into the world of Tarot started because of my life long desire to see
the great pyramids of Egypt. My dream was about to come true, my life
partner, Sandra Thomson said why not take the trip? My plane was to do a
lot of meditation in the great pyramid and Egypt's sacred places.
always speaks in symbols. My psychic development teacher said if I
wanted to learn symbology I should study the Tarot. That was the
beginning of my 20 some year journey down the Tarot path. After three
co-authored books, a generous Tarot library, and more than 300 Tarot
decks later, I am still on the Tarot path.
you ready for a change of perspective in your Tarot readings? How about
opening the Tarot cards as a stream of consciousness? Try using some new
meditations for each card so connected with the Tao that you will never
see the cards in the same light.
introducing her unique associations of the Tao with the Tarot, Diane
Morgan writes, "For the Tarot to work for you, you have to make it your
own. When you follow the Tao, you set forth on a flowing river—the Tao Te
Ching is your boat, and the Tarot your sail. But you steer the course."
Not only is this the description of the interconnection of the Tarot and
the Tao Te Ching, it is the concise description of the path you travel
through this book of wonders.
Morgan considers the combination of the Tao and the Tarot as the
crossroads of the mind and spirit. It is where magic meets mystery, where
the "Wizard meets the Wise. Tarot meets Tao." Morgan understands that
both the Tao and the Tarot deal with transformation, the "fundamental
transmutation between what is and what can be."
Tao Te Ching is an ancient book of 81 poems. Its meditations give us
moments to reflect on our place in the world and the world's place in us.
"For while the Tao Te Ching does not 'tell fortune,' it gives a philosophy
to live by every day. . . .The Tarot lights up the mysteries of Tao, while
the Tao Te Ching deepens the meaning of the Tarot."
Morgan connects 78 of the Tao Te Ching's poems to the Tarot deck.
Immediately upon picking up the book, the question came up for me, "Why
isn't the material presented in the conventional numerical order of the
Tarot?" Morgan explains, "...we are going to take a different path, the
path of the Tao. We'll follow the river of the Tao by reading the Tao Te
Ching, and [then] looking at the Tarot card that accompanies each chapter
or Meditation." The three remaining meditations—Meditations 1 (Setting
Forth), 41 (Turning Point), and 81 (Return)—are focusing points not meant
to have an assigned pictorial accompaniment. For these, Morgan says, "the
image source must be your own spirit." These points are almost like
resting stops to take the time to stop and smell the meditations.
part one of her book, Morgan provides an in-depth comparison of Western
magical tradition with divination and our search for the divine through
the Tarot. "Divination is a way of seeing into the heart of things,"
she writes. "The heart of things is not readily apparent; hence, the
notion that the 'diviner' has, as the name suggests, a connection with
the omniscient divine. The divine is at the heart of all, a fact that
magic has long understood."
introducing the Eastern mystical tradition, Morgan says, "Taoism teaches
that the fulfillment of humankind lies in finding our place in the
world, not changing the world to suit the vagaries of our will."
Throughout the book, she delivers a beautiful in-depth philosophy and
history of each tradition which allows us to compare them to determine
how they can fit into our own Tarot-reading philosophy.
The second part of the book introduces us to the specifics of this new
way of considering the cards. In addition to the meditation associated
with each card, Morgan also provides a "Mystical Key" (the Eastern
tradition), which describes in detail Eastern insights into the symbols
of each Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) card. They can pertain, however, to
cards in any RWS-inspired deck.
Following that, Morgan describes the "Magical Key" (the Western
tradition) of the cards. Under "Magical Key," Morgan has created a list
of divination categories for each card, with interpretations and
explanations. Her categories fit insight into the cards, querent, or
the question presented. For instance, "Character" describes the
strengths and power of the card. "Current Circumstances" describes the
mood, atmosphere, or action called for by the card. "Conflicts,
Dangers, and Limitations" call attention to important things to take
note of. "Career" describes attitudes and actions that revolve around
situations and relationships at work. Additional categories include
Friends and Family, Health Concerns, Romance, Travel, Decision, Future
Events and Spiritual Achievements, and Omens and Talismans.
Part Three of the book, which Morgan calls "Beneath the Waves,"
introduces the principles of divination. Divination, as she defines it,
"is a complex mix of magic and mystery that encourages us to discover
within ourselves and the world around us the keys to wisdom, compassion,
and joy." Some parts of this chapter include: Taoist Meditation, The
Tarot as Writing, and The Tarot as an Alchemical Tradition. Reading the
cards: Basic Techniques, offers guidelines to help you with framing the
"right" question. To make the book all inclusive she also includes ways
to take care of and use your cards.
Although Morgan calls her one-card reading, the Waterdrop Reading, it
does not differ significantly from any other one-card reading. She does
explain it more poetically than most, however. "Just as a drop of water
contains the chemical properties of the river, but not the dynamic ebb
and flow of the current, the Waterdrop Reading encapsulates the major
significance of the question, but cannot offer the nuanced understanding
that a more through reading can give."
Morgan has devised a unique way to answer those pesky yes or no
questions. She arranges the cards into five categories: yes, no,
probably yes, probably no, and maybe.
Cards that answer "yes," include all Swords cards and certain Major
Arcana "yang" cards, i.e., The Magician, The Emperor, The Hierophant,
The Lovers, The Chariot, Justice, The Devil, The Tower, The Sun,
Judgement, and The World.
Other "yin" Major Arcana and Minor Arcana suits provide answers to the
other categories. The Fool uncategorically answers the "maybe"
category, for The Fool says, "What is the difference between yes and
The wealth of information that Morgan supplies for each card can seem
overwhelming. However this blessing in disguise is something you will
want to refer back to many times. I suggest you get little sticky note
flags on which you write the name of each card and stick them on the
edge of the book's page. It will save you time as you wear out this
book returning to it again and again.
For the beginner to the seasoned professional, Morgan adds insights into
the Tarot cards that I have not found in other books. I highly
recommend this book as a totally new way to see and work with the
Tarot. It will give you an understanding of the Western magical
tradition through the Tarot and an insight into that mystical path, the
Tao. This is a powerful combination.
Magical Tarot, Mystical Tao (ISBN-0-312-31221-0) is published by St.
Martin’s Griffin. You can visit their website at http://www.stmartins.com.