Review by MeeWah
True to its title, Tarot reading is indeed made easy in this new book by first-time author, John Mangiapane. In practical, conversational language laced with humour, the author distills the essence of both his work with the Tarot and as a teacher of Tarot.
John speaks to the beginner as well as to the more advanced student as he deftly shares his insights. From explaining the basic meanings of individual cards upright and reversed to their applications in the four main areas of the life where most people want advice or clarity--work, love, money, future--and far more, he clearly demonstrates a working knowledge and a formidable insight. Included are card spreads, life cards and year cards along with examples culled from his experiences as a reader and as a teacher. Though he is also clear in stating he is not "psychic", it is obvious that he possesses a natural ability for the use of Tarot as a tool for self-knowledge, guidance and divination.
Of note is the organization of the contents, including the grouping of the minor arcana or numbered pips together by their numbers. Rather than the usual grouping of by suit, this approach facilitates the understanding of how each minor arcana or pip card may be seen within its context of number and suit. This particular feature and others not commonly found in most Tarot books attest to the respect, thoughtfulness and thoroughness with which the subject is approached.
As a professional card reader who generally avoids reading Tarot books, the writing style is appealing with none of the overly abstract tone that distracts the attention and at times, seems to talk down to the audience. The book's contents are structured so that the reader is taken in a step-by-step format towards a working understanding. A painless process, too, as the material is easy to remember. John's book demystifies the mysteries often associated with card readings, and he has done a very expert job.
Review by Nada Mesar
The author John Mangiapane starts his books with some personal comments how he got into tarot and how he became a tarot reader. He explains some basics about tarot decks such as tarot major and minor cards, symbols of the suits and how to meditate with tarot cards or how to become acquainted with their meanings. John also gives valuable advice how to keep a tarot journal and how to shuffle the deck (you see Ė even this is a topic worth touching!). Some of the most well-known tarot spreads such as one-card-reading, 3-or-5-card-spreads and the ever famous Horseshoe and Celtic Cross spreads are also mentioned as well as how to question the tarot cards, a point which is well worth covering.
After having covered all these basics, John delves into the Major Arcana which are also called trump cards, first explaining each trump card with a general review (the book is especially useful in combination with a Rider-Waite deck or any of itís various clones such as Universal Waite Tarot, Albano-Waite Tarot or Tarot of the White Cats), then giving an interpretation in questions related to work, love, money or future topics, both with upright or reversed meaning related to the Foolís journey through the trump cards.
Then the Minor Arcana (pip cards) are explained in numerical order from the Aces up to the Tens and Court cards. The chapter on the Minor Arcana finishes with a thorough explanation of each Court card which can be considered as the most trickiest cards in tarot. John even touches topics such as tarot combinations, runs (several cards of the same numerical value in a reading) and an introduction to general numerological aspects. The book finishes with a sample reading and some book recommendations to further study.
I can highly recommend this book because it offers an easy and well-written introduction into the world of tarot addressing both beginners and advanced students. Even hard-seasoned professional readers will find inspiring suggestions and ideas in it. If you ever consider buying just one book about tarot, you should pick up Itís all in the cards by John Mangiapane, a long-standing member of the international tarot world and Aeclectic Tarot Forum.
Nada Mesar is the creator of the Wiccan cards released by LoScarabeo, and member of various international boards dealing with Tarot and / or The Old Path and practising Celtic Elder Wicca. Miss Mesar is known under her pennames catlin and Solitaire.