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Tarot Dynamics

'Tarot Dynamics - Learn to Read Any Spread' focuses on helping the reader practically relate the cards to everyday life, through a reading technique based on five simple keywords for each card. A book of useful insight into learning to read tarot cards.

By Anna Burroughs Cook

Book - 226 pages - Published by Kima Global Publishers


Review by Bonnie Cehovet

“Tarot Dynamics” is a system developed by Anna Burroughs Cook, a Tarot reader/teacher with over thirty years of experience. (I think it is great that the system was named by her husband, Richard Crombie!) It is based on the use of five simple keywords, and can be used with any Tarot deck. The focus of this system is on relating the messages in the cards to day to day living, to the issues facing the Seeker, based on the characteristics of the five suits (the Major Arcana is seen as the fifth suit). The characteristics are as follows:

Major Arcana – Karma (cause and effect)
Wands – Change
Cups – Emotion
Swords – Challenges
Pentacles – Ambition

In her introduction, Cook advises students to memorize the characteristics for the five suits, and to develop their own keywords for each card, according to how they interpret the card. She also advises readers not to read for themselves unless they are in control of their emotions, and to not read for clients who are upset, as the reading will just reflect their anxiety. In reading for clients over the phone, Cook advises that the client draw their own cards from their own deck, with the reader interpreting them.

There is a short FAQ section answering questions such as: “Isn’t it supposed to mean something when the picture on the Tarot card is upside down?” and “All my cards are terrific. Why didn’t anything good happen?”

The cards are presented with black and white scans from the Universal Tarot (Lo Scarabeo). There is a short discussion of the cards, a section beginning “The more encouraging the situation” and a section beginning “The more challenging the situation” – these terms refer to the reason for the reading. There is a Tip for reading the card in a reversed position, a section entitled “card (number) means”, a section entitled “At your best”, which deals with the most positive aspect of the card in a reading, and a section entitled “Under more stressful”, which talks about a poorly aspected card.

The Major Arcana are seen as holding spiritual karma – they test, reward and replenish your strength of character. The Minor Arcana are seen as “telling the story” behind the Major Arcana’s headlines. The Court Cards for each suit are the King, Queen, Knight, Page and Ace. (Yes, Aces are seen as a Court Card. Together, these are seen as the first five cards of each suit.) Cook’s general thoughts on the Court Cards are as follows:

Kings: Trigger or enhance your personal initiative.
Queens: Display a particular charisma that can enhance your personal coping skills.
Knights: Are reactionaries. Knights indicate sudden developments in matters or your behavior.
Pages: Signal small matters with the potential to grow larger.
Aces – Signify an outcome – a Crisis or Reward.

The Pip cards – Twos through Tens – are referred to as Subject Cards. They are the action in the Seeker’s life. The general definition for the subject cards is as follows:

Twos – Interaction
Threes – Thinking and Networking
Fours – Incentive and Security
Fives – Conflicts
Sixes – Your level of commitment
Sevens – Your personal and professional associations
Eights – Renovation
Nines – Your understanding
Tens – Achievement

The interpretation for the Minor Arcana is presented in the same manner as the Major Arcana, with one added section: Romantically, which deals literally with the area of romance.

At the end of the book Cook discusses the use of Signature cards (also referred to as Significators – cards that represent the Seeker in the reading), and timing in the Tarot. The spreads that are presented include One Card Personal Guidance, a Three Card Spread, the Tarot-Dynamic Celtic Cross Spread, and a Horoscope Spread.

The line of thought in this book is well presented. There are many things to consider, but the map is an easy one to follow. Even if you choose not to read using these guideline, you are offered a fresh perspective on the cards, and how they work in life.

© Bonnie Cehovet

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.



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