The Rota Mundi Tarot:
The Rosicrucian Arcanum
By Daniel E. Loeb
Publisher: RedFeather Mind, Body, Spirit
78-card deck and 256-page guidebook
The Rota Mundi Tarot kit is an in-depth class on western occultism packaged neatly into a traditional 78-card Tarot deck and an expansive and substantial guidebook. The kit comes in a very sturdy 6 inch by 9 inch by 2 5/8 inch cardboard box with a magnetic clamshell closure and a matte finish with gold lettering.
The guidebook is the first thing we see when we open the Tarot kit box. It is a 5 3/4 inch by 8 3/4 inch matte soft cover book with an easy to read black typeface on white paper. The guidebook has 256 pages, and is very dense with useful and in-depth information about Rosicrucianism, esoteric Christianity, the Kabbalah and the Tree of Life, Alchemy, Western Occultism, and the Tarot. The first five chapters (71 pages) of the guidebook provide enough information about the non-Tarot disciplines included in the kit that the guidebook could act as a textbook and a jumping-off point for access to many interesting rabbit holes of study. Even the general information about the Tarot could be a book of its own: 32 pages of information including the history, development and structure of the cards, the process of assigning meanings, the reading process, the use of spreads, and even some information about intuitive reading, and Tarot myths and superstitions.
The card information section of the guidebook (which consists of 137 pages!) is set up to describe the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom. The 32 paths begin with the numbered cards of the Minor Arcana suit of Wands. There are 3-5 pages devoted to each Minor card, offering way more than just keywords. Each card has a black and white card image, the name of the card and the Sephira associated with it, descriptions of the symbols and their meanings, and a detailed description of the Hebrew letter associated with the card. Next are the Major Arcana cards. Each card section has a black and white card image and information about the individual Path on the Tree of Life (beginning with Path 11) and the two Sephiroth connected by the path, and how they can be used in interpreting the card. The last part of the card information section begins with the Page of Wands, and continues through the rest of the Minor Arcana cards with a card image and a description of the card meaning; many of the cards also contain information about the image associated with the card. The book finishes with a useful Glossary, Bibliography, Index, several blank lined pages for notes, and an author bio.
The cards themselves are stored in a cardboard insert beneath the guidebook, separated into two piles (which can be handy if you decide to use just the Majors or just the Minors as a study guide for the guidebook). The cards are 3 inches by 4 ½ inch, full color with a grey border and smooth and sturdy gold on the card edges. The card stock is flexible without feeling fragile, and the cards shuffle easily thanks to the matte finish. The card images have a bit of a dark hue to them, which seems to somewhat obscure the images, at least on first glance. The card back contains an image of the Rosy Cross, and there is a nice description of the elements of the card back image at the end of the card description section.
The Rota Mundi Tarot kit allows an in-depth exploration of disciplines that form the underpinning of much of the interpretive processes of the symbolism of the Tarot. Many readers do not know much about the Rosicrucians, nor do they have more than a surface understanding of Renaissance and modern Alchemy, esoteric Christianity, the Kabbala and the Tree of Life, or Western Occultism, despite their influences within the workings of the Tarot. In the Rota Mundi Tarot kit, we have a valuable tool for understanding the Fraternity of the Rose Cross and the many facets of Western Occultism and their separate evolutions through the years, a tool that illustrates how the Tarot can act as a unifying system that combines many of these teachings.
In other words, this is way more than a Tarot deck and guidebook. While the Rota Mundi Tarot can certainly be used for divination, the cards, filled with symbolism, make a wonderful learning tool that supports the vast amounts of valuable information and insights found in the guidebook. In fact, the guidebook could act as an effective standalone textbook, and I plan on keeping mine on the shelf where I keep my other occult books so I can access it easily.
This is definitely not a Tarot kit for a beginner who does not have at least a basic understanding of just what a Tarot deck is, or who does not have the desire to explore in a deep fashion the occult mysteries that are a large part of the “how and why” of a Tarot deck. For a serious student of the lore and knowledge that is the Tarot, or a beginner who is willing to do the hard work involved in understanding the foundations of this divination tool we all love, the Rota Mundi Tarot can be like having a class in occult mysteries at our fingertips.
Daniel E. Loeb is a scholar, published occult author, Tarot reader, and spiritual mentor who wrote under the pseudonym D.W. Prudence, and who instructs hypnotherapy certification courses internationally and has worked as a hypnotherapist in private practice. He retired after 20 years in the US Air Force, and is now a full-time author and instructor on topics related to Kabbalah, Alchemy, and the Tarot. He has served for 10 years as a law enforcement officer and has volunteered as a victim’s advocate in sexual assault prevention and response. His unique life experiences and his Jewish, Christian and occult backgrounds have enabled him to interact with diverse cultures and thus gain a unique perspective on mysticism and human behavior. He is also the author of AlcheMystic Woodcut Tarot: The Secret Wisdom of the Ages, published in 2018.
About the Author:
Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher. Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.