by Melissa Cynova
What a great book! This book is the intersection of a tarot technique/craft book, a self-help book, and a life coaching book. The book is organized into five sections, each of which corresponds to an elemental theme, includes an introduction to the element and the theme, a tarot spread/program, case studies of the spread in action, and an exercise or “homework” to use with this spread to transform a tarot reading into a tool to implement real, tangible, sustainable change in the life of the person being read for (or for using yourself.)
This tarot writer’s style is welcoming, knowledgeable, and shows the reader how to use these techniques, spreads, and exercises to enhance client readings and tailor them to the reader’s own unique reading style. There’s no gatekeeping, everything is written in an easily understandable, friendly and conversational tone and it takes an approach unlike any other I’ve seen in a book before. If you’re a fan of Jen Sincero’s Badass books, you’ll probably find much to appreciate here.
I especially appreciated the inclusion of case studies for each spread, and the fact that there was more than one case study presented so that you can see how to tailor a spread reading and interpretation to different circumstances and situations. This is great for professionals or those looking to go professional, because it demonstrates how to use the same groundwork to build very different reading structures, which can instill a sense of confidence and autonomy.
The elements and themes included are: Earth, which deals with issues of home and hearth, kind of like a spiritual and physical “Marie Kondo” approach; Air, which deals primarily in matters or career, specifically being bored or feeling stuck in a job or profession; Fire, dealing in issues of the body (burnout, ignoring physical health); Water, addressing issues of love, romance, and friendship; and Spirit, addressing issues of faith, religion, and spirituality. There’s a supplementary chapter that includes additional spreads for clarity, building on the groundwork of each elemental spread, as well as one dealing in self-care, which is important not only for the tarot reading but for all the hard work that should follow these readings.
There’s an index of tarot meanings, and an introductory chapter on how to perform the readings, so I would say that while this book is appropriate and accessible for readers at any level of experience, it’s more likely that advanced and professional readers will get the most value from the information included in it, because there’s a lot of shadow work and heavy emotional labor involved here. However, because it straddles three worlds — tarot, self-help, and life-coaching — it might be perfect for a new tarot reader who isn’t set in their ways because it definitely takes a hybrid approach to using the cards, which is both interesting and refreshing.
All in all, I’ve never seen a tarot book quite like this before, and I’ve definitely not seen too many self-help or life-coaching books that embrace tarot as a tool for personal growth. Let’s hope this book starts a trend! I’m already looking forward to Cynova’s next book, to see what direction she takes next.