In June 1983, Marcus Katz consulted his homemade tarot deck for guidance regarding the correct approach to his study of magick. The Celtic Cross spread that he employed revealed a powerful sequence of cards that portended the beginning of a dramatically spiritual new life for him.
Exactly thirty-three years later, and in his book Tarot Time Traveller, he looks back at that fated tarot card reading and ponders upon the road that he has subsequently travelled – along with that initial prompting all those years earlier.
Retrospective and Introspective
The concepts of time, cyclic periods, and changing perspective, form a key role in Tarot Time Traveller for in the book Katz and Goodwin weave numerous threads of research through and within the complex world of tarot card reading.
In its opening the authors take a close look at one card in particular, the two of pentacles, and chart the way in which it’s meaning and the way it has been interpreted has altered and developed over time. Starting with Golden Dawn founder Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers in 1888 through to the author’s in 2015, Katz and Goodwin chart the perspective many of the most important and influential tarot commentators have had of this card. These invariably mirror the social mores of their particular era.
This changing and historical perspective pervades the book as the author’s flit back and forth through esoteric events related to the tarot, its formulation, as well as to the magickal dynamics that the cards express. The book also includes more modern evaluation of the tarot as a today’s tool of choice in divination and self-initiation.
Along the way the authors also explore some advanced tarot techniques and dig deeper into basic core tarot theory at an intermediary stage of learning.
Finally, in encapsulating the main theme of their book, the authors include a tarot event that was as significant to their telling of the journey that, for Katz, began with that first, auspicious, spread in 1983. It seems that above all else the tarot simply loves time, timing and serendipity – but then so it should, after all it is a divination device.
Tarot Time Traveller is an eclectic collection of disparate tarot thoughts and ideas that have clearly been spinning around in the minds of two of the foremost experts in this field.
As a book it is a strange affair. – one that seems at times to hang by a thread whilst at others is lucid and highly instructional. In short, I guess, it carries a sense of being rather rushed and of not being properly structured. Quite why the book includes a section on Lenormand is still not entirely clear to me and rather spoils the flow of the work.
Some of the material contained in Tarot Time Traveller will be familiar to fans of the author’s other work but for newcomers to the tarot this book will offer a diverse range of fascinating tarot insights. For me it was the book’s historical perspectives that I enjoyed reading most and for this reason the book offers a quite different perspective on the tarot than that presented by many other books on the subject.
Whilst not the unqualified success it should have been this book offers much that will keep new students of the tarot interested and entertained. For the rest of us it is a patchy, but occassionally insightful, publication.