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Author Archives: Bonnie Cehovet

About Bonnie Cehovet

Bonnie Cehovet is a published writer and professional Tarot reader, residing in the Pacific Southwest.

Review: Eternal Seeker Oracle

Author: Pamela Steele

Artist: Pamela Steele

Red Feather

2021

ISBN# 978-0764361258

“The Eternal Seeker Oracle” is a 33-card oracle deck that comes with a 128-page companion book. Cards and deck come in a sturdy box with a magnetic closure on the long side.

The 33 cards, inspired by the Rider-Waite Tarot, are meant to act as a tool for enlightenment, a tool that will help the reader gather fragments of themselves, and bring them together in a healing manner. The intense colors and symbols in this deck are meant to speak to the reader on a soul level.

What we experience in this deck are the Major Arcana from the Tarot, along with 11 additional cards. Through the archetypes, and through Steele’s expert use of imagery, color, and flashes of fantasy, the reader is gifted with the ability to move forward to new levels of self-awareness.

In the foreword, Benebell Wen addresses something that everyone who follows Steele’s work has noted, and that is that as an artist Steele is able to open portals to other worlds. Wen also notes that The Eternal Seeker Acts as a sage grandmother sharing her wisdom.

The cards themselves are 3 ½” by 5”, of sturdy, glossy cardstock. They are borderless, which I appreciated, as they make it effortless to enter the cards for journeying or meditation. The card backs feature the Fibonacci Spiral (Sequence), also known as the Golden Ratio, or the Golden Mean.

The cards are based on the archetypes of the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Steele notes in the companion book that each archetype came to life with a purpose and a title, along with sounds and movements. Titles for the cards in this deck include The Weaver, Rebirth, Magus, Attachments, and hope.

The book that accompanies the deck begins with a page that I consider very important and that is Reader’s Ethics, followed by pages on what an oracle is, how to respect the oracle, keeping a journal, composing questions, shuffling and dealing the cards, and several templates for oracle spreads.

Each card is presented with a full color image, the Tarot card that it was inspired by, the essence of the card, Guidelines (how to interpret the card in an upright position) and Reversed (how to interpret the card in a reversed position). The is room for notes at the end of each presentation.

At the end of the book is a section on Resources, including Wicca Symbols, the Elder Futhark, and Internet sites that were used for reference.

This small (33 card) deck presents the reader with an excellent tool for exploration of self, and for personal growth. It can be used alone, or with any other divination tool. While the masculine and the feminine is balanced, this lovely deck can be seen as Goddess inspired. It can be used as a daily draw, a tool for divination (the spreads presented are gentle pushes to “get real” with yourself), or for meditation.

The colors and imagery are extremely well done and will appeal to a broad spectrum of people (of all ages and backgrounds). This is a journey that we can take infinite times and learn something new each time.

Note: This is not part of my review, but I would like to share Pamela Steele’s interview with Red Feather. Excellent questions, excellent responses, excellent interaction! An incredible interview! https://www.facebook.com/REDFeatherMindBodySpirit/videos/354561265887392?comment_id=356214162388769&notif_id=1617387692863609&notif_t=comment_mention&ref=notif

© April 2021 Bonnie Cehovet

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Posted by on April 5, 2021 in non-Tarot divination

 

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Thoughts On “Tarot of the Cat People”: A Traveler’s Report

“Tarot of the Cat People” came back into my life recently, thanks to the work of artist/author/creator Andrea Aste. Not having not used the deck for years, I still did not have too much trouble finding it, as I remembered that I had placed it in a decorative wooden box that was residing in my guest bedroom. It was a joy to look at and work with those cards again! Andrea based one of his ongoing divination sessions on artist/author Karen Kuykendall’s work with this deck, which literally included her imagining a totally other world for the Major and Minor Arcana to inhabit. During the session one of the other attendees, Robbie Pearson, mentioned that Kuykendall had written a companion book for this deck (one that I was not aware of). This is the book that I am referencing here.

Please do not take this as a review of the book – it is merely a stream of thought on what came to me as I was going through the book. The very first thing that just about had me dropping the book out of my hands was the fact that the introduction was written by the late, esteemed Stuart Kaplan, an individual that has done so much work in bringing the Tarot to the attention american divination audience. I fell right into the introduction, as Kaplan talked about the Major Arcana being allegorical in nature, and representing Vapala, the Diamond Kingdom, home of the Sky People. The Minor Arcana are defined as follows: the Suit of Swords, Thnossis, the Ruby Kingdom, home of the Fire People; the Suit of Wands, Twahihic, the Emerald Kingdom, home of the Sand People; the Suit of Cups, Azhengir, the Topaz Kingdom, home of the Salt People; the Suit of Pentacles, Kahulawe, the Sapphire Kingdom, home of the Rock People.

Kaplan notes that Kuykendall had a long and varied career in the creative world, including medieval inspired painting developed for the Jamestown Lounge Furniture Company, teaching for several years inthe Arizona public schools and at C entgral Arizona College (extension courses), and the University of Arizona. Her works have been shown inthe Phoenix Art Museum and the Tuscon Art Museum, and in many private homes. She also did papier-mache jewelry.

And … she likes cats!

I feel like I have read the book already – Kaplan has the capacity with words to make reality a very intense moment! This is not just a book that accompanies a deck, it is a reflection of the artist, her life, and her work. (And yes, she lived with multiple cats!) Sometimes we need to enter another world – now I feel that I can enter the worlds of the Cat People with a guide at my side – someone who will walk me through her world, and with a look or a gesture make me feel at home.

Each world is described in detail, so the reader feels as if they are there. I am not really a science fiction fan, but this deck and these worlds appeals to me. (As did the world’s that Frank Herbert created. I felt as if I belonged in them also.)

Thank you to Andrea Aste and Robbie Pearson for bringing this wonderful book to my attention!

(c) March 2021 Bonnie Cehovet

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Posted by on March 22, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Which Ancestors Do I Want To Work With?

I have recently started working with Nancy Hendrickson’s book “Ancestral Tarot – Uncover Your Past and Chart Your Future” (Weiser Books, 2021). The very first question that the reader is asked to work with is “Which Ancestors do I want to work with?” The reference is not to specific ancestors, but to categories of ancestors. There is a three-card spread that the reader works with, to determine whether they want to work with Ancestors of Blood (card number one), Ancestors of Place (card number two), or Ancestors of Time (card number three).

I drew the Knight of Cups, the Haindmaid of Coins (Page of Pentacles) and the Four of Swords from Brian Williams “The Minchiate Tarot”. Hendrickson suggests that when we choose which card to follow, we look not only at the type of ancestor that is best for you to begin working with at this time, but also you are likely to encounter. For me, at this time, the Knight of Cups (representing Ancestors of Blood) would be emotionally supportive, but might be the easy path. The Handmaid of Coins (representing Ancestors of Place) for me speaks of grounded and centered study. The Four of Swords (representing Ancestors of Time) contains a great deal of truth, but also a great deal of pain, and would require addressing many shadow issues (IMHO). The Handmaid of Coins (representing Ancestors of Place) is my choice of these three cards.

We are then asked to draw three more cards to show the impact that the first three cards would have. From the same deck I drew Love (Ancestors of Blood), the Four of Staves (Ancestors of Place), and the Queen of Staves (Ancestors of Time). Amazing at the emotional context Ancestors of Blood brings to me. However, this is energy that I don’t need in my life right now. My work is going to be with Ancestors of Place, which actually surprises me!

I will share more as I go deeper into this work.

(c) March 2021 Bonnie Cehovet

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Posted by on March 8, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Review: Ancestral Tarot – Uncover Your Past and Chart Your Future

Author: Nancy Hendrickson

Weiser Books

2021

ISBN #978-1-57863-741-6

“Work with the ancestors, and the person

you will find is you.” (Nancy Hendrickson)

“Ancestral Tarot – Uncover Your Past and Chart Your Future” is a 202 page book whose intention is to act as a guide to using the Tarot to connect with our ancestors. In doing so we are gifted with their wisdom, their insights, their ability to heal, and their power. They are there to help us understand ourselves, to heal, and to find our own power.

In her foreword, Theresa Reed talks about perceptions that we may have about the family that we know, and how we can expand those perceptions by looking into our ancestry. Tarot can be used to address the past, as well as the future. Having always felt that I was the “black sheep” in my family, that I didn’t really belong, this was great news! I use the Tarot and dreamwork to connect with family that I knew that have passed on, but now there is a way to connect with ancestors that I did not know. Reed notes that tending to the roots of our past assures that the future of our families will flourish.

In her introduction Hendrickson notes that she knew at a very young age that her ancestors were part of the special tribe that she belonged to. As she grew older, she knew without a doubt that there was a world beyond the world that we know. She also notes that ancestral work is multi-faceted, and that while some of our ancestors are willing to work with us, some are not. Ancestral work can trigger memories – hurtful ones, as well as loving ones. She reminds us that our ancestors were real people with real dreams. She also reminds us that ancestral work is sacred work.

Tarot spreads are included throughout the book, but the most important spread may just be the one that she asks the reader to do before moving into the book. It is a seven-card spread called The Journey Spread. She strongly suggests that the spread be kept in a journal for reference after the reader has completed reading this book. It is a powerful spread and sets the tone for the work ahead.

One of the first things that the reader finds out is that there are three major types of ancestors: Ancestors of Blood, Ancestors of Place, and Ancestors of Time. It is up to the reader which ancestor they want to work with at any given time. Instructions are given on meeting and working with your Spirit Guide, as well as creating a team of spirit helpers. Each chapter includes a Tarot spread relevant to that chapter, as well as journal prompts.

To work with this book you will need one or more Tarot decks, a journal to write in, and a pen or pencil to write with. I make my notes in an e-file, because my handwriting is not easy for even me to read. Come to this work with an open mind, and the exercises in this book will give you a deep knowing of yourself and your ancestors. A bonus to this work is that Hendrickson shows the reader how to develop their own Tarot spreads, which is very empowering. She also addresses Sigils, Runes, working with a Pendulum, Oracle decks, and sacred tools (such as Petitions, A Personal Devotion, Gratitude, and Prayer.

At the end of the book there are resources: Appendix A: Tarot 101, Appendix B: Tarot Practice Resources, and Appendix C: Genealogy Resources.

I found this to be a very profound book, and the Ancestral journey to be a very sacred one. This journey can bring up memories – both good and bad. If you hit a bad spot, put the work down for a short time. Work through it at your own speed. This is all internal work, and you will be a changed person if you choose to take this journey.

© March 2021 Bonnie Cehovet

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Posted by on March 2, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Review: The Tarot of Light and Shadow

Author: Andrea Aste, John Matthews

Artist: Andrea Aste

Watkins

2020

ISBN #978-1-78678-411-7

“The Tarot of Light and Shadow” is an amazing project co-produced by New York Times best-selling author John Matthews and multimedia artist/writer/animator/film make Andrea Aste. It consists of two 79 card decks and a 157-page companion book. The decks and book come in a sturdy, lift-top box.

The card stock is sturdy, and easy to shuffle. The cards are 2 3/4 inches by 4 ½ inches. The “Light” deck is a mauve color, while the “Dark” deck is a blueish color. Both decks have a ¼ inch plain border, with the card title/suit across the bottom. Aste has an amazing ability to take just a few simple lines and create a whole “other” world. The illustrations are an exciting gateway into another world!

The theme for these decks is the ability to explore both sides of a question at once. The Shadow deck representing our inner, instinctive world and the unknown, and the Light deck representing our rational outer world and that which is known.

The Major Arcana retain their traditional titles, with Justice at VIII and Strength at XI. The Minor Arcana suits are Swords, Cups, Serpents (Pentacles) and Wands. The Court cards are entitled Page, Knight, Queen, and King.

There is one addition card with each deck entitled “The Cosmic Mirror”, considered to be the equivalent of “wild cards”. Each card is depicted as a mirror, a blank speculum on which anything can be reflected. Some of the ways suggested in using this card are: (1) if you are using one deck, as opposed to using both decks shuffled together, this card can indicate that you need to switch decks, (2) look at the card before or after this card, or (3) use this card as a significator for the individual/situation being read for.

The card backs represent the mistress of Tarot as she presides over the mysterious city of Sapientia, where all knowledge is kept, and which lies between the realms of Light and Shadow. The card back is reversible.

In his introduction, Matthews emphasizes that it is important to understand that when we choose to work with a double deck we ae seeing truths from two different angles, mirroring each other.

Matthews also addresses how to work with this deck. He notes that many readers already draw a card from another deck to expand their understanding/perception of a reading already done. The concept of these two decks is to understand that they are two ways of viewing the same thing. What we do not want to do is look at Light as being positive, and Shadow as being negative. Three distinct methods of using the deck are listed, as well as ways to use the Cosmic Mirror cards.

In presenting the Mirror Spread, Matthews suggests that “The Tarot of Light and Shadow” is a parallel universe, similar to our own but subtly different. For me, the spread acts as the gateway between the two universes.

All cards (Major Arcana and Minor Arcana) are presented with an overview of the card’s energy, along with a paragraph each on how the card would be read in a Light Reading and a Shadow Reading. Color illustrations for both decks accompany the descriptions. The Cosmic Mirror card discusses how to use the cards (Light and Shadow), with color illustrations.

The section on new spreads and sample readings includes The Divine Fool Spread, The Eternal Truth Spread, The Cosmic Spread, and The Directional Reading. At the end of the book are links to the artist and author’s sites, and suggestions for further reading.

I highly recommend this deck to anyone wishing to experience reading with unlimited possibilities and greater depth.

© January 2021 Bonnie Cehovet

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Posted by on January 11, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Reading For 2021 From The Tarot Of Light And Shadow

I decided to use “The Tarot of Light and Shadow” (John Matthews and Andrea Aste) as the deck for my New Year’s reading. I used a three-card spread defined as follows:

  • What do I need to leave behind from 2020?
  • What do I want to take into 2021?
  • What is my focus for 2021?

I drew the following cards: VII of Swords, Justice, and The Chariot

My first thought on drawing the Seven of Swords for what I need to leave behind from 2020 is that this is a very appropriate card. While my 2020 was not as bad as it was for other people, it did have its up and downs. From the “Light” reading of what I need to leave behind, I am looking at the fact that I allow myself to become frustrated, which limits my perception of both people and situations. I need to learn to accept that I am going through change, and not fight it. From the “Shadow” reading of what I need to leave behind, is the thought of becoming entangled with people and situations. While I need to move forward slowly, I need to keep moving forward. I need to believe in myself.

I definitely want to take a sense of justice/balance into 2021! IMHO, the balance is always there, if we choose to see it. From the “Light” reading I see that I need to take with me into 2021 my ability to see myself and my situation honestly and clearly. I need to continue to see my truth and act on it. We draw to us that which we hold in our minds, so I need to hold in my mind that I want to deal only with truth. The “Shadow” reading tells me that I need to be fair and impartial, and not look to play the blame game. My actions need to reflect my words.

My focus for 2021 is taking my life in the direction that I want it to go in. The “Light” reading asks me to take responsibility for the life that I create. I can move through uncertainty, I can move forward in my life. Balance of mind and heart is necessary here. The “Shadow” reading asks me to get up when I fall down, dust myself off, and keep going. I should use my best qualities to nuture myself. Keeping my goals in mind is paramont – but I need to stay in the present and see at what cost I am accomplishing these goals.

These are just a few thoughts, and I will come back over time and add to them. Many thanks to John Matthews and Andrea Aste for gifting us with such an in-depth deck!

January 2021 Bonnie Cehovet

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Posted by on January 1, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

Review: Twelve-House Tarot Spreads – Uses and Variations

Twelve-House Tarot Spreads – Uses and Variations

Author: Elizabeth Hazel
Kosmic Kitchen Press
2020
ISBN#: 978-1-73537701-8

I am thrilled to see a book coming out, from someone I trust, combining Tarot and astrology. I have a very basic understanding of astrology, at best, so it means a lot to me to have astrology-based Tarot spreads that someone at my level can work with.

In her introduction, Hazel talks about new ways to use the basic twelve-house spread, and how digital publishing allows authors to add “copious amounts” of images to their written work. (I think this makes a huge difference in all fields of writing and adds a sense of panache to any work.)

One sentence stands out for me from the introduction (probably because I have spent the morning reading about our current president, and how he plans to contest a loss in the upcoming election): “Uncertain times drive people to seek knowledge of the future in any way they can get it.”

From the very beginning, you will see why I admire Elizabeth Hazel. She has an in-depth understanding of both Tarot and Astrology,  combined with a true “take no prisoners” sense of humor.

Hazel begins by explaining the construction of the twelve-house chart form. She explains the symbolism of the circle, along with the horizontal division of the circle into two hemispheres – the upper hemisphere being an individual’s public life, while the lower hemisphere is the individual’s interior life. She then goes on to explain the vertical division of the circle, resulting in self (left hemisphere) and others (right hemisphere).

These two-axis intersect to form the Cosmic Cross, with the Future on top, the Past on the bottom, Self to the left and Other to the right. Explanations are given for the four axis points: the Ascendant, the Descendant, the Nadir, and the mid-heaven.

Chapter Two provides an explanation of each of the twelve houses and their relationship to each other. There is a listing of meanings for each of the twelve houses, describing the energy that is covered by that house. For instance, the First House covers the self, the body, the identity, as well as the condition of the self and the body.

Spreads in this book include The Cosmic Cross Spread, The Sequential 12-House Spread, The Polarity 12-House Spread, The Spiral 12-House Spread, The Vala Cross, The Expanded Cosmic Axis Spread, and the Etteilla 12-House Spread.

At the end of the book, there is a list of suggested reading, and an appendix with blank spread forms.

Each chapter in this book is written for ease of understanding, with a review of the information provided at the end of the chapter. Sample spreads are included for each spread, which I find to be a huge benefit! Included in the chapter on the Expanded Cosmic Cross Spread is a delightful eight-card spread entitled the Eight-Fold Path (Sabbats) Spread. I am going to use this spread on October 31st for Samhain, the Wiccan New Year.

I am impressed with the professionalism shown in this work, including the note to print shops on the back of each blank spread form that the owner of the book has permission to make copies for personal use only. The forms are not for resale, or to be shared on the Internet in any form. This is a book that all levels of astrologers and tarotists will appreciate and be able to work with.

© September 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
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Posted by on September 24, 2020 in Tarot

 

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The Notorious RBG

It was an incredible shock to hear of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In a year turned upside down by the COVID pandemic, and by the continued misbehavior of the current occupant of the White House, we are now faced with the GOP wanting to force a replacement vote before the election (which is just over a month away!). Please know that the title The Notorious RBG was gifted to Justice Ginsburg in good faith, and as an honor. The title was the brainchild of NYU law student Shana Knizhnik, and was intended as a riff on the iconic rapper The Notorious B.I.G. Both the rapper and Justice Ginsburg hail from Brooklyn and respectively carry great power. The humor comes in when you put the two side by side – the large, rather imposing B.I.G., and the 90-pound Jewish grandmother.

What I am going to attempt to do here is to take a look at the energy that Justice Ginsburg’s passing carry’s overall (a reflection of who she was/is), what it means for me personally, and what it means for the populace in general. I choose to use images from Joanna Powell Colbert’s “Gaian Tarot” (majors only, self-published, 2004). The images were deliberately chosen, for what appealed to me, for what seemed to be the right card for each section.

For the energy of who Justice Ginsburg was/is as an individual, and as a judge, I chose The High Priestess. Judge Ginsburg lead a very open life, and yet she remains a woman of mystery. How deeply did she have to go within herself to see the larger picture on issues that came before her – even though she may not have even though about the concept of ancestors, she had to have held the thought, in some manner, of seven generations down. In other words, she had to understand how things came to be as they were, she had to recognize what was unfolding in the present, and she had to have the vision to see (a) what would happen if things continued on in the direction they were going, and (b) what would happen if change were brought into play. IMHO, she listened to the voices in her dreams (paraphrasing Joanna Powell Colbert from the book that accompanies this deck). She reflects the wisdom of age, the openness of youth, and walks the fine line between both.

She is a lady for all ages.

I choose The Hermit to represent what her passing means to me personally. I have always loved this card, and it is one of my birth cards. Justice Ginsburg’s death threw me into a tailspin, not only because I knew that in our current state of political upheaval in this country that Trump would rush to appoint a new Supreme Court Judge, which would alter the balance of the court in a negative manner. I don’t blame the Republican party for this – the more astute Republicans are saying that no appointment should be made until after the election. I also feel that there is no one that can fill her shoes. It will be hard for anyone to carry on her legacy, but someone must attempt to do so. In the past (almost) four years women’s rights have eroded at warp speed – not just reproductive rights, but all of our rights. I grew up under Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s influence – I hope that my actions reflect this, and will continue to reflect it. I need to go into the darkness to find my truth. I need to walk with spirit.

To represent what Justice Ginsburg’s passing means to the general populace, I choose The Teacher/Hierophant. Dignity and peace abound in this card. The Teacher is asking all to walk with spirit. In another way, we are being reminded that Justice Ginsburg herself is a teacher. Take what she has taught you over the years, and in turn, teach it to others. This is how we keep her legacy alive. Recognize what you are being called to do at this time.

(c) September 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
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Posted by on September 20, 2020 in Tarot

 

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Review: Mindful Tarot – Bring a Peace-Filled, Compassionate Practice to the 78 Cards

Mindful Tarot
Bring a Peace-Filled, Compassionate Practice to the 78 Cards

Author: Lisa Freinkel Tishman, PhD
Llewellyn Publications
2019
ISBN #978-0-7387-5844-2

In “Mindful Tarot” Tishman combines the modalities of mindfulness, meditation, and the Tarot archetypes to assist the reader in actively placing compassion into their lives. The focus is on developing skills on three levels: (1) mindful awareness of yourself and your querant, (2) a deeper relationship with your cards, and (3) a transformed understanding of the Tarot system.

In her preface, Tishman talks about living in the present with joy and generosity. She defines a complete Tarot practice as about learning to live a more abundant and joyful life, in addition to deepening the readers connection to the 78 Archetypes of the Tarot.

The first several chapters of this book help the reader to define mindfulness in the present moment, and that the present moment is all there is. (Very Eckhart Tolle.) It is best to treat these chapters as what they are – rather a stream of consciousness writing, and one that wanders and rambles at times. One good take from this is that in mindful Tarot nothing is hidden, and nothing is broken.

Throughout the book Tishman has included her own life experiences, examples of Tarot spreads (such as the Wheel of Life and the Chariot), and exercises to help the reader put the information presented ot work in their lives.

Tishman associates the four suits with what she terms as “abodes”. Wands are the abode of compassion, Cups are the abode of Cheer, Swords are the abode of calm, and Pentacles are the abode of Care.

In Part Two each of the 78 cards of the Tarot is presented with a black and white scan, the energy of the card, and a short explanation. For example, The Fool carries the energy of Beginner’s Mind, with the thought that when it appears in a reading, the reader is being asked to lean into the present of the present moment. I found it interesting that Tishman refers to The Fool as “she”.

While the concept of mindfulness and the Tarot lends itself to endless possibilities, I found it to be a bit sketchy to put together from this book. I found the book interesting, but what I would say is that the reader is best served by taking away what works for them and leaving the rest behind. It also comes to mind that revisiting this work from time to time will bring the reader fresh insight.

© September 2020 Bonnie Cehovet
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Posted by on September 16, 2020 in Tarot

 

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Review: Tarot For Transformation

Tarot For Transformation
Using the Major Arcana to Discover Your Best Self and Create a Life Worth Living

Author: Andy Matzner
Artist: Katya Little
Independently Published
2020
ISBN #9-798667034391

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.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2020 in Tarot

 

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