Author: Donald Magick Kraig
Trade Paperback, 192 pages
Publication date: December 2002
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Llewellyn's Special Topics in Tarot books are a series of thin volumes on advanced or specialized Tarot techniques. One of the latest books in this relatively new series is Donald Michael Kraig's Tarot & Magic. Many readers will know Kraig through his classic book on ceremonial magick, Modern Magick. I certainly approached this book with enthusiasm and high expectations.
Tarot & Magic opens with a brief introductory chapter discussing the tarot and magick which is aimed at those familiar with one but not the other. It's very basic material, but should help those it is written for. The second chapter goes directly to the heart of the subject by discussing tarot spells and providing several spells using tarot cards as examples. The third chapter talks about tarot-based astral projection and pathworking. In the fourth chapter, Kraig resurrects an interesting technique for magickal change published in a long out of print book from the early 1980s: Tarot dancing. (Unfortunately, this chapter really seems too short to do the system justice.)
The fifth chapter covers using charged Tarot cards as ready-made talismans and amulets. This is followed by a chapter on using the Tarot in ceremonial magick. In the seventh chapter, Kraig presents the idea that the Tarot is not just something which can be used in magick, but is magick in and of itself. The next chapter talks about using the Tarot in sex magick. The final chapter talks about how the Tarot and magick may change in the future.
This is quite a bit of material to cover in a short book. While Kraig does his usual excellent job of presenting ideas and concepts in a clear and understandable way, this book tries to cram a large amount of information, ideas, and techniques in a relatively few pages. While only the chapter on Tarot dancing truly seems incomplete, most of the chapters would have had to be double or triple their length to even begin to do justice to the topic under discussion. Many could have easily filled a book this length or longer by themselves.
Because of this problem, Tarot & Magic can really only be considered a brief overview on the various ways of using the Tarot in magickal work. However, it is a very practical and easy to read overview. Had the chapter on Tarot dancing been longer and more detailed, that chapter alone would have made the book worth buying. As it is, this book is a worthy addition to your library -- if the majority of the material is new to you.
Reviewed by Randall