Review by Bonnie Cehovet
Many of you know Toronto, Canada based Taroist James Wells from the Tarot e-groups Tarot-L and Comparative Tarot. His is the voice of "Sir James" - erudite, filled with humor and caring, slightly edgy at times - willing to explore, to push the Tarot envelope, to define his own path in colors larger than life, and to help others find their paths in ever new and innovative ways. I have to apologize for not addressing this book sooner - the ordering information kept getting moved (around my own home!), and as it would surface for the nth time, I would nod my head and say "Yes, I really need to do this." Things come to us in life in their own time, and now was the time for me to work with this wonderful book.
James defines the function of the Tarot very well when he notes that it serves as a passport to personal responsibility, and a "royal road" to wellness and success. "Tarot for Manifestation" acts as a tool to help clarify ones goals and define the actions that will manifest them - bring them into being. Five different processes/activities are presented, with real life examples that demonstrate how each process works in "real life".
The Tarot archetypes, through their card imagery, act to form a bridge between our conscious and unconscious selves, and to bring "hidden" information into the light of day. James makes a very important point when he states that each individual needs to work with the cards, to note their own reactions and insights, and form their own interpretations, before they turn to the work of others to gain an understanding of the cards. In this manner, the ideas that each individual comes up with re the Tarot are truly their own. In working with this book (and with Tarot in general) James advocates the use of different decks. Each deck carries its own imagery, and each deck will act as a catalyst for understanding in its own unique manner.
James spends some time defining his personal view of the Tarot, as well as the basic structure of a Tarot deck. He discusses how to work with the cards to derive your own meaning from the cards (which includes such things as charting each card, journaling, working with story and meditation/visualization), how to choose your goals (there is always so much to do, and so little time to do it!), and working with affirmations.
The first method of working with the Tarot is termed "The Adopt-A-Spread" Method. Here James advises that the Seeker determine their goal(s) first, and then, choosing their favorite layout (spread), select cards face up from their deck and lay them consciously in the various spread positions. What if there is a position that the reader does not want to use? There is always the option of changing the position meaning, of deleting (not using) a position, or of adding cards.
After the reading is laid out, James recommends drawing the pattern in a notebook, writing in the cards names and the reason why each one was chosen. Then take another look at the cards, and allow each card to suggest "doable" actions that will help you to achieve your goal(s).
Finally - interpret the cards as if they were a regular reading. Here James presents a series of questions to ask yourself that will bring depth to your interpretation of the cards. Carry a scan, photocopy or photograph of the spread with you, and keep copies around your home, at work, in your car ... wherever you will see them several times each day.
The Broadcast Method uses the imagery and concepts contained within a single card in a visualization, during which you broadcast your desire(s) to the entire universe. Common sense issues are noted here, such as creating time and space where you will not be disturbed. The student is talked through entering a Tarot card, becoming part of it, and then exiting the card.
The Happy New Year Mandala is a Tarot mandala that is well suited to working with around the calendar New Year, or around an individual's personal New Year (their birthday). The purpose is to set ones goals for the coming year, and to develop a way to make them happen. While this mandala can be accomplished with one deck, James recommends using two. The creation of the mandala is not the end of the story here - James recommends different methods of working with it, such as meditation, or posting it on your refrigerator or mirror as a visual affirmation. I really liked some of James' recommendations for extending this exercise, such as having a mandala creation party with friends, and then having a second mandala party half way through the year!
In the Between the Cards Method, the traditional Past/Present/Future spread is read with an eye to what happens "between" the spaces in the cards. I am reminded of the thought that our lifetimes are lived at the same time, but on different planes. What an interesting thing those spaces then become! In choosing your cards for the Now and Was and the ideal scenario in regard to the Goal. A card is also drawn for the Near Future, as well as for concrete actions that can be taken within a specified time period. It sneaks up on you, but you do end up with a blueprint for getting what you want!
The final presentation was the Clearing and Affirming Method, a combination of work presented by Shakti Gawain in her book "Creative Visualization" and Mary Greer's Breakthrough Process. The steps involved are naming your goal, consciously choosing a card from the deck to represent your goal, and then using the positive qualities within the card to create an affirmation related to your chosen goal. The affirmation that is developed is then used in different ways, including writing it out multiple times, saying it out loud, and acknowledging the nay saying thoughts that pop up in your mind. This is also where story telling comes into play.
Through the sharing of his personal wisdom, his own and his client's stories, and interesting gender-neutral text, James has created a wonderful way to expand the ways in which the Tarot are used. "Tarot for Manifestation" is a spiral bound, 43 page book. There is a clear plastic cover on the front and the back of the book. Between the final page and the back cover James has included an enlarged version of his business card, noting his name, contact information, and the modes in which he chooses to work (as a choice centered Tarot consultant, a Certified Komyo Reiki teacher, a Circle facilitator, and an instructor/presentor of classes, workshops & private sessions).
When I asked James why it was important for him to get this book out there - important enough to self-publish, this was his response:
"It was important for me to self-publish Tarot for Manifestation because I believe in taking action based on tarot insights, not just sitting around pondering them. And taking action to create your own life is what the book is all about, whether you use tarot or not. Several non-tarot people have read TFM and told me that they learned something about living by choice instead of waiting for things to happen to them. My message exactly! As far as self-publishing, I'm an impatient person. Publishers often take a year or more to get something on the shelves. Frankly, I didn't feel like waiting for a year or more with my creation in someone else's hands."
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It allows the Tarot to serve as the wonderful tool of empowerment that it truly is. An excellent addition to anyone's library ... a book to be worked with for the rest of your life, and not just read one time and set aside. This is kitchen table, not coffee table! Let's revise that - kitchen table AND coffee table!
I am going to leave you with James' wish for each of his readers: That "Tarot for Manifestation" bring them success, happiness, wisdom, and wholeness, along with a fabulous life created in their own image!
© 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.