Sunday, December 18, 2011
Book Review - Easy Tarot Reading (And A Contest!)
There are many great books for beginning tarot readers, one of which has been written by Josephine Ellershaw and is packaged with the gorgeous Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti, but there are many fewer for intermediate to advanced readers. I feel this is likely because like Othello and the guitar, tarot is quite easy to pick up, satisfying to do so from Day One, but takes a lifetime to master. Everyone learns differently, and the myriad books on the market offer great starts, but very few books cover what happens after you know what the Four of Cups means to you. This book begins to fill that gap quite neatly.
The author writes from the perspective of a working tarot professional, and professional she is as she takes us step by step through readings with her clients (all of whom knew they were going to be included as case studies in this book). It is actually not that difficult to learn some meanings for seventy eight tarot cards, in my experience, but the magic lies in learning to combine them into a reading that paints a story. Josephine Ellershaw shows how to take the multiple cards of her particularly used spreads and weave them into a story to which the sitter can relate, and that is a truly wise thing.
The spreads the author uses are large, but she breaks them down into small groupings so that they are easily strung together into a relevant story, and while she makes it look deceptively simple as a long time reader I can assure you it is not always. Even so, by following her sage and easily read advice, anyone can learn to make their readings flow as well. As someone who mentors new readers and teaches tarot, I feel as frustrated as my students do when they come to me with large spreads that are not clearly labelled and separated, but that is not an issue with these spreads at all. If I had learned nothing else from this book, the price would have been justified in learning these spreads alone, as within them is a potential mine of information for the reader to relay to the client.
My one complaint with the book is that there are no pictures to illustrate the spreads given, only diagrams, as tarot is a visual art, with the pictures on the cards being cues to the reader and jogs for the sitters' mind, but once I took the author's advice to lay out my own cards to reflect the reading I was studying with her, everything became quite clear. By the time I had gotten through a couple of her readings, I actually saw using my own cards as a positive feature because my own speak to me, just as yours should speak to you.
Josephine Ellershaw has written a tarot book worthy to grace every readers' shelf, and has done so with grace, wit, and honesty. She offers excellent advice that pertains to both the art and business side of tarot reading, for students of any level. You won't find a list of what she thinks each card means, since the book assumes the reader to have a working knowledge of their cards, but you will find new and deceptively simple ways to read for yourself and others in this book. I give it glowing praise!
I take tarot reading seriously, as a deep pleasure, and I do not endorse books or decks I find less than brilliant. Because I think this book is so great and I believe all my tarot reading buddies could probably benefit from it, I am offering a free book to the winner of the contest. To enter, just leave a comment on this post. I'll draw a winner on Monday, January 2, 2012. Good luck!
Update: Congratulations to Josephine Robin Dalton, who wins a copy of this great book, also by a Josephine. Please contact me with your address so I can get the book on its' way to you, and big thanks and hugs to everyone for stopping by!