Contemplative Tarot

The Contemplative Tarot Book Review

Contemplative Tarot Book Review

I first came across Brittany Mulder’s Instagram account after my Dark Night of the Soul back in September-October 2020. She appeared in my feed after I did a search using the hashtag #ChristianTarot. Not long after, I realised that she was working on a book about Christian Tarot with the title The Contemplative Tarot. ‘How exciting!,’ I thought. Other than Meditations on the Tarot, I was not aware of any Christian Tarot books at the time. So naturally, I ordered Contemplative Tarot as soon as it became available.

By the way, Meditations on the Tarot was one of the first books I reacquired after my disastrous six months of darkness and getting rid of anything remotely occult or esoteric. And, guess what, I’m still reading it! I started it in 2016-2017 and have every intention of completing it in chunks small enough for me to manage. It’s not a book for the faint of heart or those who like to skim over the surface of any topic. I’m currently halfway through the chapter on XX Judgement.

Christian Tarot

#ChristianTarot is a fun category to browse. You will find many people who are busy deconstructing as well as those who are reconstructing and incorporating esoteric tools in a more universalist form of Christianity.

Brittany Mulder was slowly finding her way back to her childhood Catholic faith when I found her Insta account and by the time Contemplative Tarot was published last month, she had made a firm commitment to that faith. She disavows herself of anything witchy. And she uses the Tarot for reflection, not divination (as clearly stated on her Insta profile).

When she left the faith of her childhood, it was the Tarot that eventually led her back to God. I can totally see that. If you work with the Rider Waite Tarot, Brittany’s deck of choice, you will encounter much esoteric and exoteric Christian symbolism. The deck creators, Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith were both practising Catholics as well as members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

A Christian Guide to the Cards

The Contemplative Tarot is subtitled ‘A Christian Guide to the Cards.’ Other than the introductory chapter where Mulder speaks of losing and finding her religion, this book does what it says on the tin. And I must admit, I really enjoy her musings on the cards as well as learning how the author prays with the Tarot.

(Oh, and yeah, there is a chapter about the history of the Tarot but I tend to skip those. You can only read about the history of the Tarot so many times without getting bored to tears.)

While I would hesitate to use the label Christian about myself these days and certainly would not be recognised as one by most mainstream Christians, I love reading Brittany’s reflections. I also love that she starts each chapter with a verse of Scripture. For the Court Cards, there is a quote by a saint. Sometimes I think that I might have chosen the same verse or quote and sometimes I have to dig a bit deeper. Either way, Mulder never fails to give me something new to reflect on. The questions for self-reflection at the end of each chapter are varied, deep and amazing.

But really, what I love the most is that she ties the cards more tightly to the Christian mysteries. I think I underestimated how much I would enjoy that side of things. So yes, if you have a love for Christ, whether you are on a traditional, exoteric path, or if you (like me) are more of an esotericist/heretic (haha!), you will probably love this book. I find that pulling a card of the day and reading about it works best for me. However, there is nothing to stop you from reading Contemplative Tarot from cover to cover.

New to the Tarot?

If you are new to the Tarot but curious about how it might tie in with your Christocentric spiritual or religious path, you’ll be happy to know that the book is illustrated. You do not need to buy a deck to start learning or reflecting. While the book does not contain traditional divinatory card meanings, the images themselves are the classical Waite Smith Tarot images.

Mulder’s description of each card does provide you with a sense of the traditional card meanings even if from a Christian, non-divinatory point of view. Eventually, you may wish to buy a deck to get the full-colour impression of each Arcanum. The images in the book are black and white. There are about three to four pages of writing per card.

I highly recommend this book to anybody on a Christocentric path. It will help you go deeper in your walk with the Lord.

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