If reader, I had room to write more,
My poem could still not tell you everything
About the sweet drink of which I could never have enough.
But since all the pages designed for this
Second part of the poem have been filled,
The rules of art stop me at this point. The Divine Comedy | Dante
Christmas is just around the corner
Christmas is just around the corner and the winter months stretch ahead. Those long dark evenings need to be filled so I have this romantic dream of a blazing fire in the hearth, a plate of tasty bites, a glass of something nice and a really good book. In reality I have central heating and the food and drink are allowed in small proportions (although the dogs are forever hopeful)...but the book is a definite must and is, in fact, compulsory.
The Key to Soul Food
Yes, the internet can do a quicker job of retrieving the information sought, but there is nothing like reading at leisure. To turn the pages and to smell the paper holding the text to the key of soul food, is divine.
My Book Recommendations for You
In this blog, I recommend a couple of Tarot book titles which may be of interest. They have certainly helped me along the way and have given me insights and opportunities for reflection.
Interesting titles for a hearty Tarot read
Mandalas for Spiritual Transformation
by Lee Irwin
Gnostic Tarot opens a new path for those who wish to work with Tarot as a guide for spiritual development.
In this book, Lee Irwin brings together traditional elements of the Tarot and divination and contemporary theories of esotericism. He has developed ten Mandala spreads which offer a meditative structure which also offer the opportunity to see the interconnection between the elements and consciousness.
The book starts by giving a history of Tarot which is very informative.
There is so much conflicting information available about Tarot’s roots, but the author has put together his timeline very well and one can see the progress of the cards into what they have become today. There is also a detailed bibliography that shows the source of his information which is a useful read in itself.
Irwin writes about the elements, of which we are informed there are six, and explains what they are and how they are incorporated into Tarot practice.
He goes on to tell us about method and interpretation and how to use spreads in the book. Included in that chapter is a piece about the Kabbalah, which cites Alphonse Louis Constant (Eliphas Levi Zahed) as the one who popularised the link between Tarot and Kabbalah in 1856. The chapter then proceeds to unpack the connection and the implications of working with Tarot and the Tree of life.
It must be noted that this is not a Kabbalah/Tarot handbook.
This book looks at all of the cards; the descriptions and information in the Major Arcana is thought provoking and from this book one can expect to rewire old outmoded practice. Irwin talks at length about the various aspects of the card and really does go into great depth, both with the shadow and the light side of the Majors.
Prepare to look in the mirror as it is most definitely held up to you to see your reflection.
The Court and Minor cards are equally powerful in their format and encourage transformation. Gnostic/Gnosis is from the Greek word to know without knowing and the book plays very nicely on that theme as it takes into account the fact that somewhere in our psyche we do know.
The description of the cards have four components:
Each of these aspects offset the other and by doing so provide a multi-faceted view of the essence of each card.
I found this book to be enormously helpful when I was going through a period of transition. It enabled my subsequent transformation into a new cycle and it assisted me by making sense of events that were challenging at the time.
I recommend this book to any enthusiast who wishes to take their understanding of Tarot to a whole new level.
Guide To The Rumi Tarot
by Nigel Jackson
This book and its accompanying deck is one of my all-time personal favourites. It encapsulates, for me, my interest in Sufism and early Islamic philosophy.
This interest has widened my understanding of my own spiritual and religious heritage which, in turn, has been of enormous benefit to me on my path of self-discovery.
The cards are truly beautiful and depict images that are occidental in flavour and show images from a time that is Rumi.
The appreciation of both Rumi’s poetic mysticism and the iconology of late medieval tarot as integral expressions of the perennial wisdom, forms the basis upon which the Rumi Tarot has been conceived and created.
Rumi is one of those sufi saints with a special reputation for being able to act as a guide from beyond the veil for those who invoke his aid. He can orient us toward an ageless domain of sacred wisdom. This helps us to transcend above the sometimes negativity of the modern era.
The path of the rose; Sufism is an essence without form.
This deck encapsulates the 13th century which saw the travels of Marco Polo, the Crusades, the Magna Carta. It also saw an upsurge in spirituality, a bit like now, such as Moses De Lion and the Kabbalists of Provence to St. Francis of Assisi and Ramon Lull. This puts this deck on the necessary timeline which gives us a taste of the era of the birth of the cards, indicating important historical points.
Card Play was seen as metaphor for spiritual mysteries.
"By his wisdom are set in action the polo stick of fate and the ball of destiny."
Jackson gives a good historical account of the advent of cards in Europe from North Africa and we can see the natural blend between ancient playing cards and the Tarot of today.
Each of the cards has a sentence from Rumi’s work and the book goes into further detail entwining the meaning alongside Rumi’s wisdom.
The essence of the card is summed up by having one of the 99 names of God which corresponds with its overall interpretation. The text includes anecdotes from Rumi’s world which illustrates the force of human nature and offers clues as to how humanity has adopted aspects of spirituality and streams of consciousness which are still applicable today.
Inside the book are guidelines on how to read the deck, spreads, a selected bibliography, a table of correspondences to the divine names and suggestions for meditation and incantation to the Angels.
An absorbing book, quite magical by nature especially if you have an interest the work of the poet Rumi.
The Song Of The Reed Flute
Hearken to the reed flute, how it complains
Lamenting its banishment from its home:
‘Ever since they tore me from my osier bed,
My plaintive notes have moved men and women to tears.
I burst my breast, striving to give vent to sighs,
And to express the pangs of my yearning s for my home.
He who abides far away from his home
Is ever longing for the day he shall return.
My wailing is heard in every throng,
In concert with them that rejoice and them that weep.
Each interprets my notes in harmony with his own feelings,
But not one fathoms the secrets of my heart’
This plant of the flute is fire not mere air.
Let him who lacks this fire be accounted dead!
‘Tis the fire of love that inspires the flute,
‘Tis the ferment of love that possess the wine.
The flute is the confidant of all unhappy lovers;
Yea, its strains lay bare my inmost secrets. Rumi. BK 1 of the Mathnavi