Tarosophy is a term that emerged into the consciousness of writer, researcher and magickian Marcus Katz following his work on the Abramelin ritual some years ago.
The word is a fusion of ‘tarot’ and the root of the Greek word for ‘wisdom’ and he describes it as meaning
the Wisdom of the Tarot and refers specifically to
…the living (divine) wisdom of the art and science of Tarot as practiced by Tarosophists.
In Tarosophy, Katz also states
…that tarot is an emergent system of symbols whose multivalency provides a dynamic interface between awareness and appearance.
By the very nature of the type of language the author uses, it is evident that this is a very modern publication that offers something rather different to the Tarot student.
Tarosophy is formulated around three distinct sections with each one dedicated to basic, intermediate and advanced levels of Tarot insight.
The theme that underpins each section of the book is that of associations and relationships—primarily those between the wisdom that the Tarot can offer and the application of that information in mundane life.
As the reader is introduced to the first of 50 practical exercises, you are encouraged to begin your learning process by determining for yourself the unique sense of partnership that you wish to formulate with your own Tarot deck.
As a basic introduction, the first section of the book (‘Tarot True) focuses on the core concepts of Tarot and how the cards work. It also reveals the basic elemental and archetypal foundation to the four suits of the minor arcana as well as including simple sentences that you can use to understand the essence of the major arcana.
These are formed around something the author refers to as
In keeping with the contemporary feel of the book, Katz introduces some advanced Tarot spreads, even at this early stage—though they are included mainly as a precursor to digging into the nuts and bolts of Tarot divination work later.
In section two, Marcus Katz makes the first of his many forays into several off-shoots of metaphysical theory—each of which will broaden and enrich your understanding of the Tarot as a holistic system of metaphysical exploration.
This begins by him drawing upon the often forgotten and universally under-used Golden Dawn table of astrological correspondences as they pertain to each of the seventy-eight cards of the Tarot deck.
Marcus Katz also dusts off the somewhat undervalued Papus system of triads as a way of explaining how the minor trumps meanings develop sequentially from the ace to the ten through the concepts of commencement, opposition and equilibrium.
In addition to Papus, the author also introduces the first of many vital contributions that the occultist Aleister Crowley made to Tarot studies via his Thoth deck way back in the early 20th century.
As dreams and the Tarot share a common language of symbols and archetypes, it is not unexpected that the author should dedicate a whole chapter of his work to the subject.
At this point, he draws upon the dream interpretation techniques used by the Senoi tribe of Malaysia as a way of understanding the essential meanings behind our nocturnal experiences.
This emphasis upon inner plane work is further explored through the work of late Edwin C Steinbrecher.
Here, the author offers examples of how to work with the Tarot archetypes on the inner planes using techniques developed by Steinbrecher and which he set out in his excellent 1982 book The Inner Guide Meditation: A Spiritual Technology for the 21st Century.
Section three of Tarosophy sees the author move into the relationships that exists between advanced magickal theory and the Tarot; namely the Kabbalah and the correspondents of the Tree of Life.
He demonstrates the way in which this glyph or map of consciousness can be used as the structure for advanced Tarotwork—including the connection between the cards and the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
Katz follows up on his earlier explanation of the relationships between astrological principles and the Tarot with a look at the Sun and Moon and their position in the natal birth chart.
As the book progresses toward its zenith, the author examines the Tarot as a way of mapping spiritual ascent—as if rungs on a ladder that reaches heavenward.
As it draws to a close, and having drawn upon the work of so many illustrious occultists to support his insights, the author then adds his own unique research into new interpretations of the relationships between the Tarot and the Tree of Life.
The book concludes with a number of appendices that offer, amongst other things, legal and practical advice for professional Tarot card readers, a bibliography and an index.
Our Review of ‘Tarosophy’ by Marcus Katz
If you are one of those who, like me, is beginning to wonder whether the world actually needs another introductory guide or workbook about Tarot card reading then you might be in for a surprise with Tarosophy. This is a publication that I am sure will genuinely stir your interests.
While the book does indeed begin with the basics of Tarot philosophy, the author from the very start has successfully circumnavigated every imaginable cliché-ridden, generic and hackneyed approach that so very often dogs publications of a similar type.
This is a book not only for beginners or neophyte students of the Tarot arts but also for those who may well wish to re-examine the basis upon which they have learnt or developed their own understanding of the cards and their application.
The author, for example, does not include a series of tried and tested interpretational meanings for each of the cards. Instead, he calls upon various sources to explain how the cards resonate to a natural rhythm and order—cycles that determine their own divination meaning rather than have one imposed upon the student through the biases of the teacher.
It should be noted that the themes that underpin this particular examination of the Tarot are most definitely grounded within the teachings of the early occultists—those like Crowley and Papus who understood the power of the cards when used in a magickal setting.
The Tarot does include many of their secrets and Marcus Katz has revealed more than a smattering of them here!
Whilst those who are deeply ensconced in the world of magick and occultism will have come across a large amount of this material before, we do live in an age where this information is less readily available or even digestible. So for those who are new to the magickal/Kabbalistic approach to Tarot divination, this book will blow your socks off!
For the rest of us, there is more than enough material in this book to interest and stimulate even a seasoned Taroist.
From the unique Tarot spreads and incisive exercises through to the legal advice and guidance on professional Tarot-card reading, this is a richly diverse and highly satisfying read.
Purchasers, I feel justified in assuring you, will not be disappointed by this impressive and, at times, quite remarkable foray into the world of Tarot divination.
Tarosophy, like a fine wine, is a book to be savored and appreciated by Tarot connoisseurs—those who intuitively recognize the magickal essence and occult power that the Tarot contains but who, ordinarily, cannot quite reach deep enough to get their hands on it!
This review was written with reference to a copy of the book supplied by its original publishers Salamander & Sons. It is no longer available through them but can be obtained in a new version, and new cover artwork via CreateSpace on Amazon and Lulu.com