The best books on tarot archetypes and the I Ching

Sarita Armstrong Author Of The Magic of Tao in The Tarot
By Sarita Armstrong

Who am I?

I have always seen my life as a journey, with lessons to be learnt along the way. Adventures on land and sea have drawn me into contact with many races and traditions and brought me close to nature in its many moods. When a physical journey ends, an inner journey takes me in directions I had never looked at before. Early spiritual questioning led me to eastern philosophies and made me aware of the underlying links between all cultures. In relying on my own experiences rather than what others have written, I believe my writing brings a freshness and individuality to the age-old questions of who we are and where we are going.


I wrote...

The Magic of Tao in The Tarot

By Sarita Armstrong,

Book cover of The Magic of Tao in The Tarot

What is my book about?

The Tao in the Tarot correlates the archetypes of the Major Arcana of the Tarot and hexagrams of The I-Ching, which Taoism underpins. After placing the 22 Major Arcana cards in a circle, like a Wheel of Life, I came to appreciate the oriental aspect concealed within it. Each tarot archetype is yin or yang in its attributes and a combined yin/yang card joins each pair of opposites. They formed a trail of triangles which reminded me of a string of DNA.

The basic numbers inherent in the Major Arcana and the I-Ching connect these two divinatory methods. The grail legend, antique deities, music, and dance are no less a part of the narrative.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

The Infinite Harmony: Musical Structures in Science and Theology

By Michael Hayes,

Book cover of The Infinite Harmony: Musical Structures in Science and Theology

Why this book?

The innovative thinking in this book inspired me to put my original ideas into writing. Here was someone else who was looking into the profound origins of humanity and how the world is made up. It reassured me I was on the right track in associating the Major Arcana of the Tarot with the I-Ching. Michael Hayes goes further in detecting a numerical and musical synthesis between ancient doctrines and current scientific discoveries. It is not a quick read, but a real eye-opener. Whilst not agreeing with all of it, there was so much fascinating information; I had to read it through twice straight off.


The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

By Julian Jaynes,

Book cover of The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

Why this book?

Despite the rather off-putting title, I found this book really interesting. Written by a specialist psychologist, it presented a new theory about the way human thinking has developed from the earliest beginnings. I was particularly interested in his concept that ancient man ‘heard the voice of god’ inside his mind, but as ‘primitive’ humans became more individualised, the gods were heard less often, until they could no longer be heard at all. This resonates with the myths that in a Golden Age humankind ‘walked with God’ but as aeons passed, the gods retreated. At this juncture, people started to construct images of their gods and divination appeared as a way to contact ‘the divine’. But that is a tiny part of this thought-provoking work.


Restoring the Balance

By Chöjé Akong Tulku Rinpoche,

Book cover of Restoring the Balance

Why this book?

This is an easy-to-read book for anyone new to a Buddhist way of thinking. The deceptively simple philosophy put forward by the author is startlingly relevant to all of us in today’s world – a world so obviously in need of restoring balance. Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche was the founder of the first Tibetan Buddhist Centre in the U.K.


Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism

By Lama Anagarika Govinda,

Book cover of Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism

Why this book?

In the preface, Govinda explains: Anticipating the future, Tomo Geshe Rinpoche, one of the greatest spiritual teachers of modern Tibet and a real master of inner vision, left his remote mountain hermitage ... and proclaimed that the time had come to open to the world the spiritual treasures which had been hidden and preserved in Tibet for more than a thousand years. Because humanity stands at the crossroads of great decisions: before it lies the Path of Power ... leading to enslavement and self-destruction – and the Path of Enlightenment ... leading to liberation and self-realization.

This deeply spiritual book takes the reader through the Tibetan mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum in a way that gives true meaning to what it really is to be human.


Four Quartets

By T.S. Eliot,

Book cover of Four Quartets

Why this book?

I want to include this slim volume of four fairly long, connected poems because I have turned to it so often over the years. T.S. Eliot could be called a modern mystic, for he was ahead of his time. Nostalgia for another age is mixed with single lines that keep you thinking for days, and there are elements you can only appreciate intuitively. Reading these poems takes me to unknown places that I think I remember, and to times beyond this time.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in tarot, China, and music?

5,888 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about tarot, China, and music.

Tarot Explore 37 books about tarot
China Explore 400 books about China
Music Explore 74 books about music

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Oxford Companion to World Mythology, The Minds of the Bible, and The 'Other' Psychology of Julian Jaynes if you like this list.