Review by Bonnie Cehovet
Some works are timeless - such is the work of Tarot author/teacher/wisewoman Mary K. Greer. Tarot Mirrors is the third in a series of books on Tarot and personal transformation (the other two being Tarot For Yourself and Tarot Constellations). This book impresses right from the start, with a very comprehensive foreword by another Tarot author/teacher/wisewoman - Rachel Pollack.
As with her other books, Tarot Mirrors covers a huge amount of ground in a very short time. You simply do not want to put this book down! Aside from the highly usable information that is presented, it is the format of the book that holds ones attention. Mary's books are aimed at personal transformation, and the use of the Tarot in that context. While there is some attention paid to using this information to read for others, the real gist of this book is personal transformation - how the Tarot mirrors the Seeker's life events, and how they can us that to better understand themselves, bring resolution to their issues and focus on how to bring movement and growth into their life.
Mary starts out by reminding us that Tarot is a mirror of where we are at any given moment, and as such, this moment contains our past and our future. The importance, however, remains in the present, because our actions in the present can change not only our future, but how we perceive our past.
We learn by looking within, and the Tarot with its universal archetypes is a wonderful gateway to our inner self. A good point that Mary brings up is that of illusion - we see what we want to see. By asking very pointed questions of the Tarot, we have our own patterns mirrored back to us, and are allowed a fresh look at reality. One of the interesting ways that we can get to know the cards is by what Mary terms "Moving Meditations". We assume the posture of the people depicted in the cards, and open ourselves to feeling what they feel. This is interesting to do with a single card - and truly amazing to do this with a series of cards (i.e. the cards that appear in a reading). So much information for such little effort!
Mary has defined four different methods of reading: the Analytic Method, the Psychic Method, the Therapeutic Method and the Magical Method. The analytical method focuses on the analysis of correspondences; the psychic method makes use of feelings and intuition; the therapeutic method acts to assist the Seeker in defining their goals and achieving them; the magical method acts as an affirmation of the clients ability to create what is valuable and worthwhile to them.
Thrown into the pot are what Mary terms the "four dimensions of meaning": the Literal Dimension, the Allegorical Dimension, the Moral Dimension and the Spiritual Dimension. The literal dimension is the factual/historical content of the card. The allegorical dimension concerns itself with what is intuited from the symbols contained in the card. The moral dimension deals with what Mary terms the inductive, feeling part of the card. The spiritual dimension focuses on the esoteric and mystical aspects of the card.
There is an absolutely wonderful technique presented called the Breakthrough Process. It is an empowerment technique aimed at breaking through the obstacles that come up in a reading. In this process, the reader writes down (by hand, not on tape) the replies of the Seeker. This empowers both the reader and the Seeker - and I suspect leads to a great many "Aha!" experiences!
I dearly love well made charts and graphs - and Mary Greer does them in a highly usable manner. In her discussion of the four elements, she has included just such a chart, including correspondences for a massive amount of information, including alchemical symbol, Tarot suit, Tarot symbol, personality type, Jungian function - and these are just a few of the associations! There is an absolutely incredible amount of information included in this two page chart!
In order to put all of this information to work, Mary has included several very specific spreads, including the Dialectic Spread (which she also calls the Process of Change Spread); the Quintessence Spread; the Foundation Spread; the Star of Self Spread; the Star of Assessment Spread; Further Analysis; and The Fool - Your Wild Card.
The Tarot court cards, by nature, are often a stumbling block in interpreting a reading. Mary has presented an incredible chart called "The Tattva and People Card Diagram" that associate the court cards with the elements and the Hindu Tattvas (specific geometric forms that include the use of primary colors to symbolize material existence). There is also a specific spread, the Foundation Spread, that allows the reader to put this information to best use.
We are not done yet! Mary goes on to discuss the 3 x 7 structure of the Major Arcana, including the Three Circles, the Seven Triads and the Seven Rays. The Three Circles represent the Conscious Mind, the Intuitive Mind and the Imaginative Mind. The Seven Triads is a process of comparing the same level cards within each of the three circles (i.e. card number one from each of the circles would be the Magician, the High Priestess and the Empress). The Seven Rays are related to the seven major chakra's and the seven rays of creative expression (Will and Power, Love of Wisdom, Active Intelligence, Harmony Through Conflict, Concrete Knowledge and Science, Devotion to the Ideal, and Organization and Ceremonial Magic).
At the end of the book Mary does a sample reading with the Star Spreads that brings out some very pertinent information about her client, and about how Mary as a reader empowers her client. This is one of the most important sections in this book.
I would place Tarot Mirrors in the mid to advanced Tarot range. I highly recommend it to all students of Tarot as a learning tool and a tremendous Tarot resource.
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.