Review by Bonnie Cehovet
Having read Masino’s latest book (Best Tarot Practices), I thought that it might behove me to read her previous book – and I am very happy that I did! “Easy Tarot Guide” is just that – a guide to learning the Tarot that is easy enough for anyone to follow. It is also a hands on book – intellectual exercise combined with reader participation. This book evolved from Masino’s experiences in teaching the Tarot over a period of several years.
The book is divided into four parts: (1) Deck Description, (2) Reading Description, (3) Card Interpretations and (4) Summary. This is a very basic introductory book, aimed at individuals that are attempting to learn the Tarot on their own (as many of us did).
The first exercise with the cards is to go through the deck and take out the cards that you like and the cards that you dislike. Masino feels that the cards that are drawn will reflect the student’s present life conditions. The cards that the student likes may represent current goals or aspirations, or aspects of life that they are working on. The cards that the student dislikes may reflect parts of their life that they are unhappy with, or that cause them distress (perhaps areas that they are avoiding dealing with).
The Minor Arcana are the first cards that the student works with. There are a list of qualities for each suit, and the student is asked to go through that suit and pick out cards that represent each quality. For example, the qualities listed for the suit of Wands are: (1) Victory concerning goals, (2) Overwork, over-ambitious, (3) Fighting, (4) Defending and (5) Looking forward towards new enterprises and their results. At the end of this section is a review with both matching and true/false questions so that the student can assess their progress.
The Major Arcana are given astrological associations, and the student is asked to review the trump associated with their birth sign. The review questions at the end of this section are true/false questions.
The section on performing a reading is quite explicit – forming the question, choosing the significator, shuffling (and interpreting how the Seeker shuffles) and reading and interpreting the cut. The Tarot spread used as a sample reading is the traditional Celtic Cross spread. An overall interpretation of the cards is given as the first step in reading the cards. (i.e. Which cards are predominate – a specific suit, Court cards or Major Arcana.) There is an overview on numbers meanings, and on card combinations. The review at the end of this section is fill in the blank. A format is also given for recording readings in a diary.
The interpretation for the Minor Arcana cards is presented in groupings: Ace-Three, Four-Six, Seven and Eight, Nine and Ten. The main theme, upright and reversed meanings are given, accompanied by a color scan of each card. The review questions at the end of each section are a combination of fill in the blank, true and false and matching. There is also an assignment using the cards in a specified reading and interpreting them.
The Court cards are interpreted in title groupings (i.e. all of the Pages, all of the Knights, all of the Queens and all of the Kings), with the personality qualities, upright and reversed meanings, accompanied by a color scan of the card. The review questions are fill in the blank and matching.
The Major Arcana cards are listed in three groupings: 0-VII, VIII-XIV, and XV-XXI. They are presented with an archetypal association, symbolism, a discussion of the card and its imagery, and upright and reversed meanings. The review questions are a combination of fill in the blank, matching, and true/false. The assignment is to use the cards in a specified reading and interpreting them.
There are appendices at the end of the book with keywords for the Minor Arcana (Pips and Court cards), and the Major Arcana, along with a bibliography.
The book carries a very fluid pace, and is easily understood. The review questions are of a very good quality, and will help an aspiring reader to assess their level of understanding of the cards. I recommend this as a good addition to any Tarot library.
© 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.