Review by Bonnie Cehovet
The "Llewellyn Tarot Reader" is much more than just a "book". It has served, and continues to serve, as a venue for those in the Tarot world who have not been published before to have their words see the light of day, and receive the "legitimization" of being paid. And they have the honor of being in the august company of talented Tarot wise-people such as Arnell Ando, Mary Greer, and Rachel Pollack.
The topics covered are always interesting, and the potential audience runs the gamut from Tarot dilettantes and beginning Tarot students to professional readers, teachers and authors. It is a learning experience to write your own article, and it is a learning experience to read the articles of others.
Here is what the 2006 Llewellyn Tarot Reader offers:
The Fool: Tools For The Journey
Following the Fool by Arnell Ando
One-card Readings by Elizabeth Genco
The Voice in the Card by Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone
Seventy-Eight Faces of Divinity by Nina Lee Braden
Tarot for Two by Mark McElroy
A Closer Look At: The Bright Idea Deck
Living La Vida Arcana: Beyond the Celtic Cross by Thalassa
The Magician: Practical Applications
Going Pro by James Wells
Ask A Better Question by Mark McElroy
Psychic Fairs, Public Readings by Corrine Kenner
Those Scary Cards by Winter Wren
The Celtic Heart Spread by Valerie Sim
Creation Stories: The Gay Tarot by Lee Bursten
The Karmic Insight Spread by Christine Jette
Teaching Tarot by Corrine Kenner
A Closer Look At: The Quest Tarot
Zapped! When Clients Explode by Elizabeth Hazel
The Wheel: 2006 Almanac
The Hermit: For Further study
The RWS Minor Arcana by Mary K. Greer
The Hermit by Edain McCoy
Tarot Stories: Literature and the Cards by Diane Wilkes
Tarot & Ritual: The Aces by Bonnie Cehovet
Tarot Healing: Step by Step by Corrine Kenner
A Closer Look At: Medieval Enchantment: The Nigel Jackson Tarot
The Three-Card "Drawing" by Mary K. Greer
A Closer Look At: Victoria Regina Tarot
Justice: The Archetype of Balance by Leeda Alleyn Pacotti
Magic in the Cards by Janina Renee
Special Day Rituals by Nina Lee Braden
A Closer Look At: The Celtic Dragon Tarot
Working With Shadows by Christine Jette
World to World: Tarot and Kabbalah by Rachel Pollack
Judgment: Deck Reviews
The Baroque Bohemian Cats Tarot reviewed by Lee Bursten
Tarot of the Dead reviewed by Errol McLendon
The Pagan Tarot reviewed by Elizabeth Hazel
A Closer Look At: Faery Wicca Tarot
Ship of Fools Tarot reviewed by Elizabeth Genco
The Gilded Tarot reviewed by Diane Wilkes
The World: Spreads
I think we owe a vote of thanks to editor Kate Brielmaier for putting together a book that covers a wide spectrum of the Tarot world, and doing so in a manner that is easy to follow, and easy to use. The inclusion of the author's bios at the beginning of the book is a really good way to give readers a view of the "person behind the article".
Arnell Ando's article, "Following the Fool", is, I feel, the best possible beginning that there could be. In it, she gifts the Tarot world with a creative visualization that she uses with her own Tarot-related art-therapy workshops (Arnell is a Jungian based Expressive Arts Therapist). It is a gentle visualization, following the lines of the manner in which I was taught to visualize a lifetime ago (we won't go there!). Her aim is to help her workshop attendee's become more open to the gifts of the unconscious. Anyone willing to work with, and experience, her technique will find the dialogue between their conscious and unconscious selves opening up to higher levels than they ever imagined.
Elizabeth Genco's advice on structuring one-card readings, and Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone's finding the "Voice in the Card" are both powerful articles exploring techniques that help expand the reading, and the understanding of, the Tarot.
Nina Lee Braden is certainly broadening how we see Tarot in looking at each of the 78 cards of the Tarot as differing faces of the Divine. In "Tarot For Two", Mark McElroy explores readings between two people - certainly a topic that professional, as well as "recreational" reader's face on a continuing basis. In "La Vida Arcana", Thalassa helps us put the fun back into Tarot.
James Wells, in "Going Pro", and Mark McElroy, in "Ask A Better Question", do a great job of asking us to take another look at ourselves and our relation to Tarot. In "Psychic Fairs, Public Readings", Corrine Kenner eases the way for many who may want to work in these venues, but don't know what is expected of them, and have no clue what to expect of the venue! Winter Wren follows this with a sensational discussion of the "scary" cards in the deck. (Those of us who have worked in this field for many years may tend to forget that the general public will find some of the Tarot a bit disconcerting.)
"The Celtic Heart Spread", by Valerie Sim, is a wonderful spread that came out of a very exciting time in her life - her daughter's wedding. Lee Bursten gives us some wonderful insight into his involvement with the Gay Tarot, while Christine Jette presents an outstanding layout for reading karmic issues.
Corrine Kenner discusses the art of "Teaching Tarot", and Elizabeth Hazel provides some sage, real-life advice regarding the truly scary scenario of having a client explode during a reading.
The 2006 Almanac is very nicely presented, with notations for the cycles of the moon and holiday's from varied cultural backgrounds.
Mary K. Greer gifts us with a comprehensive article on Pixie Smith and the RWS Minor Arcana. Edain McCoy discusses the Hermit, while Diane Wilkes addresses literature and the Tarot. My contribution was using the Aces in ritual, with Corrine Kenner covering "Tarot Healing - Step by Step". Mary K. Greer expands Tarot thought with her article on "Three-Card Drawing" (literally drawing the cards personally), followed by Leeda Alleyn Pacotti and "Justice - the Archetype of Balance".
Janina Renee puts "Magic in the Cards", and Nina Lee Braden discusses "Special Day Rituals". One of my favorite subjects, and article, was Christine Jette's presentation of "Working With Shadows". We all have them - and they are bears to deal with! Rachel Pollack discusses what to me is an ever-growing interest in "World to World - Tarot and Kabbalah".
The section on deck reviews covers an interesting range of decks, and gives the reader new ways of looking at these cards. The section on spreads, while it may have appeared to be mundane to some, interested me. Look beyond the layout - look at the intent and purpose of the spread, try it on for size, and see what happens!
Kudo's to each of the authors, to editor Kate Brielmaier, and to Llewellyn Publications for keeping this unique and wonderful venue going for another year (and, hopefully, for many years to come.
© 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.