Review by Bonnie Cehovet
The "Llewellyn Tarot Reader" is an anthology that I look forward to reading every year. It is a true gift that the individuals that make up the Tarot world are given the chance to pick their own topic and bring forth marvelous new ideas, spun from their own personal experiences and intuitive thoughts. Each year's anthology consists of several sections: The Fool - Tools for the Journey; The Magician - Practical Applications; The Wheel - (each year's Almanac); The Hermit - For Further Study; Judgment - Deck Reviews; and The World - Spreads. Interspersed are one page presentations of Llewellyn Tarot decks.
I generally do not list a table of contents, but because of the nature of this anthology, I am going to.
The Fool: Tools For The Journey
Bless This Deck by Geraldine Amaral
When Good Cards Go Bad by James Ricklef
Archetypal Tarot by Thalassa
Be-Witching Tarot by Gail Wood
Court Etiquette by Winter Wren
A Closer Look At: The Lllewellyn Tarot
A Journal Meditation by Arnell Ando
The Magician: Practical Applications
Questions We Love to Hate by Teresa Michelson
Tarot Outside the Box: Interactive Readings by Valerie Sim
Major Arcana Bonding by Leeda Alleyn Pacotti
Responsible Reading by Cerridwen Iris Shea
Legal Readings: Playing the Justice Card by Corrine Kenner
Friendly Readings by Boudica
Tarot In Tandem by Cerridwen Iris Shea
The Branching Path Spread: Evaluating Options by Elixabeth Barrette
Teaching Tarot: The Practical Path by Errol McLendon
A Tarot R.I.T.E. by Mary K. Greer
A Closer Look At: Babylonian Tarot
Tarot Solitaire by Valerie Sim
The Grammar of Tarot by Elizabeth Hazel
The Mindfulness Spread by Mary K. Greer
The Wheel: 2007 Almanac
The Hermit: For Further Study
The Fool's Safari by Thalassa Tarot
Counseling by Elinor Greenberg
A Closer Look At: The Well Worn Path
The Roles of the Soul by Kevin Quigley
Tarot: Tool For Creativity of Tool of the Devil? by Diane Wilkes
The Hanged Man by Elizabeth Genco
Moon Readings by Teresa Michelson
The Devil in the Details by Elizabeth Barrette
Regal Ladies: Living the Queens by Elizabeth Hazel
Toward A New Tarot by Rachel Pollack
Judgment: Deck Reviews
Animals Divine Tarot reviewed by Elizabeth Genco
The Secret Tarot reviewed by Elizabeth Hazel
The Fairy Ring reviewed by Lee Bursten
The Magical Menangerie reviewed by Elizabeth Barrette
A Closer Look At: The World Spirit Tarot
Tarot of White Cats reviewed by Diane Wilkes
The World: Spreads
Every one of these articles and reviews was well done, presenting clear, concise viewpoints in an easy to follow manner. There are several articles this year that stood out, for various reasons. The first article that stood out for me was "Teaching Tarot: The Practical Path" by Errol McLendon. The story that Errol presents in this article is the story of how he developed the curriculum for the beginning class that he teaches. He broke each class down into the three types of material that he would be presenting: (1) a review of cards drawn during the week (as daily card draws, which he required his students to journal); (2) new spreads (so that his students would begin reading the Tarot right away); and (3) work with one Major Arcana card each week, beginning with the Fool. In the end, Errol added a fourth section to each class, one that he calls The Practical Path. This section deals with the practical application of the cards. Included in this article are Errol's thoughts on practical applications for each of the twenty-two Major Arcana cards. A gift to those learning the Tarot, certainly, but also pause for thought for those already engaged in their personal Tarot journey.
The next article that drew my interest was "The Grammar of Tarot", by Elizabeth Hazel. I was curious as to the road that this article would take, as in the past I have reviewed material along this line that was nowhere near the mark. i knew going in that this article would be different, because I have always admired Elizabeth's mind set, and her way with words. The basis of this article is literally the elements of the structure of a sentence: subject, predicate, adjective, noun, adverb and verb. She started out by listing collective nouns for each of the Major Arcana (i.e. Hierophant - church synod, coven; Hermit - medical association, teacher's union, AARP; The Devil - IRS, lobbyists, and PAC committees). From there she moved on to using cards as subject and predicate (i.e. subject = Knight of Staves, predicate = Seven of Cups could be combined to read "A young man (subject) wishes (predicate"). From here Elizabeth moves into basic sentence structure: subject - predicate - direct object. Each section is clearly written, with examples. An excellent tool for writers, and an excellent way to expand your ability to interpret the cards. The limitations here are only those that we place on ourselves. Liz ends with a Psychodelic Prophecy that you will have to read the book to find out about!
The article that went to my heart and soul was "Tarot Counseling", by Dr. Elinor Greenberg. Dr. Greenberg begins by defining Tarot counseling as an extension of Tarot reading using a combination of the reader's intuition and the wisdom of the cards to help the querent evolve. The emphasis here is on the querent's personal growth, not on prediction. Dr. Greenberg defines the difference between a Tarot reading and a Tarot counseling session as one of intent and technique. She lists her five basic assumptions about Tarot and life, and suggests that readers who want to do counseling think about what their own guiding principles are. Dr. Greenberg then breaks down a session into: rephrasing the question (if necessary), identifying the underlying emotional issues, invoking the guidance of a higher power, designing a three level spread, asking the querent for feedback, looking at the querent, assigning homework, taking your time and scheduling additional sessions. For the reader, she discusses keeping records, and getting additional training in areas relevant to your readings. I cannot begin to tell you how very powerful this article is!
The final article that grabbed my eye was "Regal Ladies: Living the Queens", by Elizabeth Hazel. I felt that this would be an important article for me from the standpoint that my clients are largely female, and I often use the Queen's, along with the Major Arcana, in ritual and ceremony. The first thing that Elizabeth talked about was the factor of vulnerability that these ladies can have when surrounded by cards with conflicting elemental qualities. Her take is that these Queens are not able to use their special skills because of the hostile environment surrounding them. This is followed by a synopsis of each Queen's styles and approaches. This is followed by a discussion of how the Queens fit into a reading - especially a Queen whose temperament is not compatible with that of the Seeker. I thoroughly enjoyed this article, and can see how this could be carried forward for the Kings, Knights, and Pages.
There is something here for everyone - new ideas, fascinating takes that really start one thinking. On that note, I have to mention "The Roles of the Soul", by Kevin Quigley. Kevin presents a model of the spiritual world that divides all of creation into four levels of existence, represented by the four suits. I won't go into the article here, but I will say that it applies to all readings, because at heart all reading are about the soul of the Seeker.
Tarot students of all levels will find material in this book that will help them expand their understanding of the Tarot, as well as having some fun with it. As an anthology, the "Llewellyn Reader" brings together like minded people with one goal - to enhance the field of Tarot. They have done their job well!
© June 2006
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.