Robin Wood Tarot: The Book

Though this is the companion to Robin Wood Tarot, it can also be used with other Rider-Waite style Tarot decks.

By Robin Wood · Book · Published by Livingtree Books

Review by nexy jo

I have to admit I'm biased. The Robin Wood Tarot is my deck of choice, and has been for as long as I've been a student of the tarot, over five years now. I've also had the privilege of seeing a seminar she gave on her deck, and the tarot in general. And then, sitting with her for a few hours afterward, talking about all kinds of things, the tarot, life, and the universe.

That said, the book she wrote on her deck is my tarot "bible". And not only for her deck, but for the tarot in general. Her deck generally follows the Rider-Waite format, so really, any deck that is in this vein, is applicable.

After a short chapter that reviews the book itself, she reviews the history of the tarot overall, separating fact from fiction. Her historical review is one of the most comprehensive and honest treatments of this topic that I've read. And finally, after a history of her deck, she reviews some of the common symbols used in the tarot what each color can mean, each object, each element that are universally found in almost every deck.

She reviews each card, grouped by suit, and provides at least a page and a half of prose. Keywords are provided along with an in depth interpretation. But she doesn't stop there. She takes the reader into a journey through her process; why she chose every element in each of the cards, and what it means to her. This is the meat of the book, as it really provides insight into reading the tarot in general. Don't be fooled into thinking that one must follow her interpretations though. She's quite clear in suggesting that we each find our own symbol sets and associated meanings. She provides the framework though, a new perspective, of looking at each card, and applying our individual experience into a comprehensive yet unique interpretation.

I have a poor memory for facts and figures. When I first started studying the tarot, the idea that I'd have to memorize 78 different interpretations seemed quite daunting. That seemed an overwhelming challenge that stood in the way of my understanding in how the tarot works. It was only after reading robin wood's book, that I began to understand. The reader is encouraged to see each card in the moment, to take notice of what element in each card stands out in the context of that particular reading, catching the reader's eye, and then to place the interpretation based on those experiences, and not some memorized list of facts and figures. She guides the reader through the simple mechanics of reading the tarot.

After a review of each card, she presents a short chapter on how the tarot works. The next chapter reviews how one might begin readings. a chapter on tarot ethics is followed by a review of three different spreads. And to finish, a few appendixes, one of which shows several of the cards in her deck at various stages, and how they evolved through the time she was creating the deck.

I highly recommend this book, especially for beginners, and for anyone who uses a deck based on the Rider-Waite format. It is certainly valuable for anyone who owns the Robin Wood Tarot deck, but even experienced readers can benefit from her unique insight into her own process of creating her deck.

© September 2003

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