Review by Bonnie Cehovet
"Choice Centered Relating and the Tarot" both covers the number one area addressed by Tarot readers (relationship) and expands it - to include relating to self, to family, to significant others and to business partners. Indeed - Fairfield covers all forms of relating within the scope of both personal and business relationships.
One of the things that drew me to this book, aside from the obvious opportunity for personal growth, was the foreword, written by Tarot pioneer James Wanless ("The Voyager Tarot Oracle Deck", "Voyager Tarot: Way of the Great Oracle"). Wanless and Fairfield both have done significant work in the field of using Tarot as a backdrop for mirroring the events in our lives and the choices that we made in creating these events, the way we live them, and the manner in which we make the choices that will define our future.
Fairfield makes three basic assumptions about the Tarot: (1) The cards reflect their core meanings regardless of orientation (upright or reversed), (2) All of the cards are neutral in value, (3) Each card has a core meaning that will emerge for you over time.
She makes one further assumption that may or may not work for all readers concerning the orientation of the cards. She sees upright cards basically as external to the client/question, and reversed cards as internal to the client/question. As with any new system, my advice is to work with it and see if it works for you. If it does not, take the core of her teaching, which is well thought out, and adapt your personal definition for the upright and reversed positions.
The last third of this book is devoted to defining the Major and Minor Arcana and the court cards, using keywords for both upright and reversed positions. This is certainly a section that is well worth working with - it opens the vistas of interpreting the Tarot vis a vis relating/relationship. As with any system that uses Tarot to open the doors to greater wisdom, my advice is to work with the system as it is presented first. If the keywords given in the book are not working for you, return to using the ones that through your own work as a reader you have come to accept.
In Part Two, Fairfield addresses specific groups of issues that come up consistently when dealing with relating and relationships. They are: finding and creating new relationships, enhancing or healing existing relationships, long term relating and reaching closure when a relationship is ended. Specific examples are given for each situation, with sample readings and exercises that the reader can do to apply the principles to their own life and decision making process.
Throughout the book emphasis is placed on creating a primary relationship with yourself, and accepting responsibility for yourself (owning your own "stuff"). This is a loving and healing way of addressing relationship and relating issues. From creating a stable foundation for relationship, to building/nurturing a responsible relationship to letting go of relationships that are no longer serving us, this is a wonderful primer for choice centered living through the use of the Tarot. I highly reccomend this book.
Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.