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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Tarot, 2nd Edition

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  • Posted December 8, 2010

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    A Profound Introduction To The Tarot With One Fatal Flaw

    For anyone venturing into the complex and deeply meaningful world of Tarot, The Complete Idiot's Guide To Tarot (Second Edition) by Arlene Tognetti and Lisa Lenard is an invaluable resource to use as a starting point. Both the Idiot's and For Dummies books are vastly underrated resources, as they are usually incredibly well organized and written by experts in their fields. This book on the Tarot is no exception.

    Beginning with an excellent introduction to the Tarot and its meaning, Tognetti and Lenard answer such questions as does Tarot really work, how does Tarot work, can you read your own cards, and does Tarot seal your fate. These and other common questions of perhaps hesitant newcomers to Tarot are answered in a gentle and comforting manner, encouraging personal exploration and meaning within the Tarot cards. Also included is a history of the Tarot's beginnings from cave paintings to gypsy fortune telling. Ending the first second of the book, the authors explain how Tarot cards can help you through difficult times in your life and find meaning and purpose.

    In its second part, Tognetti and Lenard explain how to become more familiar with the cards themselves, encouraging analysis of the images and finding personal meaning within the cards. Several times throughout the book, the authors acknowledge that while documented meaning for both the upright and reversed images do exist, ultimately it is the Reader of the cards who interprets the cards and finds meaning in their imagery. What a specific card means to a Reader during a reading may or may not coincide with the documented meaning. A Tarot reading is as much a matter of intuition as it is of history and tradition.

    Each of the cards within both the Major and Minor Arcana of the traditional Universal Waite Tarot Deck is examined closely for imagery, symbolism, meaning, and interpretation in both its upright and reversed positions. Explanations are clear, and keywords are provided to help the student remember the meanings. Again, the authors stress that while certain meanings are prevalent within the cards, the reader's own interpretation and intuitive response to the cards is equally as important.

    One of the most intriguing sections of this book explains the elements of a good Tarot reading, including setting the right atmosphere when reading others' cards and making the Querent (the seeker) comfortable during the reading. Various common Tarot spreads, or card layouts, are explained in detail, the space is provided for the reader to complete each spread and to document the meaning behind the cards. This part of the book is exceptionally important.

    What keeps this book from achieving a five-star rating is its ridiculous section on a theoretical reading of Oprah Winfrey. This unnecessary addition detracts from the profound importance of the other aspects of the book. Without this silly indulgence by the authors, this book would be exceptional, deserving of the highest rating.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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