by Melissa Cynova
Wow. I read a lot of tarot books (and consequently, a lot of tarot books geared toward novices) and all I can say is that it’s exhilarating to see tarot readers of my generation (Gen Xish) coming into the field of tarot writers. Like Michelle Tea’s Modern Tarot, this is, I believe, an instant classic in terms of learning and teaching tarot. Because I read a lot of tarot books, I love how much range there is in approaches to tarot, and how — and this part is important — modern books on it repeat that there is no real wrong way for YOU to read YOUR CARDS. The practice feels way less gatekeeper-y and overall more inclusive and that, my friends, kicks ass. But I digress.
I recently read a tarot book that was all about rituals, had pages of elaborate ritual instructions and spreads — it was well-written, but not for me. This is for all the no-frills readers who tuck a velvet pouch in their purses before going to meet up with friends because “You never know.” It’s for the daily readers who pull out their decks like, “OK motherfucker, what we got today?” I truly wish this book had been around when I was 15. In any case, I’m glad it exists now.
I love how this book is organized. It goes through the major arcana, introduces the suits, then tackles the cards pips first BY NUMBER which is significantly different than other books, who tend to go suit by suit in ascending order. All court cards are grouped together at the end. What I love about this approach is that for advanced readers, this takes you out of your comfort zone where you auto pilot through because sure, you know the cards by now. Except every deck, every LWB, every tarot book has a little crumb, a little trick, a different interpretation, or a different angle of looking at a card you THOUGHT you knew — which reveals something in it you’d never seen or considered before.
Not only did this book serve as a refresher (kind of like how some professions require continuing education, to make sure you stay up to date on your knowledge) but it also felt like talking to that one friend who loves tarot as much as you do and wants to talk about it with you. There’s a great reading list (including one book that seems to be like the Holy Grail of tarot books, thanks for giving us all a white whale to chase!)
Confession: I am one of those chaotic good readers who dog ear book pages when there’s something I like on the page. Sometimes I decide whether to keep or recycle books based on how many folded down pages there are. This book is about 1.5 times its thickness because of folded down page corners. So. When I say it’s well worth it, I mean it.
Hey author! I would read read a whole book like the chapter When Readings Go Weird.
I am definitely going to pick up other books by this author. This one I see going into my everyday references, and will be in my top 3 recommendations of tarot books to get started with. I also really wish I could hang out with the author. She seems awesome.