Review by Bonnie Cehovet
“The Ultimate Guide To Tarot Card Meanings” is a new, 336 page e-book from Biddy (Brigit Esselmont), of Biddy Tarot. For someone who has publicly stated that she was not enamored of reviewing e-books, this is the second e-book that I have reviewed in a very short time period – and both were excellent books, professionally written, and easy to review. A hint to those who are considering offering their work in e-book format – do what Biddy has done, and make the type large enough to read easily! I know – I can do this myself, but I truly appreciate it when I don’t have to do so.
In her introduction, Biddy emphasizes that this book is called a guide for a reason – that it is here to guide the reader, but that any reading depends on the connection between the reader, the Seeker, and the cards. The cards may not mean the same things from reading to reading. The basic meaning will be the same, but how they play out in the reading will not be. Biddy has also made it a point to provide links to contact her through e-mail, her site, her blog, Face Book and Twitter, for those that have questions or comments. She also notes that this book is a useful resource for all levels of reader, from beginner to advanced.
At the end of her introduction Biddy includes a link to “The Ultimate Guide To Tarot Card Meanings Companion Workbook”. By using the workbook, an individual reader is provided with a template for creating their own Ultimate Guide.
Bonus chapters one through three focus on numerology, reversals, and card combinations. On numerology, Biddy notes that the numbers 1-9 represent a material and spiritual evolutionary process. While some readers, such as myself, associate numbers with the Court Cards, this book does not. Each of the numbers, 1-10, is defined by their numerological and esoteric meaning.
Whether a reader uses reversed cards or not is up to them. I never have, Biddy always has. While is does offer the opportunity to expand the meaning of a reading, my feeling is that the same information is offered by reading the card in relation to its neighbors, so see how it is functioning. Biddy offers several different ways in which to interpret reversed cards that stay away from the negative meanings that some readers give them. A reversed card is not the opposite of the upright meaning, and this is made clear in this section.
In Tarot card combinations, Biddy shows the reader how to create their own combinations, which is a gift beyond measure. To see what someone else has done gives us fresh perspective … to be able to then do this ourselves opens up our world!
For each of the cards, Biddy presents:
* Relevant quotes that help to understand the card.
* Images (from the Rider-Waite deck) and detailed descriptions
that help the reader to understand the symbolism within each card.
* Specific meanings for common types of readings (such as love, career, finances, and spirituality.
* Tarot card combinations and their possible meanings.
I love the Quick Reference charts that preface the Major Arcana, and each of the four suits. The charts are very professionally done, with a small color graphic from the Rider-Waite Tarot, along with upright and reversed keywords. What a wonderful reference! (This is also included at the end of the book.)
Each card is presented with a color scan of the card, keywords (upright and reversed), quotes, a description of the card, and the card meanings (in a general sense, and in the areas of career/work/finance, personality types, relationship and love, spirituality, and well-being and health), and suggested card combinations for both upright and reversed cards.
Bonus chapters four through seven focus on the top ten cards in the areas of love, career and travel, followed by twenty-five easy three=card spreads. An example: the cards listed for love include the Lovers, the Two of Cups, the Ten of Cups and the Four of Wands.
Appendix 1 includes quick reference charts for Major Arcana Keywords, suit of Cups keywords, Suit of Pentacles Keywords, Suit of Swords Keywords, and Suit of Wands Keywords. (Note: A color scan of the card is also included.) Sample spreads included are based on the Three Card Spread, with category listings (i.e. choices and decisions, understanding relationships, and understanding a situation).
The final chapter is words of wisdom from Biddy on the learning cycle, developing your own card meanings, practicing, believing in yourself, and staying connected. Links are given to various Tarot organizations, and encouragement is given to staying in touch with other Tarot readers. This is important, because as readers we often find ourselves isolated in our communities, without in-person support for out work.
I found this e-book to be an excellent resource, very professionally done, very in-depth, and presented in a manner that was gracious and considerate. I look forward to seeing more work from Biddy!
© 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.