Tarot by Kris Waldherr
The Goddess Tarot Workbook by Kris Waldherr
Review by Diane Wilkes
The Goddess Tarot is a companion book to the Goddess Tarot, a lavishly beautiful deck by Kris Waldherr. The first book that accompanies this deck is the standard format U.S. Games uses for books of this type; it is a small paperback with an introduction (that repeats information that later appears in the main text), short descriptions of each card, as well as interpretations for the cards, both upright and reversed. The Major Arcana descriptions are slightly longer than the Minor Arcana, but neither are what I'd call lengthy. The last section of the book offers three spreads: the Celtic Cross, a four card Past/Present/Future spread (the final card "offers the overall message or lesson of the spread"), and a 13-card Relationship Cross Spread. There are four sample readings and a list for "Further Reading."
One thing I like very much about the descriptions of the Major Arcana cards is that each one relates the tale of the individual goddess represented on the card. Anything that resembles storytelling with the tarot is always going to meet with favor in my book.
The fact is, though, that the LWB that comes with the deck for free is relatively healthy, and there's not all that much more in the book to justify purchasing it, unless the Goddess Tarot is your main deck. The description of the R-W-S-like Minors is only a paragraph or so long, with a short upright and reversed interpretation given. This isn't significantly more helpful than the LWB.
Of course, the cover is gorgeous...but I'm not sure that that alone is enough to convince most people to spring for it.
For a mere three dollars more, you can get the substantially larger Goddess Tarot Workbook, which I think makes more sense (cents?). The descriptions of both Major and Minor Arcana are a paragraph longer, though the first paragraph is usually identical to The Goddess Tarot's description.
In fact, the amount of duplication is a bit staggering. The descriptions are practically identical, except that the Workbook has an extra paragraph; Waldherr's spreads are identical as well. The Workbook has three more spreads, though. Interestingly, the Workbook doesn't include the sample readings that The Goddess Tarot does. It makes sense, since the goal of the workbook is to get the reader to develop an individual, personal relationship to the cards, and the sample readings might influence the individual to adopt Waldherr's approach instead of manifesting his own. But since this is the deluxe book, it might have been a good thing to include.
It's not like there isn't enough space in the spreads section. Even though there are only six spreads, the section is almost 60 pages! Why? Because the author has provided five blank forms of each spread (each being two pages long) for the reader to complete. I can't say I see this as a Goddess-centered conservation of paper resources. As a consumer, I would have preferred a few less blank forms being replaced by the sample spreads.
The main section of the book is the 78 card section, which includes four different questions developed by Kris Waldherr for the reader to answer in the workbook. Her intent is to give you, the reader, "an opportunity to explore and record the multitude of riches contained within your life." Two of the questions are repeated for every card: "This card reminds me of the following..." and "Other thoughts I have about this card..." The other two are specific to the card, but some of the questions don't seem particularly meaning-appropriate. The Ten of Staves questions are "Where would I like to see success in my life?" and "How would I handle success?" I think there are many other questions that would be more apt for this card.
One of the Princess of Staves' questions is, "Some projects on which I would like to move forward..."; a question for the Queen of Staves': "What pet project would I like to make real?" If I were a novice, I might have trouble differentiating between the two cards.
I think the idea behind this book is wonderful, but it seems an opportunity lost. There is an air of new age sweetness and light that pervades this book like Avon cologne. No Lilith or Kali to be found here. Inanna doesn't go anywhere near the Underworld in the book's description. Also, the questions all have a sameness that isn't inevitable within this format. As just one example, the author could have specifically integrated the Goddess-mythos into the questions, so that the reader could think of the stories in regards to her own life.
At the end of this book is a list of resources, including numerous tarot websites, of which Tarot Passages/ Michele's Tarot Page is, sadly, not one.
Still and all, despite my concerns, I think the workbook could be very valuable to a person whose main deck is the Goddess Tarot. Not only could she begin to understand the cards more fully and gain insight from the artist/author's creative intention, she could form a personal and emotional relationship with the specific cards, which was the author's stated desire. I just wish this book at least tried to exceed its grasp. The companion book to the Goddess Tarot, while adequate, is not as good a bargain as the workbook.
The Goddess Tarot
Publisher: US Games
ISBN #: 1-57281-129-3
The Goddess Tarot Workbook
Publisher: US Games
If you would like to purchase this book, click here.
Excerpt from The Goddess Tarot, pp. 59-60:
XXI The World - Gaia
Traditional Card: The World
Keywords: Interconnection, expansion, travel
For thousands of years and in cultures all around the globe, the Great Goddess was worshipped in one form or another. In ancient Greece, the earth was personified as Gaia, a goddess who existed before all other life and created all of life. At her shrine in Delphi, Gaia was honored by priestesses who threw sacred herbs into a cauldron, using the fragrant smoke to invoke the goddess' eternal wisdom.
The story of Gaia reminds us of the interconnection of all of life--and the importance of living in harmony with her resources, as well as among our fellow humans. To experience this harmony within ourselves , as well as in the world, is perhaps the greatest gift of all.
Meanings: The Divine Feminine in action. Experiencing connection with the universe, the source which nurtures us all. A sense of expansion and hope. Travel and communications. Career expansions. Hope. An awareness of the fragile ecological balance we are all responsible for as residents of earth.
Reversed or weakly aspected: Fear of expansion. Feeling pessimistic about the future; even if you're uncertain about how it will manifest, you are moving into a more hopeful period of life. Trust!
From The Goddess Tarot Workbook, pp. 56-57:
XXI The World - Gaia
Traditional Card: The World
Keywords: Expansion, travel, interconnection
Meanings: A new sense of expansion and hope. Experiencing connection with the universe, the source which nurtures us all. Travel and communications. Career growth. Hope. An awareness of the fragile ecological balance we are all responsible for as residents of earth. The Divine Feminine in action.
Reversed or weakly aspected: Fear of expansion. Feeling pessimistic about the future; even if you're uncertain about how it will manifest, you are moving into a more hopeful period of life.
For thousands of years and in cultures all around the world, the earth has been worshipped in one form or another. In ancient Greece, the earth was personified as a mysterious goddess called Gaia, who was thought to have existed before all other life and to have created all of life. The myth of Gaia reminds us of the interconnection of all of the world and the importance of living in harmony with its resources as well as among our fellow humans. To experience this harmony in our lives is perhaps the greatest gift of all.
The World symbolizes the interconnection and delicate balance of all of these forces. The appearance of this card suggests an experience of oneness with the universe as well as a new sense of expansion and hope. Inspiration and desire for positive change are also hallmarks of this card. Travel and communications may be featured, and career expansions for the better. All are ways to connect with the peoples and lands that make up the world.
How do I see myself in the world?
Where would I like to travel in the world?
This card reminds me of the following:.
Other thoughts I have about this card:
Art © 2000 Kris Waldherr
Review and page © 2001 Diane Wilkes