Blog, Books, Reviews

Review: Tarot Coupling

Tarot Coupling Book Cover
Tarot Coupling Book Cover

Tarot Coupling by Gina G. Thies
Schiffer Books, 2014
Review: 4 decks

Disclaimer: I received a eARC from netgalley. Also, the author is a friend of mine from the Tarot circles. Just wanted to get that out of the way.

Relationship questions are the bread and butter for tarot readers. I know, because I get asked about them a lot in my practice. So, when Tarot Coupling came out, I was very interested in seeing what Gina Thies could add to the discussion. I was not disappointed. This book has a LOT to offer new and advanced tarot readers. She spends a lot of time discussing the science behind relationships and how tarot readers can support relationships at different stations. She also gives unique and impressive meanings for each card that help support people in relationships at any level. The last chapter in Tarot Coupling includes a tarot spread that you can use in your own practice.

What I Liked: Tarot Coupling goes DEEP into the study of relationships, romance, and the science of attraction. This is important to know because questions on love and romance are psychologically based. We need to know the science on how partners are picked in order to really help our clients. I also loved that Thies took the time to create her own meanings for relationships throughout the four stages of their lifecycle. This is the bang for the buck. No longer will you need to pigeon hole a meaning when the client is in a new relationship stage. Now you can see how the meanings deepen or change throughout the relationship changes. I also liked the lists of romantic suggestions/dates, etc. to help inspire people.

What I Disliked: This is a heavy book. There’s so much science and psychology in the book that it takes awhile to read. I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing, but you will want to take notes and digest what Thies says. I would have also liked it if Thies included a few other spreads (she has just the one), and some sample readings with them.

Bottom Line: I’ve read and reviewed many tarot and relationship books and most of them leave me feeling empty. They are light on the use of tarot in relationships and heavy on the card meanings. Tarot Coupling is my new favorite relationship book. Not only does it provide original and creative meanings for the cards, but it gives a lot of practical advice on how attachments are made and this information can be used to inspire and counsel any client.

Blog, Books, Reviews

Review: Everyday Tarot Archives: LIVING the Major Arcana

Cover for Everyday Tarot Archives
Cover for Everyday Tarot Archives

Everyday Tarot Archives: LIVING the Major Arcana by Dixie Vogel
Self published, 2012
Rating: 2 Decks

Disclaimer: Dixie Vogel gave me a free ePub of her book in 2012 in exchange for an honest review. Despite the fact that it took me forever to read and review this book, here’s my review. (Added after contacting the author: Dixie and I have been chatting via email and she told me that since this version came out, she’s gone back and revised the book a bit. She even added all the minor arcana cards. Her goal for this volume was to see if she could publish a book and obviously, she succeeded in that goal. I applaud her for having gotten something out and for continuing to write and share it with the world.)

I have a hard time with books that have been converted from blog posts. While I love reading short articles focused around my favorite interests (tarot, decluttering, games, productivity, etc.) they’re usually a hit or miss deal. The same thing holds true for this volume. Dixie Vogel collected some of her articles from her blog “A Fool’s Journey” and converted them to this book. She goes through each card and then gives her personal opinion and story to go along with each of the major arcana cards.

What I liked: I love reading personal stories that connect the cards to the reality of one’s life. This book covers that in spades. Vogel writes poignant articles connecting each card, Astrology, and her family and life. I like that she also includes reversed cards and how they relate to her world as well. In some cases Vogel selected two articles to reflect a single card. At the end of each essay, she poses a wonderful question that helps the reader delve into their own connection to the card. Seeing these questions alone excited me because it actually gave the book a push away from being “yet another blog to book” conversion.

Where I had problems: Like I stated in my introduction, blog to book articles aren’t the same thing. There are many inside things in Vogel’s articles that I had issues following. I’m a huge tarot buff but when it comes to connecting the Astrology in general and to tarot, I need a lot of hand-holding and explanation. When I read an article that talks about the planet or sign’s effect on a person, I expect them to tell me more about that planet, how this relates to the card and to the story they’re telling. This book fell flat in that department. Due to this nature, and some of the awkwardness of the prose, it was very hard for me to read and want to keep reading, despite the amazing insights into the cards Vogel has. (This is also why the book received the GoodReads two-star review for “it’s okay”). The inconsistency of the formatting and the loose editing was apparent throughout the eBook.

Bottom Line: If you are bored and want to read a quick personal read on how people relate to each tarot card, then this is your book. The questions at the end of each section are great to use for exploring your own connections to the cards as well.

Blog, Books, Reviews

Review: Tarot for Writers

Review originally published at D*I*Y Planner.

Cover of Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner
Cover of Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner

Tarot for Writers

I have a tarot love affair going beyond the metaphysical. I use the cards for more than divination: journaling with the cards and involving them in my creative writing, for example. In 2006, I wrote about how tarot can help generate story ideas. Rkfoster also wrote about tarot and paper-based planning. I consistently tell people that the cards are an excellent writer’s companion. The pictures speak to the imagination, the cards weave stories when set side by side in a reading. In addition, the symbolism just begs to be written about in a narrative form. I’ve always wanted to write a book on tarot–one that goes into detail on using the cards for creative inspiration. However, Corrine Kenner beat me to it. Her Tarot for Writers demystifies tarot and shows writers how to use a deck in fueling their creativity and writing practice. Tarot for Writers is jam packed with techniques, writing samples, and reference sections on both the meanings and symbols found in tarot.

The book has three main sections. Part one gives you the low-down on what tarot cards are, their history, and how to use them. Kenner introduces tarot in a way that doesn’t confuse or scare people who have never worked with a deck before. Part two gets to the fun stuff. These seven chapters discuss prompts, games, spreads and general information on applying the tarot to every aspect of the writing craft from plot to characters to setting and more. There’s even a chapter on using a tarot deck as your own Writing Coach. Part three takes you on a card-by-card tour of what each card means, its literary connections and archetypes, and gives a list of prompts to kickstart the muse. Finally, Kenner ends with a glossary of tarot terms and symbolism–which for me was a nice touch. I tend to use a lot of symbolism in my own work and I can see myself using the symbolism glossary as a handy reference guide.

What I liked: This book looks at tarot completely from a writer’s perspective. I love that it assumes the reader knows nothing about tarot and it tells you only the pertinent parts that relate to using it as a tool with your works. Kenner skips over the metaphysical background that turns many people from tapping into the creative and brainstorming power. Part Two gives an overwhelming (in a good way) package of exercises, spreads and ideas. There are many exercises to get your creative muse involved; it’s fun to pick and choose what to try. I also love the Writing Coach chapter. While I’ve used the cards to ask questions relating directly to my plot and characters, I’ve never really thought about asking it if the work I’m revising is going well or what I should be working on next. In the “Writer’s Guide to Tarot Cards” section, I liked how Kenner kept the focus on writing when discussing each card: integrating writing archetypes and suggesting prompts to further write about.

What I didn’t like: For me, the first third contains the “meat”. These are the chapters that give the techniques and spreads and all the other tips and tricks on integrating tarot with a writing practice. The last two-thirds of the book gave “just another set of tarot-based meanings” to apply to the cards. I understand why Kenner included this section in the book. These definitions are useful in providing people new to tarot with individual card meanings. But, for me, these meanings didn’t provide anything new. I’ve learned much of what she has in these sections from working with the cards in my own studies. Therefore, I felt like Part Three padded the book and took away from the primary focus of showing how to use the cards with writing.

Bottom Line: Despite my nitpicks, I think Tarot for Writers does exactly what it sets out to do. Corrine Kenner does an excellent job in teaching tarot and exciting writers to experiment with a tarot deck. Get this book if you’re a writer curious about the tarot and how it can help with your writing. If you’re a tarot enthusiast seeking new ways to expand your tarot knowledge you’ll want to add this to your library. And after you read it, break out your deck and start playing—let your deck take your creative writing to new realms.