The Art of Being Worthy

Today’s blog will be a short one. I would like to introduce you to three blogs/sites that I feel have something unique to offer the Tarot world. They bring a smile to my face, and joy to my heart.

The first one up is Helen Howell and Zanna Starr’s blog “Tarot Notes – Major and Minor” – http://http://tarotnotes-majorandminor.blogspot.com/2010/11/interview-with-my-gilded-tarot-deck.html. I love the way this post is written – as if the cards were coming to the house for a visit. There is interaction, dialog, and a great deal of humor and fun to be had by all. There is also honor, and respect … and attitude! Any reader knows that their decks have attitude! How boring it would be if they did not! More deck interviews can be seen here – http://tarotnotes-majorandminor.blogspot.com/search/label/Deck%20Interviews. Thank you for such a lovely way to get to know our decks. Along with the “Gilded Tarot” (Thank you, Ciro!), Helen interviews such decks as “Tarot of the Hidden Folk”, the Swiss 1JJ (swooning here – my Swiss 1JJ came through a friend of my sister’s, and has quite the history!), and the “Christmas Tarot”.

Next up is Stephanie Arwen Lynch’s blog “Tarot By Arwen” – http://http://tarotbyarwen.com/blog/. Arwen offers readings, workshops and classes, coaching for writers (Arwen is a published writer as one-half of the Marilu Mann writing team), monthly Tarotscopes (http://http://tarotbyarwen.podbean.com/2010/11/01/november-2010-tarotscopes/), and character readings (readings done for characters from a wide variety of stories and novels) – http://http://tarotbyarwen.com/blog/?p=2746. There is so much cool stuff here – laced with a lethal dose of Arwen-style humor!

Last (but not least!) is the incredible blog by Catherine Chapman (co-author of “Beyond the Celtic Cross) – http://http://tarotelements.com/. I have to offer a small disclaimer here, in a nod to transparency – I do contribute articles to Tarot Elements on a monthly basis. Onward and upward! I am just going to ramble for a bit, and let each of you see what you might be interested in. There are a series of guest posts by such diverse individuals as Craig Conley (see how he overlays punctuation onto the Tarot in a unique fashion), Barbara Moore, Valerie Sylvester, Mick Frankel and Douglas Gibb (totally irreverent and insanely genius!). Valerie Sylvester is also a monthly contributor in the field of astrology, offering timely and astute insights into astrology, and how it affects our life. (Mercury retrograde is a well known “offender”, but did you know that other planets go retrograde also. Think, for a minute, what Venus retrograde offers up!) Catherine also has some excellent, thought provoking articles of her own up (“Should You Learn the Tarot With the Rider-Waite-Smith only?”, “The Baggage Handler). There are sections on the Celtic Cross, Elemental Dignities, Tarot News, Tarot Spreads and Tips and Techniques. There is also an ongoing study blog on the cards, with site visitor participation encouraged. One never knows what to expect next from Catherine … and its all good!

© November 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

Tarot Learning Cards

Tarot Learning Cards ®
Self Study Flash Cards

Author: Jadzia DeForest, Jay GreenMan DeForest
Living Magick Publishing Company
2010
ISBN #978-0-9828844-0-9

How many of wish that we had had some type of help when we were learning to read the Tarot? Now there are Internet sites devoted to the Tarot, Internet classes, local, in-person classes, and a ton of books. But where can one find basic information, in one place, readily accessible, at nominal cost, that will allow one to work at ones own pace? Jadzia and Jay DeForest have developed just such a program – learning the Tarot through the use of flash cards. Remember “way back when”, with your mother holding the multiplication flash cards in front of you? It worked then, and it works now!

The “Tarot Learning Cards” are a set of 78 cards that teach the basics of Tarot. On the front of each card is the card number (in Roman numerals) and name (for the Major Arcana); suit symbol, number and name (for the Minor Arcana Pips – numbered cards), and suit symbol, title and suit (for the Court Cards). On the back of each card

On the back of the card for the Major Arcana is the individual card theme, astrological association, Major Arcana theme, and upright and reversed keywords. For the Minor Arcana Pips (numbered cards), the back side shows the individual card theme, keywords ofr the suit, keywords for the card number, and upright and reversed keywords. For the Court Cards, the back side shows the theme for the card title, the suit theme, the elemental association (and associated signs), along with upright and reversed keywords.

For example:

The Fool (Upright)

Theme: Beginning
Astrology: Uranus
Major Arcana: Spiritual Journey
Keywords: Beginning a Journey, Spirit, Innocence, Leap of Faith, Unity, Crossroads, Choice, Folly, Foolishness, Naivete

The Fool (Rx)

Theme: Resistance
Major Arcana: Spiritual Journey
Keywords: Resisting Change, Stuck, Indecision, Making Mistakes, Fear, Carleness, Sudden Change, Reevaluation

Ace of Cups (Upright)

Theme: Inspiration
Cups: Love, Happiness, Spirituality
Aces: Beginning, Ideas, Potential
Keywords: New Relationship, Fertility, New Home, Renewal, Rekindling a Relationsip, Spiritual Insight

Ace of Cups (Rx)

Theme: Selfishness
Cups: Love, Happiness, Spirituality
Keywords: Emptiness, Depression, Self Absorbed, Unbalanced, Blocke Spiritual Growth, Infertility

King of Wands (Upright)

King: Active, Mature Masculine
Wands: Business, Family, Ambition
Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Keywords: Business Man, Powerful, Courageous, Determined, Creative, Energetic, Impulsive, Willful

King of Wands (Rx)

King: Active, Mature Masculine
Wands: Business, Family, Ambition
Fire: Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Keywords: Prideful, Overbearing, Arrogant, Self Centered, Harsh, Power Abuser

There are five cards that accompany this deck, and help the student to use it. The first card talks about how to sue the deck, the second card addresses the numerological associations on one side, with suit and elemental associations on the other side. The third card is a recommended reading list, while the fourth card discusses the Court Cards. The fifth card discusses reversals on one side, and Tarot terminology on the other.

The cards are approximately 3 ¾” by 5 ¼”, and are made of good quality, sturdy card stock. Both sides show a ¼” outer white border, followed by a ¼” dark brown inner border. The middle portion of each card is tan, wit the text in dark brown. The box that the cards come in is heavy duty card board (which I much appreciate!), with a lift off top. The cards are intended for use with beginners, but could be used by someone at the intermediate or advanced level as part of a teaching curriculum.

I advise purchasing the Tarot Quick Reference Sheet, and the Tarot Reversals Quick Reference Sheet to go with the cards. The cards themselves are the learning tools, while the study sheets function well as quick references for interpreting readings.

More information can be found on the site: www.livingmagick.com, as well as information on flash cards for Astrology and the Runes.

© October 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

LivingMagick.com

I would like to introduce you all to a fascinating site – www.livingmagick.com. This very special site publishes educational tools for sacred living. Knowing about tools for self-empowerment – such as the Tarot, Astrology and the Runes is one thing, being able to use them effectively is another.

That is the impetus behind this site – providing materials that act as a quick reference for working within systems such as the Tarot, Astrology and the Runes. Products offered include:

Literal “Quick Reference Sheets” for Tarot, Tarot Reversals, Astrology and the Runes. The sheets are 8.5” by 5.5”, printed on card stock and laminated. Information includes themes, keywords, symbols and glyphs.

“Tarot Flash Cards” – a set of traditional 78 cards, double sided, with a symbol and the name of the card on one side, and a description of the card on the other side (including theme, suit, number correspondences, upright and reversed keywords.

“Astrological Flash Cards” – these cards introduce you to what makes up an astrology chart, including astrological signs, planets, houses and aspects. Putting them together, you will be able to build your own charts!

“Rune Flash Cards” – a set of fifty flash cards, with half of the cards featuring the Rune symbol on the front and keywords on the back, and the other half featuring the Rune name of the front, with the symbol on the back.

I am impressed with the work being done here, and think that you will be too!

 © October 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

10/10/10

Here it is – 10/10/10 – October 10th, 2010. I love looking at those numbers – triple numbers, new beginnings in all areas.(The number ten adds up to the number one (one + zero = one), which is about new beginnings.) It is about going into a new cycle, ending old business and having hope that things are going to get better. Esotericaly, the number ten is considered the number of perfection (Pythagoras saw the number ten as representing the universe as a whole.)

The sense of hope connected with the number ten can be referenced to its reduction – the number One, which is associated with the planet of the Sun. We also see matter (represented by the number four) and harmony (the number six) in the number ten. It can be viewed as the Creator (represented by the number three) and creation (represented by the number seven). Ten is the number associated with the Hebrew letter Iod (Ego), representing the active principle.

In the Tarot, the cards that I associate with the number ten (aside from the number Ten in each of the four suits) are the Wheel of Fortune (X), the Sun (XIX), and, through reduction, the Magician (I). The energy of 10/10/10 contains the energy of all of these cards.

The Wheel of Fortune references time, and our individual actions. It is about being willing to be assertive, and take leaps of faith. It is about bringing balance between individual will and the will of Spirit, and coming to accept that which cannot be changed.

The Sun references hope, health, abundance and harmony. Here we move past our shadows and fears, allowing ourselves to bring things of a more positive nature into our lives.

The Magician has available to him all Elemental powers. He is the channel between the Spiritual and the Physical worlds (As Above, So Below). With him all things are possible.

What are you going to do on this day? Are you going to take a leap of faith? Are you going to bring balance into your life? Are you going to accept your mastery of the Elemental powers surrounding you? Are you going to accept the responsibility to be the Master of your own destiny?

© October 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

Fool’s Journey – The History, Art & Symbolism of the Tarot

The Fool’s Journey –

The History, Art & Symbolism of the Tarot

The Fool's Journey

Author: Robert M. Place

Talarius Publications

2010

ISBN #978-0-557-53350-3

Illustration Credits: Illustrations from the Aquarian Tarot, c. 1970, Deviant Moon Tarot, c. 2008, Fenestra Tarot, c. 2008, Paulina Tarot, c. 2008, and Visconti-Sforza Tarocchi Deck, c. 1975, reproduced  with permission by U.S. Games Systems, IN., Stamford, CT. Copyright by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited.

Illustrations from the Jean Noblet Tarot, c. 2007 and the Jean Dodal Tarot, c. 2009 reproduced with permission by Jean Claude Flornoy, Cartier-Enliumineur, Au Lion d’Or, 53700m Saint Mars du Desert, France. Copyright by Jean Claude Flornoy. Further reproduction prohibited.

Illustrations from the Facsimile Tarocchi of Ferrara, c. 2009, The Alchemical Tarot, c. 1995, and The Annotated Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery, c. 2008 copyright Robert M. Place. Further reproduction prohibited.

Illustrations from The Alphabet Tarot, c. 1997 Thalia Took, reproduced with permission. Further reproduction prohibited.

Illustrations from The Legacy of the Divine Tarot, c. 2008 by Ciro Marchetti reproduced with permission. Further reproduction prohibited.

Photos on pp 4 and 127 by www.noelbass.com, 2010, provided courtesy of CAFAM.

I am truly experiencing a “Slap myself on the forehead!” moment here! Why, one might ask. From January 24th to May 10th Robert M. Place curated an extraordinary exhibition of Tarot art, originated at The Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles (www.cafam.org). For heavens sake – it was there for months, on “my” coast, curated by someone that I highly respect, and I didn’t take the time to go? Lesson learned – this will not happen again!

We are very graced that Robert Place put together an absolutely amazing book that shares, through text and photo’s, the story that was (and is) this extraordinary exhibition. The book is available in digital format and in print. I am reviewing the digital version, but have the print book on my “short, short” list! Early (very early!) Christmas present to self, perhaps. J

I would like to start out talking about something that everyone basically ignores – and that is the name of the publishing company. Place is independently publishing this work through his publishing company, Talarius Publications. Being curious (much better than being nosey!), I asked him where that name came from. The logo that he uses is that of Hermes winged sandal. (Hermes being the psychopomp who leads the soul to the otherworld, and also acts as the guide for poets and mystics.)  Talarius is the name given to this sandal.

There is no one better than Robert Place, in my opinion, to curate this exhibition. He has an artists eye, combined with a scholar’s wisdom, and brings to the Tarot world the best of the best. In his forward Place notes that this exhibition was designed to focus on modern occult and divinatory Tarot as it is popularly known in American culture. He then goes on to discuss Tarot’s background, and its beginnings as a trick-taking game.

He paints a picture of the 21 Trumps as expressing the mystical allegory of the Tarot – the “Fool’s Journey”, as it were. The Fool’s Journey of the Tarot is a spiritual progression. The story of this exhibition is that of the “Fool’s Journey” of bringing appreciation of the Tarot and its mystical tradition to a wide audience. It also carries the purpose of replacing false notions about Tarot with real history and insight.

The list of thanks to people involved with this book read like a who’s who of the Tarot world. Some of these people I have been graced to have either met or worked with – or both. The world of Tarot is an amazing world, filled with incredible people who are willing to share their wisdom unconditionally with others. Kudos to all of you!

There is a well written section on the history of the Tarot, and some of the misconceptions that have come down through time. One point comes out right in the beginning – Tarot is connected to ancient mystical, Neoplatonic and Hermitic beliefs about the nature of the soul. Place discusses early Tarot decks, who they were created for (in general, moneyed, or royal families), the area they originated from and the artist/illustrator. He also talks about existing examples of these decks, and where they are currently being housed.

Imagery in the Tarot is very important. Throughout this text Place has included full color graphic charts, beginning with a chart showing the traditional suit symbols for four-suit decks in Western European countries. I have a personal interest in the different ordering of the Trumps, so I appreciated the chart comparing the Bologna/Order A, Ferrara/Order B and Milan/Order C series.

In discussing Tarot imagery, Place notes that it is important to understand the ancient view of the cosmos, and its mystical significance for the individual. The seven planets were thought to be the soul centers of the cosmos, with corresponding centers (chakras) located along the human spine. Place notes that this is the probable source for the seven virtues and the seven vices. (There is an eye-catching graphic of the Seven Ancient Planets as the Seven Soul Centers – food for though all on its own!)Plato’s three-fold concept of the soul – the Soul of Appetite/Desire, the soul of Will/Spirit and the Soul of Reason is also presented.

The decks included in this exhibition are printed decks that were in popular use from the 15th century to the 21st century, focusing on the Fool and the 21 trumps. The decks included were chosen because they represent pivotal points in the history of the Tarot, and because they allow us to view the evolution of Tarot symbolism throughout the centuries. These decks are:  the Monde Primitif, the Etteilla a Jeu de la Princesse, the Waite-Smith Tarot, the Aquarian Tarot, the Alchemical Tarot, the Alphabet Tarot, the Twilight Tarot, the Fenestra Tarot, the Paulina Tarot, the Deviant Moon Tarot , the Legacy of the Divine Tarot, the Annotated Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery,   the Tarot of Ferrara and the Tarot of Marseilles. (Note: the Tarot of Marseilles refers to a style of Tarot, rather than to a specific Tarot deck.)

Place presents each of the Major Arcana Trumps (The Fool and the 21 Trumps), through text and imagery. He has included images from modern decks, as well as reproductions from older decks, such as the Monde Primitif and the Etteilla a Jeu de la Princesse. This is an absolutely incredible opportunity to not only see a discussion of each of the Major Arcana Trumps, but to see an in-depth range of comparisons between decks. This is a quality of work normally only seen between historians or researchers, presented in a manner in which all levels of Tarot students will be able to enjoy it, and learn from it.

The sheer amount of cards presented in comparison in this book is overwhelming, to say the least. The quality of the reproductions is clear, full color, and just … amazing! I do so wish that I would have taken the time to see this incredible exhibit! I would have wanted the book anyway – it is research quality, and beyond “nice to have” as a Tarot reference.

One thing that I neglected to mention – each card section opens with a full page, full color representation of the card (from the Annotated Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery). There are notes right on the card naming the symbols within the card. For example, for the Magician the notes are: lemniscate, wand, crystal ball, dagger, secret fire, magic circle, coins, 3 X 7 = 21, and the annotation that the sum of opposite sides of a die is always seven. Around the edge of the card we see written: (left hand side) There are twenty one possible combinations of two dice and twenty one trumps. (top) The Magicians wand, held above, is creative and active. (right hand side) The Magician’s crystal ball held below is passive and divinatory. (bottom) The Magician gestures “As above do below”.

I just finished reading “The Fool’s Journey”, and am sitting here absolutely transfixed. This is an incredibly powerful work, and will touch its readers on many different levels. This was a project (the exhibition and the book) whose time had come, and which was executed with the greatest of poise, grace and mastery of subject. Many thanks to Robert Place, and to all of the artists involved in this project. What you were willing to share has made a difference, and will continue to do so.

For further information, and to purchase the book, go to http://https://www.lulu.com/commerce/index.php?fBuyContent=9015699. I do want to mention that the book is available in digital format, as well as hard copy. Secret – once you see the digital copy, you will lust after the hard copy!

 © September 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

Tarot Today

Tarot Today – Blog Talk Radio
8/31/10

How We Can Use The Tarot – Show Notes:

Affirmations:

1. Coming from a reading.
2. Connected with specific issues.
3. As a daily practice.
4. Connected with a specific card, or set of cards.
5. Connected with ritual/ceremony.

Journaling:

1. Writing about specific cards, to get to know them.
2. Writing about the process of doing readings.
3. Creating spreads.
4. Making notes on readings.

Writing:

1. Using the Tarot to define the theme of a book/story.
2. Using the Tarot to define the characters in a book/story.
3. Using the Tarot to create conflict within a book/story.
4. Using the Tarot to move past writing blocks.
5. Writing to help resolve personal, inner conflict.

Journeying:

1. To get to know a card.
2. To obtain advice from a card.
3. To ask for help in resolving an inner issue.
4. Journeying to a specific place as part of ritual/ceremony.

As Part Of Ritual:

1. Connecting with or calling in specific Elemental energy.
2. Connecting with or calling in specific Archetypal energy.
3. Honoring a specific energy.
4. Requesting help from a specific Elemental or Archetypal energy.

Working With Archetypes:

1. Asking them to come into a reading.
2. Asking advice.
3. Working with Birth Cards.
4. Taking Archetypes into meditation.
5. Working with the Archetypes for healing purposes.

© August 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

The Tarot of Vampyres

The Tarot of the Vampyres

 Author: Ian Daniels

Illustrator: Ian Daniels

Llewellyn Worldwide

2010

ISBN #978-0-7387-1191-1

I don’t have a clue why, but things that have come to me lately in differing areas of my life all seem to be connected, in some way, to the UK. So it is with the “Tarot of the Vampyres” – author/illustrator Ian Daniels hails from the UK. Happy to say that all of the UK connections in my life seem to be working out extremely well, and this deck set is no exception!

Daniels set out to create a deck based on the Vampyre mythos, emphasizing the possession, exchange, and drawing in of different kinds of energy. He works within the traditional structure of the Rider-Waite Tarot, framing it against a Gothic background. His companion book, “Phantasmagoria”, is absolutely outstanding! I rate this deck set right up there with Robert M. Place’s “Vampire Tarot”, in quality of illustration, as well as research and presentation.

In his introduction, Daniels talks about the derivation of the title “Phantasmgoria”, coming from stage magician Etienne-Gaspard Robert’s “phantasmagoria”. Robert’s work had to do with a type of magic lantern show with silhouetted puppets acting out macabre drama. (Sends chills up your spine before you even get to the deck!) Shadows and apparitions would appear out of nowhere to scare the audience “literally out of their seats”!

Daniels goes on to talk about fear, and the Jungian concept of shadow. He feels that acknowledging our fears, and facing them, helps us to understand and overcome them.  Often these fears reside in the shadow, or dark side of human psychological nature. Daniels notes that shadow issues are not always negative in nature, that positive traits can also be repressed if they are unacceptable within a family or social milieu.

While the Vampyre myth is a tale of gothic horror and romance, Daniels feels that it also illustrates “an encounter with the higher self on a personal level, with the eternal promise of self-realization and the eventual curse turned joy”. He goes on to talk about the need for times of hibernation and stillness, so that we can regenerate and realign ourselves with the essence of Spirit that pervades all nature.

The Major Arcana follows traditional titles, with Justice at VIII and Strength at XI. The four suits are Scepters. Grails, Knives and Skulls. The Court Cards are Lords, Queens, Princes and Daughters.

Daniels relates the Major Arcana to the Tree of Life, and the pathways between the ten Sephiroth. In this manner, the cards act as the secret laws of creation, forces and cycles that express the natural development of life. They are the “binding and reflective laws of the energies they connect.”

He further divides the Major Arcana into three main types:

  1. Elemental Trumps – The Fool, The Hanged Man, Judgment These three cards are associated with the three mother letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
  2. Planetary Trumps – The Magician, The Priestess, The Empress, Fortune, The Tower, The Sun, The World These seven cards represent the double letters in the Hebrew alphabet.
  3. Zodiacal Trumps – The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Justice, The Hermit, Strength, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Star, The Moon These twelve cards are connected to the simple letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

The four suits are set up to represent a four-stage process:

The Seed – Fire – Scepters – Lords

The Womb – Water – Grails – Queens

Conception – Air – Knives – Princes

Birth – Earth – Skulls – Daughters

 The cards are presented as text only, the Major Arcana and Pips (numbered cards)  listing Alchemy, Kindred Spirits, Essence, Message, Analysis and Symbolism, and Shadow, with the Court Cards listing Alchemy, Kindred Spirits, Essence, Message and Quality, and Shadow.

In his section on card spreads and exercises, Daniels discusses the Shadow and Light aspects of the cards, along with the following spreads: Soothsayer, Dark Mirror, Blood Trail, Book of Shadows, Elemental Cross, Trespass, Forbidden Fruit, The Prophecy, and The Labyrinth. Exercises include The Manuscript (journaling), The Dreaming (taking the Tarot into dreamtime for inspiration), The Vision (working with the key card in a spread), The Shroud (working with a single card in meditation), and Darkspell (creating verses or poems for each card in a reading).

The cards themselves are 2 ¾” by 4 5/8”, of good quality, glossy card stock. The card back (reversible) shows a blood red rose, set against a black background and briar stems. Daniels associates the red rose with fertility, regeneration, energy and passion. The thorns represent suffering and sacrifice. In esoteric circles, the rose is also a sign of silence and secrecy. The red rose on a cross is a symbol connected with various Rosicrucian groups.

The card face is outlined with a ¼” black border. At the bottom of the card is listed the card title (for the Major Arcana), the number and suit (for the Pips), and the title and suit (for the Court Cards). The illustrations are dark and Gothic in nature, with recurring images of candles, skulls, crosses, red roses, snakes and the moon.

Note: My one issue with the imagery is that the figures in the deck all seem to be thirty-somethings. (The Hierophant and the Hermit are seen in shadow, and the Lords are seen on horseback, so one cannot tell their age.)

It is very hard to choose which cards to talk about with this deck – they are all intriguing! The Fool is shown emerging from a tomb, with arms thrown wide open. He holds a white rose in his right hand, the Holy Grail in his left hand. The Priestess is seated, wearing an all white dress. The full moon is behind her, an open book suspended in mid air over her lap. This is the Book of Tarot, upon which is to be written the Will of the Magician. A serpent bracelet encircles her upper right arm.

The Lovers shows a male and a female figure against a background of white roses (indicating pure devotion). The female wears a red heart necklace, representing the interchanging that the Emperor and Empress exchange. The male figure wears an inverted green heart necklace, representing the Empress. The red rose over the shoulder of the female figure represents passion, and the unification of fire and water.

Fortune shows a wheel with five roses over it, and five roses under it, their colors corresponding to the four elements, Spirit and Earth. Daniels reminds us to take note that the center of the wheel is static, while the three Vampyre creatures on the outside of the wheel are what keeps it in motion.

The Hanged Man is bound to a cross by the roots of the tree that have grown up around him, representing old beliefs and emotions. Another cross is visible in the background. Temperance shows a female figure in a dark dress, dancing as she works a ritual. She merges fire with water, creating a vapor that becomes a new power.

I found this to be a compelling deck, drawing you in by image and story. The companion book covers the esoteric side of the deck without frightening people away, and has a great deal to offer in the way of spreads and exercises. Being someone who appreciates charts, I tip my hat to Daniels for his concise presentation.

This deck would appeal to anyone with an interest in Vampyre mythos, Gothic art, or the esoteric side of the Tarot. With the use of the companion book, any level of Tarot student would be able to read with this deck. One word of caution – there is (albeit limited) nudity in this deck, which might limit its appeal, depending on the client’s acceptance of such.

© August 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

Tarot Secrets

Tarot Secrets –
A Fast and Easy Way
To Learn a Powerful Ancient Art

Author: Monte Farber
Artist: Amy Zerner
Sterling Publishing
2010
ISBN #978-1-4027-7086-9

“Tarot Secrets” – the Tarot does indeed have its secrets! However, they were not exactly handed down by the Secret Chiefs! From the back cover:

Everything You Need To Know To Read Tarot Like A Pro!

Tap into your inner powers and explore your psychic potential. “Tarot Secrets” helps you understand the present, predict the future, and manifest your goals. It’s fun, it’s fast, and it works!

· Read the cards of virtually any Tarot deck in minutes.
· There’s nothing to memorize! All seventy-eight cards are interpreted for you, in both the upright and reversed positions.
· Twelve Master Spread layouts show you how to answer any question.
· Helpful shortcuts include Keywords, Quick Reads, and Secrets.
· Learn how to ask the right questions so you receive clear answers.
· Become aware of unseen influences, patterns of behavior, obstacles and strengths.
· Take Monte and Amy’s guided tour of the Major Arcana and learn the spiritual meaning of this ancient fable.

In the introduction Monte makes a very important point – that he and Amy take divination seriously – because it works for them. Tarot can be as simple, or as complicated, as we wish to make it. To take it seriously is to honor it as a tool of personal empowerment, which in turn honors the individual working with the Tarot. Tarot can be joyful, wise and serious – all at the same time! Monte also indicates that the main secret that he and Amy would like to share int his book is that the reader has their own gift for reading the Tarot – it is inherent in all of us. I love insets – there is an inset in this section that reads: “Reading Tarot cards is not a fanciful waste of time. Rather, it is a practical skill that can help one be more successful not just financially but on every level of daily life.”

In the beginning of the book there is a section entitled “A Gentle Warning”. Now – that intrigued me no end! What was Monte warning his readers about? And how dare he do that to the Tarot! His gentle warning is this – that even the best of Tarot readings is not a substitute for your own logical thinking and conventional planning, nor is it a substitute for the advice of licensed professionals. These thoughts are inherent in every reader’s Code of Ethics – I was happy to see it iterated here. Monte goes on to note that no reading is so dire in nature that it cannot be made better by the guidance from a follow-up reading. Ask and ye shall receive – what you do with the answers is totally up to you. Sage advice here!

In “Secrets For Choosing Your Own Tarot Deck”, the caveat is that the deck that you choose should resonate with you, and that it should stimulate your imagination. Different decks are discussed, as well as the possibility of purchasing a blank deck and illustrating it yourself. Revealed here is another secret: “… Learning to read Tarot cards is more than a little like learning philosophy because so many of life’s central lessons are contained in the meaning of your Tarot cards.”

The Major Arcana are presented as the Twenty-two Spiritual Principles of Life, while the Minor Arcana are presented as Guidance For Daily Life. Each of the four suits (Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles) are defined by element, energy and keywords. For instance, Wands (Clubs, Scepters, Rods) are associated with Fire, the actions that the Querent/Consultant should take to create their own destiny, the power of the Querent to energize a situation, and the keywords Business, Action, Judgment, Acumen, Alertness, Brevity, Speed, Order, Plans and Development.

Before the cards are presented, there are sections on the significance of the numbers (Aces through Tens), and the Court Cards, shuffling the deck and formulating questions. The inset here gives very good advice: “Have faith in your ability to know the truth when you hear it and to act appropriately when you do. You can handle whatever life throws you, especially when you’ve been forewarned of coming challenges.”

The Major Arcana are presented in both upright and reversed positions, with a “Quick Read” for each position For the Fool, the Quick Read in the upright position is “Have fun – you are truly blessed!”, while the Quick Read for the reversed position is: “Don’t be foolish.” The “Secret” for the upright position for the Fool is: “Fear is a four letter word, especially now. Be adventurous. Taking chances and making leaps of faith that you might have been too timid to attempt in the past can lead to amazing rewards at this point in your life. The influence of an innocent and playful individual is favored.” The “Secret” for the reversed position is: “Stay away from gossip and silly, unprofitable behavior. It may seem harmless, but it could lead to trouble and misunderstandings. You could be deluded about yourself or someone else, thinking that you or the individual in question has wonderful qualities when that is not really the case. Alternatively, you may be led to make some foolish choices. It’s time to be more serious.” In the upper right hand corner of the page for the Major Arcana cards is a listing of keywords. For the Fool, we see: “Trust, Innocence, Playfulness, Leisure, Adventure and Beginning.”

The Minor Arcana (Pips and Court Cards) are presented in the same manner as the Major Arcana: upright and reversed meanings, a “Secret” for both the upright and reversed card, Quick Reads for both positions, and keywords at the top right hand side of the page.

The twelve spreads that are included in this book (with examples) are: Mind/Body/Spirit, Law of Attraction, Past/Present/Future, Chakra, The Lucky Horseshoe, Wish Upon A Star, Relationship, Spiritual Growth, Tree of Life, Magic Mandala, Celtic Cross and Zodiac Wheel.

In the section “The Secret Origin of the Tarot”, Monte discusses some of the theories concerning where the Tarot evolved from, including using pasteboard pictures of gods and goddesses to teach their divine properties to illiterate people, and brought to Europe from India, to purported origins in Egypt. I did like the humor in this section, where Monte talks about the old joke about every kind of scholar: Put two of them in a room, and you will get three opinions. (These boys have been hanging out in the Tarot forums, I just know they have!)

At the end of the book Monte presents the spiritual journey taken through the Major Arcana. A very nice end note to a well put together book.

IMHO, this book is not only good to use to learn to read any and all decks, but it has something for every reader, no matter what their skill level. The very beginning student to the most sage reader will find something here to think about, something that will help them to grow.

© July 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

Interview With Alyssa Montalbano

I had the very good fortune to have Alyssa Montalbano’s “Tarot Journal” cross my path a couple of years ago. It was so innovative, and such fun to use that I became enamored with it. My Tarot Journal is a literal chronicle of what I was going through in my life at that time.

The “Tarot Journal” is 9” by 12”, with two pages devoted to each reading. On the left hand side is a blank page for the recording of the template for the reading and the cards drawn, while the right hand side records the date, deck used, question asked, and card interpretations. At the back of the book are several pages of stickers that are taken out, labeled with the card drawn, and marked as to whether the card is upright or reversed. Each page will hold up to a 22 card reading.

Recently Alyssa (aka Ari Stone, her artist persona) developed a very well done video explaining how to use her journal on You Tube. I was interested in what prompted Alyssa to develop the video, and she agreed to answer a few questions;

BC: I loved using your journal – it was a tremendous help during a difficult time. I also really loved your video! How did the video come about?

AM: I am very into education, in all forms. I love putting things together to make them easier for anyone to understand. I have had years of training as an actor, artist, graphic designer and some studies in video/film production/editing. Admittedly, I was very nervous recording my voice over (even though I was the only one in the room) as I am kind of shy about vocally speaking up sometimes. Eventually, I envision myself working up to speaking at “tarot” events and working in tandem with more tarot teachers to create more products to aid in the study of tarot through the use of the visual and tactile learning modals. According to Early Childhood Education and development (which I am currently studying and want to step into curriculum development) children learn through active exploration and doing. My main contention is that adults also still learn that way too. I have made the additional learning styles; of visual and tactile; available to the tarot community via the Tarot Journal and its smaller standard journal sized partner Daily Spread Tarot & Oracle Journal.

Aside from my passions for learning and creating, I have received many questions about what the journals are and how they work. Being an artist, as well as a tactile learner I knew a video would be worth more than a thousand written words. However, the ultimate tactile learning experience and tactile understanding comes with the actual hands on use of the journals and living your life after the card reading.

I plan to put together another simple video for the Daily Spread Journal as well.

BC: I had to laugh at your method for taking the stickers from the back of the book – I do the exact same thing! Can you talk a bit about how the stickers are best used?

AM: Card Stickers are best used by sticking them on your arms, fingers, and face. After you have peeled off the number of Card Stickers that match your actual tarot (or oracle) card reading and stuck them on your arm and fingers (and face where needed), you are ready to place them in the layout space areas. LOL I laugh, but I do this and it’s a great way to transfer a lot of Card Stickers without flipping back and forth from the sticker sheets in the back.

On a more serious note, each journal has stickers that are designed slightly different. In Tarot Journal the Card Stickers have lines on them; whereas Daily Spread’s Card Stickers have no lines. When I use the Tarot Journal I tend to write the name of the actual tarot card drawn, at the top of the Card Sticker. Then, I write the description about the position the Card Sticker is placed in on the lines placed centrally on the Card Sticker. I will fill in the circle at the bottom of the Card Sticker, if I am reading in reverse that day and draw the card in reverse. With Tarot Journal I tend to make my notes about the tarot card meaning(s) and reading interpretation in the note space on the opposite page. My recording method is somewhat different with the Daily Spread Journal, in that I will write a very abbreviated card meaning in the little box on the Card Stickers, as opposed to the position description.

BC: You cover using the right hand, information side of the reading in your video. Can you tell us a bit about his?

AM: Actually, I intend on improving that section of the video, in order to make it more clear and easy to see in detail what I am talking about. Due to the need to have some form of video up for tarot students, teachers, and metaphysical business owners to view, I went with the basic footage that I had and will make a better quality version soon.

As it specifically relates to using the right hand side information page, I tend to first fill in the information about the reading at the bottom, then write in my question (at the top), after that I will take my card deck and shuffle and layout my actual card reading, then I will place the Card Stickers to match my actual card reading layout (sometimes I will place the Card Stickers first, just depends on my mood), once those are in place I will usually fill in the blanks on the Card Stickers and then I will write my notes. I tend to still use a book (though I do recognize the basic energies of cards fairly well now, but I still like the element of surprise in using a book. My favorite book to use is for interpretations is “Power Tarot” by Trish MacGregor and Phyllis Vega, because their interpretations are usually very positive and encouraging in nature. I also like that they have made sections (Romance, Health, Spirituality, etc) for each card if it’s being read regarding a particular area of interest. Once all of the main blanks have been filled in on the information side of the journal, there is a special note taking area for Occurrences / Later Happening. This is one of the best aspects to assist one in learning tarot, because this note area will be filled in at a later point in time to document (write) about what actually happened. In this fashion “the reader” can start to learn “what cards” turn up for them when “x” types of physical events take place. It really helps one learn even more about the cards through more fully engaging their tactile learning modal of “doing it”, looking at the former reading (visual) and writing more information (audile learning modal).

BC: The journal page is structured so that notes can be made on the day the reading is done, and then at a later date. How did this come about?

AM: While the above answer lightly touches on this question, I want to more fully expound on learning styles and how I learned about them.

When I first created the journals I was aware of 3 major learning modals; visual, tactile and audile. Prior to learning about my preferred learning styles of tactile and visual, I was an average student. Meaning I most got B’s and C’s during my high school years and even in my early college years. I worked just as much when I was younger to attain good grades, but still fell short without the integration of my favored learning styles. To make a long story short, I met a man by the name of Jeremy Whelan around 2001, when I was exploring acting as a career. However, what I learned from his acting system about learning styles changed my life forever, in how I approached my education and learning. I wound up illustrating and designing Jeremy’s fifth book titled Mosaic Acting System (MAS). From that experience I basically started my journey into my passion of developing “curriculum” and publishing. After finishing MAS in 2003, I began to focus on my art and in the next couple of years (2005) returned to school. It was then I truly understood the gift that I have been given in learning about my learning style, as I have been a straight A student for 5 years now, from math, to science, to business. I found that I was able to take any information and make is easy for my brain to understand and comprehend. This made learning even more enjoyable for me, especially since I understood how to ask questions to build the pictures in my brain that would ensure I understood. I can be found in classes taking notes and in my head imagining the scenarios we are talking about. I always highlight and draw images in my books to help me comprehend, the college kids who get my books after me, get rainbow colored books with some additional images! Lol Simple stick like men, in some cases, is enough to help me visually understand what I am reading. Most every A I have earned since 2005 has been with a 96% or higher final grade in my classes.

While attending at ITT from 2005 – 2006 I came up with the idea of creating a “book” (Journal) that would make recording tarot card readings easier and that would also aid in enhancing learning / understanding the tarot. My love for stickers and tactile explorations, lead me quickly to the idea of creating Card Stickers for people to use to record card readings (instead of drawing boxes). At the time I was dating a man who also played with tarot cards and recorded card readings and I ran the idea by him and he agreed it was a great idea.
As I reflected back on learning styles, instructors and curriculum(s), I realized the times I did well in school was when my preferred learning modals were being engaged. I recall my 9th grade Spanish teacher who applied the main three learning modals mentioned above (visual, tactile, audile). She would bring in shoes and make the class say Los Zopatos, or she would have us walk around the room and touch things and say what they were in Spanish, she also had us make Spanish dishes for class pot lucks and made us sing songs with her in Spanish. I never fully understood (until after meeting Jeremy Whelan) why I had a high A in that class for the first 3 quarters (then it got more into sentence structures in the 4th quarter and I had a high B) and I didn’t even like that class. The reason why I tell this story, is because the beauty of learning styles is that you don’t have to understand ‘how’ or ‘why’ they work in order for you to learn. If the learning styles are being applied, then basically you will learn because you are engaging your preferred learning modal. It is natural to learn with all of your brain, through self motivated exploration and (of course) fun. J

So . . . having said all that . . . now I can answer the main question above about the “Occurrences / Later Happenings section and how that came about. The main reason for this section is to engage the tactile learning modal in a major way. When you do a tarot card reading and look at it again, and compare it with what was ‘actually’ lived, a very important opportunity for enhanced learning and easier understanding of tarot is presented and understanding starts to come more easily. Not only is learning enhanced but its also very fun! Fun also has been proven to enhance learning. Learning through play is also what is being taught for teaching pre-school children. I also know that adults need to learn through play too. Soon the cards will start showing and revealing patterning in the card readings that will indicate real life events. The Occurences/Later Happenings section also begins to help develop self commitment. The commitment portion to yourself comes when you ‘make’ a date to return to your card reading (mark it on your wall calendar if needed) and when you follow through with writing notes about what actually happened.

Recently, I have begun taking ECE (Early Childhood Education) classes (have taken enough courses to be an Assistant Teacher in an Early Childhood Education setting) and have gained a more thorough understanding of the value of learning through play and exploration. I believe that adults still learn as ‘children’ do, through play and exploration. I have created the Tarot Journals to be a launching pad for play and exploration. When I first made Tarot Journal, my two main reasons were “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a journal for recording card readings that had stickers in it, so you don’t have to draw boxes?.” And my second main reason “Wouldn’t it be neat to have an easier and fun way to learn and understand tarot that engaged the tactile and visual learning modals?.”

Yes, this was my “nut shell” explanation . . . lol . . . and to put a finishing touch, after having created Tarot Journal for larger card readings; I became aware of the need to create a smaller daily version that allowed for a LOT more (smaller sized) card readings to be performed than Tarot Journal and thus Daily Spread Tarot & Oracle Journal came to be.

BC: What would you like people to take away from this video?

AM: The ability to easily understand how to use their Tarot Journal(s) and to be able to share the video with friends who may also be interested in having fun recording tarot card readings with stickers, while also enhancing their learning of tarot. Overall, Tarot Journal is about people learning to look to themselves for answers, guidance and direction. My main goal is to provide fun, accompanied with the vehicle to easier learning of tarot and practical journaling with Card Stickers.

© June 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

Tarot Dynamics

Tarot Dynamics –
Learn to read any spread

Author: Anna Burroughs Cook
Kima Global Publishers
2009
ISBN #978-0-9814278-1-2

“Tarot Dynamics” is a system developed by Anna Burroughs Cook, a Tarot reader/teacher with over thirty years of experience. (I think it is great that the system was named by her husband, Richard Crombie!) It is based on the use of five simple keywords, and can be used with any Tarot deck. The focus of this system is on relating the messages in the cards to day to day living, to the issues facing the Seeker, based on the characteristics of the five suits (the Major Arcana is seen as the fifth suit). The characteristics are as follows:

Major Arcana – Karma (cause and effect)
Wands – Change
Cups – Emotion
Swords – Challenges
Pentacles – Ambition

In her introduction, Cook advises students to memorize the characteristics for the five suits, and to develop their own keywords for each card, according to how they interpret the card. She also advises readers not to read for themselves unless they are in control of their emotions, and to not read for clients who are upset, as the reading will just reflect their anxiety. In reading for clients over the phone, Cook advises that the client draw their own cards from their own deck, with the reader interpreting them.

There is a short FAQ section answering questions such as: “Isn’t it supposed to mean something when the picture on the Tarot card is upside down?” and “All my cards are terrific. Why didn’t anything good happen?”

The cards are presented with black and white scans from the Universal Tarot (Lo Scarabeo). There is a short discussion of the cards, a section beginning “The more encouraging the situation” and a section beginning “The more challenging the situation” – these terms refer to the reason for the reading. There is a Tip for reading the card in a reversed position, a section entitled “card (number) means”, a section entitled “At your best”, which deals with the most positive aspect of the card in a reading, and a section entitled “Under more stressful”, which talks about a poorly aspected card.

The Major Arcana are seen as holding spiritual karma – they test, reward and replenish your strength of character. The Minor Arcana are seen as “telling the story” behind the Major Arcana’s headlines. The Court Cards for each suit are the King, Queen, Knight, Page and Ace. (Yes, Aces are seen as a Court Card. Together, these are seen as the first five cards of each suit.) Cook’s general thoughts on the Court Cards are as follows:

Kings: Trigger or enhance your personal initiative.
Queens: Display a particular charisma that can enhance your personal coping skills.
Knights: Are reactionaries. Knights indicate sudden developments in matters or your behavior.
Pages: Signal small matters with the potential to grow larger.
Aces – Signify an outcome – a Crisis or Reward.

The Pip cards – Two’s through Ten’s – are referred to as Subject Cards. They are the action in the Seeker’s life. The general definition for the subject cards is as follows:

Two’s – Interaction
Three’s – Thinking and Networking
Four’s – Incentive and Security
Five’s – Conflicts
Six’s – Your level of commitment.
Seven’s – Your personal and professional associations
Eight’s – Renovation
Nine’s – Your understanding
Ten’s – Achievement

The interpretation for the Minor Arcana is presented in the same manner as the Major Arcana, with one added section: Romantically, which deals literally with the area of romance.

At the end of the book Cook discusses the use of Signature cards (also referred to as Significators – cards that represent the Seeker in the reading), and timing in the Tarot. The spreads that are presented include One Card Personal Guidance, a Three Card Spread, the Tarot-Dynamic Celtic Cross Spread, and a Horoscope Spread.

The line of thought in this book is well presented. There are many things to consider, but the map is an easy one to follow. Even if you choose not to read using these guideline, you are offered a fresh perspective on the cards, and how they work in life.
Cook is developng a series of lessons to go along with this book, and will be placing them on her site – tarotdynamics.com

© June 2010 Bonnie Cehovet