Monthly Archives: April 2012

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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