will not debut until May, but I was so impressed with the
manuscript when asked for my endorsement, I just had to do
this early-bird review specifically for the tarot/astrology
insiders that have been avidly reading Elizabeth Hazel's "Stars
and Cards" articles here in Tarot Reflections
and in The ATA Quarterly. Interested readers can place
advance orders with Red Wheel/Weiser even though the book
isn't out yet, but please do not misunderstand that you can
walk into a bookstore today and pull this tome off the shelf.
Information for pre-ordering this excellent book is included
at the end of the review.
Tarot Decoded presents
original and welcome methods of synthesizing tarot and astrology.
It is a book for which the time has definitely come. With
techniques and exercises, some based on metaphysical writings
a century old and other ideas that are all her own, Elizabeth
Hazel integrates the two pursuits in innovative and exciting
If you (like myself) are a person
passionate about both tarot and astrology, you have probably
read numerous top-notch astrology books as well as many excellent
books on the tarot, but have found a dearth of material combining
the two subjects. This book is the first to step unabashed
into that void and to provide many thought-provoking avenues
for a successful and rewarding integration of the two arcane
The author starts out by elucidating
the various types of dignity: elemental dignity, modal dignity,
shared status, numeric dignity, locational dignity, and planetary
and zodiacal dignity. The material Ms. Hazel includes on the
four elements, astrological modality as applied to the tarot
and numerology, are in of themselves worth the price of the
book. Successive chapters are dedicated to demonstrating how
each of these forms can be used to add exceptional depth and
detail to tarot reading. Each chapter is illustrated with
excellent spreads for which there are usually several lengthy
The author admits within the
first few pages of the book to being partial to the Golden
Dawn system of correspondences, but demonstrates her willingness
to endow her initial studies with insights gleaned during
the course of her decades of continuous work with both astrology
and the tarot. A prime example of this is her frank discomfort
with the attribution of Saturn to the World card. I had to
chuckle over her logical argument because I have always had
a "Saturn problem" myself, though mine arose out
of my personal lack of comprehension as to how tarotists miss
the Saturnine feel to the weathered and bent old man in the
Hermit card. It is good to know that I am not the only tarotist/astrologer
who, though initiated into other systems, sometimes sees correspondences
a bit differently, and is not afraid to say so.
For those proficient at tarot but versed in only rudimentary
astrology, Ms. Hazel's material will walk you carefully through
enough basic explanatory material to have you up and running.
I predict that this book will make tarotists who have previously
only dabbled in astrology want to learn more in order to continue
to combine the two systems for increased depth and detail
in their readings.
No book can teach everyone everything. For that reason the
author does not attempt to teach tarot basics. The premise
for this book is that it will be read primarily by intermediate
and advanced students of the tarot that may or may not be
accomplished astrologers and who want to learn to add astrological
nuances to their readings.
I close with a quote from Ms.
Hazel herself: "Tarot offers a way for the querent to
participate in their own pathfinding session. It's a visual
aid for them to experience. I find astrological charts tend
to leave querents cold; the tarot is much more appealing.
As much as I love astrology, clients respond more positively
and interactively to the tarot. Merging these two occult arts
has been a wonderful quest for me."
If only all quests were pursued
so diligently and completed so well. I give this book an enthusiastic
two thumbs up.
To pre-order this book:
Toll free phone: 800-423-7087