My current reading material is The Tarot Spellcaster by Terry Donaldson.
My first experience with tarot was with The Celtic Dragon Tarot, and the spells contained in it’s guidebook. So now I’m really connecting with my cards (at last), spell work with tarot is something I really wanted to get into again.
I’m not sure I could have picked up a better book to work with! The Tarot Spellcaster is simple enough for a complete newbie to use, but still deep enough for seasoned casters to enjoy.
This book begins with a short history of the tarot, complete with a very nice Tree of Life diagram, before taking a quick look at tarot and occultism. If you’re unfamiliar with the astrological associations of the tarot cards, this book provides a very handy page listing them all together.
After that, the book goes into the practice of magic, explaining cause and effect, covering the ethics of magic, keeping a magical diary, and preparing for spellcasting. How to consecrate your deck is explained and, while it’s not stated, I’m guessing the author expects you to have a separate deck for spellcasting since he states “Never allow anyone else to touch your tarot cards.” Creating a tarot altar is covered, before tips on how to achieve a magical mindset.
A spellfinder is included, as well as an index, with the various spells divided up into subjects such as “Health and Happiness”, “Hidden Knowledge” and “New Horizons” so finding the spell you wish to cast is made a fair bit easier.
We then move onto the Major Arcana, and a spell for each of the 22 cards. Donaldson recommends either choosing a spell based on your current need and desired outcome, or by meditating on your current state and drawing a card from the Major Arcana to guide you. You are also given the option to “work your way through each spell in turn over a period in time, to symbolise your journey along the tree of life.”
The list of things you need for each spell isn’t too bad, there are two that call for 9 items, but most are for less. I appreciate the fact that most of the items for the spells are pretty easy to acquire, if you don’t have them already, and if you cannot get hold of any particular item, you’re encouraged to use a suitable alternative. Many items are used in multiple spells (especially the altar cloths), so it’s not a case of trying to track down rare items that you’ll only use once (and I have spellbooks that have asked for just that!)
After covering the Major Arcana, the book goes into spells that use a combination of several cards. These spells are said to be stronger than the previous ones, and should not be cast for trivial purposes. Each spell contains a reason for why those particular cards were picked, which should make it easier when it comes to creating your own tarot spells, should you wish to do so.