Best Tarot Practices by Marcia Masino
Weiser Press, 2009
Rating: 3 Decks
Marcia Masino’s book, Best Tarot Practices, blends the author’s personal life-long journey with tarot, practical exercises, and meditations to round out a self-study course on reading tarot and uncovering the skills you’ll need to become a proficient reader. Masino guides you by breaking this process down into bite-sized chapters that interlace solid reading advice (that many books skip or skim over) with practical exercises that anyone, at any level, can immediately integrate into their reading practice. The first section centers on reading methods and reading styles; while the next section provides three tarot spreads and real-life examples of the readings in play. Masino wanted readers to really use this book, as there are many on-the-fly worksheets scattered throughout its pages. The last two sections give a card-by-card guide to interpreting and using the cards as a personal companion. A small selection of quotes from her colleagues and students wraps the book up.
There is a lot to like about this book. Masino begins the first chapter “Mastering Tarot Meanings” by going over the ever dreaded Court Cards, which I thought was a good approach as they’re always the cards that most people get tripped up on. Negative interpretations are regarded more as challenges. The book also defines the various types of querents you’ll encounter while doing public readings and gives you tips on how to handle each type— useful for anyone doing public readings. I found that the “Questions to Consider” sections in the Major Arcana card chapters to be useful to those wanting to make a deck of their own or in using the cards to journal. The questions really get you thinking about the meanings of the cards and give you a way to personally connect to the cards on a deeper level. I also enjoyed seeing meditations provided for all of the major arcana cards, as well as many of the minor cards. Using tarot in conjunction with meditation is an often overlooked idea and this book gracefully shows you how it can be done.
On the other hand, it was hard to categorize the audience of this book, for much of the information contained is better served if you already have a familiarity with the cards. I also found the two appendixes in the back to be a waste of paper. They repeat Masino’s key words for all the major arcana and summarize the minor arcana virtues, while providing nice large images of all the cards. I think that this could have been done without taking up fourteen pages. The second appendix provides a four page reference layout for each of the spreads described in Section Two.
Overall, I would say that Best Tarot Practices makes a sturdy intermediate companion to anyone aspiring to study and go deeper into the meanings of the tarot. If you want to grow, deepen and gain more insights into your life using tarot then let Best Tarot Practices become your companion on the journey.