KnightHawk's Tarot Readings by James Ricklef
Review by Diane Wilkes

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I am always on the lookout for tarot books for beginners.  While I think Mary K. Greer's Tarot for Your Self is the best book in our present-day universe for beginners and I will always be personally grateful for all I learned (and continue to learn) from it, not everyone is willing to do the panoply of exercises the book offers.  In fact, the sheer mass of it has intimidated several people to whom I have given the book. 

Frequently, I hear beginners say that they understand individual cards, but just can't seem to put the cards together in a spread. I believe KnightHawk's Tarot Readings by James Ricklef is custom-made for these seekers.

You may already be familiar with Ricklef's readings as KnightHawk.  Various tarot publications, from Tapestry Magazine to the American Tarot Association (A.T.A.) Newsletter have published these readings on a regular basis for fictional (and historical) beings, such as Scarlett O'Hara and Carry Nation.  I have always found them mildly diverting, but didn't realize that, en masse, they were an ideal teaching tool.   Particularly of value to the novice will be Ricklef's post-reading comments, explaining certain methods "KnightHawk" utilizes to get to his interpretations, and other interesting points.

The readings are all done with Rider-Waite-Smith deck variations, such as the Universal and Albano Waite or clones such as Hanson-Roberts or the Aquarian Tarot. 

In addition to the 22 readings sampled, Ricklef offers quite a bit more to the reader.  There are sections on Finding Card Meanings, which is a guide on determining personal meanings in addition to reading texts on the subject, Reversed Cards, which offers "the Five D's of Reversed Cards" and the "Reversal Cube," which adds two more ways of reading reversals to the seeker's mental library, and Ricklef's analysis of different kinds of Three-Card Spreads.

There is also a list of Suggested References, which includes some online resources (not Tarot Passages!  Oh, well...every book has to contain a few flaws), a short bibliography, and, best of all, an appendix: Keywords and Comments for Tarot Cards, a short but solid section that (obviously) gives keywords and commentary for each of the 78 tarot cards.  As usual, there is more meat to the Major Arcana section, but I think Ricklef did a fine job on this.  The information is very accessible, yet not too much for beginners to absorb.

No doubt you've noticed that I keep saying, "For beginners."  I guess I really mean that it would be good for beginners and intermediate-level readers.  I enjoyed reading this book--it flowed easily and I slurped it right up--but I didn't personally derive a lot of new, substantive information from KnightHawk's Tarot Readings.  Chances are good that I may never consult it again.  However, I know several beginners and intermediate-level readers to whom I could and should loan it--it could really be a solid stepping stone for them to create cohesive, cogent readings. 


Tortoise To Race Hare

Dear KnightHawk,

I'm in big trouble now!  I don't know how I got talked into this, but I'm supposed to run a race against a hare.  I'm just a tortoise.  How the heck am I supposed to win a race against a rabbit?

Yours truly,
The. Tortoise

Dear Mr. Tortoise,
Thank you for this interesting question.  To answer it, I dealt a three-card spread as follows:

1: What you need to know about your problem:
    King of Wands
2: What you can do about it:
    The Magician
3: Who or what can help you:
    Ace of Wands reversed

The King of Wands says that this isn't a problem, it's a challenge, and boldness will get you through it. You've taken a chance in accepting the challenge of this race, but you have done so because of your conviction that you can prove yourself, despite what other people may think your chances are.

The Magician card assures you that you have what it takes -- the necessary tools and skills -- to win this race. This card advises you to tap into the self-confidence that the King of Wands says is yours, and act with will
and determination. This card also says that it may seem like it would take a miracle for you to win the race, but you are a magician when you believe in yourself and have the will to tap the divine power of the universe that is everyone's birthright.

The reversed Ace of Wands says that what will help you lies inside of you.  You need to face your fears and look beyond your limitations. From the tone of your question, it seems that you still don't quite believe that you can win this race, and your confidence is blocked or diminished. Your true opponent is your own self-doubt, not the rabbit. You can only win the race if you can build up your confidence. Know that you can do it, and then go for it!

Again, thanks for letting me read for you.  I hope this helps.

Best of luck to you,

KnightHawk's Tarot Readings
Author: James Ricklef
ISBN#: 0-595-15948-6

If you'd like to purchase a copy of this book, click here.

Text and art 2001 James Ricklef
Review and page 2001 Diane Wilkes




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