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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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Review: Journaling the Tarot

Journaling the Tarot –
a little book of big questions

 

Author: Andy Matzner
Create Space
2018
ISBN # 978-1987796889

 

How do we accept …that we are not our history,
but our unfolding journey?
James Hollis (From the book.)

 

Andy Matzner is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist. He also teaches as an adjunct professor at Virginia Western Community College and Hollins University. He chooses to use the Tarot to empower himself and his clients, and is the author of several books, including “The Tarot Activity Book: A collection of creative and therapeutic ideas for the cards”.

 “Journaling the Tarot” is a 175 page book that presents two pages of questions that can be asked of each of the 78 cards of the Tarot. The questions are excellent, and easy to work with. My quibble here is that while Matzner has a page entitled “Instructions” at the beginning of the book, the page is blank. Individuals that are familiar with the Tarot, and familiar with journaling, would not need instructions. However, those that are new to the Tarot, or new to journaling, would benefit from even brief instructions.

I really cannot do a review here, so I will simply share representative questions from all levels of the Tarot (Major Arcana and Minor Arcana, including Pips, the numbered cards, and the Court Cards).

 

“The important thing is to never stop questioning.”
Albert Einstein (From the book.)

 

Major Arcana: The Fool

What message have you been ignoring?
What are you willing to risk for a better life?

Major Arcana: The World

How present are you in your daily life? What can you do to develop your ability to remain in the “here and now”?
What next chapter needs to begin in your life? How can you best proceed?

Minor Arcana: Ace of Wands

Who or what is currently inspiring you?
What price are you willing to pay to manifest your creative spirit?

Minor Arcana: Six of Cups

How are you sharing your joy with others?
On whom or what are you wasting your energy? What is the best next step for you?

Minor Arcana: Page of Wands

What are you enthusiastic about?
What is something that you’ve always wanted to learn (even if it has no practical applications).

Minor Arcana: Knight of Cups

What does it mean to “live fully”?
When you feel depressed, what can you do to feel better?

Minor Arcana: Queen of Swords

What are you tolerating in your life? Why? Is there something you need to do about it?
About what do you need to take the high road? Why?

Minor Arcana: King of Pentacles

Of what are you proud? Why?
How did you remain true to yourself?

This is an excellent tool for self-discovery, taking journaling to a whole new level!

 

© May 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 10, 2018 in Tarot

 

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Review – The Tarot Activity Book

The Tarot Activity Book

Author: Andy Matzner
Independently Published
2013
ISBN #978-14827-2288-0

Tarot Activity Book

“The meaning of life is to find your gift;

The purpose of life is to give it away.”

Unknown

To fully appreciate this work, we have to take a look at Andy Matzner’s background. He is a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and Tarot card reader. And a very accomplished writer! Put all of this together, and what do we have? An amazing book that takes the imagery of the Tarot into the real world, combining it with venues such as writing, journaling, and arts and crafts. The common denominator – creativity! We are accessing our creative center to stimulate our imagination, and to help us understand ourselves (and those around us) better. Matzner notes that the cards of the Tarot are natural be tools for developing self-awareness and personal transformation.

“At the center of your being you have the answer;

You know who you are and you know who you want.”

Lao Tzu

This is a book filled with incredibly deep exercises that help the reader to understand themselves better, recognize the obstacles in their life, and work through them. The activities and exercises are divided into three sections: Conversation Starters, Writing & Journaling, and Arts & Crafts. It is all about communications, based primarily on answering a series of questions. This is the very basis of Tarot – how the question is worded determines the answer that we received.

Matzner begins with a series of questions (before the reader even begins using the book), meant to deeper the overall experience. The reader is asked to ask themselves questions, such as:

  1. What is your reason for choosing this particular activity or exercise at this time?
  2. What special meaning might this activity have for you?
  3. What preparations do you need to make for the activity?

Tarot decks are discussed, along with different types of arts and crafts materials that might be needed.

“Conversation Starters” covers ways in which to begin a dialogue, whether with yourself or with others.  Some of the topics presented her include Relationships, The Hero’s Path, Self-development, Pain Management, and Free Association. For instance, Free Association asks the reader to pick a card at random from their deck, and place it face down. When the reader is ready, they turn the card over and write down whatever word or phrase comes to them.

“The word question is derived from the Latin quaerere “to seek”, which is the same root

as the word for quest. A creative life is a continued quest, and good

questions are useful guides.”

Paul Kaufman

“Writing & Journaling” uses the Tarot to explore our inner world, and our creative ability. One of the activities  in this section helps the reader create well thought out questions. Matzner suggests that a well thought out question can: challenge assumptions, shift one’s perspective, stimulate self-reflection, stir a hidden part of one’s soul, provoke change, generate energy, and create more questions. Other topics in this section include Inner Child dialogues, Letter To Parents, Facing Your Inner Critic, Soul Card, Finding Compassion, Healing Symbol, and Trauma Stand-In. Each topic is formatted for Objective, Background, and Process.

“Art is a way to experience emotions and to express them.

The very nature of engaging in the artistic process is

therapeutic and symbolic. And so the journey that you take of

creating something from nothing is sacred, ans is just as

important as the final product. Your instincts and feelings

should inspire and guide you through your creative process.”

Andy Matzner

“Arts & Crafts” features projects that act as therapy for encouraging self-discovery, fostering personal growth, and promoting healing. The format is the same as the previous chapter: Objective, Background, and Process. Topics include Expressive Art, Tarot Totem, the Portal, Walking Beside The Shadow, Strength, Higher Power, Vision Board, Interpretive Study, Visual Gratitude Journal, the Meaning Of Life, Tarot Mandala, Boundary Lines, and more.

This book can be used on an individual basis, with clients, students, and within a group setting. Matzner also notes that this material can be useful for mental health professionals, or art teachers who use the expressive arts in their practice. It is not a book that one reads straight through (although you certainly can do this). It is much more fun to go through and choose the exercises that will most benefit you or your client, and g oon from there. Quite the reference – keep it close at hand!

© 2002-2013 Bonnie Cehovet

All material on this site is copyright by Bonnie Cehovet, and may not be

reproduced in any format without written permission.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on March 30, 2013 in Tarot

 

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