Angelo: I have always found your style of art to be very unique compared to other decks. It lies someplace in-between the abstract and realistic. It has an otherworldly feeling to it. You write that your inspiration is from the Pre-Raphaelite Edward Burne-Jones. Burne-Jones used art to express Neoplatonic ideas. You believe these Neoplatonic ideas were expressed in the origins of tarot. How so? In what ways is the development of tarot influenced by Neoplatonic philosophy?
All art that attempts to render reality actually lies between abstraction and realism. The best realistic art is not merely photographic. Even the best photographs have to take this into account. Everything in a picture must communicate and to do that it must depict its subject or the details in the subject in characteristic poses that can be read by the viewer. The lighting and angle must uncover the form. For example, a woman’s breast if looked at straight on and evenly lit will become flat and loose the sensuality of its form. Similarly, a face that is evenly lit from the front will not have a nose. This is what is wrong with many flash photos. As an artist, I am not just depicting a subject as it looks, but I am showing what I feel is characteristic about it and what is important to me about how it looks. I also choose to describe the drawing in black lines—like a woodcut. This ties it to historic conventions in printing and to antique Tarot decks.
The reason that I love Burne-Jones’s work is that what he depicts are aspects of his subje
ct that are realistic in a scientific way but that are also sensual and beautiful. He is helping us to see the underlying beauty and mystery of everyday subjects. He makes mythology real and the real mythological. This is exactly what the artists of the Renaissance were after and this is an important aspect of Neoplatonic philosophy. Instead of looking to another spiritual world for grace, and writing off the physical world as unspiritual, the Neoplatonists wanted to find the spiritual in this world—the physical world. That is the point of Ficino’s commentary on Plato’s Symposium, and this book was a best-seller in the Renaissance.
The Tarot was created by artists in the Renaissance, and like all artists at that time they were influenced by Ficino’s ideas on art. For example, it is because of Ficino’s influence that the nude was added to the Star and World cards as a symbol of spiritual purity, and that the figure of Time in early decks evolved into the more spiritual figure of the Hermit. Burne-Jones studied the works of Botticelli and Michelangelo, two 15th century Neoplatonic artists, and based his work on theirs. With this style he picked up the same mystical message that is in their work.
Angelo: Other than Burne-Jones, were there any other inspirations in the creation of the Sevenfold Mystery?
Yes, I was reinterpreting Burne-Jones in my style that is heavily based on early printing techniques, particularly the woodcuts of Albrecht Durer. I also looked at the work of other Pre-Raphaelite artists especially Walter Crane, who was Burne-Jones’s apprentice. Sometime I just looked at photographs of my subject and drew from those. I have to say though, that my biggest influence is really my own earlier work.
Angelo: In your Major Arcana you use alternative titles in some of the cards. For example, The Fool is called “Stulititia”, The Hanged Man is called “The Traitor” and The Sun is called “Apollo”. The Hermit has no title. I see a mix of Latin, Greek and traditional titles. What your goal with this? There is a deeper meaning here, please explain.
It started with Stulititia (Latin for foolishness) for the Fool, because this was Burne-Jones’s name for the figure in his drawing that I based the card on. I wanted to personify all of the trumps and give them names that are like an individual’s name but also exemplifies their character. So we don’t just have a magician but Hermes the Magician. Hermes, of course, is the god of magic and lends more meaning to the card. Latin and Greek gods and personified qualities work well for this and are connected to the original meaning of the cards. I feel that Fortuna is a more important part of the tenth trump than her wheel. Some of the cards are the opposite of alternative in that they are the original names for the card, like the Traitor, or Fire. The World, card is really the Soul of the World and she is the same as Prudence. This is an important aspect of my interpretation of the Tarot and helps us to understand the Tarot as its original creators understood it. So it was natural for me to call her Prudence. It exemplifies everything that I am expressing in this deck. The Hermit is a mystic and represents the silence of meditation. When I tried to name him I found he had no name, only silence. As you can see, the process was also intuitive. I had to ask each card what his or her name was.
Angelo: What would you say was the biggest challenge while creating the Sevenfold Mystery? Was the existing system of tarot easy to mold into what you envisioned the deck to be? Do you feel something in the current system was lacking in any way?
The biggest challenge was the time it took to make the deck. I worked on this deck slowly over ten years, but that worked in my favor. As I was working on the deck letting time pass between each drawing, I was also working on writing and research that helped me develop my theories on the Tarot. It was a natural process that my insights were incorporated into the cards. I feel that this deck is a bridge between the original decks in the Renaissance, the French decks, and the occult decks. It syntheses aspects of each, showing what is compatible and enduring.
Sometimes people misunderstand what I am after. I am not interested in the history of the Tarot for history’s sake—like, just because it is old it must be better. I am interested in history because there is a real and valuable communication going on in these images. They communicate a mystical philosophy that our Renaissance ancestors inherited from the ancient world and that they wanted to pass on to us. It is like a golden thread running through Western culture. It is this philosophy in itself that I find meaningful and valuable and I have found that at times it was lost or distorted by the occultists. When the occult ideas are in harmony with this philosophy and add to it, I am all for it. But if all the occult interpretations are adding is a complex correlation that has no real meaning except to further the reputation and finances of the occultist who came up with it, then I can do without this material.
Angelo: When I look at the Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery I feel I am looking at the “real” tarot. That what I am seeing is the true meanings, the true person—the real soul of what tarot is suppose to be. In contrast, if you compare the Rider Waite Smith for Example we see the similarities, the cards match up, but on one side, the Sevenfold appears to be the soul while the Rider Waite Smith is a persona. One is “high” and one is “low.” Do you feel that what you have done is capture the “real tarot?” That the Golden Dawn was trying to reveal something through Tarot but did not fully put it out there to the public?
I find the Waite Smith Tarot very valuable. It is the first deck that I knew, the first that I used, and the most popular deck in the world. It made Tarot known around the world and I can only hope that I am contributing something as valuable.
I feel that the strength of the Waite Smith Tarot is in the intuitive art of Pamela Colman Smith. She researched historic decks and let this information work on her psyche, so that her intuition was well fed. It does not follow the teachings of the Golden Dawn closely. This was a conscious decision on Waite’s part because he did not want to publish secrets that he was sworn to protect. This, however, worked in the deck’s favor. Waite was able to let Smith do her thing on most of the cards and she was up to the task, but she did not have much time to develop the deck. She worked on it for only about six months. In his memoirs Waite mentions that he interfered with Smith on the designs of three of the trumps and this was because Smith was intuitively expressing ideas that were too close to the Golden Dawn’s teaching. I feel that the weakest aspects of the Waite Smith are the ones that are borrowed from the Golden Dawn, such as switching the places of Strength and Justice. This order breaks away from the Platonic symbolism.
By looking to the art of Burne-Jones I was actually going to the source of Smith’s style and inspiration. She worked under Burne-Jones’s direction when she was a girl working on stage sets for the Lyceum Theater, in London. Her style is firmly rooted in his. I also have the advantage of having more historic information to work with than was available a hundred years ago. And I was able to take my time and let the images come to life as my theories evolved and my intuition synthesized the information. In a way I was attempting to complete what Smith started. I am deliberately attempting to uncover the soul of the Tarot. That is why the Chariot is named Psyche and the World is named Prudence, who is the Soul of the World.
Angelo: For those who are familiar with your previous tarot deck The Alchemical Tarot. How does the Sevenfold Mystery differ from the Alchemical Tarot? Is the Sevenfold Mystery a continuation of the Alchemical or a completely different story? Is the Sevenfold Mystery built on the Alchemical in any way?
The Alchemical Tarot is based on a vision I had that showed me that the symbols on the Tarot’s trumps are interchangeable with alchemical symbols and that when that correlation is complete you can read the trumps as an alchemical text describing the Great Work of creating the Philosopher’s Stone. This is possible not because the Tarot was intended to be an alchemical text but because alchemy is one aspect of the Neoplatonic quest for enlightenment and shares common symbolism. Alchemical symbolism was popular in the Renaissance even in non-alchemical texts.
The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery is based on my research and insights into the original symbolism of the Tarot. Some of the symbolism overlaps with the Alchemical Tarot, but it also expresses Platonic mysticism. For the pips I based most of them on the symbolism that I used in the Alchemical Tarot, which is based on the suits being related to the four alchemical elements and to Pythagorean number symbolism. Unlike the Alchemical Tarot I included stylized repetitions of the suit symbols along with the Waite Smith like scenes—like the Tarot of Marseilles pips with a scene added. Also, the aces are reinterpretations of the Tarot of Marseilles aces and the Royal cards are as well, but with some alchemical elements added, such as the elemental animals on the coat of arms on each of the kings.
Angelo: Finally, what will readers get from the Sevenfold Mystery they cannot get in other decks? What does the Sevenfold Mystery do different from other decks?
I hope that using the Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery will be a way of connecting with golden thread that is the underlying mysticism running through Western culture. I have also found that it works really well for doing readings on any subject—even better than the Alchemical Tarot. I have been hearing this from other readers as well. If you are a fan of my artwork or have appreciated my books, then you will definitely want to get this deck. It is the culmination of everything I have done in Tarot.
To order your copy of the Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery click here
Not since the days of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn has an artist been able to create a tarot deck with esoteric depth and spiritual wisdom until now. Robert M. Place the creator of six tarot decks, two of which I am highlighting in this blog post, with a focus on the newest. These two decks are The Alchemical Tarot (1995) and the latest, The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery (2013). While I am focusing on The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery, whatever can be said of this deck can be equally said about The Alchemical Tarot since both are highly esoteric and symbolic rich.
So what is The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery? The deck is based on the artwork of the 19thcentury Pre-Raphaelite paintings of Edward Burne-Jones. Burne-Jones based his tall female “stunners” and melancholy heroes on the paintings of Botticelli and Michelangelo, two artists whose works are considered primary examples of Renaissance Neo-platonic mysticism. His work expresses the Renaissance ideal that physical beauty and spiritual beauty are linked in one continuum that can lead to the mystical experience of beauty itself, as a timeless, underlying reality. Plato described this reality as a radiant light that is the true food of the soul. He said that this light is made of the true essence of Virtue, a higher quality of virtue, beyond mere codes of behavior. In the Renaissance, artists, like Botticelli, symbolized this spiritual essence as an ideal female nude and my studies have shown that it is this ideal that allowed early Tarot artists to place a nude on the World card as a symbol of the primary beauty.
The structure of the Major Arcana in The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery is based on Plato’s theory of the three parts of the soul. The Soul of Reason, the Soul of Will and the Soul of Appetite. These three represented a spiritual hierarchy and as individuals developed and balanced each soul through the practice of virtue they were able to advance spiritually and operate at a higher soul level. The keys to spiritual advancement were the Cardinal Virtues. Plato and later philosophers assigned three virtues, one to each of the soul levels, and these are the same three that are depicted in the Tarot: Temperance to the Soul of Appetite, Strength to the Soul of Will, and Justice to the Soul of Reason. If we divide the twenty-one trumps into three groups of seven we find the theme of each group corresponds sequentially to these three soul levels and the sequence also depicts the three virtues that are necessary to bring them into balance.
The number seven is also very important to the structure of the Major Arcana. The number seven was of special importance derived from the seven classical planets. The planets were each named after a god; from the bottom up, they were: Luna, Mercury, Venus, Sol, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The planets were, also, believed to from a ladder between Heaven and Earth that the soul would descend at birth and at each planet the soul was given certain qualities by the god of the planet. These qualities are the source of the lists or seven virtues and seven vices. The seven planets were thought of as the soul centers of the cosmos and corresponding soul centers could be found ascending the spine, from the sacrum to the crown of the head, in the microcosm of the human body.
Robert believes that the Tarot’s trumps depict Virtue driving an ascent through the seven soul centers depicted repeatedly on three levels, corresponding to the three Platonic soul levels. The final achievement of this ascent is illustrated on the Soul of the World card, which depicts Prudence/Sophia as the light of higher consciousness and the true food of the soul.
When I saw the Major Arcana of The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery I felt a resonance with it’s symbolism. The neo-platonic symbolism as it is presented here is refreshing. I feel that the original inspiration of the decks like the Thoth and Rider Waite Smith (of the Golden Dawn) were based on these neo-platonic ideas however the truth was concealed partly in these decks. However with the Tarot of the Sevenfold mystery, the true philosophy behind the tarot is exposed for all. This is the true soul of tarot and all other decks seem to just be masks that do not reveal with real truth of tarot.
Another thing I love about the artwork is the simplicity, boldness and clarity of it. It is not flashy, not cluttered with useless details. It is direct and to the point. It is timeless.
Modern Tarot decks seem to be rare to come by. They are modern in the sense that the images are contemporary to our day and age. Most tarot decks often show images, which are otherworldly, of a difference time and place. There are some decks which reflect a more relatable world, our own.
The Faulkner Tarot is one of those decks. Using black & white photographs, creator Rhiannon Faulkner has put together a unique tarot deck. The goal of Rhiannon with this deck is to change people’s views on tarot. Frightening images have been changed and down to earth pictures of daily life are used instead.
In this review I will critic the images for good and bad. I have selected cards from the deck, which stand out for their ability to resonate with traditional images or meanings be. I have also selected cards, which I felt could have been done “better” in a different manner.
The deck features picture of the creator, Rhiannon herself and her family/friends. It is important to state that this deck was created in dedication to Rhiannon’s late husband. 10% of profits from the sales of this deck go towards charity. Because the images used are personal images from Rhiannon this decks has realness to it that some may like or dislike. I like it because you are able to connect to the human story, to human emotions, thoughts and experiences.
What I like In The Majors
In the Major Arcana I selected four cards, which I felt were, are good twist on the symbolism and meaning of the traditional. The Wheel, The Hanged Man, Death and Devil.
The Wheel - The image here appears it is the London Eye, which is I like as representing The Wheel. A symbol of cycle, turning, ups and downs. The perspective of the image is great to. You are looking up instead of straight at it. It gives a sense of largeness, something above you that is bigger than you. Which is the impress The Wheel of Fortune should give you. The feeling of being on top of a large fieriest wheel is different for all, some love it, and some fear it. The power of the Wheel is just the same.
The Hanged Man – Here we see an image of a clock on the wall. The time is almost a quarter to five. The Hanged man symbolizes suspension, pause and waiting. Waiting is a matter of patience and time. When we stare at a clock waiting for time to pass we can feel like we are suspending in time that is still. The time is nearing five o’clock the traditional quitting time for a typical “9 to 5” job. In my experience it is always the last few minutes, which are the longest and more tortuous. I see this card and feel a sense of something reaching closer but needing to be patient for it. You need to wait. However the notion of “sacrifice”, a traditional meaning associated with The Hanged Man is lost in this image. Unless you consider that when you are at work, you sacrifice your personal time for something in return, a paycheck.
Death – In this card we have a image were the perspective sets us inside a dark room with a door half way open showing a hallway with light and another door on the other side of the wall. This simple image is deep with meaning. The dark room could be representing life; it is dark because death is dark. We die to this world and leave it. However Death in this deck is being portrayed as a transitioning card. We have a hallway, which has light in it, which serves as a symbol for the light at the end of the tunnel motif. The hallway is a vehicle of transportation; we are able to move on from this life to the next via the hallway to which we reach another door. The doors are symbols for gateways, portals from one aspect, chapter, stage or life to another. A lot of symbolizing here in such a simplistic photo!
Devil – This card shows a image of a man hidden behind tree branches. This can be two things; someone else hidden away in the distance or it could be you hiding from something, the truth perhaps? The man is hidden away in the shadows, a symbol of ignorance, denial and fear. This could be another person whom is mysterious and you are drawn to. The Devil is traditional a card of attachment, addictions and blockages. This card is able to express these ideas without having to resort to normal tarot images of The Devil which is the goal of the deck, change people’s perception of tarot and cards like The Devil. My personal response when I see this card is I get a feeling of ill intentions and fixation. Just looking at the eye of the man in the card gives me chills. I feel that he has ill intentions and is fixated on someone or something. He is stalker material for sure.
What I disliked in the Majors.
I am not crazed for The Moon and The Sun in this deck. It is bare, minimal and lacking much symbolism other than the whole dark vs light aspect. What I would have liked to have seen in The Moon card as possibility is have Rhiannon walking a dog at night with the full moon above. Or maybe a photo from inside the house of a window with curtains with the moon in the window. For The Sun I would have liked to see a child smelling sun flowers with the sun glowing behind their head.
For the Minors I have selected one card which I like and one card I dislike. For the suit of Cups, I like the 6 of Cups, which shows Rhiannon in front of a wall of framed photos touching them. Nostalgia is screaming loud and clear in this card. The typical image used is of children in a garden , but this image Rhiannon used expresses the idea of nostalgia better. Photos equal memories of the past. The like majority of the images used in the Cups, however only selecting one card I picked the 6 of Cups because it breaks traditional imagery but still keeping the meaning. What I did not like was the 10 of Cups. Here we see a wedding picture of Rhiannon and her husband. Now I love the photo but I feel it is better suited for the 4 of Wands which I and many other reader associate with weddings. Weddings symbolize beginnings and numerologically ten is a number or endings and completion. Though the photo is great, it does not fit what I see the 10 of Cups as.
In the suit of Wands I had to show the 2 of Wands through the 10 of Wands because in this we have the images set in the same room, telling a story. Progressing from one event to another. Showing a possible day in the office. Working, dealing making, relaxing, stress, accomplishments, overtime, good news, pressure and burdens. Now I do like how we see a story develop in these cards, using the same setting and person in each card makes the suit of wands not very much in scenery, people, ideas and possibilities. I will say that each card expresses the card it is mean to represent excellently, it is relatable to anyone who works in a office. It however feels static because we are limited to just this one person in the images. Out of these cards I like the 4 of Wands, the feet on the desk show us he is relaxing, taking a break from work. There is not one card which stands out as one I dislike overtly which I would want to comment on.
In the suit of Swords, I like the 3 of Swords which shows a woman sadden sitting alone on a chair. She holds herself, holding back her grief, head sorted by her hand. This card depicts the 3 of Swords well. What I disliked was the 7 of Swords. Now I do like the inventiveness and creative of using the superstition of walking under a ladder as bad luck I would have liked to see something more related to the traditional symbol of a thief. There are some many modern ways this could be depictured, like a burglar stealing something from inside a house.
With the suit of Pentacles I love many of the cards with the images that were used. So to pic one for a example which I liked was hard. I did in the end pic the 5 of Pentacles; it shows a man with his pockets turned inside out, clearly showing he is broke. There was only one card in this suit I did not like, that was the 2 of Pentacles. I don’t like this image because for me it feels like a 5 of Pentacles as well. We see a man at an ATM and it appears he can’t get money out. The 2 of Pentacles is often a card of juggling jobs or different life aspects. Rhiannon depicts the 2 of Pentacles as a card of financial troubles, which it is traditionally not. A modern image of the 2 of Pentacles could be showing an adult attending night classes (after work) or having Rhiannon writing inside a day planner which many things written inside, to do lists, meetings, errands and the like.
Overall The Faulkner Tarot is a deck which I have equal likes and dislikes. I like that it is modern, reflecting our modern life, which images we can relate with from our lives. The images even though they are modern are able to provoke insight by connecting to traditional meanings even if the images depart from normal symbols. Rhiannon did break away from tradition which some card like the 7 of Swords and 2 of Pentacles. But that is artist freedom which she is trying to express something possible different from tradition and that is not bad. When we break from tradition we push tarot to new limits. A few quick words on the cardstock, the cards are standard size; they fit perfectly in my hands. They have a very smooth matte feel to them, which I like, unlike the plastic feeling like in other decks. The cardstock is slightly thin, not thick but I would say durable They shuffle just fine as well. It is a quality made deck.
There is a companion book that comes with the deck, written by Rhiannon herself. Reading the book will allow you to get inside her mind and under the images used and what their intended meanings are.
Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin of Tarot Professionals (England) and authors of Around the Tarot in 78 Days:A Personal Journey Through the Cards are back again with another home run. The latest release from these two high profile tarot educators “Tarot Face to Face” work on developing your tarot reading skills by “facing” them head on.
The book has ten chapters broken down as follows.
ONE : Face to Face with Your Deck: Essential Skills and Methods.
Here you learn to speak in the language of tarot, which is a language of symbols. Your learn essential methods of reading like “Bridging” meanings together. Another methods included is “Pinpointing”, a method you will be familiar with if you “Around the Tarot in 78 Days
TWO: Face to Face with Your Deck: Practicing Tarot
Taking what was learned in the first chapter you are introduced to activities to get your brain to create new ways of thinking and seeking the world through the cards. “Turn a Word into a Spread” stood out to me, a method of taking one word of a client’s question and turning it into a spread.
THREE: Facing The Questions
Here you learn how to deal with the questions that will be asked of you and to ensure you stay relevant to the client. You will learn to deal with clients who have no questions or too many questions. Rephrasing the question and more.
FOUR: Facing The Querent
Tips and advice on dealing with the querent, behavior and interaction.
FIVE: Facing The Crowd: Reading for Parties and Groups
If you are a reading who does readings for parties and or groups of people this chapter will be enriching, instead of readings this chapter talks about games/activities to use to introduce people to tarot in a social environment. Fun actives like “Just a Minute Activity” and “Tarot Card Charades” will be fun for the whole group.
SIX: Facing the Outside World: Tarot for Engaging Life
Here you learn about your relationship with the universe and deepening that connection.
SEVEN: Facing Each Other: tarot and Relationships
This chapter focuses on spreads and activities regarding relationships. The “Loves Me/Loves Me Not Method stands out as a great technique.
EIGHT: Facing Yourself: tarot for Self Discovery
Tarot and self discovery is my favorite use of the cards. “Tarot in Your Sleep” is good for visual people and vivid dreamers.
NINE: Facing All Front: Twelve Spreads
Twelve unique and useful spreads are explored here in this chapter. The spreads included here are beyond basic and simple spreads. They are actually useful and explained how to use them in detail.
TEN: Tarot to the World
The concluding chapter deals with you, your tarot cards and the world. Some things mentioned in here are the “Six Types of Attitude” people may perceive you and tarot. Coming out and sharing your tarot with family members. As well as the “Legal and Other Worldly Concerns” like Legal, Commercial, Advertising and Media are explored.
Overall Tarot Face to Face is a book that offers numerous tools to you the reader to develop your skills and reading abilities. Tarot is not just about memorizing a long list meanings. Marcus and Tali offer here a valuable resource that all readers should expose themselves to.
Everything You Want to Know About Magick (But Were Afraid To Ask) has a healthy balance of reason and creativity. Scanlon has presented well researched information on theory and step by step directions to preform rituals that takes the fear out of doing magick for a beginner.
This book is universal in nature, that the principles learned here can be applied to other traditions. The main sources used here are from The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Hermeticism and Qaballah to name a few. This is not a Wiccan or Pagan specific book which I think is a huge advantage because most books on Magick are aimed at wither Wiccans or Pagans with the focus on the God and Goddess (lord/lady) and other specific elements that are associated with these paths. Scanlon presents Magick as something for everyone regardless of your spirtual belief or lack of one. If you are looking to step up your magickal practice this book is a must read.
What I really enjoyed most about this book was it was packed full of really good information on the main subjects of the chapters while at the same time providing additional side information in the text or in the footnotes. Scanlon knows what he is talking about, I never doubt for a moment or questioned a think he said. All his knowledge is based on legitimate sources and traditions.
What will you learn from this book? There is a ton to learn from Scanlon. You learn about the Lesser Banishing Ritual of Pentagram which Scanlon calls “the Equilibrating Ritual of the Pentagram” for a good reason which Scanlon explains regarding the meaning of “banishing”. Your learn about the Tree of Life from Kabbalah which Scanlon explains excellently. Scanlon goes also into the 22 paths in the tree and the corresponding tarot cards, which for me being a tarot reader was an excellent learning experience. I have not found anything in the tarot material that did a good job at explaining the paths and tarot like Scanlon did. You learn how to create Talismans, how to synthesize your script, using magickal alphabets. Scanlon teaches you specific magick for wealth, healing, love and deeper subjects like demonology. In the demonology section it is very informative how Scanlon explains the true meaning of “demon” from the root Greek word “Daimons” which were the lesser divinities. Not evil in nature, but more connected to our physical world than higher beings like Angels.
Among all the material presented in the book only one thing troubled me. There is a small section on Tarot and Divination. Scanlon did present uses for tarot like meditation, rituals, path working and such which I liked that he mentioned. However when he discussed tarot as a divination tool he made a statement which did not sit well with me. “For the most part, divination is overused; mainstream occultism relies on it far too much. Fortunetelling feeds the ego and induces hesitation and doubt instead of promoting action, energy, force and success against any challenge that may arise”. Page 207. I would have to disagree 100% on this statement. Tarot is a tool that does the opposite, it does promote action for change in ones life. However I think that Scanlon is presenting here an issue that is specific for magickal practitioner who use divination before conducting a ritual of some kind and not tarot readers in general. Which in that case I understand where he is coming from however he does not make that distinction clear in his writing. People who do not have the frame of reference like myself might be mislead by what Scanlon says here.
In the end Everything You Want To Know About Magick is an excellent source of magickal knowledge. Scanlon presents all the material in again an excellent manner. He removes the “woo-woo” mystique that such a subject may carry so that people who want to learn real magick can do so with it being so abstract and esoteric. Scanlon does not dumb down magick whatsoever, this is a highly intellectual book that once you finish reading you will be wiser than before and will posses the tools needed to preform your own magick. While being intellectual Scanlon always stresses the importance of finding and using your person style and being creative when preforming magick. This is a must read for anyone in the Magickal community and for tarot readers like myself will find relative information to our practice.
“The journey of tarot continues on, Rachel Pollack presents tarot in a simple and direct manner in the style of Eden Grey, that proves there is always more to learn”
Tarot author, teacher and all-round legend best known for her “78 Degrees of Wisdom” has written a new book, “The New Tarot Handbook”. I was very excited when I saw that this book was an upcoming release, anything that Rachel writes is simply worth reading. I was looking forward in seeing what The New Tarot Handbook had to offer. What more is there to be said? If you have read 78 Degrees of Wisdom or her 2008 release, “Tarot Wisdom” you may think the same thing. To be honest I had some concern as to what was going to be presented. Was it simply going to be another 78 Degrees, reworded in a different fashion with a few updates? Or will be refreshing offering new insights? Let us explore and find out.
To start the book is in total 280 pages long and is grouped in six chapters. Listed as Introduction, The Major Arcana, The Minor Arcana, The Court Cards, Readings and Further Study.
In the introduction Rachel explains her background in how she came across tarot. Rachel speaks about the influence that Eden Grey author of Tarot Revealed impacted her and on modern tarot reading. This is a very nice homage to Eden as Rachel also describes The New Tarot Handbook as restoring the Eden Grey tradition by saying “I like to think that this book revives Eden Grey’s tradition – a work that is short, direct, yet hopefully is backed up by deeper knowledge and awareness”. This statement gives us our structure and intention of this book. A book that is simple, easy to read, that is backed by real knowledge and solid understanding that people can grasp onto. After reading most of the book I can say that Rachel had done exactly what it was she was hoping for. The New Tarot Handbook is short, direct and easy to understanding. Now to say short I do not mean short in content, there is plenty of solid background on the cards, explanations of symbols and meaning.
To give a brief description of how this is setup, there is a Waite-Smith image of the card, in this case The Empress. Below that are a few keywords to generalize the essence of the card, for The Empress it is “passion, love, motherhood, abundance”. Below that is Rachel’s spiel about the card. After that you will see divinatory meanings and reversed meanings in the style of Eden Grey’s Tarot Revealed. After each card is a “reading for” the card, a spread customized for each card.
As for what is presented in the actual description and explanations of the cards in the words of Goldilocks “Ahhh, this porridge is just right” so to is the amount of information just right. In 78 Degrees of Wisdom and so to in Tarot Wisdom there is a sense of information overload, that there is a lot to soak up. This is not the case here, where you are given the right balance of knowledge needed without feeling like a deer caught in headlights. The writing is casual and easier going than previous writings. But by all means this is not dummied down tarot, a good way to describe it is as Diet Tarot Wisdom or 78 Degrees of Wisdom Lite, still has that refreshing taste with no calories! The New Tarot Handbook provides new insights along with already established ones, so readers of Rachels others books will find out there is more to learn.
The flow of the book is smooth; Rachel shows how cards are interrelated to one another, building up from previous cards and showing the development and growth from one to the other. This is a very important thing for tarot readers to understand, how cards are connected to each other and how that impacts the meaning. In the example of The Empress she does this by showing the connection via pairs, the Magician and Empress, High Priestess and Empress and Emperor with Empress.
I love to read about the mythologies in the cards, with The Empress we are taught the association with two goddess, Venus/Aphrodite and Demeter, then going further explain the myth of Persephone’s kidnapping by Hades. I would like to make a quick side note that Rachel says Hades is the god of death; in actuality he is the god of the underworld, not death himself. Death is represented by another figure, that of “Thanatos” who is the personification of death. But Rachel was making a point with associating Hades with death in that in the end Demeter gets her daughter back from “death”, revealing a lesson that you should never underestimate a mother.
Moving onto the Minor Arcana Rachel explains the suits in terms of their elemental qualities and explains the numerological meanings of each number, the foundations that all readers should have. The minors are setup just like the Majors with the removal of the keywords under the card instead replacing it with the Element & Theme of the card. The minor are at times linked to the majors to give you a sense of deeper connection, while some cards like the 2 of Swords simply states it “links her to the High Priestess”, without any other explanation of that that connection.
Towards the end in the section of “Readings” Rachel explains the reading process and goes with the “do as you will” mentality throwing to the wind the notion that you have to follow certain ritualistic “rules”. She also lists several complex free spreads.
In conclusion The New Tarot Handbook was a wonderful read. Rachel’s aim at writing a book that was simple and direct to the point was achieved. Who would is this book good for? Anyone really, however I would recommended it to a new reader who is looking for a deeper awareness to the cards meaning, mythology and symbolism without feeling lost in the esoteric translation.
“A workbook which builds strong tarot foundations in 78 knowledge packed days”
- Angelo Nasios
All aboard! You are going on a journey around the tarot in 78 days with authors Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin. All you need is your tarot deck, Around The Tarot in 78 Days is tarot workbook which explores the cards. in you guessed it, 78 days I am normally not a fan of tarot workbooks, however when I heard about “ATTI78D” I was automatically excited. After reading and reviewing Marcus’ previous work “Tarosophy: Tarot to Engage Your Life Not to Escape it” I knew this workbook would be different, unique and useful. I was right!
The book is designed to be read one card per day, each day has a lesson attached to it. The lessons are designed to give a new reader a well rounded introduction to tarot. The lessons are not just for newbies but intermediate readers will also learn from this workbook. Along your journey spreads, methods and techniques fill the pages so the learning never stops. In addition to the normal lessons there are “wayside lessons” which are optional lessons for intermediate readers. Which provide useful information everyone should know. With this said, let us explore the layout/structure of the book.
Marcus and Tali do a wonderful job in the “Let’s Get Started” section. It is in-depth and provides a lot. In this section the tarot foundations are laid out for you. I like how the cards are explained in the context of the theme of the book, Majors are “The Landmark Cards”, which allow us to get our bearings. Minors are “The Signpost Cards”, which illustrate all human activity. Court cards are “The Direction Cards”, which represent forces at play in the universe through people or events. Further more within the Majors there are “Pitstop Points”, which include Change Cards, Teaching Cards, Challenge Cards, Opportunity Cards, initiation Cards and Stop Cards. The inclusion of these pitstop points is a great thing as it places the majors into certain groups of a general meaning which is very useful in a reading when you notice a pattern developing.
It is also in this section the order of the cards is explained, most books list the cards in number sequence, from Fool to The World then Ace through King with each of the suits. The order here is based on what Marcus and Tali say is by the soul’s journey through the Tree of Life.
Moving deeper into this section you will find yourself learning about the Keyword Kaleidoscope, a method of reconcile different card meanings. We all have been in that position where we seen different sources saying something different about a card. This method uses these meanings to create new meanings. At first I was a little confused about how this technique worked but after putting it into practice I was amazed at how cool and helpful it was! It is definitely unique and probably the number one thing I can walk away with learning. When you read about The Keyword Kaleidoscope I am sure you will be in agreement. There are additional methods included after the Keyword Kaleidoscope that aims to give you new approaches to using the cards.
With all that said it is time to move on into the core of the book, the cards and lessons. Each of the cards come along with side bits of additional info. Ways of connecting with the cards through affirmations, meditations, numerological equivalent and astrological correspondences, elemental quality and the Kabbalastic placement in the Tree of Life. The cards are then related to aspects in our life like work, relationship, health and the like so this book can also be used as a reference for when you reading the cards.
There are certain lessons which I personally liked. On day 15 you learn about the 9 of Wands. The lesson on this day is looking at the four levels of reading a tarot card. Day 20, the 8 of Swords the lesson is about using Astrological Correspondences. There are a few days you do one card narratives and my favorite was Day 28, 7 of Cups which was a fun exercise. Day 31, The Wheel of Fortune the lesson is narrative in time, where you learn how changing which tense you place the card can change your perspective. Being a big fan of 3 card readings, on day 36, Justice, you practice doing a 3 card reading answering a question presented to you. Love that one. Along in the lessons you are shown different spreads, spreads are not relegated to one section of the book, they are spread throughout it. One day 38, The Emperor you learn the Dawn Spread which is a useful daily spread. Another spread which really sparked my interest was the Discover Your Demon Spread, on day 45 learning about the 5 of Swords. You will also learn about “Opening of the Key Method” on day 59, The Empress. A card counting method created by the Golden Dawn in 1888. As I mentioned before there are wayside lessons, a few of these wayside lessons deal with numerology, the astrological deacons and elemental dignities.
Are all the lessons game changers are amazingly unique? No, I did not expect that, what I did expect though was lessons that could be used by everyone on any place of the tarot reading spectrum. There are basic lessons and there are more advance lessons. There is little negative to be said about the book, since this is a workbook with lessons you are in the end left to apply what you learn yourself. Not all the lessons are applied to all the cards through out the book. Which you can’t expect because then it would be the never ending tarot book lol. There was one little thing I noticed which was the title change of The Wheel of Fortune, called simply The Wheel and The Tower which is called The Blasted Tower. I assume that is how the cards are called over in England, our authors are British after all. So I can’t really complain about that because that is a linguistic issue and also these are the much older titles of the cards. The publisher is however based in the USA so I am surprised the titles were not changed because of the main market which the book will be sold in. The only reason I bring this up is it might cause a slight confusion to a new reader.
All in all, Marcus and Tali hit the ball out of the park with this book. Around the Tarot in 78 Days is a excellent workbook that any reader can use. The book holds within it a great collection of knowledge that only Marcus and Tali could have presented with such ease and grace. I recommend it to new readers as it will give them a strong foundation in tarot which will give them the proper tools and knowledge needed. The book is also good for veterans of tarot because there is always something new to learn.
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Step into a world where the past has been rewritten and reimagined. Steampunk is a genre, which came into prominence during the 1980’s and 1990’s. It incorporates science fiction and fantasy together to create a world that is simply described as “what the past would have looked like if the future had happened sooner”. Steampunk is normally placed in the Victorian era, where steam engines are widely used. What would tarot look with this wonderful spin on history? Barbara Moore along with artist Aly Fell has manifested this in a well-executed deck that is The Steampunk Tarot.
I am a big fan of Barbara Moore’s work within the tarot field. I recently reviewed her new book Tarot Spreads: Layouts & Techniques to Empower Your Readings and was dying to get my hands on the Steampunk Tarot because this is Barbara’s first deck she has commissioned and just loved the teasers should would post on Facebook. So now that I had the deck in my possession for some time I present here my opinions and thoughts, oh lord where do I start?
Firstly let me start with the artwork. Aly Fell did an excellent job at creating this deck. The artwork was done digitally but you would never suspect it because it looks it was drawn by hand. The colors are soft and subdued with some areas of contrasts colors such as The Hermit’s lantern, which emits electric blue shocks. The reds of The Empress and Justice are rich. The stained glass of the 5 of Pentacles creates a huge contrast against the dark snowing scene, which is welcoming. The black borders are always a huge plus on any deck especially with this deck since it blends well with the overall color tone of the deck. The card stock is standard for what Llewellyn produces, I really would like to see them step their game up and get a thicker cardstock. They are easy to hold in your hands and shuffle. They also fan out nicely on a table, which I like for my cards to be able to do. Some decks can’t fan out. The cards measure approx. 4.5 X 2.5 inches.
Looking at any deck which spins the traditional Waite Smith I look for uniqueness while at the same time being able to recognize the so called traditional meanings or symbols while adding new ones on top of it. Does the Steampunk deliver? Lets see.
Examining the Major Arcana there are cards which standout for their unique spin on the card. Though I cannot talk about all of them here are a few I want to showcase. The High Priestess is portrayed as a fortuneteller; on her table is a crystal ball and tarot cards, a portrayal which seems to be gathering popularity in newer decks. I am mixed with this type of portrayal, on one level it is comical as it feels like a little cameo of the reader themselves inside the cards. On another level it removes the traditional woman on a seat holding a scroll veiled in mystery. In this High Priestess though it retains the air of mystery a High Priestess should have. The grin she gives you makes me unsettled, worried as to what she knows, she knows something and she wishes to tell you. So at the same time the grin invites you to sit down and get a reading. The Empress also shakes tradition by removing the typical garden and nature theme with an Empress that is rawer. This Empress looks like she is in her royal chambers, laying on a luxurious lounge tempting you to join her. With her hand on her belly, it still brings me back to the idea that the Empress represents birth and creation.
The Hierophant retains much of what you expect but plenty of change that makes it fresh. For many this is a tough card to connect with normally because of its link to the church and Christian connotations. However here we have an elder sitting and teaching to two children. There are books to his side, which denote knowledge. The golden keys of Saint Peter appear on the floor between the children. This has to be my favorite Hierophant to date. It removes any theological representation and still holds to the idea of teaching, mentoring, of learning and the passing down of traditions. While other decks give the feeling that the Hierophant is closed minded to one way, this Hierophant makes me feel more free and open to all sorts of ideas.
Strength takes a nice twist. Instead of a woman clamping shut the mouth of a lion here we have a woman taking a cog out of the paw of a lion. This brings to my mind compassion and healing. Helping those in trouble and in pain. Barbara explains more of the symbolism of this change in the companion book as relating to the Jungian “shadow” of our subconscious and extracting the problem larking in the shadow.
The last Major Arcana, which I want to draw focus on, is The Devil, which redefines what we typically expect. This devil is not a supernatural creature or beast but rather a mechanical creation that has grown so large that it has dominated the lives of the humans in the card. Not bounded by chains are these people but rather bounded to serve and care for this monster of metal which demands its. This card brings to my mind how technology as become in some ways a monster which has demanded much of our attention and energy as well as ruling much of our lives.
Exploring now the Minor Arcana I want to reveal cards, which also take a twist to the traditional. In the Wands, two cards pop out at me. The 3 of Wands for its inclusion of the wands themselves as a prop in the scene is a nice change. Rather then the normal placement in the foreground behind a man looking out in the distance. Here the man uses the wands, which also have lanterns hanging from them, as a tripod for a telescope so he may see off into the distance further and more up-close in detail. The 8 of Wands, is also a welcomed change. Here we have a solider firing the wands from a machine. I mainly like the change of perspective where we see where the wands are coming from, instead of them simply being in the air with no context or reference.
In the Cups I like the interpretation of the 3 of Cups and 5 of Cups. In the 3 of Cups we have as Barbara describes, three women, however the middle figure looks like a man to me. In my eyes it is a man with two women, which really can take this card into another level. We are in a house, people are drinking getting wasted and having a good time. From my view of it being one man and two girls, is that this card becomes more sexually charged then a traditional 3 of Cups. This can have many meanings, among them the normal love triangle. There is a lot to ponder about in this card and no 3 of cups has made me really ponder.
In the Swords, I would like to point out the 3 of Swords and 6 of Swords. In this 3 of Swords we have a broken mechanical heart jammed with 3 swords. I like this take on the 3 of Swords; it is familiar but at the same time brings new meanings. For me looking at this image brings to mind what happens when our minds come into conflict with our emotions. Things get jammed up and breakdown. There is a feeling of being stuck on something and not being able to move passed a certain issue, which lingers on the mind and heart. The 6 of Swords, takes up high into the air on a fast moving balloon airship which I really like stead of the gloom and doom of the boat ride across the water. Here we have an image, which still rings true to traditional meanings but expresses it in a new image.
Lastly the Pentacles, in this suit the 4 and 8 of Pentacles are two cards, which stand out. In the 4 of Pentacles we have a rich woman’s hand coming in from the side with a golden coin that is being handed over to a another hand, which is mechanical that takes the coin and locks it away in the box it is attached it. Right away I think of saving which is something the 4 of Pentacles represents, the presentation is nicely done. The 8 of Pentacles stays very true to tradition but the perspective in which we see the image is changed, we are looking at a downward angle and each of the pentacles is crafted differently as opposed to being the same as in other decks.
A quick word on the court cards, out of all of them my favorite is the Queen of Swords. That is one Queen you don’t want to F**** with. She holds a sword to her side, as if to hide it from the person she is greeting. At any moment she may attack, with her mind of course. It appears she is one smart woman with lots of life experience. The Knights however are lacking horses, which are really disappointing; I would have liked to see horses with the knights. Keeping with the Steampunk theme they could have mechanical horses.
The companion book to the deck, which Barbara wrote, is fantastic. Because this deck is of her creation the book is the key into her mind to understand what she wants to express in each of the cards. The book is almost 300 pages in length so it is not a Little White Book, it is a companion book worthy to be read cover to cover. It covers the basics at the beginning, discusses the cards in detail and at the end provides you with some spreads.
In closing I want to say a few things about the deck. Barbara commented in her companion book about wither or not the Steampunk tarot is just a novelty deck or something more useful for tarot readers. It is my opinion that this is not a novelty deck at all. I think this deck will fill the needs of readers who feel there is something missing in a deck. For myself, this deck fills the need for something on the modern/contemporary side while at the same time making it removed enough from our modern life that were if it did not we would not find it special in any way. Which is the problem I think contemporary decks have, they are too close to our frame of reference it does not take us out of the world we live in. Tarot should take us out of our world and common mindset. The Steampunk does both, it updates the traditional Rider Waite images, which many people feel is outdated and makes it feel adventurous because it is based in the alternate world of Steampunk.
A star, cross, circle, square or triangle spreads comes in many shapes and sizes. The spread is the corner stone to a tarot reading, it is that very thing that makes the reading possible. Even laying out just one card is a spread, a one card spread but a spread non the less. There are numerous books that are devoted to the subject of spreads, listing spread after spread out of countless spreads. Some spreads are classic, some are created at the time of the reading, and they all can be edited, modified by each reader to suit their needs and the needs of the client when needed. Spreads are magical in that they can be created out of inspiration from anything. Seriously, anything. I saw a spread that was inspired by the cast of the Comedy Central tv show South Park. A spread can make or break the reading. A poorly designed spread could create a horrible reading as compared to a properly created spread which will allow the reading to flow with ease.
Spreads have been a issue I have contemplated over since I first picked up my cards. I went to the LWB and saw that there was something called a “celtic cross” spread. So I tried it and had no clue what I was looking at or what I was reading. what the heck does “that which is crossing you” mean?? Someone please explain? It was not till later I found out “crossing” means something which is opposing you. I wish someone would have explained that in the first place. Later on I saw other spreads like the Star Spread, the Horseshoe spread or the horoscope spread. At one point i had a collection of spreads that I printed out. But over time I found that I liked it best to create custom spreads for each client and their unique question & situation. I did that for a long time and a few years ago I shifted once more, focusing on 3 card spreads only. Using three cards fit well into my philosophy of Keeping it Simple.
I never liked putting spreads into shapes. So I would just put them in a straight line. What the heck is the point to a star or circle?? Pointless in my opinion. However lately I have been having to question my beliefs, I have been reevaluating my of my opinions for my book I am writing. Spreads have been something I had to question. I was hoping someone who write a book that would make a case for the purpose of spreads, the purpose of the shapes and give me some reason to change my mind. Give me a reason why I am wrong, show me the alternate way.
Enter “Tarot Spreads” by Barbara Moore.
Barbara does an excellent job in her latest creation. Tarot Spreads is a fantastic addition to the subject of Tarot Spreads. This book has given a lot for me to think about, it has caused the gears and cogs in my brain to turn. I can happily say that my position on spreads has been influenced and I am rethinking the subject.
Barbara says “Tarot Cards are like the subconscious mind, full of inspiration and wisdom that we didn’t know we knew. Tarot Spreads are like the conscious mind. They help organize all that glorious raw data triggered by the cards so that we can interpret it and apply it properly to the situation in question”. Which is a perfect analogy and really defines the role and purpose of the spread. It organizes the information presented by the cards in clear defined positions.
Barbara describes why the layout of the spread is important, which is something I wanted to hear. Ok Barbara what is it? Well she states that you need to think about art and graphic design and the psychology used in designs. Everything is designed with purpose. How people read either right to left or left to right. We see time as moving from Left to Right and so forth. So for example a linear line in a spread suggests time and events in a chronological order. Like the Past Present Future spread.
Barbara goes on to explain the “design principles” which is great. Here she talks about the characteristics of spreads, such as Balance, Symmetry and Spacing and others explaining their implications and influence of the spread. Ok so far she has me thinking and I am liking what I am reading.
No spread is the “end-all, be-all” as Barbara says, each spread has it’s strengths and weakness. I really liked it when Barbara talks about our assumptions, that all spreads make assumptions about that question and about the answer and she give examples of this. This gives all of us some food for thought next time we use a spread or create a spread for someone.
Barbara stresses in her book that your personal style and beliefs are what are most important when it comes to the reading and the choice of spreads. Do you believe that the future can be known? If you don’t you would not use a spread with an “outcome card” or edited a spread that has it to not include it. So you can pick up this book and will not have preaching you dogma on how you should read or what spreads you must use, rather gives you the tools to create your own or modify existing spreads.
This is not a Spread Bible or Encyclopedia on Spread, however it does have over 60 spreads which is just enough, there should be a spread for almost any situation in here for you and your clients. Yes there are other book that have more spreads but it is not quantity but rather quality which is the focus of this book. This book is better than most of the other spread books on the market. Because Barbara presents the information in a manner, much like if you were going to take a workshop on spreads where you have Barbara in front of you teaching why spreads are important, the inner workings of spreads and their purpose. Not simply throwing a bunch of spreads together and leave you to fend for yourself as is the case with most books on spreads. This is exactly what I have been looking for!
I compared Barbara’s book to other books which deal with spreads. Eight books to be exact. What I have noticed in most of the books on spreads is that it is just a collection of spreads or it is a book with a large amount of spreads in addition to quick card meanings. Other books give spreads which sample readings using the spreads. Only one book is geared towards trying to teach spreads but in my opinion it was formulated and constructed poorly so it is not user friendly. Barbara’s book really stands out as unique to the rest, there is only one other book that I own which comes close to being a true competitor, so we are looking at here a book which is above the rest in the spread category.
But this book goes beyond just listing spreads and explaining them, there is a chapter called “techniques to add to any spread”, which are little techniques to add to your readings to spice things up. Barbara also guides you through creating your own spreads. This section is not overly complicated as you might think. Barbara says that a spread can be created via inspiration in many different things like pulling out a card from your deck and creating spread from it, like The Wheel of Fortune spread. At the end she shares with us how to do a “78 card reading” which is very ambitious and I don’t think I will ever try it, but it is always good to know it is there.
There are somethings which are not in this book. There are no sample readings. You will be presented with the spreads but no follow up samples to see the spread in action. I am not sure if that is a bad thing, that is up to you. It would have been a nice addition but not having sample readings is not a huge deal in my opinion. Just be aware there are none.
There is something which I was hoping that would be in this book that is not, which is the subject of when “bad cards” appear in good positions in a spread and vice versa. This is something which I think stumps many readers. What I mean by this is , if a spread has a position called “What is good in the relationship” and The Devil comes up, how the heck is that suppose to be read? And vice versus. If you have a spread with “What is bad in the relationship” and you get The Sun how should this be viewed. I was hoping there might be tips and suggestions to deal with this issue however there is not. Maybe down the line Barbara could address this issue in a later edition to the book.
When I read a book I want to feel like the author is conversing with me as if we were face to face and I swear at one point I thought she wrote one passage just for me! The passage goes like this “there are ways to incorporate two or more decks into a reading… Do you have several versions of a favorite deck? (YES I do)… Some artists produce and sell a special edition of their deck and then a publisher will release a mass market edition.. (Yep I do, Legacy of The Divine Special edition and Mass market).. or perhaps you have a traditional RWS deck as well as one of the many variations, such as Radiant or universal. Guilty as charged, I have 17 RWS. I laughed while reading this passage.. It was a real pleasure to read this book. Barbara’s writing style was very inviting and I read it all in one day, which I normally don’t do with books. I was able to try one of the spreads listed for another fellow reader with good results.
In conclusion, Tarot Spreads by Barbara Moore is a breath of fresh air on the subject of spreads. It is a unique addition to the tarot market and will be a great addition to your tarot practice. I can honestly say that this book has giving me much to think about and I know the more I study it and apply it to my practice it will help make me a better reader. This book should be picked up by new readers in addition to a normal book on learning tarot cards meanings and basics for a well rounded introduction to tarot. Even if you have been reading tarot for years, this book can make you a better reader.