Monday, December 2, 2019
Book Review: Untold Tarot by Caitlín Matthews
I don't do a lot of book reviews unless a book is really outstanding in my opinion; mediocre and in-between just isn't worth getting excited about as far as I'm concerned, so that should begin to tell you how I feel about this particular book. Untold Tarot:The Lost Art of Reading Ancient Tarots by Caitlín Matthews is the book I most recommend to those starting out with the Tarot de Marseille, and I feel it's really the only one you need if your budget or space are tight.
The only other books on this subject I recommend are by Camelia Elias, but she has a very specific style. What I love about this book by Caitlín Matthews is that it's all-encompassing, and yet it's so well-written that you enjoy learning while you read it and it's not a tome that will take up a ridiculous amount of space on your shelves either.
Mrs. Matthews is well known in the world of cartomancy and divination, and her knowledge and experience are well-respected throughout the industry, and it shows in this book. She gives a very thorough but interesting history of the tarot, then the various ways one can read the Tarot de Marseille, including the "open book" method so favored by Jodorowsky, Ben-Dov, Enriquez and Elias by using the visual cues in the cards.
She goes further than them by giving meanings in a couple of different ways, using keywords for the suits and numbers as well as actual meanings for the pip cards themselves. Most books on the Tarot de Marseille only give meanings for the Trumps, or Major Arcana, and then attempt to explain how to read the visual cues in the pips, but Mrs. Matthews gives meanings that have been handed down through the ages and are thereby historical meanings for the cards.
Throughout the book are various charts, graphs and pictorial examples of actual readings in color with interesting anecdotes. She has sections on the Trumps, the Pips, the Courts, and then also includes exercises, instructions on how to read the cards directionally and historical layouts used in cartomancy.
Not only is what's written in the book outstanding, the construction of the book itself is of excellent quality as well. The cover is a soft cover, but sturdier and thicker than most with part of each folded back over like the jacket of a hardcover book, providing wonderful built-in place markers, and the paper is a very high-quality high gloss paper like a high end magazine.
I consider Untold Tarot: The Lost Art of Reading Ancient Tarots by Caitlín Matthews to be a must-have resource for any serious professional reader or student of the tarot, especially if you're planning to learn and work with the Tarot de Marseille.