Inner Child Cards Workbook: Further Exercises and Mystical Teachings from the Fairy-Tale Tarot by Isha Lerner
Review by Diane Wilkes

If you would like to buy this book, click here.

A friend who is both thrifty and reasonably fond of the Inner Child Cards perused this book and deemed it "not worth the money." While I initially was in agreement with her assessment, after studying the Inner Child Cards Workbook, I have revised my opinion.

The book, published by Bear and Company, who also publish the Inner Child Cards set, is considerably slimmer than the companion book to the deck. Before I spent some time with the Inner Child Cards Workbook, I thought that it was only for use with the Inner Child Cards, but as I read all of the card descriptions, I realized that Lerner had made a real (and mostly successful) effort to write a book that could be used with any deck that has Golden Dawn-Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) interpretations.

The blurb on the back is quite enticing, but somewhat misleading. For example, it bullets "five major components for further work with the Inner Child Cards". One of these is "Advanced exercises that extend the use of the Inner Child Cards, including past-life regression, dreamwork, and interactive questions associated with each card in the deck." The interactive questions part is valid, but the short section on past-life regression is merely an adaptation of the Child Spread found in the Inner Child Cards companion book and the dreamwork topic is limited to advising individuals to sleep with a card that will "assist them with their night's journey." Lerner also states that she often uses a querent's dreams in conjunction with readings, but does not specify how she does this. 

While the topic of correlating fairy tales to tarot is certainly one that is deserving of articulation, I felt that Lerner could have done much more in terms of depth discussion. The author has several explanatory chapters on fairy tales and archetypes that don't mention tarot. Had she specifically illustrated her points with examples from the cards, I would have been much happier--and, I suspect, so would other readers. While there are four new spreads, the Archetype Layout is merely a one-card reading using the Major Arcana. The fact that the remaining Majors form a decorative circlet bordering that one card doesn't really make it a whole new layout in my eyes. On the other hand, the other spreads are innovative and excellent; the Yellow Brick Road Layout is Tarot Passages' featured Spread of the Month.

The majority of the book is the section of card-by-card interpretation. For the Majors, Lerner offers a quotation, traditional meaning (based on RWS and other standard deck imagery),  keywords, fairy tale lore, questions and affirmations specific to the card. The Minor Arcana includes only the traditional meaning, the Inner Child Card meaning, and questions specific to the card. I found this section quite valuable, not only regarding the Inner Child Cards but in reference to other decks. Sometimes Lerner's takes on traditional meanings are not familiar to me (hence, not what I'd call traditional), but the questions seem cogent for most cards.

A lot of the author's beliefs on feminism, reincarnation, and other new age viewpoints are gently, but didactically, threaded throughout the pages of this book. This could turn off some readers. But there are some worthwhile and unique insights in the Inner Child Cards Workbook to be found. I recommend it to Inner Child Card deck enthusiasts, as well as those who enjoy connecting stories and fables to the tarot.

If you would like to buy this book, click here.

You can view the Yellow Brick Road Layout from this book here.

You can see a sample reading with a spread from this book here.


Ten of Swords

Traditional Meaning

This card has powerful connotations regarding the deepest and most potent content of the mind. In some decks, this card is connected to insanity or loss of control of the mind. It signifies the final stages of mental organization and reorder before one steps onto the bountiful path of mastery.  This is a breakthrough card. When it appears, seek to understand the deepest underpinnings of your thoughts, words, and deeds. The power of language governs manifestation and abundance. It is well worth the effort to expand beyond limits and fears.

Inner Child Cards

Inner Child Cards heralds the Ten of Swords as a potential liberation from the strife of the past. The young lad has had the courage to look up and he has met the dragon (his healing potential) with great success. Now--instead of being encircled by imprisoning images of swords--the boy is placing the final sword of liberation (his new mental clarity and freedom) into the circle of freshly planted thoughts. He is free and vibrant, ready to embark upon the path of mastery.


What changes about my life as I engage with the newfound freedom from fear and doubt?
Is my mind a clear channel for the expression of higher willpower origination in my soul and spirit?


Excerpt 2002 Bear and Company
Review and page 2002 Diane Wilkes