Tarot in an Evening by Nova Starr
This is a CD designed for beginners and cover of the CD/booklet says: "Take me home today...Do quality readings tomorrow!!" and "Learn OVERNIGHT!" Upon reading this, my initial thoughts were that Ms. Starr would provide a simplified method of readings, perhaps based on numerology and the suits, whereby once you learned the meanings of the numbers one through ten and the meanings of the suits, you could combine them and derive the meanings of the pips. Throw in a similar scheme for the Court Cards and simple key words for the Major Arcana, and you have a system that one could possibly assimilate in an evening. However, Ms. Starr does not do this. Although it claims to be an "Exciting NEW and easy system," the "NEW system" consists of Ms. Starr reading the accompanying booklet out loud.
Ms. Starr's CD begins by requesting that you have your cards with you and that you follow along in the booklet. The CD is designed to be used with the Universal Waite deck. The CD cover says that it can be used with the Universal Waite or the Rider Waite. However, if you use the Rider Waite, you will find yourself at a loss when she discusses the "blank card," which is one of the extra cards included with the Universal Waite, but not the Rider Waite. She begins the instruction with a brief history of the Tarot. She incorrectly asserts that playing cards derive from Tarot (it is the other way around). Ms. Starr then gives a brief description of the Tarot deck. The listener is next directed to separate the Major Arcana from the rest of the deck, along with the blank card. Ms. Starr describes the Major Arcana in general and then provides a meaning for each card. Her meanings are a mixture of looking at the picture to derive the meaning, brief, fairly traditional meanings, and common quotations like "The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small," or "A soft voice turneth away wrath." Each card meaning is covered in less than a minute (most average 30 - 40 seconds). Once all of the Majors have been described, a meaning is given for the "blank card." The listener is advised to replay the "tape" and review the cards until he or she completely understands each card. Unless the listener has an exceptional memory, it is unlikely that they will understand all of the Major Arcana well enough to go on after one setting. I found it annoying that the CD kept referrring to itself as a tape.
Each suit is covered in a like manner. Beginning with the suit of Cups, some general information is given about the suit, followed by individual meanings. Again, the listener is advised not to go forward until each card is understood. Once all of the suits have been covered, the listener is advised to try the Celtic Cross spread given in the booklet. The listener is also advised to buy books on numerology and astrology in order to further their studies.
The meanings are fairly traditional, though there is a tendency to relate some cards to celebrities. This is a device that can aid one in remembering the cards. I found it interesting that Ms. Starr asserts that the Queen of Cups represents the late Princess Diana. She points out the physical resemblance between them and states: "There are three children in the card. Two representing William and Harry, and one with angel wings, representing the one she lost to a miscarriage. Since these cards were created before Diana's birth, it's really quite amazing." Apparently Ms. Starr believes that Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman-Smith were prophesying with this card.
Ms. Starr speaks clearly and moves along at quite a brisk pace. She has to, in order to cover the entire deck in less than an hour. Will this deck enable a novice to "Take [it] home today...Do quality readings tomorrow[?]" I don't think so. There is a lot of information in this CD and it is covered very quickly. Most people find songs very easy to remember. Can you listen to a music CD one or two times and hum every song correctly the next day?
The booklet that comes with this CD follows the CD almost verbatim. It also has a diagram and brief explanation of the Celtic Cross Spread. It can be carried with your deck as a quick reference. The back cover provides several hyperbolic quotes, testifying to speed at which this CD enabled those quoted to learn. The sources for these quotes are not provided. One wonders why.
In case I have not been clear enough on this point, I do not think that this CD does what it is advertised to do. It is not possible for most people to listen to a CD a couple of times and then give quality readings. Books, classes, or correspondence courses would probably be better learning methods for most people. The CD cover and ads make claims that I do not think the CD can satisfy. I think that the CD could be useful as an adjunct to one's Tarot studies - one could listen to it in the car while sitting in traffic, for example, or listen to it while doing something else around the house. However, to get the maximum benefit from the CD, one should have the cards in front of them.
I recommend this CD for those who feel that they learn better by hearing things, and/or as an adjunct to other means of Tarot study. I do not think that this CD could be used by most people as the sole method of training, and I do not think this CD lives up to the claims made on its cover. There is no way to learn to read Tarot cards in one evening that I am aware of. Learning to read cards takes commitment and practice.
Number XIX, The Sun
This is the "naked truth" card. It's a welcome and wonderful card to see in a spread. The child is naked in the sunlight with his arms outstretched. It represents openness and honesty. What you see is what you get. The white horse tells us there is not camouflage or deception. What you've been seeing and hearing is the naked truth. Someone, regarding the question, is being completely honest and hiding nothing. It also denotes, health, happiness and success. The red banner denotes the passion behind the question. Another meaning for this card is that there may be a need for your client to open up and be completely truthful about something.
Tarot in an Evening by Nova Starr
Available from Nova Starr Productions (wholesale) or Amazon, Borders or Barnes and Noble (retail)
CD cover copyright 1998 Nova Starr productions. Card from Universal Waite Deck Copyright 1991 US Games.