Monthly Archives: April 2012

Review – Simply Deep Tarot

Simply Deep Tarot

Author: Chanel Bayless
Artist: James Battersby
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
ISBN #978-0-7643-3984-4

The “Simply Deep Tarot” follows the traditional Rider-Waite format, with 78 cards, traditional titles for the Major Arcana, Strength at VIII and Justice at XI. The four suits of the Minor Arcana are entitled Wands, Cups, Swords, and Coins, with the Court Cards entitled Princess, Knight, Queen, and King.

The cards come in what is coming to be viewed at the “traditional” Schiffer packaging – sturdy lift-top box, with a magnetic lid. The coloring on the box and the 96 page book are blue/green, representing the emotional realm of life. The cover of the box shows the “ghost” of a female figure, cards in hand. The back of the box carries background information on the deck.

The purpose behind the “Simply Deep Tarot”is to take the reader deeper into the cards on an emotional level, while still providing a connection to everyday life. In her introduction, Bayliss indicates that she sees the Tarot as a window into the soul. This window has many layers, layers that Bayliss sees as emotional memories, and the reader needs to be able to penetrate these layers to gain the most from the cards.

Isolating and exploring each individual emotional layer is the technique that Bayliss recommends. A hint that she gives is to remain detached, so that one does not become afraid of the wisdom they are accessing. She also suggests that the reader be very aware of their own energy during a reading, to the extent that information is given on working with the chakras and energy.

Spreads were deliberately not developed for this deck, as Bayliss wanted the reader to go deeply into each card to pull out the meaning. Spreads are developed with the idea of accessing the story, and Bayliss feels that this can be done, and is done, as the reader accesses each successive layer of the cards.

Each card is presented with a small black and white scan, keyowrds, and upright and reversed meanings.

In her conclusion, Bayless writes “Understanding the roots of our emotional and spiritual origins is the number one best thing that we can do to understand all of the choices that we’ve made in life, that we will make in life, and that will affect the direction of the path that lies before us at this exact moment.”

The cards are 2 ¾” by 4 ½”, and are a sturdy, glossy card stock. The backs are a blue/green, and reversible, showing the same “ghost woman”, holding her cards, as the front of the box. The cards are color coded, with a solid strip of color across the top and the bottom. The Major Arcana show the card number, in Roman numerals, and the card title across the bottom. The Minor Arcana Pips (numbered cards), show the the card number (in text) and the suit name across the bottom of the card. The Minor Arcana Court Cards show the card title and suit across the bottom of the cards, and a solid color across the top..

The coloring on this deck in in depth, with the suit of Wands coded peach, the suit of Cups blue/green, the suit of Swords a yellow/green, and the suit of Coins a light green. The Major Arcana cards are coded to their elemental quality. The art style is somewhere between fantasy and reality, with the imagery not always following traditional lines.

The Fool is shown walking a tightrope between two sides of a canyon, while his dog watches from the bottom, near the river. The Empress is seated on a swan, while the Emperor stands with a scroll in his right hand, and his left hand holding on to what looks to be a pipe, with a wheel on the top. I love the Hierophant, who is pictured in a brown robe, with a squirrel under his right arm, and a bird seated on his left hand.

The Lovers shows a formally dressed couple having a picnic. The Chariot shows a young person standing in a ray of sunshine, his arms outstretched, with loose ropes tied to each wrist, leading to the side of the card. Strength is actually seated on t he lion, whom she has muzzled. Justice shows an individual seated on the right hand scale (as we view the scales), while seated on the left hand scale is a figure in a red robe with white collar and cuffs, a sword in one hand and an open book in the other.

The Five of Coins shows a male figure, collapsed on the ground in front of a barred doorway. In front of him is a female figure, standing, with five coins flung over her shoulder. The Seven of Coins literally shows a male figure watering his crop. The Queen of Coins shows a female figure, holding a bowl filled with bread and produce. The Two fo Swords shows a figure seated at a table, in front of an open book, his head in his hands. Over his head a swords and a feather are crossed.

The Magician both draws me into the picture, and makes me wonder. We see a figure seated at a table, in a blue, hooded cloak. On the table in front of him is a candle, a book of spells, a knife, a pencil, what looks to be a bowl of pebbles, or perhaps coins, and a flower in a vase.

The World shows a tree against a night sky, with the world cradled safely in its trunk. The Ace of Coins shows a coin, with a male and female figure on it, and a plant growing up from it.

The Six of Swords is another puzzling card for me. The figure of a child sits in a boat that is being manned by a figure in a long, brown, hooded cloak. This cannot exactly be an ocean, or even a river, as a spigot is running water in on the left hand side of the card. The boat isn’t going anywhere anyway, as the six swords are planted firmly in the water in front of its bow.

I love the Nine of Swords! We see an individual, sitting up in bed, head in hands. Above him/her are seven swords, each with its own little “thought cloud”. The thoughts are: Why me? Out to get me. You will fail! Worry. Gossip. I’m not good enough. Will I get in trouble? It won’t work. And What will happen?

The Two of Wands shows a painting, sitting on an easel at the shore. Two paint brushes hover in the air in front of it, while we see a turtle in the sand to one side. The Queen of Wands shows a very happy lady, in a bright red dress, with a wand in her right hand. She is standing between two burning cups. The Three of Wands shows three hands, each holding a match. The top two matches are lit, with the bottom match being held up to be lit by the upper matches. The King of Cups is very prototypical, with the King seated on his throne, full cup in his left hand.

This is a deck that can be easily worked with, and that might appeal to children, if the reader works with children. It is a deck that, along with its companion book, can expand the nature of a reading.

© April 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

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Posted by on April 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Review – Tarot Tour Guide

Tarot Tour Guide
Tarot, The Four Elements, And Your Spiritual Journey

Author: Christiana Gaudet
Jupiter Gardens Press
ISBN #978-1-938257-05-6

In her introduction, Gaudet notes that she is working from many different levels with this book, including as a tour guide for beginning students, and as a source of new perspectives and ideas for more experienced readers (including viewing the Tarot as a spiritual journey).

A metaphysical understanding of the four elements has been a cornerstone of Gaudet’s spiritual journey, which shows through clearly in this work. The premise here is that the four elements provide the framework for Tarot, magick, and a balanced life. From the back cover: “Your spiritual journey begins when you are present, conscious, and intentional in each moment.”

Also from the back cover – what you will find in this book:

• Tarot as a tool for your spiritual growth.
• Understandable interpretations for all seventy-eight cards.
• Instructions for reading Tarot for yourself and others, using several Tarot reading styles.
• Eight Tarot spreads, along with instructions to create your own Tarot spreads.
• An introduction to Tarot magick, along with several Tarot spells for love, healing and prosperity.
• Meditations and exercises to expand your understanding of Tarot, and of yourself.
• Ways to summon and connect with the four elements for balance and healing.
• Ways Tarot can help you in all aspects of life, including career, relationships, spiritual growth, creative development and communication with the spirit world.

Gaudet encourages readers to keep a written record of their Tarot journey in a Tarot journal, making notes on the cards, and your impressions of them. Work done on meditation, ritual, and journeying can also be recorded here. This makes it very easy to go back and review first impressions, add future thoughts, and basically see where you were/are at any point in time. She also encourages the Tarot student to create some type of Tarot alter, which is simply meant to be a sacred space that honors the Tarot work being done by the individual. In the same section Gaudet gives the reader simple instructions for using meditation to increase awareness of their spiritual journey. There are a lot of these “hidden gems” in this book!

The cards are presented in text format only – no scans. A verbal description of the Rider-Waite card image is given, along with the basic energy that the card carries, and what the card would mean in a reading, in both the upright and reversed positions. While this is very basic information, it gives the reader a solid foundation for reading the cards, and for developing their own understanding of them.

At the end of the Major Arcana section several exercises are presented, including Identifying With The Fool, Key Words, and Meditation. For advanced students is an exercise on working with best liked and worst liked cards.

Exercises for the Pips (numbered cards) include the Four Elements Reading, Storytelling, and Runs. For advanced students there is an exercise focused on the Four Elements.

Court Card exercises include Key Words, Significator, People In Your Life, What To Do?, and Numbers Exercise. For advanced students, there is an exercise entitled “Expand the Role of Tarot in Your Life”.

Gaudet presents four basic methods for reading the Tarot: interpretive, intuitive, psychological, and archetypal. That’s a great place to start developing a reading style, IMHO! Along with a discussion of the various styles, the exercises in this section include an intuitive exercise and an exercise on interpretive reading.

Five ways to see the Tarot are presented:

• Tarot is a book of spiritual lessons.
• Tarot is a language.
• Tarot is a tool for stimulating creativity.
• Tarot is a means of communicating with the spirit world.
• Tarot is a set of magickal tools.

I love working with the 3X7 way of looking at the Major Arcana. Here we see this method presented as Body/Mind/Spirit, with cards I-VII representing the Body (Material World), cards IX-XV as Mind (Emotional World), and XVI-XXI as Spirit (Spiritual World).

The Tarot spreads included in this book are the Celtic Cross, the Seven Sisters, the Future Vision, the Lamplighter, Mapping the Spiritual Path, and Relationship. I loved this section, but I did have one major problem: the type here was too small for these older eyes to read!

The same issue with small type carried over into the chart for the Four Elements – great information, but presented in type too small for me to read. (I loved the spread presented in this chapter – the Compass Rose Spread For Elemental Balance.) Instructions are given for meditating on the Four Elements, as well as for calling them in. Anyone can do this, people! This is followed by separate chapters for each of the elements.

“Tarot Tour Guide” is packed with usable information, written in a straight forward, easily understood manner. It is packed with little gems of understanding, exercises to help the reader place the information actively into their life, spreads to play with, stories from Gaudet’s personal experience with her clients, and much more! It also lends itself to forming the foundation for classes of all types. I don’t generally say this, but I am going to say it here, because the thought has been coming to me since I began reading this book. If you want to base a class on material from this book, have the courtesy to acknowledge where it came from. Yes, the material here is that good!

© April 2012 Bonnie Cehovet


Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Tarot


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Tarot Spreads

Tarot Spreads
Layouts & Techniques To Empower Your Readings

Author: Barbara Moore
Llewellyn Publications
ISBN # 078-0-7387-2784-4

The questions that we ask of the Tarot, and the spreads that we use to answer them, allow us to access the powerful wisdom that the Tarot contains. The 78 cards carry the images, and the images carry the energy. On the back of her book Moore notes that in learning to format and use various spreads, the reader brings power, precision, and depth to their readings. In this book the reader will find nearly seventy different themed spreads that they can work with, or that they can use as jumping off places for creating their own spreads. She also notes something that I think is very important, and that is t hat in working with spreads, and in creating their own spreads, the reader will create (define) a reading style that is all their own. The reader can choose to:

1. Select a spread from the book and use it for guidance.
2. Perform a 78 card reading to deepen their understanding of the Tarot.
3. Modify classic spreads, or create their own spreads.

The book is very nicely set up with a page of contents, which lists chapters on basic concepts, designs and layouts, techniques to add to any spread, how to modify spreads, do it yourself spread design, and how to do a 78 card reading. In the back of the book are spread cross-references, an annotated reading list, an appendix with curious old spread, and appendix with elemental dignities, and an appendix with significators. There is also a page which lists the specific page where a spread layout is pictured.

In her introduction, Moore tells a wonderful story about the very first reading that she got from Tarotist Rachel Pollack. Rather than asking what her question was, Pollack asked Moore to “talk about the situation”. Pollack took notes as Moore talked, and came up with a unique spread from her own notes! This experience lead Moore to explore spreads and spread design on her own. One thing that Moore noted here resonated with me, and that is that she sees working with Tarot spreads as part of the pattern-creating process.

The first two spreads presented are the three-card Past/Present/Future spread, and a seven-card choices spread. Moore notes things like positional meaning blending in with the inherent meaning of the cards, and that even spreads without positional meanings still create a framework for the answer. She also notes that all spreads have inherent strengths and weaknesses.

The general categories that a reader might want to have one or more spreads for includes general, love/relationship, work/career, health, and spiritual life. Each reader works within their own belief system, using their own personal style and techniques.

In the section on design principles, Moore talks about balance within a spread, and the symmetry and spacing. She also addresses the significance of different geometric forms (square, circle, triangle, and cross.

The section on traditional spreads includes the Celtic Cross (with significator), the Horseshoe Spread, the Astrological Spread, the Star Spread, the Chakra spread, and the Tree of Life Spread.

General spreads include variations on the three-card spread, Barbara’s General Spread, a Generic Basic Spread, the Guiding Star Spread, the Elemental Advice Spread, the Royal Advice Spread, the Big Picture Spread, the Facing A Challenge Spread, the Heart versus Head Spread, the Action Plan Spread, the Three Gates Spread, the Winds of Change Spread, an expanded Past/present/Future Spread, a Past/Present/Future Spread With Options, and more.

The section on techniques to add to any spread is invaluable, in that it breaks the reader out of boxed in thinking and allows them to see things from a wider perspective. Techniques include working with pairs and triplets, changing your focus, and moving the cards.

The section on modifying spreads included information on changing focus, modifying positional meanings, altering the layout, or the number of cards used, and adding different techniques. Examples are given to show the reader how the process works.

The section on do it yourself spreads includes working with themes, working with quotes, positional meanings, the number of cards, and the position of the cards.

Being able to understand and work with spreads is at the heart of a Tarot reading, following the formation of the Seeker’s question. “Tarot Spreads” offers a wonderful foundation in showing the reader the many things that can be done with Tarot spreads. The reader is only limited by their own thinking!

© April 2012 Bonnie Cehovet

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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Tarot and Healing

I have been having some random thoughts lately about Tarot, how we use it, and how it affects how we live our lives. I see Tarot as a tool of divination, yes, but I also see it as a tool for spiritual growth, and,most importantly, a tool for healing. In the Tarot we have the four elements (Fire, Water, Air, and Earth), and we can access their energy to heal ourselves at any time (or to help someone else heal). We also have access to the four worlds ( Atziluth, the Archetypal world; Briah, the world of Creation; Yetzirah, the world of Formation; and Assiah, the world of Manifestation. We can also combine the Tarot with the Chakras to format a reading that will tell us where we are not aligned, and where we need to heal. Or we can choose to work with the shadow side of the cards and literally address our shadow selves.

The year 2012, our current year, is a special year, in that according to the Mayan calendar great change is coming. I see many of my fellow readers making significant changes in their practices, and focusing on the healing process for their clients, in different ways.

How are you addressing healing in your work with the Tarot? How do you see the need for healing as it is reflected in the larger community around you? Do you connect the need for healing with the world events that are going on around us? How do you feel that the Tarot can help us to heal, to become whole, and to assimilate the rapid changes that the world, and humanity, are going through?

© April 2012 Bonnie Cehovet


Posted by on April 8, 2012 in Tarot


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Review – Steampunk Tarot

Steampunk Tarot

Author: Barbara Moore
Artist: Aly Fell
Llewellyn Publications
ISBN #978-0-7387-2638-0

“What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner.”
~~~ from the introduction

The “Steampunk Tarot” is a traditional 78 card deck that is steeped in the very untraditional world of steampunk. Traditional titles are used for the Major Arcana, with Strength at VIII and Justice at XI. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles, with the Court Cards entitled King, Queen, Knight, and Page. I am not a gamer, nor have I ever been. This particular world flew way under my radar! In her introduction, Moore notes that anyone with a penchant for sci-fi, and anything in Victorian clothing, will more than likely feel at home in this world. She also notes that while steampunk has its roots in the past, it continues to evolve in response to changes within our society.

I was interested to see that the seeds of the steampunk movement came from Victorian era writers such as Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, and H.G. Wells – all of which bring up fantastic reading memories for me! The term “steampunk” was brought into use in the 1980’s when writers were rediscovering the alternative worlds that “might have been”. Moore also notes that the setting for these worlds was traditionally Victorian London, but that this is changing. Personally, I love Victorian London and the Sherlock Holmes milieu!

The deck comes packaged with a 294 companion manual. The one quibble that I have with the packaging is that while a white pasteboard box is included to house the deck, it would have been much nicer if the deck had come in a box of its own. The box is done in tones of brown and gold, with an illustration of the Queen of Pentacles on the front (which very much reminds me of Barbara herself), and info about the book on the back. I love the phrase that heads this section – “Where The Past And Future Converge”! And the notation that the “Steampunk Tarot” offers a glimpse of the future through a lens to the past! This is indeed the Tarot at work!

I am going to do something a little different here. Barbara has penned such a unique table of contents that I am going to include it here, verbatim:

Introduction – in which we find interesting information.
Chapter 1 – Tarot Basics – in which the fundamentals of Tarot are provided
Chapter 2 – Major Arcana – in which the keys to the major cards are given
Chapter 3 – Minor Arcana – in which the minor cards are illuminated
Chapter 4 – Court Cards – in which we meet the people of Tarot
Chapter 5 – Spreads – in which we learn how to lay the cards
Farewell – in which we part with gratitude and good wishes

In her introduction, Moore gives the reader a bit of background for the steampunk genre, and discusses whether this is just a novelty deck, or whether it is more. She notes that all genres of decks reflect our current struggles and concerns as a culture. I have to agree with her here. While this deck will not be a major reading deck for me, I will use it to push the envelope in reading, especially when information may be coming, but is not flowing as smoothly as I would like to see. The new perspective that a non-traditional deck gives us is worth its weight in gold!

I love the scan that accompanies the chapter on Tarot basics – it is the Hierophant, which shows a very grandfatherly type figure seated in his chair, books on the table next to him, and a young boy and girl seated at his feet, paying rapt attention to what he is saying. This is a chapter in any book where I will say take with you what works, and leave the rest behind. There is good information here on reading the Tarot, but nothing is ever written in stone. What Moore does do is make you think, which is the most important thing one can do when reading the Tarot. (I am referring to reading in a conscious manner, not “over-thinking” every little thing.) I loved her suggestions that when practicing reading read for an imaginary querent (Seeker), pretend that a celebrity has asked for a reading, or use the Court Cards as people to read for.

The cards are presented with a full-page black and white scan, a short sentence (called “flavor text”), which adds character to the card, the core meaning of the card (largely taken from Moore’s “Tarot For Beginners”), and a discussion/exploration of the card. Some cards will also contain a section called “reading tips”. These are hints to help enhance the reader’s reading experience.

While defining the Major Arcana are representing the theme of the story, and the Minor Arcana as the scenes and actions that carry out the theme, the Court Cards are seen as the people living, experiencing, and animating the themes, scenes and settings.

Spreads included at the back of the book include the one card spread, the three card Past/Present/Future spread, a seven card spread with one card that moves up and down the spread, the six card Panoramic Photograph (basically the first six cards of the Celtic Cross), and a five-card spread called the Difference Engine (aka Magical Mesocosm). What is so very cool about the Difference Engine is that it incorporates the outcome card from the previous spread! I loved this idea!

The card backs are a muted brown/gold – rather antique/sepia looking. There are gears in the background, with the icons for the suits of Wands and Cups on the top, and the icons for the suits of Swords and Pentacles on the bottom. The backs are not reversible. The card faces have a ¼” black border, with the Major Arcana showing the card number in Roman numerals and the card title across the bottom. The Pips (numbered cards) show the number and suit in text across the bottom of the card, while the Court Cards show the title and suit across the bottom of the card.

The artwork in this deck is digital, and just amazing! The colors are muted, and really make one feel that they are looking back into another century … or another world! The imagery is consistent throughout the deck, and features mechanical devices and gears of all kinds. The imagery in this deck is unique … at times following the traditional footsteps, at times not. The Magician, for me, is a card that is a bit off. We see a male figure holding a cup in his right hand, and a sword, pointed down, in his left hand. A wand lies on the floor at his feet, where he stands in the middle of a pentagram. This is the first card where we see the lemnescate, which in this deck literally glows! Very cool! The figure, however, does not carry the essence of the magical Magician for me … it more strongly resembles a stage magician. I also have a problem with the Empress, who is lying on a couch looking a bit wanton. The Emperor is appropriately reserved, and the Lovers is a gorgeous card showing a young couple holding hands, with an angel above them.

I adore the Chariot, which shows a mechanical vehicle with a female figure, standing, goggles on her head, one hand steering the vehicle and the other holding a beautiful blue parasol. Looks very “Mary Poppins” to me, but the parasol is actually supposed to be “steampunked” (modified with amazing gadgets and technologies, making it a useful weapon. Either way, it’s a great card!

The Hermit is very cool, with his lantern that glows, and appears to be smoking! The Wheel of Fortune is three gears within a larger gear – nicely done! Justice carries nice imagery (the female figure stands between two pillars, with mechanical scales in front of her. One hand is at her side, while the other is out,,, palm up, with Tarot cards appearing to fall from it. This card just does not resonate with me.

The Hanged Man has his arms outstretched over his head, but his leg is crossed, so the imagery still works. Death is a female figure, wearing white with black wings, riding a brown horse and carrying a scythe. There is a male figure behind her, with his back to her. This image works, if you stay with it long enough.

I adore the Devil, which shows a mechanized being running completely amok! The lightning struck Tower is another well done card that carries its message well. The Star shows a female figure in a black dress … which works very well! The Moon carries the traditional imagery of the moon in the background, the twin towers, and the crab. And the two animals. The Sun is also a solid representation of its energy, with a young couple holding hands in front of a fence with sunflowers behind it, a white dog at their feet.

One of the cards that I was ambivalent over was the Fool. Showing a chimney sweep in a tall hat, with a dog at his feet, I see more the court jester than the Fool. And yes, in many ways they serve the same function. The High Priestess to me looks like a stage magician’s assistant, seated between two pillars made up of gears, wearing a top hat, holding Tarot cards in her right hand, with her left hand on a globe, which is surrounded y Tarot cards.

The Hierophant I adore, with its image of a grandfatherly figure, seated, with books to one side, and a young boy and girl sitting raptly at his feet, crossed keys between them. The Ace of Wand is incredibly powerful, showing a mechanical hand grasping a wand with growth on one end. The Six of Wands is another powerful card, with a soldier riding a mechanical horse, carrying a lance with a wreath on the end, very much the victorious individual!

The King of Wands again looks a bit like a sneaky stage magician, standing behind his throne and looking out at the reader. The Two of Cups – absolute magic! A male and a female figure are standing, facing each other. Each figure holds a cup, and is pouring something into the beaker on the table in front of them, Above them is a blue and white yin/yang figure, which is sending blue and white streams of energy wound around each other into the same beaker.

The Eight of Cups is soooo steampunk! We see a female figure in the forefront, goggles on her head. Behind her is a mechanical mechanism, with eight arms outstretched, an upright cup on each arm. Soooo H.G. Wells! Along the same note is the Six of Swords. Here we see a male and a female figure in a “flying machine”, with a big balloon over them.

The Page of Swords shows a female figure in uniform, standing, with a sword in her right hand (resting on the ground), her left had on her hip. A baton hangs at her side. In the background we see an air balloon. The Two of Pentacles shows a female figure riding a pennyfarthing bicycle (Incredibly high front tire, much smaller back tire. I love the way the lemnescate is worked into the image by acting as the chain between the wheels!

Last, but not least, the Queen of Pentacles. Another card that I adore – this queen is standing, her left hand on a railing, a fan in her right hand, wearing a very smart golden gown, with golden gloves. I would not mess with this lady!

One last thing – the bios for the author and artist. They are at the front of the book, not the back … and they are just a unique and magnificent as the book and deck. Barbara Moore is in period dress, looking over her shoulder at the reader as she walks up a set of stairs, while Aly Fell is shown in a head-shot, wearing a top hat that has a band made up of gears. Incredible!

This is a theme deck, and will not be for everybody. The imagery is very well done, and some people will collect it just for that. The accompanying manual is also well done, making the use of the cards a little easier (especially in the case of a reader, like myself, that does not necessarily connect with the imagery). It is not a learning deck, but can certainly be used to good advantage by mid-level or advanced Tarot readers.

© April 2012 Bonnie Cehovet.


Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Tarot


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Tarot Dynamics Unleashed

Tarot Dynamics Unleashed

Author: Anna Burroughs Cook
Kima Global Publishers
ISBN #978-1-920533-07-6

May you have the foresight to know where you are going,
the hindsight to know where you’ve been,
and the insight to know where you are.”
Irish Proverb

“Tarot Dynamics Unleashed” takes Anna Burroughs Cook’s “Tarot Dynamics” (Kima Global Publishers, 2009) to a whole new level! The basics remain the same:

Five basic keywords are presented for each card, accompanied by definitions that apply to “real life”.

The characteristics of the five suits: Major Arcana – Karma, Wands – Change, Cups – Emotion, Swords – Challenges, and Pentacles – Ambition.

Basic Tarot spread information that enables the reader to work with illustrated and non-illustrated (Marseilles style) decks.

Formatting that enables the reader to use the deck of their choice.

What has been added opens up a whole new world!

Additional information on Numerology that takes reading to a more in-depth level.

An in-depth discussion on the “missing link” between Tarot and Astrology.

An explanation of the “Fallen Cards”, and how to interpret them.

The Numerological and Astrological “How to” sections allow the reader to quickly expand their understanding of the Tarot without creating unnecessary confusion.

In her introduction, Anna talks about her personal “Do’s and Don’t”:

Do memorize the characteristics for the five suits.
Do develop your own keywords.
Do be creative.
Do not be surprised if reading for others is easier than reading for yourself.
Do not memorize anything that you do not want to memorize.
Don’t read the cards for yourself unless you are in control of your emotions.
Don’t do a full reading (for yourself or for others) too often.
Don’t read for other people who are upset.
Don’t attempt to read for anyone who intimidates you.
Don’t expect the reading that you do today to solve any and all issues that the Seeker might experience in the future.

Anna also talks about choosing a deck, the difference between working decks and personal decks, reading for people at a distance, intuition versus imagination, a hint of romance (the definition for each of the Court cards, as well as the entire suit of Cups, contains a sub-heading referencing romance), along with a brief FAQ on the Tarot.

The cards are presented with black and white scans of the Universal Tarot (Lo Scarabeo), along with the card title, keywords, personal strengths, personal weaknesses, and tips for new students, a description of the card, how it functions in an encouraging situation, how it functions in a challenging situation, and how it best applies.

Court cards are always seen as triggering either regeneration or degeneration (falling back a step or two). Kings deal with initiative relative to each of their suits, Queens with people and coping skills, unexpected developments and the behavior of the Seeker, Pages indicate a work in progress.

There is a special chapter on timing (always difficult to work with!), signature cards, combining numerology with the Tarot, an d fallen cards (What falls to the floor comes to the door.).

Spreads offered include a one card spread (Personal Guidance), a three card spread Personal Enlightenment – State of Affairs/Hindsight, Self/Insight, Challenges/Foresight), and the traditional Celtic Cross spread.

I loved the section on “Majorities”, where Anna talks about which are the most important cards in the Celtic Cross spread. Examples abound, so this material is very easy to follow! There are also key points to reading the Tarot cards in any spread.

A very special section, to me, anyway, deals with Tarot and the moon, in the format of a horoscope spread.

This is not just a book to be read and put away – it acts as a reference book that helps the reader move to a deeper level in their reading each time they use it. It makes Tarot fun, and accessible.

“Tarot Dynamics Unleashed” has something for everyone: an easy way for beginners to learn to read the Tarot, a clear path for intermediate level readers to bring their knowledge and understanding of the Tarot to a deeper level, while more experienced readers will find compatible ways to blend the old with the new. Thumbs up!

© April 2012 Bonnie Cehovet


Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Tarot


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Review – Destined


Author: Gail Cleare
G&G Publications
ISBN #9781461007760

“We have to come to terms with the past to change the direction we are heading. The good times and the bad times both offer us a choice, since we can control how we view them, how we react.” ~ Emily Ross

“Destined” is a novel of the Tarot. Each of the 21 chapters is headed by a black and white scan of one of the cards of the Major Arcana from the Payen Tarot of Marseille (1713), which is followed by a short description of the card, and what it would mean in someone’s life. The storyline in each chapter takes the reader through the journey of enlightenment that is the Tarot by showing how it reflects in the life of the major character, Emily Ross.

When we first encounter Emily she is experiencing a serious altercation with her boss, the sophisticated Lexi. Emily knows that she needs to remover herself from a toxic situation, so she quits, and walks out the door. Of course, this means that she needs a new job, post haste! She sees an advertisement for a manager for a retail store, which interests her, so she goes to apply.

The building has seen better days, but appeals to her. There is something solid here. As she is standing outside debating, the owner, Henry Paradis, opens the door and welcomes her. What she finds inside is a dusty shop that has not been functional for a considerable period of time. It contains curiosities, antiques, and rare books. Henry Paradis is a scholar, with a thriving Internet business, who has come to a time in his life when he wants to literally open upshop again. Although she senses an air of magic about him, little does she know that Henry will become her spiritual guide!

What we need to remember about Emily is that she has abilities that she does not recognize, has never harnessed, and is perhaps a bit afraid of. She has dreams that scare her, filled with monsters, shadows, and more. Henry Paradis is able to read Emily, know what she is thinking and feeling, and know what direction to nudge her in. He encourages her to look toward the future, and not the past.

He will introduce her to a close friend of his, the good looking, debonair Tony, who will have an incredible impact on Emily’s future. Through Tony, she will learn to trust herself, and to trust life.
When Emily starts working for Henry, she is influenced not only by him, but by the neighborhood, which is filled with interesting people of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Emily makes friends with them, and in their own way each one teaches her something about herself.

The tone of this book is gentle, and positive. The characters are well developed, and the storyline engaging. One encounters the spirit of a Chinese man hovering three inches off the ground at the back door – he will have a great impact in resolving an issue that has been bothering Henry Paradis for many years.
Then there is Amy, the young girl that Emily befriends when she finds her going through the garbage in back of the shop. Siri, one of Henry’s neighbors, and her father Gupti. Did I mention that Emily will astral travel? And see aura’s?

The life situations presented in this book are very realistic – they could happen to anyone. And the resolutions are profound. The book’s teachings are a soft whisper, but they are there. Those who know the Tarot will love this book … those who don’t know it will be able to follow it easily. I loved the Ace of Pentacles card that Emily found in the cash register (even though it was incorrectly written as the ace of pentacles), and the three card Past/Present/future Tarot spread that Emily’s friend read for her later in the book.

I also appreciated the fact that Cleare referenced issues that reflect our time – the use of solar panels, green (organic) planting, cultural diversity, Starhawk, Wicca, hybrid cars, coffee bars, Oprah, positive thinking, the power of visualization, the war in Iraq, and incandescent light bulbs, to name a few.
Romance, mysticism, along with a dose of real life – what more can one ask for! The Tarot was presented well here, and clearly shows Emily’s path towards finding herself, and shaping her own future. This makes for a great read!

© April 2012 Bonnie Cehovet


Posted by on April 4, 2012 in Tarot


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