'Tarot Coupling: Resources & Resolutions for Relationship Readings' addresses one of the most popular tarot reading topics - love and relationships. It provides a framework for relationship readings from finding one, building one, to dissolving one.
By Gina G. Thies
Book - 256 pages - Published by Schiffer Books
Review by Thomas Freese
Tarot Coupling provides an intriguing point of view, a systemic process and a moderate discussion regarding consultation and personal awareness of relationship issues—via the traditional tarot cards. It is clear that concerns of dating, partner search and coupling often take up time and attention of most mortals on this planet and of those millions who deal with those issues, a certain percentage will turn to find answers through their own tarot spreads or with a professional tarot “reader”.
Many tarot and other metaphysical readers regard coupling issues as one of the “big five”, those often posed questions which the querent inevitably will ask. What about my job, my health, my family, money and what about that guy or gal? An experienced tarot practitioner will have a system for noticing the characters and attributes of various players in the drama of relationship finding, building or dissolution. But that system might be unique and experientially constructed; here in Tarot Coupling, there is a comprehensive discussion, complete with listing of each of the 78 cards cross referenced with a multi-factor analysis. These factors include: tarot coupling keywords, general interpretation, four phases of relationship status, and—with the major arcana, romantic suggestions to springboard from reading to actions—which address or redress the challenges found.
Specifically, the tarot coupling keywords involve certain relationship facets: positive qualities, impairment or fears, the perception of the partner, dyadic interaction, challenges, complaints of partner and, finally, desires. Tarot Coupling, providing commentary of these aspects for each of the cards, major arcana, and minor arcana—including the court cards as well—is thus a ready reference for interpreting any card in any spread in light of relationship issues. In addition, the author provides three spreads devoted to revealing the process and identity issues in any relationship. I have cast those spreads, for relationships both past and present, and found the spread layout and use of the tarot coupling analysis, to be helpful now and promising for future use.
Psycho-dynamic issues are touched upon and further exploration of that analysis could be undertaken by those who read this book, in following the author’s brief mentioning or in looking up the resources, books and people, mentioned in notes and secondary references. I will be looking online for more information about “projective identification”. In all, there is plenty of information here to challenge a neophyte practitioner or to provide another tool in the armoury of the experienced tarot reader. If the publisher or author arranges a second edition, there would be a benefit from having an editor take a fine-tooth comb to correct spelling and other textual issues.
Thomas’s first tarot deck in 1979 was a Christmas gift from his mother. Thomas is an experienced tarot and palm reader. He also reads from objects and photos. In addition he has authored 10 books on metaphysical topics and is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Board Certified, Registered Art Therapist.
Review by medusawink
We’ve all been there - doing a reading for a friend or client - who wants to know about true love - specifically their true love. And no answer you give them can satisfy their curiosity. They remain convinced that you are holding out on them, that you know more secrets. Well here’s a book for you!
For the professional tarot card reader there can be no doubt that a large number of the readings they do concern relationships. Yet for a subject that is so ubiquitous there is a surprising dearth of books on this subject. It is into this vacuum that Gina G. Thies has introduced her book Tarot Coupling. Thies seeks to connect a psychology-based understanding of human nature with reading tarot cards for relationship based questions.
The early chapters of Tarot Coupling are almost de rigeur for the experienced reader on the subject of tarot cards. Thies gives a basic history of the development of the tarot from playing cards to a sophisticated divination tool. Included is a brief explanation of what divination actually is. The author also includes a history of her own experiences as a tarot reader which establishes her credibility and expertise in the field.
Thies’ chapter on ‘Coaching And Consulting Dilemmas’ contains some of the best advice in her book. These are your basic tarot-reader’s nightmares tackled head-on. Here she deals with such demanding subjects such as 'Who gets a reading? ( yes there are people you just don’t read for), some challenging issues, and serious pitfalls of doing a relationship reading; the different types of querent you may encounter, seekers whose beliefs may cause disruption to a reading, and some suggestions for dealing with such situations. Thies also lists some of the most commonly asked questions in relationship readings, difficulties, strategies, troubleshooting, uncomfortable subject matter, and whether or not to broach the issue of infidelity with a querent.
The author goes on to give the reader all the fundamentals of psychology relevant to tarot reading - social development, psychosocial development, attachment theory, eight stages of development, and developmental challenges. There is a whole chapter on Myers-Briggs personality types. Myers-Briggs types have been covered by several other tarot experts, most notably Mary K. Greer and Tom Little in their book ‘Understanding The Tarot Court’. Thies' application of this theory to the tarot court does present some significant variations from Greer and Little. Whether reading for couples or individuals this is a very helpful method for choosing significators and deciphering court cards - not by appearance or astrological sign but by personality indicators.
There is a chapter on Interpersonal Process which looks at how we connect with people on an intimate level. The author includes a few case histories and a less than credible reference to (oh no) Edward and Bella - yup, Twilight. Here the author introduces several exercises that the reader can do with their tarot deck, designed for the most part to attune the reader to relationship narratives contained in tarot imagery.
The chapter on Relationship Coaching And Tarot is pure gold. Here Gina Thies offers wonderful advice for both the new and advanced reader. Firstly she offers us a model for learning any new tarot system, which is especially helpful with decks whose meanings differ significantly from broader 'standard' interpretations. This is nothing to be sniffed at considering the proliferation of ‘reinterpreted’ decks that are being published. From here the author gives further pointers on incorporating awareness of social issues and upheavals that can carry over into personal traumas and needs which require healing.
Not surprisingly the author has developed a Tarot Coupling Relationship Spread. This is a balanced spread which gives equal both partners equal time and examines the relationship from each side without bias. This differs from most tarot relationship spreads which generally examine a relationship from the perspective of the querent. This of course may, or may not be of some comfort to the seeker.
The bulk of Tarot Coupling is devoted to Gina Thies' interpretations of each tarot card within the parameters of a relationship reading. For each major arcana card and court card she gives its Esoteric/Golden Dawn Title, Hebrew Letter, Meaning, Double Letter, Qabalistic Attribution, Element, and Planet. The General Commentary encompasses both a description of the card (although she does not say which deck this description is based on) and a potted history of its evolution. Thies then moves into Keywords that define the card within the boundaries of Tarot Coupling, as well as a General Interpretation.
We are then given four contexts in which the card can be interpreted;
New - seeking or in a new relationship
Established - in an established relationship
Expanded - offers spiritual and/or relationship advice
Deteriorating - challenges to a relationship, negatively placed cards, or if the reader chooses, reversed cards.
For major arcana cards the author also includes Romantic Suggestions which are; a relevant movie, a date/outing idea, and a gift suggestion. And finally the cards that are most compatible and least compatible with the arcana are listed.. For minor arcana only the General Interpretation and four contexts of interpretation are offered.
This is a complete system for doing relationship spreads - which is not to suggest that any reader discard all their hard won knowledge and start again with these methods and interpretations. But, given that a large number of querents are looking for relationship-based readings this is an extremely helpful book. Gina Thies is generous with her information, and gems of advice are scattered through the text. Tarot Coupling is intelligent and advanced, it offers refreshing new perspectives on tarot reading for relationships. It is without doubt a worthwhile addition to any tarot enthusiast's library.