I just finished reading this new book, so we’re gonna talk about it today! I was sent the book by the publisher. However, all thoughts are my genuine opinions. Plus, I would have bought this book anyway, which is why I said YES.
Sidenote: they say don’t judge a book by a cover, but can we do that for just a second? Because I love this cover. Very Instagrammable, is it not?
Theresa Reed’s writing has a conversational tone. The introduction was written by the legendary Rachel Pollack and describes the book as “unpretentious.” I think the straightforward tone of the book would make for a welcoming experience if you’re new to tarot and feel put off by convoluted philosophies. It’s not that this book doesn’t go deep, it’s just that it does so with humor and levity. For example, this passage talking about the Empress: “This card can also represent sensuality. Time to indluge in some pleasurable activities? Uh-huh. Boom chika wow wow!”
The book is made up of three parts: Tarot Basics, Intuition Basics, and Road Testing Your Skills. It would be suitable for a total beginner as Tarot Basics section covers the standard stuff you’d find in most beginner texts: tarot history and myths, components of the deck and so on. This is all pretty brief and the bulk of the first section is a card-by-card meanings glossary for all 78 cards.
The meanings articulated here are pretty on par with what you’d think of as ‘traditional’ meanings for the cards, delivered with ‘Tarot Lady’ style. They make up a good chunk of the book (over half). Theresa teaches using the Rider-Waite-Smith and does reference some of the specific symbols in this deck. That said, even if you use another deck you could still get something out of this. I found the interpretations broad enough that I think they’d give you something to think about no matter what deck you’re working with. I actually did most of the exercises with The Spacious Tarot, pictured above.
To me, the most interesting part of the interpretations was the information on reversed meanings. Theresa has a really different way of reading reversals than what I use in my own practice. As Theresa herself writes, “if you want to see tarot people argue, ask their opinion about reversals.” Made me lol because ain’t it the truth? She goes on to write that using reversals or not is up to you, which I completely agree with. In Theresa’s style of teaching, reversals can signal “blocked energy or something stalled…..(or) the opposite meaning of the card.”
As I said, very different from my personal style, but I think as a reader it’s good to keep your mind open and at least consider other ways of doing things! That’s actually something Theresa herself mentions in the book’s conclusion: “you mustn’t get too stuck in your ways or develop what I call ‘bad tarot habits’ of only seeing the cards from one perspective, including mine.”
My favorite part of the interpretations – and really, my favorite part of the entire book – was the “tarotcises” offered for each card. I will admit I haven’t actually done all of them, but I have done a few and always found them enriching. I’m sure that the tarotcises are the part of the book I’ll find myself revisiting most often in the future.
As an example, here’s the tarotscise for the Emperor: “the Emperor is such a severe dude. For this Tarotcise, try to find something soft about him. Study the card carefully. Where might you find tenderness in the Emperor?”
The second section of the book, Intuition Basics, is a well rounded primer in different types of intuitive abilities and exercises for enhancing intuition. When you use the word ‘intuition’ around tarot readers, we all have different ideas of what this means. Theresa’s style of intuitive reading is not that out of line with what some people might call predictive or dare I say “psychic” reading.
It’s another way in which this book asked me to come out of my set in stone ways, as someone who is constantly telling my clients “I’m not psychic and I don’t read predictively.” It’s not that I have an issue with predictive reading, it’s just not something I think of myself as particularly skilled at. That said, some people ARE skilled in this, and if that’s you, there’s definitely a market for it.
Theresa does explain that she doesn’t believe readers can “see it all” or that tarot can predict everything. Essentially, if you choose to read predictively, Theresa says “we can see where actions may be leading, but there is always the possibility you will misinterpret information or the querent may decide to make a change.” Throughout the book, she shares anecdotes about readings she’s conducted over the years. I quite enjoyed reading these – maybe her next book will just be Memoirs of a Tarot Reader with all kinds of stories! I would totally read that.
Part three, Roadtesting Your Skills, covers everything from creating the right environment for a reading, to shuffling and cleansing your deck. There’s a section on spreads, including sample interpretations. This is another section I think would be particularly useful for beginners (but also readers of any level!) because it’s nice to see how an experienced reader ties the cards together and forms an interpretation. This section is rounded out with plenty more tarotcises and even has an informative little section on going pro as a reader, should that be something you choose to pursue.
Overall, this book would be great for a beginner looking for a breezy, approachable primer. I think it’s worth a purchase for the tarotcises alone. As I already mentioned, even as a more ‘advanced’ reader I really like the tarotcises and I’m sure I’ll refer to them again. Consider ordering this one from a local book shop, they really need the support! Or you can get it on Amazon.
In other news…I’m finally open for tarot readings again! As my business evolves, I’ve been spending more time lately shipping out my own deck and have been less available for client work. I’m in a rhythm – for now – where shipping is manageable and I look forward to connecting with you if you feel inspired to book a session.
Going forward, I will continue this approach of monitoring my time and energy to determine when it is wise to open for client sessions, and when I need to take further breaks. My priority is always showing up with the right energy and focus to offer really valuable sessions. I appreciate your patience and understanding as this continues to shift and cycle.
All the details are here.