Magical Tarot: Your Essential Guide to Reading the Cards, by Madame Pamita
Weiser Books, 1578638119, 272 pages, November 2023
As a tarot reader for over a decade, I admit that I take the cards face value. I no longer really see the imagery, rather I just notice the name of the card and immediately jump to my own interpretation of it. Reading Magical Tarot: Your Essential Guide to Reading the Cards by Madame Pamita has been an opportunity to slow down my readings and truly connect with what is being depicted in the artwork of each card, unlocking new perspectives about the spiritual messages being revealed.
“Much more than a device to see the future, the tarot is a powerful book of esoteric knowledge in the form of cards.”1
Madame Pamita is a Ukrainian-American witch and quite an accomplished occult practitioner. She runs an online spiritual apothecary called Parlour of Wonders, hosts workshops, teaches witchcraft, reads tarot for individuals and group events, and hosts podcasts Magic and the Law of Attraction and Baba Yaga’s Magic. Her previous publications include The Book of Candle Magic (the best book on candle magic I’ve ever read!) and Baba Yaga’s Book of Witchcraft.
In the introduction, Pamita describes how she wrote this book for her students to ”guide them as to the meanings of the cards from the truly positive perspective that the cards contain, but also show them how they can expand far beyond traditional readings and use the cards as tools for manifesting and attracting the best life experiences ever.”2
To achieve this goal of manifesting greatness, Pamita starts with the basics for readers, explaining the law of attraction and how magic can be used to focus one’s intention. After a quick esoteric history lesson on the tarot, she shares suggestions for how readers can build their own relationship with the cards. Pamita then describes the art of affirmations to the readers and teaches readers how to get quick, magical manifestation results using the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot cards.
The bulk of the book though is her description of each tarot card, leading the readers through the whole deck suit by suit, starting with the numerical minor arcana cards (Ace-ten), then covering the court cards, and finally moving onto the major arcana cards. I appreciated this approach of beginning with the minor arcana and slowly going suit by suit, rather than immediately diving into the major arcana, which is the approach of many other tarot books.
For every card, Pamita goes into depth about the imagery on the card and what the different symbolism means in regard to its overall meaning. Then Pamita supplies a list of the key symbols in the card and what they represent, a list of what the card signifies in a reading, a journal question to explore the card more deeply, and an affirmation.
Her analysis draws attention to aspects of the cards one might normally overlook or simply might not have the background knowledge to see in the way she’s explaining. She sometimes refers to the numerology of the card or brings up unique ways of how to view the card, such as seeing the Knight of Cups’ relationship to Hermes due to his shoes. For the Three of Pentacles, Pamita writes about the way triangles being pointed upward and downward represent the different elements alchemically. All these little tid-bits of information come together to open the reader’s perception of what’s really going on in the card beyond just the surface level visuals. I found her explanations to be very grounding, as in they make you think from within the card’s settings.
While the general meaning of each tarot card is easily found online, the more nuanced mystical symbolism of the cards is not as readily accessible. Pamita does a good job of turning the cards on their head for readers to gain new insight to the essence of energy of the card. For instance, the Seven of Swords has always been a card that I associate with deceit or theft with a negative connotation, but in her analysis of the card, Pamita writes:
“What if the guys he’s stealing from are some really bad dudes and he’s one of the good guys stopping them from slaughtering innocent people with those swords? What if he’s just taking back what rightfully belongs to him? What if he’s not stealing the swords from an enemy but playing a prank on some friends? Maybe he’s not taking the swords at all, but merely rearranging them. One of the things that this card always awakens in the savvy reader is the idea that there may be more than one side to the story and that the way of the Trickster is to show us that are not always what they appear to be.”3
This insight was really impactful and helped me to shake out of the habits I have when reading the cards. For those like me who are often looking for concrete meanings, Pamita helps to widen this perspective to encompass the “what if” and see the energy of the card in a new light.
I also really appreciated the journal questions and affirmations included. All questions were meaningful and prompted me to explore inwardly for a few minutes to come up with an answer. I also have been enjoying using the affirmations daily when I have a moment to reflect. My next step is going to be intentionally using the affirmations magically, choosing the cards whose energy I want to work with rather than just being more passive right now and exploring what card comes up in my daily pull.
Overall, I highly recommend Magical Tarot for those looking to bring a bit more perspective into their readings. This book would be perfect for beginners, but it also can be immensely beneficial to skilled readers that feel their practice has grown a little stale. Discovering the esoteric secrets of the tarot symbolism is quite illuminating, opening new psychic doorways through visual engagement. You might even find yourself, like I am, starting to doodle the symbolism, deepening my connection with imagery on the cards. There are new worlds waiting to be explored and Pamita has done a wonderful job of guiding us over the threshold into magical terrain.
Alanna Kali is an astrologer, numerologist, and pioneer spirit that loves to explore life through the lens of depth psychology. She has a passion for studying the humanities and social trends. Her academic work is centered upon reuniting body, mind, and spirit through eco-psychology. She loves reading, spending time in nature, and travel.