Mirror of the free, Nicholas Swift: on the origin of the Tarot

Those of you who are into Western Esotericism and Tarot will be glad to hear that Nicholas Swift has taken Blavatsky up on the hints she gave in her letters and looked at the Babylonian cylinders. Blavatsky Collected Writings Vol XIV pp 106, 94 and 174, p. 12 of the book under review.

This is not the kind of book you can just read at your leisure. In fact, I’ll freely admit that I haven’t read the whole thing through for this review. I’m not currently very interested in the Tarot, though I dabbled in it in my late teens and early twenties.

The tarot is of course a type of divination and like all types of divination it works best if you use it as a method to access your own intuition. However, that doesn’t mean that it is not also a good idea to know about the background of those symbols. That’s what Nicholas Swift has tried to uncover. In the process he goes into Sufism, Gurdjieff and Fourth Way as well as Taoism. In short: he’s your classic occult author, mixing and matching stories, graphs, quotes and inspiration from all over in order to delve deeper into the soul.

Like Blavatsky herself he doesn’t do this always equally logically. He jumps from one reference to the next and the reader  may get lost trying to figure out if there was any connection.

That said – for the serious student of the tarot and theosophy this really is the kind of book that just can’t be ignored. It will stay in my own personal library, unlike many books publishers send me, because the research done here is invaluable.

  • Mirror of the Free, Nicholas Swift
  • Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: O Books, John Hunt; Reprint edition (November 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846944198
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846944192
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches