostic Tarot: Mandalas for Spiritual Transformation" that was published in 1998. At over 350 pages, it might be very "meaty" in terms of content, but then again there could be lots of "filler".

Has anyone had any experience of this book? Comments either pro or con would be appreciated. Thank-you in advance.
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mythos's Avatar
mythos  mythos is offline
Join Date: 03 May 2005
Location: Halfway up the hill, or down it as the mood takes
Posts: 4,518

I have it. I started reading it some years back when I was soooooooo 'newbie' that I was lost in the first dozen pages. My feeling is that, even these years later, I am still insufficiently prepared for it I may be wrong here!), so I think 'meaty' is a good description. I am trying to crawl before I run, but it beckons to me life a light to a lost sailor.

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Astrum_Stultas's Avatar
Astrum_Stultas  Astrum_Stultas is offline
Join Date: 16 Feb 2006
Location: New Jersey, USA
Posts: 166
I'm Gnostic!

My religion falls under the catergory of NeoGnosticism...but I do know a lot of Gnostic history. I'd love to hear people's opinions on this book, and maybe some of what they learned from it.
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Phantom Goddess's Avatar
Phantom Goddess  Phantom Goddess is offline
Join Date: 10 Jul 2004
Location: Florida America
Posts: 334
Phantom Goddess 

im curious about this book too
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Rosanne's Avatar
Rosanne  Rosanne is offline
Join Date: 08 Dec 2004
Location: North Auckland,New Zealand
Posts: 5,917

I purchased this book when I had stopped reading for others.
I had used the cards for reflection before, but this book was a structured way to to do that. I will quote chapter one in (little) part.
"The gnostic tarot creates a set of meaningful relationships which correspond with both the natural outer world (the macrcosm) and the inner developmental processes of spiritual awakening (the microcosm) and sees those processes as reflected in the uses and imagery of the cards. It emphasizes the Hermetic aspects of psychic and symbolic transformation that lead to a more aware sensitivity in the interpretation of Tarot imagery."
which is fine and the book leads you through this journey well I think..... but it says
"To understand these relationships you must avoid using the Tarot in a simple diagnostic or oracular fashion"
It has a great chapter and timeline of the early roots of Tarot. A very good long discussion on the elements and method and interpretation. The majority of the book is taking each card describing it via Ravenswood Tarot and Waite upright(Pamela Colman Smiths images) and a section on the card from a Gnostic interpretation and reversed.
I like the book well, especially for its priciple or philosopy of transformation through the world of imagination. I like Irwins ethic to create a more compassionate world of individual seekers who are participators not spectators in life. I use it not as one read, but with each card I draw.I give the book 7 out of 10 (most don't make 5 lol)~Rosanne
Top   #5
judithskiss  judithskiss is offline
Join Date: 05 Apr 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 1
a love/hate book

I bought the book because i love reading variations of tarot interpretation. after reading the first part of the book, which is mostly a prologue, i was exhausted. Erwin tends to go on tangents the include fragmented sentences and sporadic ideas. I also believe that he has a snooty tone when it comes to spouting off information. It almost seems like "you couldn't possibly comprehend these ideas, but I do because I'm an intelluctual."
However, once you get past all of that, the organization of the rest of the book and the gnostic ionterpretations are really awesome. I, especially, love that the cards are grouped by number and hiearchies and not by suits. preceeding each group is an essay on why the numbers are significant and their connection to eachother. I'm a big fan of symbolism and mythology so i find myself going back to the book. I think it's a great buy.
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Toxicmage's Avatar
Toxicmage  Toxicmage is offline
Join Date: 22 Oct 2009
Location: Northern California
Posts: 185

I really like this book! There is a lot meat here..if you can get around the authors scholarly writing style ( there are WAY too many big words in this book ), but still there is a lot of really good information in here.

If you know absolutely nothing about gnostism, learn some of the basic terms before getting this book. He doesn't explain things like " higher Sophia " and other terms..he assumes you know what he is talking about.

Even though the book is geared for doing mandals for yourself and not others, if you read for other people, you will still get a lot of this. I am starting my second re-read of this because there is a lot of information in here.
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shiza  shiza is offline
Join Date: 15 Feb 2010
Location: amsterdam Holland
Posts: 11

i just read some passages that are available on the internet. this book is now on my ' must buy the moment i can afford it' list.
Top   #8
Toxicmage's Avatar
Toxicmage  Toxicmage is offline
Join Date: 22 Oct 2009
Location: Northern California
Posts: 185

Originally Posted by shiza
i just read some passages that are available on the internet. this book is now on my ' must buy the moment i can afford it' list.
Just remember that the term " gnostic " covers a wide range of different beliefs.
Top   #9


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