Christopher delaMaison is a third
generation Oregonian born in 1957. He has a Master of Arts Degree in
Computer Studies from Vermont College of Norwich University.
He was originally introduced to the Tarot
while a member of the Scottish Rite Mason in Portland. He is an active
participant in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), and OryCon
(Oregon Sci-Fi Convention).
Christopher currently teaches computer
science courses at Pioneer Pacific College, a private college in the
Portland area, and can frequently be found off-campus doing tarot readings
for students and faculty members at the nearest Starbucks Coffee Shop.
Rachel Pollackís book, Complete Illustrated Guide to TAROT, gives a
refreshing look at introductory level tarot. The text is easy to read,
well illustrated and covers a wide variety of materials related to the
tarot, including Astrology and the Qabalah.
The book is divided into six sections, an Introduction and five chapters,
spanning 192 pages. The Introduction covers basic questions about
Divination, the Tarotís structure, the Opening of the Minor Arcana, and
the Modern Tarot. This introduction provides a very important basis for
further study in the Tarot, as it outlines the efforts by A.E. Waite and
Pamela Coleman Smith in creating the Minor Arcana images. An item of tarot
history many readers take for granted.
writing device Rachel Pollack employs in her book is the idea of keeping a
particular subject limited to two pages at most; and having those two
pages opposite each other. This allows the reader to brief through the
topic without having to turn a page. This method of laying out the various
topics makes it easy to use this text for a beginning tarot course, as the
student can see the topic at a glance without being distracted by having
to search through a handful of pages during a lecture. It also limits the
amount of information a student is exposed to at one particular time,
allowing an instructor to touch on a topic, present material at an
introductory level, and then move on.
The first four chapters cover information that one may find in any other
well-written tarot book: the Origins and History of the Tarot, Symbols and
Structures within the Tarot deck, Interpretations of the Cards, and a
variety of Reading spreads and techniques. Pollack does an excellent job
in describing new ways to categorize elements of the Tarot, such as the
Tarot Garden and Tarot Bestiary. She also repeatedly references both
Astrology and the Qabalah throughout the book. This helps beginning
readers to see the linkages between these three systems, as well as
setting the foundation for possible additional esoteric studies at some
future date. Such new perspectives gives the reader a fresh look at a
subject that has been repeatedly dissected, compartmentalized, and, to
some extent, trivialized.
The fifth chapter, Things To Do With Tarots, covers different methods of
getting to know your tarot cards. These include the well-known topics such
as finding oneís personality, soul and year cards, meditation, and
creating a personalized tarot deck. One of the more interesting methods is
the use of tarot card games. Pollack lists a couple of card games she
learned from another tarot author, Mary Greer: Tarot Rummy and Tarot Go
Fish. Such games provide a framework to explore more creative outlets for
tarot use, putting aside the seriousness often associated with working
with a tarot deck.
The Complete Illustrated Guide to TAROT, as an introductory text,
is an excellent guide for the new tarot reader. I have found that while I
have initially read this book in a few short hours, there are many
insights and gems of wisdom that one can find after rereading this book a
time or two. I would definitely recommend this book to any beginning tarot
reader, as well as using it as a text for an introductory tarot course.
Complete Illustrated Guide to Tarot is published by Element Books
1999/HarperCollins Publishers 2001, London, England. ISBN 0-00-713115-1.