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Good Books: Reb Livingston on Oracles & Dreams

Reb Livingston is the author of Bombyonder — a novel-poetry hybrid available October 2014, God Damsel, and Your Ten Favorite Words. She is both creator and curator of the Bibliomancy Oracle, a site offering over 2,500 prophecies divined from literature. Reb lives in Virginia with her husband and son.

"Reb Livingston is concerned with large and small disruptions: small disruptions of the sentence, large disruptions of the world," notes  Patricia Lockwood.

Reb Livingston suggests three good books on oracles & dreams:

Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings
by Rachel Pollack

This book notably influenced and changed the way I conduct Tarot readings. More than simply a quick reference for each card, it explores a range of approaches for each card, how the cards work in conjunction with one another and varying interpretations between decks. There’s specific spreads inspired by each Major Arcana  card & suit. Before I read this book, I wasn’t considering “reversed” meanings because most books present them as automatically and unnecessarily negative. But Pollack’s approach is different, each reversed meaning depends on the particular card, the differences often more subtle than an opposite interpretation. She also addresses Tarot-related superstitions and “rules,” like wrapping your deck in silk or not allowing someone else to touch your cards. It’s a valuable book for novice & advanced readers alike. I use my copy so much, I need to buy another because the pages are falling out.

The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images
Ami Ronnberg, editor-in-chief
Kathleen Martin, editor

There are any number of good books on both dream interpretation and symbols, but this book I regularly return to when I want to explore a deeper or variety of cultural meanings related to a specific image or object. While not written specifically (or perhaps solely) for dream interpretation, it nonetheless offers a broad range of possibilities when applying them to dreams, as well as art, literature and history. What I appreciate most is that the essays aren’t afraid to explore inconsistencies and paradoxes of meanings because let’s admit it: there are few absolutes when it comes to meaning. With its beautiful color photographs and illustrations, this book is a bargain too.

Strange Tarot
by Jamalieh Haley

Often I am disappointed how the Tarot is portrayed in popular culture and literature. Perhaps its because the cards are presented in such simplistic fashion. Or perhaps its because the works never seem to move past descriptions or generalities. Often I wonder what exactly I am hoping for, perhaps if I knew I could write it myself. I’m not claiming that Strange Tarot is specifically what I’ve been looking for, but it’s certainly not what I expected or read before. Focusing on Death, the Tower, the Moon, the Lovers, the Empress, The World, The Wheel of Fortune and Judgment (some of the more interesting cards) and referencing some unusual decks (Zombie, Solleone) and even an album (Atomic Yggdrasil Tarot), Haley doesn’t limit the poems to descriptions or card meanings, but instead uses them as springboards to leap all over the place.

An excerpt from Strange Tarot:

Future Solleone: La Luce
You are his oracle—a corpse that reflects all his loved ones. The robot looks up and asks what is this afternoon letter piercing sack of glitter. From it he builds a P-O-O-L and submerges. It’s the kind of suicide that’s so bright even masks close their eyes.

I’m not sure if the poems are free associations or if they’re developing their own meanings/interpretations or if they’re doing something completely else, but they’re a delight to read. This short, limited-edition chapbook, certainly lives up to its “strange” label and I mean that in the best possible way.


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