Pithy Tarot is a fun collection of quick and easy meanings for tarot cards, from tarot author James Ricklef. The concise meanings range from humorous to profound, advice to warnings.
By James Ricklef
Book - 172 pages - Published by KnightHawk Books
Review by Bonnie Cehovet
I have followed James Ricklef's work from way back when – from the days of his incredible "Ask KnightHawk" column, to his Tarot books (Tarot Tells The Tale (re-released as Tarot Reading Explained), Tarot: Get the Whole Story, Tarot Affirmations, The Soul's Journey, and Tarot Spreads: Get The Whole Story), his Tarot coloring book (I have one – great fun to play with!), and his Tarot deck Tarot of the Masters.
This is the third edition of the Pithy Tarot. What exactly is the Pithy Tarot? It is an incredible resource that presents easy to remember meanings and interpretations for the 78 cards of the Tarot. The intention is to stimulate further personal insights for the reader. They act as a jumping off place, if you will, for integrating the Tarot into real life. There is a whole range of meanings – from amusing (even us Cappies need to be amused from time to time!), to profound, to inspirational. They come from diverse sources, sources that will appeal to each of us in our own way. Words carry power – it is not wrong to say that this is a powerful book!
In his introduction Ricklef explains why he chose to use "pithy" meanings for the cards. They are not meant to encompass the cards, but to point towards a deeper meaning, and to encourage the readers exploration. This book began as posts in Ricklef's blog. Soon people began to ask him to gather the meanings into a book … and so he did! Some of the meanings are meant to give advice, some to act as spiritual insights, and some act as warnings.
Ricklef's suggestions on how to use the Pithy Tarot meanings include advice for the day, a caution or warning for the day, a card that can act to help interpret the events of the day, or pondering the message and allowing your imagination to take you where it will.
For each of the cards, pithy meanings are given, along with suggestions on how to us them in your life. For example, some of the meanings given for the Fool are: Look before you leap, "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." (Alexander Pope), and Do not be afraid to march to the beat of a different drummer.
Some of the meanings given for the Wheel of Fortune are: Change is the only constant in life. (paraphrased from Heraclitus), What goes around comes around, Shit happens. Get over it, and There you go again.
Some of the meanings for the Ace of Cups include: Before all else, see love first, Love yourself, and Listen to the wisdom of your heart.
Some of the meanings for the King of Pentacles include: Money talks, Believe in your ability to be abundant, and A man’s home is his castle.
In his appendix Ricklef talks about creating meanings from quotes, proverbs, and traditional sayings. He notes that what the reader creates for themselves will be special to them because they have a bit of the reader’s heart and mind in them.
On the back cover, Ricklef notes that brief, catchy meanings will tend to stick in the readers memory much more easily than lengthier explanations. This book is fun to work with, and encourages the reader to come up with their own pithy meanings.
Note: The “Pithy Tarot” page can be viewed here.
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.