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Complete Book of Tarot Spreads - Review by Michele Jackson

This book is a translation of a German book by Evelin Burger and Johannes Fiebig. Chapter One discuss Tarot basics. Suits, numerology and colors are discussed briefly as an aid to interpretation. Concepts familiar to most readers, such as Personality Cards, are described, despite the author's believe that "calculations as figuring and interpreting a personality card are losing their appeal." Some less familiar concepts are also introduced, such as "the Quintessential card," which is determined by assigning values to all of the cards in a spread, then calculating a total which reduces to the "Quintessential Card." This seems to be something popular in Germany, as I have seen it in another German translation as well. A brief discussion of tarot connections to Qabala, Numerology, I Ching, Runes, etc. is provided, and a few other basic tarot ideas such as keeping a tarot journal and pulling a daily card are presented. There is not a lot of new material here, and the old material is not developed, though one would not expect it to be covered thoroughly in a book that is primarily devoted to Tarot Spreads.

Chapter Two is the crux of the book - 122 Tarot Spreads. Many of the spreads are merely variations of other spreads. This is particularly evident in the smaller spreads. Several one card affairs and even some Tarot exercises are included in the spread count. There are four variations of the Celtic Cross provided, each counted as an independent spread. A diagram of each spread is provided with numbered positions. A list with a brief description of each numbered position follows. Few spreads have much in the way of explanatory information, though most are pretty self explanatory.

Chapter Three consists primarily of information on Tarot and Astrology. Various tables of astrological correspondences are provided, but very little information on what they all mean. Two word interpretations of the signs are provided, but nothing on the planets. Prior knowledge of Astrology would be necessary to make much use of this chapter.

I would recommend this book for someone who is interested in expanding their collection of spreads, and who does not already have a spread - intensive book such as "Classic Tarot Spreads," or "Tarot and Individuation."

ISBN#: 080699505X


Instructions about how to handle Tarot cards - do you pull a card from the left? how must you shuffle the cards? the do's and don'ts about what kind of questions to ask, instructions on how long a given interpretation is valid, and so on - are all outdated. Even such calculations as figuring and interpreting a personality card are losing their appeal.

Those kinds of instructions are also included in this book only for the sake of completeness. But how can pulling and calculating a personality card compare to the process of discovering and watching your personality unfold, or dealing with your personal desires and fears?

Tarot is a language of symbols. The magic of the symbols is a mirror, for the magic is in all of us. It becomes apparent as soon as we experience and learn about our place between heaven and earth.

What you won't find in this book are layouts designed to discover how many "good" and "Bad" cards they contain. You will also search in vain for advice about how to judge a layout by the number of "Higher" cards (Major Arcana and cards from the Minor Arcana with higher numbers). People who want to make discussions or draw conclusions based on these might just as well roll dice.

Tarot is about encountering certain experiences, contents and meanings. If you are prepared for such an encounter, Tarot cards will open your eyes. They will increase the possibility for you to grasp more diverse and infinite realities. In addition to being a mirror of yourself , Tarot cards are also a mirror of all the other levels and facets of reality. Approaching and using Tarot cards with this understanding will then become a training ground and, eventually , a test for you to come to terms with these facets.

Complete Book of Tarot Spreads pg. 10 - 11

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Review Copyright 1997 Michele Jackson
Page Copyright 2000 Diane Wilkes