Review by Bonnie Cehovet
Tarot Spreads, Threads, and Mandalas is exactly what it says it is... a book about Tarot spreads, threads and mandalas. It is meant to take the Tarot student deeper into their cards … to provide a means for getting to know them in new and interesting ways. Estevez begins with a tale of her own … about herself, her great-grandmother, and the cards. Whispers down the years to “Tell them a story.”
The book begins by comparing the Tarot to a disco ball … each card will reflect parts of ourselves from different standpoints, just as each piece of mirror in the disco ball reflects a different part of the room. We are then invited to play!
Estevez begins with one card readings, using examples from her own journal … a morning card, and an evening card (used separately … not on the same day), two card readings done for the “Here and Now”, one card for a quick question, and one card as a “Morning Dream Card”, or a “Lucid Dream Card”, used in conjunction with a remembered dream. There is also a variation of the one card a day method where you spend five minutes doing specific activities with the card as a way to get to know it.
The tool of scavanger hunting is also brought into the Tarot. A table is set up, where objects can be left over a period of time. One card is drawn, and symbols are picked out from that card. The list of symbols is them written down and carried with you. As you move through your day, you look for small items that resemble the items on your scavanger list. When you come home, you arrange the items in a circle around the card that you are working from. It is advised to meditate and journal on this three-dimensional mandala.
A one card mandala is also presented, where you pick one card from a deck, and then take that same card from every deck you can get your hands on. You place the cards in whatever geometric form you want, and meditate and journal on them. Although Estevez does not use the term, this is Comparative Tarot, a method well publicized by Tarotist Valerie Sim.
The focus now shifts to two card readings. Different definitions for the two positions are given, such as Past/Present (entitled Two-Step in Time), Two-Card Tangos, and using the first two cards from the Celtic Cross reading (entitled the Heart of the Matter). This specific manner of reading the cards is dealt with in a very informative manner by Sandra Thomson et al in The Heart Of The Tarot, Harper Collins, 2000.
Also covered are ways of reading for wishes, decisions (which is presented with a very intricate way of taking three cards for a Yes/No spread and weighing their value by their placement in the spread), using decision arcs, and creating your own spreads.
Estevez presents a section on creating what she terms a “Self Portrait”, using the two card Inside/Outside spread, the Top to Toe spread (covering mental, emotional, and physical selves), the You’re a Star spread, and the Seven Card Chakra spread.
Relationship issues are also covered, with a two card, a three card, and a seven card spread. Storytelling is covered, as well as a spread called Mnemosyn’s Roller Coaster spread, and an Elemental Mandala spread. The last two spreads are numbers based. There is also an interesting Extended Elemental Mandala.
At the end of the book is a section on becoming reacquainted with an old deck, or getting to know a new deck. Noting the pattern on the back of the deck, whether the deck has borders or not, the colors used, the imagery, the people … even how you store your deck, as this reflects who you are as a person. There is a lot of work done here … separating the cards as dark cards or light cards, by color, what the format is … lots of ways of looking at the Tarot and forming that close bond that is needed for true study.
There are appendices on Significators, Numerology, Alternative Numbering, and Card Counting Techniques.
This is a fairly light book... enjoyable reading that includes examples and stories, and connects the reader to the book. There is a great deal here to work with, and would appeal to all levels of Tarot student. As long as you don’t expect the serious or esoteric, you will be pleased.
© 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.