This book is an unusual collection of essays, tarot reading tips and card meanings tailored for the transit of Pluto through Capricorn (2008-2024). This is a period, the authors say, that “will challenge us to make our own contribution toward (this) renewal of value, to the exploration of new horizons.”

The material is divided into three sections that combine Old World (European) and New World (American) tarot traditions and perspectives. The first section, “Tarot—Tool of Change,” features relevant essays by Pollack, Fiebig and Ott. The second section is “Readings and Practical Advices [sic],” and it presents numerous suggestions about doing tarot readings and spreads to discover and elucidate one’s role in the world during the Pluto-Capricorn period.

The third section is “Tarot for Magical Times.” This begins with a compendium of 78 card-meanings by Pollack, followed by “12 Months/36 Decans” by Fiebig. The 78 cards are divvied up by the movement of the Sun through the zodiac. For example, the Emperor, the Tower, and the Queen of Wands are related to the annual period of the Sun’s journey through Aries (March 21 to April 20), and the three 10-degree zodiacal decans of Aries with the three Aries pip cards, the 2, 3, and 4 of Wands. This is a unique and helpful way of understanding how tarot cards relate to the zodiac in real time.

The book features full-color photographs and card images, mostly from the Waite-Smith deck with a few special guest cards when the comparison of imagery is discussed in the first section. The concept is a good one and the content is well organized. The book is being published and released simultaneously in German and English.

While the overall vision is admirable and timely, readers may encounter some glitches in the text. Translations of the German material into English are sometimes treacherously difficult to understand. For example, “To render this inalienable nature, this very own world fertile is what is at stake here.”

Writers of such high caliber deserve more careful translation and editing. The book’s production and formatting is of exceptional quality, too, so it’s puzzling that the publisher didn’t do a final editorial polishing of the English edition of the book. (I have no idea if the German edition suffers from the same editorial problems).

Five stars to the writers and book designer for coming up with a great concept with a fine presentation, but a bucket with a hole in the bottom to the publisher for failing to go the last mile to perfect the text.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Author: By Rachel Pollack and Johannes Fiebig with Earnst Ott
AGM Urania/U. S. Games Systems, 2012
pp. 159

Originally published in the ATA Quarterly Journal, Spring 2012 issue

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