The tarot is a fascinating way to develop insight and introspection. Jessa Crispin takes an interesting approach by using the tarot to focus on the creative life. I picked this up based on Heidi The Hippie Librarian’s review, as well as on the strength of the title, ‘A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life.’ The overview is done well, suitable even for novices to the tarot, and her approach will likely appeal to people who are interested but dislike excessive mysticism. It’s also well-suited for more experienced readers who might want to use the tarot for creative direction in their projects.
A brief history of the tarot as well as her personal approach to using the tarot begins the book. She has a nice overview of the structure of the deck: the suits, the major and minor arcana, and their general meanings. Information on the history of different decks is briefly covered, but ultimately she suggests picking a deck that speaks to the reader.
The bulk of the book is devoted to reviewing and interpreting each card with a drawing, a couple of pages of detail explaining the general meaning of the card and relating it to a literary, movie and painting reference. It’s an interesting way to think about each card and may help some people better relate and remember the meanings.
The final chapters discuss reading the cards, various ‘spreads’–how to lay the cards out–and how to interpret them. I found this section of the book the weakest; though there are illustrations for each card in the card review, there aren’t any in this section. The novice reader might very well be confused on how a Celtic cross layout is done. Greatest detail centers on unique spreads she created as ways of helping her identify a direction for her creative project.
She has a great hint for one of my own (and most likely many others’) problems; that of identifying cards easily and remembering the interpretations. She has a nice suggestion of drawing a card a day and thinking about it during the day and how the card might be applied to various situations. What I loved most about the book is the idea that ‘reading’ the tarot involves telling a story in our search for meaning.
Three and a half starts rounding up for the storytelling.