Tarot For Transformation
Using the Major Arcana to Discover Your Best Self and Create a Life Worth Living
Author: Andy Matzner
Artist: Katya Little
At 8.5 x 1.2 x 11 inches, and 476 pages, “Tarot For Transformation” is a BOOK! I opened it up with some trepidation, thinking it would take a lifetime to work my way through. While it is not in the “large type” category, the type was a large enough size that I could read comfortably for as long as I wanted to. Letting out a sigh of relief! I did have to laugh when I saw that Matzner INTENDED the book to be big so that the reader could lay it open on a table or desk while they reflect, perhaps journal, and allow it to become a “workbook for the soul” (Matzner’s words).
We need to consider that Matzner is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist. This becomes important when you realize that the foundation for this book is that of making best use of the archetypal nature of the Tarot Major Arcana. As a professional Tarot reader, I love and respect the nature of this book, and its ability to help the reader establish goals and create the life that they want. I can use it as a tool to help myself and my clients.
For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to
be ready to abandon our view about them.
Thich Nhat Hanh (from the book)
Two things impressed me at the very beginning of the book: (1) a series of quotes with large spaces left between them, and (2) a page entitled PLEASE READ. The PLEASE READ page reminds the reader that this is a journal-based book, and that there are questions and writing prompts for the reader to reflect on. The reader’s progress is based on their doing the work in this book. The reader is instructed to purchase a notebook or journal to keep track of their progress. The reader is encouraged to take their time with this book, as many emotions will be brought to the surface. It is also recommended to have some type of support system in place. Something that really hit home with me was the statement that if a question seems that it will bring up too many difficult memories, then skip the question. While the book is designed to stretch the reader’s comfort zone, their emotional safety is a priority.
In his introduction, Matzner addresses using the Tarot as a tool for deep personal transformation. Each of the cards in the Major Arcana is used as jumping-off points for creating profound and permanent change. The first part of each chapter presents a commentary on the individual card, including a deep dive into symbolic and esoteric wisdom. Matzner notes that in order to live an authentic life, full of meaning, three things are necessary: (1) To discover who you are underneath all of the social conditioning of your life, (2) To determine what you truly want out of life, and (3) to master an array of life skills.
In the table of contents, each card has its own chapter. Along with the title of the card, there is a note on the energy of the card, on the work that will be done in this chapter. Some examples are:
- The Fool – Mindfulness
- The Emperor – Belief Systems
- The Hierophant – Values
- The Chariot – Boundaries
- The Hermit – Emotional Intelligence
- The Star – Spirituality
- The Moon – Shadow Work, Disarming The Inner Critic
I am going to look at one card, as a representation of what this book offers. The Hermit is one of my birth cards, so he volunteered. Really – he did volunteer! The beginning page shows a black and white image of the Hermit, along with the following quote from Ram Dass: “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”
Matzner begins his commentary by comparing The Fool and The Hermit. One is youth, ready to step off the cliff, open and receptive. One is old age, holding the lantern of wisdom high. The suggested challenge for the Hermit is that of balancing prudence with the possibility of betraying his own interests.
The theme for working with this card is emotional intelligence. The goal is to create a healthy relationship with your feelings. Matzner lists our core emotions as fear, anger, sadness, and happiness. He suggests using mindfulness skills to notice when an emotion occurs, and to observe what happens next. Questions are presented for the reader to ask themselves, such as: How do I feel? What just happened? Am I willing and able to stay present with this emotion?
Emphasis is placed on being mindful and staying in the present moment. We need to notice and experience our emotions without letting our minds get in the way. The Hermit is all about “Know Thyself”. Self-knowledge is power.
Matzner discusses how emotions and feelings are developed as we grow up. He lists a series of beliefs that we carry with us, such as “Feelings shouldn’t be discussed”, “Sharing what I feel with other people is risky”, and “If I ignore a feeling it will go away”.
There are several scenarios that are presented, along with solutions to them. These are moments that we all go through, and they help the reader look at their emotional reactions in a different way.
There is quite an interesting take on intuition, as Matzner holds the belief that our intuition always knows how we should express and honor our feelings. He points out that a great challenge in following our intuition is fear. (He presents fear as False Expectations Appearing Real.)
At the end of this chapter is a great section on using the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT, tapping). Complete with diagrams this is a wonderful tool of empowerment that anyone can use.
I found this book to be a wonderful tool for self-help and a wonderful journey. Filled with examples and straight talk, the reader is given many options for creating a life for themselves that is worth living. Based on the tool of journaling, anyone from any background can use this book. I plan to start from the initial chapter and work through to the end, beginning on my next birthday (late December). Why am I waiting? Because I have other projects going, and I want to be able to give each project the time and focus that it deserves.
© August 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.