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Meditations on the Tarot

Meditations on the Tarot

A Journey into Christian Hermeticism

By Valentin Tomberg

688 pp

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About the Book

Drawing on the rich theological and mystical traditions of Christianity, including its oft-neglected esoteric streams, as well other religious and sapiential traditions past and present, every paragraph of Meditations on the Tarot shines with the light of a lifetime of contemplation enriched by the ever-nourishing sacramental life found in the Corpus mysticum, all of which the anonymous author integrates with the Christian vision of faith by means of 22 Letters addressed to “Unknown Friends,” inspired by the imagery of the Major Arcana of the Tarot considered analogically on the Hermetic model of “as above, so below.” Published now with an extended table of contents, translations of supplementary material from earlier editions, an addendum of recently discovered early notes, and an exhaustive index, this new Angelico Press edition is a priceless gift for today’s spiritual seekers.


“A thinking, praying Christian of unmistakable purity reveals to us the symbols of Christian Hermeticism . . . summarized in the 22 so-called Major Arcana of the Tarot, seeking to lead us meditatively into the deeper, all-embracing wisdom of the Catholic Mystery.”


“Ever since Hans Urs von Balthasar’s endorsement of Meditations on the Tarot, theologians have increasingly begun to see that Christian esotericism is not necessarily heterodox or ‘gnostic,’ despite many ambiguities. To the contrary, the future of orthodoxy, its more radical cleaving to the biblical revelation, and above all its metaphysical coherence, may depend upon a new engagement with Sophiology, theurgic Neoplatonism, and Hermeticism.”


author of Beyond Secular Order

“True Christianity, says the New Age, has been lost, or, alternatively, retreated to some esoteric circle. Meditations on the Tarot, however, shows that Christianity has not been lost, but lives and breathes in precisely those institutions and teachings that to New Agers appear opposed to the life of the Spirit.”


author of The Radiance of Being

“Recognized by many leading thinkers as among the pivotal spiritual texts of the twentieth century, every paragraph leads deeper into the Christ mystery.”



“In this work of staggering insight, intelligence, imagination, and service, an anonymous Catholic author metabolizes diverse cultural and spiritual terrains while participating in the Mystical Body of Christ. His recovery of Christian Hermeticism is quite simply manna in the desert.”


Chalice of Repose Project

About the Author

Valentin Tomberg was born in St. Petersburg on February 26, 1900. Having been baptized a Protestant, he entered the Greek Orthodox church shortly before 1933, and, in 1945, became a Roman Catholic. In 1938 Tomberg emigrated to the Netherlands and began actively to lecture on Christological topics. At the beginning of 1944 he moved to Cologne, where he was awarded the title of Doctor of Law for his dissertation, The Art of the Good: On the Regeneration of Fallen Justice, published in English for the first time by Angelico Press. This dissertation marked an important turning-point in Tomberg’s life: humanistic studies he had presented during his thirties are now replaced by a strict orientation towards a Platonic model of knowledge, and a medieval, so-called “realism of universals.” Tomberg came to regard the modern path away from natural law (founded upon religion) and toward legal positivism (oriented toward power) as a dismantling of the different levels of law (and at the same time a loss of both the idea and ideal of law)—that is, as a process of degeneration or “fall,” which Tomberg seeks to reverse in the direction of regeneration. He also proposes a new way of organizing the academic study of law, in which the higher levels of law would be included, and in which access to the idea and the ideal of law would be restored.

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