Review by Bonnie Cehovet
In her introduction, Gaudet notes that she is working from many different levels with this book, including as a tour guide for beginning students, and as a source of new perspectives and ideas for more experienced readers (including viewing the Tarot as a spiritual journey).
A metaphysical understanding of the four elements has been a cornerstone of Gaudet’s spiritual journey, which shows through clearly in this work. The premise here is that the four elements provide the framework for Tarot, magick, and a balanced life. From the back cover: “Your spiritual journey begins when you are present, conscious, and intentional in each moment.”
Also from the back cover – what you will find in this book:
- Tarot as a tool for your spiritual growth.
- Understandable interpretations for all seventy-eight cards.
- Instructions for reading Tarot for yourself and others, using several Tarot reading styles.
- Eight Tarot spreads, along with instructions to create your own Tarot spreads.
- An introduction to Tarot magick, along with several Tarot spells for love, healing and prosperity.
- Meditations and exercises to expand your understanding of Tarot, and of yourself.
- Ways to summon and connect with the four elements for balance and healing.
- Ways Tarot can help you in all aspects of life, including career, relationships, spiritual growth, creative development and communication with the spirit world.
Gaudet encourages readers to keep a written record of their Tarot journey in a Tarot journal, making notes on the cards, and your impressions of them. Work done on meditation, ritual, and journeying can also be recorded here. This makes it very easy to go back and review first impressions, add future thoughts, and basically see where you were/are at any point in time. She also encourages the Tarot student to create some type of Tarot alter, which is simply meant to be a sacred space that honors the Tarot work being done by the individual. In the same section Gaudet gives the reader simple instructions for using meditation to increase awareness of their spiritual journey. There are a lot of these “hidden gems” in this book!
The cards are presented in text format only – no scans. A verbal description of the Rider-Waite card image is given, along with the basic energy that the card carries, and what the card would mean in a reading, in both the upright and reversed positions. While this is very basic information, it gives the reader a solid foundation for reading the cards, and for developing their own understanding of them.
At the end of the Major Arcana section several exercises are presented, including Identifying With The Fool, Key Words, and Meditation. For advanced students is an exercise on working with best liked and worst liked cards.
Exercises for the Pips (numbered cards) include the Four Elements Reading, Storytelling, and Runs. For advanced students there is an exercise focused on the Four Elements.
Court Card exercises include Key Words, Significator, People In Your Life, What To Do?, and Numbers Exercise. For advanced students, there is an exercise entitled “Expand the Role of Tarot in Your Life”.
Gaudet presents four basic methods for reading the Tarot: interpretive, intuitive, psychological, and archetypal. That’s a great place to start developing a reading style, IMHO! Along with a discussion of the various styles, the exercises in this section include an intuitive exercise and an exercise on interpretive reading.
Five ways to see the Tarot are presented:
- Tarot is a book of spiritual lessons.
- Tarot is a language.
- Tarot is a tool for stimulating creativity.
- Tarot is a means of communicating with the spirit world.
- Tarot is a set of magickal tools.
I love working with the 3X7 way of looking at the Major Arcana. Here we see this method presented as Body/Mind/Spirit, with cards I-VII representing the Body (Material World), cards IX-XV as Mind (Emotional World), and XVI-XXI as Spirit (Spiritual World).
The Tarot spreads included in this book are the Celtic Cross, the Seven Sisters, the Future Vision, the Lamplighter, Mapping the Spiritual Path, and Relationship. I loved this section, but I did have one major problem: the type here was too small for these older eyes to read!
The same issue with small type carried over into the chart for the Four Elements – great information, but presented in type too small for me to read. (I loved the spread presented in this chapter – the Compass Rose Spread For Elemental Balance.) Instructions are given for meditating on the Four Elements, as well as for calling them in. Anyone can do this, people! This is followed by separate chapters for each of the elements.
“Tarot Tour Guide” is packed with usable information, written in a straight forward, easily understood manner. It is packed with little gems of understanding, exercises to help the reader place the information actively into their life, spreads to play with, stories from Gaudet’s personal experience with her clients, and much more! It also lends itself to forming the foundation for classes of all types. I don’t generally say this, but I am going to say it here, because the thought has been coming to me since I began reading this book. If you want to base a class on material from this book, have the courtesy to acknowledge where it came from. Yes, the material here is that good!
© April 2012, 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.
Review by Mary Nale
The focus of this book is using the Four Elements of Tarot in our Spiritual Journey. So many people think of Tarot as only a tool for divination and this book will show you how to see things in a different way. I want to start out by saying that I love the way this book is laid out, I love the way it flows and I love the connections one chapter makes to the next.
There are eleven chapters divided into sections.
Chapter 1: The Spiritual Journey of Tarot
Chapter 2: The Major Arcana
Chapter 3: The Minor Arcana
Chapter 4: The Court of the Minor Arcana
Chapter5: Perspectives on Tarot
Chapter 6: Reading Tarot
Chapter 7: The Four Elements: An Elemental Journey
Chapter 8: The Element of Air: thinking, learning, communication, Integrity
Chapter 9: The Element of Earth: Grounding, Healing, Home and Abundance
Chapter 10: The Element of Water: Love, Sensitivity, Emotion and the Healing Heart
Chapter 11: The Element of Fire: Passion, Creativity, Vitality and Spirituality
In each of these chapters you will find key words, key concepts (“clues”), exercises, meditations and so much more. There are illustrations throughout to make it easy to follow along. The exercises are divided between beginners and advanced - which makes this book perfect for both the brand new tarot student and those who have been studying for years. The introduction will explain all of the “Important Words” for anyone who hasn’t seen them before and I thought this was a nice touch.
The Tarot Journal and its importance are discussed in Chapter One with “Clues for the Beginner”. This is another very nice touch for those who are just starting out and may think of Tarot as somewhat overwhelming to learn. By the time you get to Chapter Two, you will be ready to get started on your own spiritual journey. All seventy eight cards are discussed.
Always impressive is Christiana’s ability to teach in her signature “hands on” style that makes the student able to understand complex ideas. This book is just like being in one of her classes! Christiana has a gift when it comes to presentation. Her professionalism and ethics are what many of us strive to achieve as readers.
I recommend this book to everyone who reads or studies Tarot. Having a concrete understanding of the Four Elements will help you grow as a reader and also shed light on spiritual issues. Christiana calls this a “Metaphysical understanding of the Four Elements” and after reading her book, I have a better grasp on what each one represents.
This will also be a valuable reference book that you will most likely come back to again and again. She has also included a nice bibliography and suggested reading list.