Monday 20 April 2015

Review: Tarot - How to Read and Interpret the Cards

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you'll realise I’ve been enjoying the new Hay House Basic series of books. These are introductory titles on mind, body, spirit topics that aim to demystify the subjects so anyone can understand them.

Up to now, the books I had read were on things about which I wasn't particularly knowledgeable, such as Lucid Dreaming, Angels and Crystals. The one I have just finished, however, is about a subject I know a bit about already. It was Hay House Basics: Tarot,by Kim Arnold, who previously edited The Tarot Masters.

While I always look forward to seeing how other people interpret the tarot - as there are always differences in the way individuals view the cards - I wasn't expecting to learn much that was new. I was pleasantly surprised.

Don't get me wrong. This is a book aimed at beginners - its subtitle is Learn How to Read and Interpret the Cardsand it offers what it promises. As with all Hay House Basics, it start with a simple introduction to the subject. In this case, it begins with choosing a deck, and gives the sensible advice of starting with the The Rider-Waite deck. Kim Arnold explains that this particular deck's cards "are clear and concise, packed with information and colour, and therefore the ability to interpret from the card images is endless." I would add that the Rider-Waite deck is also the most commonly used decks, so finding further help is easy.

As you would expect, much of Hay House Basics: Tarot is taken up with details of each card, with an image and meaning. Also as you would expect, this starts with the Major Arcana - the 22 cards that form the foundation of the tarot - and goes on to describe the Minor Arcana - the 56 cards in the suits of Pentacles (coins), Swords, Wands and Cups.

A section also looks at the court cards in details - the Page, Knight, Queen and King of each suit. I like Kim's decision to deal with the court cards separately as they are rather distinct, being about people who might influence our lives. Kim also teaches different types of layout and how to weave the meanings of cards together during a reading

As well as covering all the things you would expect in a beginners guide to the tarot, Kim goes into some less well known aspects of tarot reading. I mentioned earlier that I learnt a few things myself - in particular, how to work out a tarot birth and year card. You do this by adding up all the digits in your date of birth, continuing to add until you get a number up to 21. You then look at which card in the Major Arcana this represents. It not only gives you a little insight into your own character, but you can use this card as a significator to represent yourself in readings.

I was rather surprised (in a good way) to find out what my own birth card is. I'm not going to tell you right now what I discovered - you will have to keep reading my blog to find out, as I will
go into more depth about the card in the near future.

The book itself I give a big thumbs up to. As beginners' guides to the tarot go, I'd say it is really good - informative, easy to read and with the right balance of advice about whether to use your own intuition or traditional interpretations when reading the cards. It even teaches how to learn to trust your intuition - a valuable lesson when using any type of divination.

Hay House's website for the series is: At the site you can find free downloads to go with each Basics book.

Links and previous related posts
Tarot: Learn How to Read and Interpret the Cards (Hay House Basics)

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