Review by Bonnie Cehovet
The premier issue of the highly promoted Tarot World Magazine is out … a month late … and quite frankly does not live up to expectations. I am going to take a look at the format of the magazine, and then the issues that I have with it.
The 61 page magazine has a glossy front and back cover, with regular stock for the inside pages. The front cover shows a rendition of the Fool, which covers about one-third of the page. The remaining two-thirds of the page is given over to listing articles and reviews contained within the magazine, with associated page numbers. The inside of the front cover carries scans and purchasing information from four of the decks reviewed: The Via Tarot (reviewed by Lon Milo DuQuette), the Tarot Swietlistej Drogi (reviewed by Jeannette Roth), the Gilded Tarot (reviewed by Linda Gillispie), and the Sharman-Caselli Tarot (reviewed by Solandia).
The back cover carries scans and purchasing information from four more of the decks reviewed: the Medieval Cat Tarot (reviewed by Christiana Gaudet), the Druid Craft Tarot (reviewed by Greyhound), the Goddess Tarot (reviewed by Lisa Finander), and the Robin Wood Tarot (reviewed by Jeannine Bakriges).
The first page presents working information, including the name of the publisher (TWM Publishing, Inc.), the various editors: Senior Editor -Heidi Snelgrove, Review Editor - Ferol Humphrey, and Puzzle Editor – Shawn Nacol; cover art by Kari Michele Handwerker; and proofreaders: Martha Jones and Donna Barbar. Also listed are this issues features: So You Want To Take A Tarot Class (Gigi Miner), Court Cards As Archetypes (Christine Cover), I Love LWB’s (Little White Books) (April Wagner), and Astrology 101 (David Monroe).
On the second page reviews are listed, along with the various departments (Letter From The Editor, Mail Call, Tarot World News, BIT Snapshot, Cooking With Tarot, Contest Central, Spread Collector, Puzzle Pages, Look Ahead, Classifieds, and Index of Works). Also listed are the columns and columnists: Fool’s Corner (Stephanie Arwen Lynch), Business of Tarot (Catriona), Behind the Scenes (Stephen D. Winick), Masters Read (with a different guest reader each issue), Tomorrow’s Readers (guest written), Storytellers (guest written), Origins (Psyche), Sneak Peak (with a different deck each issue), The Ethics Question (Beth Owl’s Daughter), Astrology Window (Isaac Bradfield), Teacher’s Desk (Winter Wren), and Magic and Mystery (Paul Hughes-Barlow).
In her Letter from the Editor, Snelgrove gives us the background on how this magazine came about. She also notes coming features, such as Rachel Pollack as the next presenter for the Master Reader section, and the inspiration for the next issue’s Cooking With Tarot coming from the Lover’s card. A new column will be introduced in the second issue, called Tech Meets Tarot, where guest writers will explore different technologies, and what they have to offer to the Tarot world. She also notes that advertising will be carried from the second issue on, that solutions to this issue’s puzzles can be found on the companion Internet site (www.tarotworldmag.com), as well as bonus material and a complete Index of Works, with reference links to Amazon.com where available.
Note: The Index of Works will appear at the end of each magazine. It will contain key product information (publisher, author, artist, date of publication and ISBN number), and will include every work that is named, cited, or has an image used from it in each issue.
There is an entire page given over to Meet Up Groups, as well as new deck and book releases. Reference is made to the Tarot Calendar website, which will contain more up to date information.
In Contest Central we find the following: July (Create A Spread, deadline March 15th, 2008), October (Tarot Crafts Contest, deadline June 15th), January (Art Contest, deadline September 15th, 2008). There is also a separate contest through the Tomorrow’s Readers column for children ages 7-14. First through third place will be featured in the July 2008 issue.
I was impressed by the writing in several areas: Court Cards As Archetypes (Christine Cover), Behind the Scenes (by Stephen Winick), The Ethics Question (Beth Owl’s Daughter), Astrology 101 (Dave Monroe), Sneak Peek: Gaian Tarot (Joanna Powell Colbert), The Last Troubadour (Beth Owl’s Daughter), and Hermits, Magic and Mysticism (Paul Hughes-Barlow).
I cringed at the misspellings, typographical and grammatical errors that run rampant throughout this issue. A premier issue should showcase the product in the best possible manner – and I did not feel that this was done. For example, the page numbers listed for the deck reviews on the cover are all wrong, as was one out of four page numbers listed for the articles.
Sidebars are used extensively throughout the magazine, which in some cases acted to highlight errors, such as the misspelling of collage in the sidebar for the Tomorrow’s Readers article, and the following sidebar that accompanies an excellent review by Jeannette Roth (all misspellings, typographical and grammatical errors are just as they appear in the magazine):
“The Purveyor’s Choice Review is a deck or book review by a Tarot shop owner whosees a large volume of Tarot products. They bring with them a special view of the Tarot World aand in the Purveyor’s Choice Reviewthey can share it with us all.
If you are a shop eeper and would like to submit a Purveyor’s Choice Review yontact Ferol Humprhey at Reviews@tarotworldmag.com” Consistent reference is made to the companion Internet site www.tarotworldmag.com, which has its own issues. The links for Art Gallery, Advertising, and Index of Works lead nowhere, as do the highlighted links for TWMCourseware, Tarot Directory, Writer’s Desk, TPAB, TWM Second Life, About TWM, and back to TWM main.
To be fair, the links on the Internet site to Sneak Peak (a preview of the first pages of the January 2008 issue), Behind the Scenes (Winick’s interview with Mary Greer), and the e-subscription page do work. (Yes, ladies and gentlemen, there is an e-version of this magazine, at least according to the Internet site.)
On the main page of the Internet site it is noted that the premier issue was held back so that the editors could take their time and present an issue that set the bar high for all of the issues to follow. With the huge amount of misspellings, typographical and grammatical errors, I beg to differ. The bar on the presentation side of the magazine was set extremely low. The content is good, and there are items of interest, such as the contests and puzzles that one does not find elsewhere.
My hope is that future issues are not rushed, that proof reading is ramped up, and that the quality of presentation at least matches that of two current print magazines: the Quarterly Journal from the ATA (edited by Liz Hazel), and Celebrating the Tarot Journal (edited by Geraldine Amaral). The Tarot world cannot be expected to support a product that lacks quality. (There is a difference between sited and cited,) I would like to see this magazine become a productive, supportive addition to the Tarot world, but there needs to be a great deal of work done before that happens.
© 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.