Tarot – Theory and Practice – Ly de Angeles

This book was given to me by a friend of mine to review, as I have started doing Tarot readings for more than just my friends.
The full title is “Tarot – Theory and Practice – A revolutionary approach to how the tarot works.” Sadly, I didn’t find it so.
The book is published by Llewellyn, so it is a quality item, and the end papers are very beautiful, featuring the Llewellyn Tarot by Anna Maria Ferguson. Each card is an extraordinary work of art, but the reproductions are very small.
My copy is in large format soft cover, but I think this first edition could have benefited from colour plates, as I found that when spreads were reproduced in black and white, I had a great deal of trouble reading the names of the cards (They’re in a fancy curly script, quite lovely, but not readable at the size they were reproduced at).
The first chapter is, I suppose the ‘revolutionary’ part of the book.
It gives a quick and non technical overview of the current theories in physics about how time is non-linear. However, in the following chapters I didn’t get a clear picture about whether she feels that fate is pre-determined or whether the thousands of decisions we make each day are what determines our fate.
She discusses the ethical dilemma of telling a client bad news, and suggests simply saying what the cards say, in an independent manner. Who are you to judge?
There are some useful anecdotes about the business of doing readings for people and some example spreads for those choosing to go down that path.
The Soul’s Journey in chapter 7 has a good discussion of how the major arcana represent cycles in people’s lives, but missed the key point that cards get skipped, and sometimes we go backwards, or get stuck.
So one card will keep coming up, or we will have a move backwards along the progression in order to fix something which has been missed or a lesson unlearnt.
The last half of the book is taken up with a reference to the cards and their meanings, which again could have benefited from colour reproductions. And there was one card whose meaning was so completely different to my understanding of it, that I had to wonder if it was a deliberate mistake, to see who was paying attention.
In the end, there seemed to be an element of passion missing from the book, as though it had been put together by committee, and while Lyn’s voice spoke quite clearly in some areas, the rest sounded muddy and unfocused to my inner ear.
I wonder how many books are thrown together in this way, with editors not allowing their author’s hearts to sing out to the world.
The best writing is that which pulls you along, where you hardly notice the process of reading, where the images unfurl like sunrise clouds and your heart rises and falls along with the story. I would like to hear Ly’s story in this way. Sadly, it isn’t in this book.

One thought on “Tarot – Theory and Practice – Ly de Angeles

  1. Gemma Stallan

    Hey, thank you so much for taking the time to read this book and review it! :) I will come over for a cuppa and a chat and to and pick it up from you soon and you can tell me which card meaning seemed really different to you. I found the book really interesting, especially learning about the science behind tarot, which other books on tarot don’t really touch on. I do know what you mean about how her true voice perhaps didn’t come through in it… she was even saying on her website that she was going to title it differently, but Llewellyn decided to publish it thus so it would tie in with her book “witchcraft theory and practice”. She was going to call it “Tarot: the art and science of the future” or just “the science of the future” if I remember somewhat correctly. Anyhoo, thanks again babe and I will catch you on the flipside. :)

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