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Stern(500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late,2009, etc.)offers an insightful how-to guide that reaches far beyond simple directions for reading tarot cards.
The author, best known for her work as a James Beard Award–winning food writer with husband Michael, is a fourth-generation tarot reader with more than four decades of experience staring down destiny. Stern chronicles the ways in which past readings have served as a launching point for journeys of self-discovery—for both herself and her clients: "A real tarot card reading is intrusive, and—as with psychotherapy—few people want their lives laid bare for fun." Broken down into 22 chapters, one for each card of the Major Arcana deck, the author elaborates on both the obvious and hidden meanings of each card, complete with suggestions for personal growth and insight. Stern is quick to point out, however, that tarot reading is more akin to a Rorschach test—the process is not simply meant to predict a future set in stone, but rather serve as a catalyst for deep introspection and analysis. Weaving anecdotes from her 40 years' experience tangling with the occult, including particularly memorable readings she's performed for herself, Stern provides delightful take on a practice too often derided as scam or mere superstition.
More than one skeptic may come away agreeing with the author when she writes, "the tarot deck is the best method for seeking answers from beyond the limited realm of our thought."