Donald Michael Kraig offers just what I'm looking for in Tarot and Magic: a brief but workable introduction to using tarot as a magical tool for the beginners passing by, a coherent and believable explanation of the theory behind his work and a variety of methods to apply his techniques. Above all, Kraig encourages experimentation, with Tarot and Magic as nothing more – and nothing less – than a launching point.

Kraig offers unique methods of applying tarot, ranging from Qabalic pathworking to pragmatic spell casting. At the end of each chapter, Kraig presents workbook-style questions, challenging new and practiced readers to examine their own understanding of the material, while quietly challenging them to apply what they've learned. His chapter on using the tarot as an aid to studying Qaballa was useful, and did provide coherent insight into the mystical system. The spells presented for finding employment worked effectively enough when applied, and the use of tarot cards to guide astral projection passed the ultimate test applying principles in Kraig's book, astral projection actually happened.

One of the more intriguing applications proposed by Kraig is using the tarot to define dance choreography. That's right, throw down the cards, stand up and boogie – in whatever motion the images suggest. He sidesteps the obvious question regarding decks that don't use human imagery by acknowledging the many, many decks swimming in the sea and specifically recommending those with imagery that lends itself to physical interpretation. An application of tarotdancing was attempted, but limited space and a twoleft feet incident has rendered results inconclusive as to the effectiveness of this application.

Kraig treads towards irreverence when he proposes a ritual based on taping a tarot card to the TV and using the television as a way of inducing a hypnagogic state. Given that television is used primarily as a marketing tool, I question the safety of opening the subconscious mind to it – perhaps that is why Kraig recommends a banishing ritual before and after?

Still, the author runs through a diversity of methods for tarot and magic without once resorting to the typical tarot writer's standby of taking a tarot deck and writing a personal interpretation of each and every card. Kraig even shows mercy in layouts, only subjecting readers to one chapter on different card layouts before he moves on to less explored and much more interesting aspects of the tarot.

Tarot and Magic comes highly recommended. It is unique among the tarot books available, it encourages creative thought and personal examination of ideals and I heartily approve of anything that encourages people to get up and dance. Kraig makes this book accessible to all by writing in a clear, understandable style, by using multiple tarot decks in multiple methods and by spending just the right amount of time supplying the background information needed to actually use the tarot in a magical manner.

~review by Diana Rajchel

by Donald Michael Kraig

Llewellyn Publications, 2002

pp. 172, $12.95

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