cover image The Contemplative Tarot: A Christian Guide to the Cards

The Contemplative Tarot: A Christian Guide to the Cards

Brittany Muller. St. Martin’s Essentials, $17.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1

“To use tarot in a contemplative way is to marry prayer with art,” contends Blessed Vigil blogger Muller in her delightfully unusual debut. She posits that tarot cards can be used as a “tool to facilitate inner knowledge, inner growth, and inner transformation” by prompting prayerlike reflection, and to that end she draws spiritual lessons from each card by putting them in conversation with the Bible. Examining the death card, she quotes from Corinthians and posits that the card reminds Christians of the hope promised by life after death, and that the river illustrated on the card evokes rebirth through baptism. The boy depicted on the sun card, Muller proposes, is reminiscent of God’s choice to incarnate himself as the “innocent babe” Jesus, rather than “a warrior or a king,” with the sun reflecting the warmth of God’s love. Muller also tackles the minor arcana, suggesting that the ace of pentacles calls for appreciating creation, while the five of cups brings to mind the inevitability of sin and largesse of God’s mercy. The blend of Christianity and the esoteric results in a refreshingly unconventional outing, and the research into tarot’s origins as a card game influenced by Christian and ancient pagan traditions, as well as its eventual evolution into a divinatory device under Napoleon Bonaparte, adds enlightening historical context. This pensive and unexpected volume will resonate with New Age fans and open-minded Christians alike. (Sept.)