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"Jolanda den tredjes book om tarot" review


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Tristram Shandy  Tristram Shandy is offline
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"Jolanda den tredjes book om tarot" review


Rosie Björkman: Jolanda den tredjes book om tarot (in Swedish)
The Swedish Witch Tarot deck

This is a review of both of them, but more about the book, so I posted this to the books forum. I originally intended to post this to the de-enabling tread.

I became enthusiastic when I saw some pictures of this deck. They pleased me stylistically, and I thought I could use the deck. I finally prepared buying it and the book online.

Then I noticed that a library in the neighbouring municipality had the book on its shelf. I decided to pay a small fee to order that book. It was worth it: I saved money, when I realized that I would neither like the book or the deck.

I finally could see the cards of the whole deck from the book. The major arcana looked great, just I had thought earlier. But there were several cards in the minor arcana that were under par compared to the major arcana. They had blank backgrounds, or otherwise lacked detail. Many cards look enigmatic in my eyes, they have all kinds of animals and objects, which meanings I would like to find from the book. But the book didn't explain them. On the other hand, the author of the book, Rosie Björkman, hadn't drawn the images of the cards.

Were the card interpretations in the book any good? Frankly, I don't care about it any more. The book had more room to its author's religious views than to the cards, and I was frustrated by it. Björkman is a neo-pagan who swears by prehistoric European matriarchal religions. But it isn't certain that such great historical phase has ever existed: the evidence on it can be interpreted in many ways. But not according to Björkman. She calls her religious views as "ancient Nordic" (fornnordisk), which means that they would be the same as the Nordic, matriarchal ones.

The book repeats too often the misconceptions found in neo-pagan literature, which diminishes its credibility. The book says that Artemis is maiden, Isis mother, and Hecate crone - altough the Greeks depicted Hecate as a young woman, too! The European witch hunts were not mainly run by the inquisition. Word Lilith doesn't come from the lily etc. The book is guilty of Christian-bashing because it claims that the Christian god is primarily a war-god. This is contrary to the beliefs of countless Christians. The neo-pagans ask for tolerance, still, several of them try to trample Christianity by giving distorted descriptions on its views. Notice that I am not a Christian, I am most interested in Sethian Gnosticism. Then there is plenty of text about neo-pagan meditations and other practices, which don't interest me, but some people could like it. In general, I think that only people, who understand Swedish and are interested both in tarot and neo-pagan practices, could like this book. Still, they should read the "herstory" sections with caution to avoid becoming fluffy bunnies. I don't understand the popularity of this book in Sweden.
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Genna  Genna is offline
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I`m one of the persons who love this deck and book, but I can see where you are coming from, and some of the "herstories" can be described as "fluffy bunny". Still it´s a small part of the book!
Rosie Björkman describes what the Major Arcana cards mean, for lovers too. She describes what the Minors mean right way, reversed, and for lovers. She has healing and magic rituals for all the cards and a "witch school" with letters for each Major, and for each family of Minors; Staves,Cups,Swords and Coins. She describes th Court extremely well IMHO. She is not Christian bashing,at least not only; The Virgin Mary is on Major XX. and she has plenty of Virgins in her Drop-In-Reading-Shop in Gamla Stan in Stockholm ("Jolanda den tredje").
I go to her every year.She is a carismatic and gifted reader.
I must recommend the Swedish Witch Tarot Deck, because I love it very much.
Edited to add; Much of her teachings come from Native American schools.She made the deck with Hans Arnold, she must have had a lot of influence on the pictures.It´s her likeness on most of the ladies in the Major Arcana.
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Eco74  Eco74 is offline
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Here's another voice for the book.

I've loved it since I first got it, mainly because it's so scattered and containing so many bits and pieces of various religions, gods, goddesses, faiths, stories, myths and legends.
Nowhere in the book can I recall reading anything that says "this is the one right way". Instead I've felt it to be more of an "open book" if you will, where she presents influences behind the cards, possible origins for the characters that are sometimes associated with the cards and excercises that can be done to get a little closer to the meaning of the card.

She also states from the very start that she is a witch, so the witch-school-letters and angled approaches that are evident in parts of the book shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has taken the time to read the fore-word.

Much of what she writes (as Genna has pointed out) comes from the native american indians and I've seen more influences of that in the book than of a "nordic matriarchy".
Certainly, she does seem feministic in some approaches, calling it 'herstory' instead of 'history' for one thing. I still feel that she presents the cards in a good way, with male aswell as feminine energy. And yes, there is some christianity-bashing going on in it in places, but there are so many different religions mixed into the batter that it has no prominent place.
And the excercises she suggests in the book, color meditations, hugging a tree, making a broom, a witches hat or a wand, dancing with the fairies or following the crows are all optional.

The 'Herstory' presented in the book is not meant to be an exact source for information but rather a guide to what has influenced the deck and the cards so the reader (and user of the deck) can get a little deeper into the cards instead of just "this card means *insert keywords*".


Certainly, the book, or the style of the cards, can not be to everyones liking.
I'm glad you had a chance to see it before making the purchase since it's a little pricy.
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Tristram Shandy  Tristram Shandy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eco74
Certainly, she does seem feministic in some approaches, calling it 'herstory' instead of 'history' for one thing. I still feel that she presents the cards in a good way, with male aswell as feminine energy.
I agree that the cards don't look anything like Daughters of the Moon. But there are many forms of feminism. I am not shocked by the word "matriarchy". I am aware that, in historic jargon, matriarchy means something else than "women rule everything". The latter is also something that opponents of feminism try to make believe that feminism aims to.

I did't write about the Indians, because I don't know enough about their mythologies, worldviews etc to review that part of the book. Björkman has certainly met several of them and learned about their beliefs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by genna
I`m one of the persons who love this deck and book, but I can see where you are coming from
Where am I from? "Oh you are so scientific, everything have to be so exact to you!", said my mother. And then they were surprised how on the Earth I had started using tarot cards! I currently have no tarot books, although I have borrowed a few from the library. Now I think I should probably buy first a book that has a lot about the history of tarot.
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Genna  Genna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristram Shandy
Where am I from? "Oh you are so scientific, everything have to be so exact to you!", said my mother. And then they were surprised how on the Earth I had started using tarot cards! I currently have no tarot books, although I have borrowed a few from the library. Now I think I should probably buy first a book that has a lot about the history of tarot.
I meant "I can see your point".I´m sorry that I was unclear. I really didn´t want to argue with you. Clearly we have different opinions about this author, but that doesn´t mean we can´t get on.
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Tristram Shandy  Tristram Shandy is offline
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I was just humorously describing my tarot background and my ideas of a good tarot book. I thought that the "coming from" part meant the background, and things that someone is interested in or values.
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