The Easiest Way to Learn the Tarot – EVER!!

The Easiest Way to

Learn the Tarot – EVER!!

Author: Dusty White

Edited by: Brenda Judy

Booksurge Publishing

2009

ISBN #978-141969288-8

This is, at heart, a 324 page workbook for learning the Tarot. (And yes, I do differentiate between a workbook and a book that aims to present material in a more textual manner.) I have several quibbles with the presentation of this book, beginning with the use of clip art on the front and back pages. This might be fine in some instances, but the manner it is used in here makes me think that the author takes a very cavalier attitude toward Tarot, and towards teaching the Tarot. There is an online site that acts to give 24/7 assistance in any problems that a student may have through the use of its forums. The site provides information on the book itself, a Tarot community with help, instruction, news, forums, and guest lectures by Tarot experts. The aim is to provide a system of education that combines self-teaching, individual tutoring, and community support. This is a very nice concept, and it may work well (I don’t know, because I did not choose to join the site), but there is extensive use of clip art, which really turns me off.

There is a front-sheet for the reader/student to place their name, the date that they started working with the book, and the name of their instructor. This is a good thought, IMHO, because it creates a connection between the reader/student and the work they are doing.

In his introduction, White states that he feels the images in the Tarot come from a time that is long since past in societal evolution, that they reflect political structures that are different from those of modern times. He then goes on to say that the Tarot is still a highly useful “study guide” for personal advancement along metaphysical lines, and a “nifty” tool for predicting future events. The core of this book is in answering the following questions about the Tarot: “What does it mean?”, and “How Does It Work?”

The Major and Minor arcana are referred to as the two “camps”, with the Major Arcana being the “spooky cards”, and the Minor Arcana looking suspiciously like a “normal” deck of playing cards, with an added face card. The exercises in this book are meant to help the reader/student understand the Tarot, and create a good working relationship with their chosen deck. The reader/student is advised to leave the “esoteric stuff” alone until they have developed a thorough understanding of their cards.

In “Section One – Getting Started”, the necessary tools are listed: this book, a deck of Tarot cards, and a notepad or journal. The decks that are recommended are any of the “Waite” decks by U.S. Games. Yes, this is my second quibble with this book. To recommend a deck for a beginner to use is one thing, to recommend a publisher is an entirely different matter. I highly respect U.S. Games, and the line of decks that they offer, but other publishing houses also offer Waite or Waite “clone” decks. The “Halloween Tarot” somehow also made it onto the recommended list, while the Marseilles decks are pushed aside as leaving a lot to be desired – they are “nice to show off at parties”, but a quick “down and dirty” reading is better done, in the author’s opinion, with a Waite deck.

The first table that is presented is actually one that I feel is a good foundation for doing readings, as it lists the four suits, with their corresponding direction, season, and element. The Minor arcana are defined as “making sense”, and providing the details needed for interpretation. The Major arcana are defined as a set of symbols of elements of existence or society, with the notation that they contain psychological correspondences. White notes that the Major arcana are too “vague” for daily use without the help of the Minor arcana to clarify them.

As a workbook, the material is structured for use in 30, 60, and 90 day increments. It is suggested for the first 30 days that the book be read in its entirety, and that the exercises be done in order of presentation. Once the reader/student is comfortable with each exercise, they are encouraged to work with simple spreads as often as possible.

Section Two includes a 30 Day Checklist noting each exercise and the skill level of the reader/student, a chart with room to list what the reader/student learned on each day. The first exercises offered have to do with getting to know the cards, both at “face value”, and “beyond face value”, which moves into the imagery on the cards. Another quibble here – the black and white scans used to illustrate the exercises are placed at artsy angles, which does nothing but irritate me. (Note: The deck used for illustrations is the Waite Tarot – what I would normally refer to as the Rider-Waite Tarot.) Exercises two through four are basically two card comparisons, with exercises five and six working with three cards. Exercise seven works with opening up a card, while exercise eight blending the meanings for two cards into a central meaning. Exercise nine talks about blending the meanings for multiple cards into a central meaning, with exercise ten turning multiple cards into a story. Exercise eleven, which is optional, has the reader/student taping an older deck to the wall (on the order of a multiplication table). The extra-credit exercises are actually interesting – they are two and three card practice spreads with a list of questions to be answered. There is a list of “really advanced exercises” that have to do with moving the cards around, which I really did think was fun and educational. The reader/student is requested at the beginning of Section Two to “toss aside” the Major arcana until a later time.

Section Three discusses one through three and multiple card spreads (including the Celtic Cross, Astrological and timing spreads). In “fun things to do with your Tarot deck”, White talks about putting captions on the cards. Does this open up how the reader/student views the card? Yes, it does. It’s also fun. As a writer I choose to do this through story, though, rather than putting captions on my cards.

Section Three also includes sample “cheat sheets” for the Minor arcana Pips (numbered cards) and Court cards, and the Major arcana. For the Minor arcana, there is space for keywords/concepts. The Major arcana is set up to include interpretation, reversed interpretation, and notes.

Section Four introduces the Minor arcana. Each card (Pip and Court) includes Name, Astrological Orientation (Cardinal/Fixed/Mutable), description, prime elements (number, suit, direction, element), traditional meaning, and traditional reversed meaning. There is room for notes from the reader/student, and questions for the reader/student to answer.

Section Five introduces the Major arcana. Each card includes title, description, esoteric interpretation, traditional meaning, traditional reversed meaning, and a list of questions for the reader/student to answer.

Section Six includes instructions for the first 30 days of working with this workbook, as well as instruction to visit www.AdvancedTarotSecrets.com for help and further information.

Appendix A deals with troubleshooting basic problems, Appendix B is a Tarot FAQ (listing of Frequently Asked Questions), Appendix C is a brief history of the Tarot, Appendix D talks about how to be a hit at parties, Appendix E talks about party games, Appendix F Secret Societies and Mystery Schools that the reader/student may wish to join, while Appendix G is a recommended reading list. At the very end of the book is a glossary.

This workbook presents a good system for getting to know the Tarot, and for reading with it. The buyer beware caveat here is that the author’s style is very breezy, which will not appeal to all people. I was interested to see that there was an associated site, which is there to support the book, but I don’t know how well the site functions, as I did not join it. This is definitely a workbook where I would say “Take what you will, and leave the rest behind.”

© December 2011 Bonnie Cehovet

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9 comments on “The Easiest Way to Learn the Tarot – EVER!!

  1. Mary Nale says:

    Thank you for such a thorough review! I have this book and it’s been on the shelf for almost two years. I never made it past the first chapter. Maybe I will take a second look at the book.
    Thanks Bonnie for doing what you do!

  2. Mary –

    Do what White says not to do – just flip through the book. There is a lot of good stuff there. 🙂

    Blessings,
    Bonnie

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have the book and been working through it and redoing it paying closer attention. I am happy to say I am now have an apprenticeship with Dusty White.
    Blessings,
    Jean/Mimiraj

  4. Jean –

    Happy to hear that you are enjoying this book, and that you have connected with Dusty White! 🙂 Wishing you well on your journey!

    Blessings,
    Bonnie

  5. Kathleen Cowley says:

    I have had the book for two years now and sell it in my wee shop. It is the first book I suggest when someone is looking to learn the tarot. I much prefer his written casual voice to the many dry tarot books I have read. I also would prefer that the content is superior vs. a beautiful empty book. Remember the phrase-don’t judge a book by its cover 😉

  6. Kathleen –

    White’s book is not for everyone. Some people do not assimilate such a breezy style. The cover of this book reflects the presentation – they are a match. Neither will be for everyone.

    Blessings,
    Bonnie

  7. Jacqueline Gray says:

    I have this book and really like it! I like Dusty’s casual tone and the many various exercises. I especially like the fact that he is so accessible on his online forum, which is free to join. In fact, you don’t really have to own his book to join and garner lots of information.

    As far as the clip art is concerned, it is very, very minimal and in no way detracts from the information presented within the book. I’m assuming the use is due to perhaps self-publishing.

    As well, I am assuming that he mentioned US Games as they have such a proliferation of decks that are *easily* obtainable. I’ve been in many book stores and that is what they stock. I don’t see any Lo Scarabeo decks filling the shelves despite the amount of decks that they produce. Further, I don’t resonate with Lo Scarabeo decks. I just don’t like the art work and I can pick out a Lo Scarabeo deck amongst many, if I saw one. I would prolly have done the same as Dusty and just recommended a US Games deck as a starting point.

    Thank you for reviewing the book as it’s not as mainstream as some others. It will appeal to those who are looking for good exercises to learn the cards while having the information presented in a casual, non-threatening manner.

    Cheers,
    Jacqueline

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