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Editorial Reviews

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot was written by famed British occultist and longtime author of everything mystic, A. E. Waite, in 1911. This is a classic and esoteric guide for beginners and curious celestial seekers on how to read a 78-set deck of divinatory tarot cards, and dutifully describes the different ways with which to decipher the mystical meanings that some believe are found within the card’s cryptic symbols.

This unabridged audiobook is narrated with commendable plainspokenness and natural insight by Alec Sand.

Publisher's Summary

Arthur Edward Waite was a profound student of the occult. He was a member of the Order of The Golden Dawn, and made the Tarot accessible to the modern day reader. This classic text for the Rider- Waite deck discusses:-The major and minor arcana.-What each card means.-Reversed card meanings.-How to do a basic reading. The Pictorial Key to The Tarot is ideal for use with the Rider- Waite Deck and the Universal Waite Tarot Deck.
©2010 Arthur Edward Waite (P)2008 Trout Lake Media

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • JJ
  • HOUSTON, TX, United States
  • 06-16-10

Not for everyone.

I'm very glad this was recorded. But I can only recommend it to those who are already familiar with the print version and the author. It's hard to express just how pompous and bombastic Waite is, but the reader does a fantastic job of bringing this incredibly tedious text to life.

If you are looking for a introductory text on the Tarot, it's best to skip this one. If you are familiar with the author and others of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, then this can be an amusing listen.

If you find the author self-important and annoying, you are in good company: people have felt that way about Waite for more a century.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Robbie
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 09-25-12

Labyrinthine language, not worth the time!

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Mr.Edward Arthur Waite was co-creator of this very popular, perhaps the most popular, Tarot deck, yet I wouldn't have paid cent to listen to him speak live, were I to be transported back in time. The use of language in this book is so obfuscating, indeterminate and labyrinthine that I cannot really say it is worth one listen-though I did that-let alone a second listen. Alec Sand's reading here is eerie to say the least, but the book itself is the problem....and the book is very, very weird.

I can't say what type of person would like it more. That's beyond my ken.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Pictorial Education

This book is very detailed. If you are not a detailed person, do not get this book. I enjoyed how Arthur Waite goes through the history of the tarot cards and including its myths and legends as well.

It is amazing the how the tarot card's pictures developed over the years. If you are wanting a better understanding of the tarot card's and the meaning of each this is a great book.
Alec Sand did an excellent job with narration.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Clydene
  • San Diego, California
  • 05-15-14

Great Book if you know the Rider- Waite Deck

Wanted to make sure that people know this is a great audio companion to the book of the same name by Arthur Edward Waite who helpd create the Rider- Waite Tarot Deck. The descrptions are great it would be best to listened to with the deck. Otherwise this audio book will not make sense to the listener.

It was nice to listen to his throughts of the cards of the Rider- Waite Deck.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Leif
  • MEMPHIS, TN, United States
  • 01-28-13

Good book. Horrible narration.

Would you try another book from Arthur Edward Waite and/or Alec Sand?

I would read more of Waite. I'm not sure I'd give Alec Sand another chance.

Would you recommend The Pictorial Key to The Tarot to your friends? Why or why not?

As a book, I would refer it as a good historical introduction to tarot.

What didn’t you like about Alec Sand’s performance?

I would hesitate to call this a performance. It sounds more like a long string of phrases than a performed reading.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Pictorial Key to The Tarot?

In terms of the text, none. In terms of the recorded reading, I'd scrap it and start fresh with a performer who reads the text before attempting to record it and attempts to make the reading sound natural.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Do not buy this book!

What disappointed you about The Pictorial Key to The Tarot?

The narrator is so monotone that it is too hard to listen to this book. I might actually like the book- if it was read by some one else.

Has The Pictorial Key to The Tarot turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

Would you be willing to try another one of Alec Sand’s performances?

Absolutely not- in fact- I will make sure I never choose a book he narrates ever again.

What character would you cut from The Pictorial Key to The Tarot?

The narrator

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Audrey
  • White Bear, MN
  • 08-17-12

Not For Everyone...

Would you try another book from Arthur Edward Waite and/or Alec Sand?

YES....but not in a big hurry to do so....this book is hard to digest.

Has The Pictorial Key to The Tarot turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, as every book is different and deserves a honest chance.

How could the performance have been better?

More engaging material. I don't think it was the performance that was the issue. It just seemed so very dry and difficult to get into.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Pictorial Key to The Tarot?

I would try to make it more engaging. It was like reading an antiquated clinical dissertation on the interest of the author.

Any additional comments?

This is NOT a book that lends itself to learning the Tarot, nor is it a book that is 'easy to listen to'...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Disappointing treatment of a Classic

What did you like best about The Pictorial Key to The Tarot? What did you like least?

Alec Sand absolutely butchered A.E. Waite's classic. Sand has a very odd way of reading; the words come out in odd little bursts, and he sounds reluctant ... as though he were being forced to read something he disagreed with vehemently during a violent attack of hiccups. Really, its excruciating .. I found the same thing with another lovely book; he gave it the same treatment and I found myself unable to listen to either. I wish these were available with a different narrator.

How could the performance have been better?

A different narrator! Please! Someone who sounds like he's enjoying what he is reading and appreciates a chance to share it with us!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great content....horrible reader.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The guy reading this book is truly the worst reader I've ever heard in an audio book.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Alec Sand?

A two year old chimpanzee would have been better

Was The Pictorial Key to The Tarot worth the listening time?

Would have been great without the lifeless mechanical reading.

Any additional comments?

Alec Sand please don't read any more audio books until you've got at least a third grade level reading skill. You are simply not cut out for this...find another job NOW!

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  • Cindy
  • LINCOLN PARK, MI, United States
  • 03-10-13

Obfuscation

What disappointed you about The Pictorial Key to The Tarot?

Everything was disappointing. I should have read the other reviews, but instead I was dazzled by the name of the author gave it more credibility than it deserved.

What could Arthur Edward Waite have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

The content could have been more relative to the cards, just as the work "Key" in the title intimated.

What didn’t you like about Alec Sand’s performance?

His pontification made it sound like a sermon.

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  • Charlie
  • 01-14-15

Antiquated text ruined by attrocious reading.

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I think this book would be best enjoyed by robots or those with a desire to learn an extrememly annoying and affected way of reading rendering meaning and communication near impossible.

Would you be willing to try another book from Arthur Edward Waite? Why or why not?

Probably not. Waite is deliberately incomplete and obfuscatory, due in part to the time he was writing in and the commitments he perceived he had to the order of the Golden Dawn. Put simply there are now better and more complete texts available.

What didn’t you like about Alec Sand’s performance?

Utterly attrocious. A horrific stop-start that tries to add emphasis and meaning but instead gives the listener piecemeal chunks of babbled text. Irritating to the point of unlistenability. Quite frankly, I want a refund!

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Extremely disappointed. I want a refund.

Any additional comments?

Avoid like the plague.