365 Tarot Activities
365 Tarot Activities is exactly as it sounds: more than 300 different prompts and exercises, created as a means for more personal learning and enjoyment of the cards. It can be used with any tarot deck, and even includes some activities for use with oracle decks.
By Deanna Anderson
Book - 340 pages - Published by CreateSpace
Review by Lori Lytle
Sometimes when I acquire a new deck, or gleefully look through past additions to my ever-growing Tarot collection, I get the feeling that I’d like to do something to get to know the deck better, but I’m not necessarily ready to do a formal reading. I have discovered that I am not alone, and it was just this sentiment that led Deanna Anderson to write her new book, 365 Tarot Activities.
Deanna Anderson, best known as the author of Pagan titles Magick for the Kitchen Witch and Magick for the Elemental Witch, shifts wholly into the Tarot world with 365 Tarot Activities. In the opening “How to Use this Book” section, Anderson explains that her intention was to create a means to more personally learn and enjoy the Tarot rather than simply memorizing meanings from someone else’s book. For this reason she doesn’t include keywords or interpretations for the cards, and the theme that runs through the book is that although building knowledge of Tarot meanings and symbolism is important, it is also crucial to foster a deep, personal relationship with your cards, and to create your own understanding.
Anderson’s book features 365 Tarot activities or “prompts” that can be used by beginners and pros, groups and individuals, in the classroom, or to facilitate discussion within Tarot clubs or online forums. Anderson stresses that the activities don’t have to be done strictly in order, nor every day, but are meant to be enjoyed, to provide practice and increase confidence with Tarot readings, and to enable the reader to interpret their cards without relying on a book. The activities can be used with any Tarot deck, and includes prompts specifically for Oracle decks as well.
365 Tarot Activities is divided into sections that discuss many wide-ranging aspects of the Tarot. Anderson starts with the basics, such as Tarot structure, how to choose and consecrate your first deck, correspondences, and common symbols, and then moves on to more complex topics including how to perform a high quality reading for a querent, how to deal with reversals and recognize patterns, and using the Tarot for meditation and spell work. Each section starts with information or instruction, followed by a variety of hands-on activities based on the particular subject matter. Anderson concludes the book with a glossary of terms, and appendices covering universal correspondences to elements, numbers, colours and symbols.
I found many of the activities to be surprising and useful, and they encouraged me to really look at my deck, to notice everything actually depicted there. The section on “The People of Tarot” got me to examine the body language of the figures in the cards, without considering symbols or correspondences, and reflect on what this could tell me about the meaning of the card. The “Pictorial Symbols” section had a terrific exercise that involved looking at how the same symbol is depicted in different cards, and how this affects the meaning, for example when the sun is rising or setting, is in a clear sky or obscured by clouds. On the surface, these seem like very simple diversions, but they reveal deep insights. Lastly, I particularly enjoyed the “Develop a Performance” section, which walks the reader through the process of cultivating a high caliber reading style that will provide a valuable service to the querent. This seems to me to be a topic that Tarot writers often neglect, even though it is just as important as Tarot origins and card meanings.
Although I found the format of this book to be somewhat rough and ready, with a pragmatic writing style and basic illustrations, I believe that it would be a valuable and innovative addition to every Tarot library. The activities contained within can significantly deepen your relationship and connection with your deck, and would lend themselves very well to both individual study and the classroom. I think the book would be particularly useful for informal Tarot clubs, to give meetings some direction and spur conversation. Personally, I look forward to trying out more of Anderson’s illuminating activities - I’m aiming to do all 365!
Lori Lytle is a professional Tarot reader based in Toronto, Canada and the founder of Inner Goddess Tarot. Her email and in-person readings focus on empowerment and personal growth. Visit her website and blog at innergoddesstarot.com.
Review by Mythic Silence
Deanna Anderson’s “365 Tarot Activities” provides an interactive approach to familiarizing oneself with Tarot. The book’s information is delivered in a conversational and colloquial style, which makes it a quick and easily accessible read. As the title indicates, Anderson aims to assist the Tarot student in his/her studies by offering journal prompts and activities rather than lists of keywords or explaining traditional systems in great detail.
Activities are presented after each new topic or concept is introduced, and many function as study aids and questions for journaling or discussions. Anderson begins with simple tasks for familiarizing oneself with a new deck. The activities become more complex and engaging as she introduces more concepts and incorporates them into the prompts. For example, once basic numerology and elemental correspondences have been covered, both ideas will be utilized in the exercises to help solidify and make practical use of the information.
Other prompts are good practice for doing Tarot readings, such as looking for patterns that show up in the cards. Anderson also includes tips and guidelines for creating a code of ethics. Additionally, there are activities for using and creating spreads, spells, arts and crafts, meditations, creative writing, and more. Many activities can be used as a personal or group exercise, and there is a section specifically for groups as well. Although some of the exercises in the book are familiar, such as reading for a pet, it is handy to have a lot of these ideas compiled in one place.
This book also includes activities for oracle decks, and some of the more general activities can be applied to any type of deck. This makes it a useful resource for someone who works with multiple deck types, and I admire this inclusive effort. The diversity of oracle cards makes it challenging to provide material that is both useful and specific, yet what Anderson provides is applicable to most oracles.
A glossary of terms, symbolism dictionary, and correspondences for elements, suits, numbers, colors, and the zodiac signs are included at the end of the book. There is also a bibliography and a list of suggested tools for enhancing Tarot readings.
A Tarot novice may find the book to be very useful for laying a foundation of knowledge about the cards and interacting with them, especially if an overly systematic approach feels stifling. There are many useful tidbits for first time users who are putting together their Tarot reading toolkit.
However, an intermediate or advanced student of Tarot may find that much of the information treads upon familiar ground and reiterates concepts from other introductory texts. Cleansing, identifying the elemental correspondences for decks with changed suit names, and choosing one’s favorite and least favorite cards in the deck are a few examples of the more introductory exercises. While there is still content for more experienced Tarot users, this book does start with the basics. Anderson encourages intuitive exploration and the formulation of personal card meanings. If you are interested in studying and incorporating traditional systems, this book probably isn’t what you are looking for. However, if you own a more systems based text and would like to explore different approaches to understanding the cards, this book might provide the desired counterbalance.
The book does contain grammatical errors and typos, and occasionally the writing feels a bit like a stream of consciousness that could have been tidied up a little before publication. It would have benefited from more editing and organization, such as numbered chapters or an index to assist with quickly locating a particular exercise. The activities themselves are not numbered, which creates a challenge for referring to them again at a later date if you forget to note the page number. The book also covers a lot of introductory material in a condensed way, and it feels a bit scattered and rushed in a few places.
“365 Tarot Activities” delivers an inspiring array of creative prompts and exercises to invigorate the Tarot experience. The simple approach and open ended questions that the author presents definitely have merit for the new student. If you are looking to work with your cards on a more personal level, begin an in depth study of a new deck, or are seeking fun and innovative prompts for groups and discussion, Anderson’s book might appeal to you.
Target Audience: (N/A)
Overall Score: 3.5 out of 5