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Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism

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4.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  204 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Published for the first time with an index and Cardinal Hans Urs vonBalthasar's afterword, this new English publication of Meditations on theTarot is the landmark edition of one of the most important works of esotericChrist-ianity. Written anonymously and published posthumously, as was theauthor's wish, the intention of this work is for the reader to find a relationshipwit ...more
Paperback, 688 pages
Published June 10th 2002 by TarcherPerigee (first published 1980)
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Szplug
Nov 16, 2012 Szplug rated it it was amazing
Sui generis, at least as regards my reading experience so far. A profound, beguiling, and massively erudite exposition upon Christian Hermeticism built from within the traditions of the Roman Catholic church. The anonymous author—who insisted that his French original be published posthumously—delivers his perceived insight and transcendent guidance from beyond the grave, in a manner of speaking, via epistolic essays on the twenty-two Major Arcana of the Tarot. Dense and difficult—the more so as ...more
Cordelia Becker
Apr 13, 2008 Cordelia Becker rated it really liked it
This is not a book to read cover to cover. It is a book I keep and read passages. The unknown author is actually a fellow (I've heard that his name is Valentin Tomberg) who was deeply involved in the Golden Dawn/Rosicrusion/Rudolf Steiner crowd and then converted to Catholicism - perhaps becoming a monk (not sure about that). This is no airy fairy, hippie dippie new age book it's a intensely researched tome.

He uses the Tarot Deck to reconcile the modern church with the Gnostic traditions. (I'm n
...more
Jessecooperlevy
Apr 30, 2012 Jessecooperlevy rated it it was amazing
Anonymous is the best writer ever.
Ojo Oim
Jan 09, 2015 Ojo Oim rated it it was amazing
Shelves:
This isn't a tarot reference book but an extended meditation, an open-ended pondering of the symbols of the major arcana. The nameless author writes letters to us as to an Unknown Friend, considering the art of a divine kind of magic, various difficulties and temptations in esoteric studies and philosophy. The author seems to regard himself as a Christian Hermeticist, I'm not sure what that means but it seems to be something like a philosopher, a lover of Christ and wisdom, and a point the autho ...more
Murray
Apr 14, 2009 Murray rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most valuable books I possess - not in terms of how much I would get selling it second hand, but because it has such a depth of valuable scholarship in it. The writer, who chooses (chose) to remain anonymous, poured his/her learning into these 'meditations' on the major arcana of the Tarot. The reader is provided with an education into esoteric symbology that goes far beyond most so called esoteric books, because the writer has/had such a wonderful grasp of the intricacies of ...more
Sam Sanford
Feb 26, 2011 Sam Sanford rated it it was amazing
Shelves:
This book is not about fortune-telling; the symbols from the Tarot are used as the starting points for a series of spiritual exercises intended to immerse the reader in the living tradition of Christian Hermeticism. Absorbing the knowlege in this book is a lifelong project.

“Now, the normal relationship between thought, feeling, and the will for a civilised and educated person is such that his thought awakens feeling and directs the will. Having to act, one thinks, one imagines, one feels, and -
...more
Marymark2
Aug 05, 2009 Marymark2 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading this for a little over a year. It was written by Valentin Tomberg, not Robert Powell--he is the translator only. This is for me the ultimate read--highly provocative, deeply inspiring, profoundly wise.Meditations on the Tarot
Jann
This is NOT a book on the tarot (as in "card reading"). It is estoteric Christianity.
Roger Buck
Jul 13, 2014 Roger Buck rated it it was amazing
In my experience, to engage sincerely with this book is to engage with more than a book. It is to engage with a living spiritual saint, master and genius of the highest order. A very human being, with the warmest of hearts, the most lucid of minds. A profound, profound thinker whose heart, burning with compassion for the world, gave us a manual of practical Christian transformation – a transformation that has undone my neuroses, strengthened my sanity, vastly enlarged my scope of feeling, vitali ...more
Heather
Mar 28, 2009 Heather rated it it was amazing
Shelves:
So far this is mostly sitting by my bed stand while I peruse feng shui books and my book club books. Still, what I've read is amazing and gracious and worth my time.
Mark
Sep 27, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it
An extremely challenging but rewarding set of Catholic Christian meditations centered around the Marseilles Tarot. Bizarre, wonderful, at times incredibly deep.
Francis Siefken
Aug 18, 2013 Francis Siefken rated it it was amazing
Of interest for anyone wondering about a possible dialogue between the esoteric and christianity. In this regard the endorsement and the forword and afterword by cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar is noteworthy. He notes that the "The author wished to remain anonymous in order to allow the work to speak for itself, to avoid the interposition of any kind of personal element between the work and the reader - reasons that we respect."
The book is not about divination. The author uses the symbols of the
...more
Kent Langseth
May 31, 2015 Kent Langseth rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing, and of no interest to most modern readers. I dare say most would drop it like a hot potato. For those with the inclination to study it, the book is remarkably rewarding.

What's it about? W..e..l..l.. There are ancient mystical traditions, partly commingled with Catholicism (the author was a devout Catholic), which we have little clear sight of today. The author had clear sight, and he shared his understanding in a series of essays on the symbolism used in the Marseilles Tar
...more
Debra
Sep 29, 2014 Debra rated it it was amazing
Every couple of years I came upon a book that gives me a where-have-you-been-all-my-life shiver of delight. Odd, too, since I have no truck with "divination" and such like spookery and only picked it up because Hans Urs von Balthasar, one of the greatest minds of the last century, wrote the afterword.

I suspect I'll be steadily re-reading this masterwork of esoteric Christian spirituality the rest of my life, and that it's contemplative symbolism will work its way into my writing, as it has alre
...more
Alex Lee
Sep 17, 2015 Alex Lee rated it it was amazing
As creatures of language, we use meaning to tell us who we are, where we are, what we are and how we are to be. This author dives deeply into the meanings of many deep traditions, as is his chosen methodoloy: Christian Hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is the interpretation of text; really trying to get meaning out of words. So very exactly, this author has tasked for himself to find the meaning of traditions (religion, philosophy, linguistics, cultural critics, historical figures, literary figures, wr ...more
Abe Fabella
Jul 08, 2014 Abe Fabella rated it it was amazing
This book, along with Manly P. Hall's masterpiece, "The Secret Teachings of All Ages," is one of the few authoritative books on spirituality and occult wisdom that I have ever encountered.

The author, who published the book anonymously and posthumously, exudes an unmistakable connection to God as well as rational and moral rightness. Warning: this is very dense reading and I would recommend spending a lot of time, as much as one needs, to digest the wisdom. This is a book not to scan but to savor
...more
Stephen Cobb
Jan 02, 2015 Stephen Cobb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These meditations involve the reader in a true conversation - how to take an archetype and incarnate it with deep meaning through the resonant participation of one's spiritual organs of perception.

I can feel my spiritual eyes and ears forming and growing into the Cosmos and Pleroma through Tomberg's writings. He's truly a great initiate of our age.

A book to keep on the nightstand to return to for inspiration and renewal.
Diane Fraser
Jul 11, 2015 Diane Fraser rated it it was amazing
Same as the other listing for this book!
Charles Ridley
Feb 02, 2014 Charles Ridley rated it it was amazing
One of my all time favorite books.
Gnome Books
Jan 03, 2016 Gnome Books rated it it was amazing
A real book, a profound work of anonymous commentary.
Paul Hertel
best shared with a group
Greg
Apr 28, 2010 Greg rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Seekers, Magicians, Christians, Philosophers
I can't say enough about this book. To give you an idea how amazing I think it is, after finishing it I went back to the beginning and started reading it again. I have never done that before, certainly not for a dense 650 page book. Anyone interested in self-improvement, philosophy, sacred magic, or alchemy should check it out. If you come from a Christian background it will be familiar territory. If not take it with a grain of salt. Although the other does draw on every major religion and many ...more
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Valentin Arnoldevitch Tomberg was an Estonian-Russian Christian mystic, scholar, and hermetic magician.
More about Valentin Tomberg...

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