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Power Tarot by Trish MacGregor and Phyllis Vega         Review by Michele Jackson

Power Tarot is a book of many virtues. Like most Tarot books, it provides some basic introductory material, as well as interpretations for each of the 78 cards in the deck. However, the primary thrust of this book is Tarot Spreads. Over 100 different spreads are given, ranging from simple one card spreads to more elaborate spreads using up to 24 cards.

This book is geared towards those who want to use Tarot primarily as a divination tool in readings for others as opposed to some books which are more geared towards using Tarot as a tool for self discovery. The authors worked as professional readers for the telephone psychic lines in order to put their spreads through rigorous testing. They found that querents in this environment wanted the reader to get to the heart of the issue quickly. Querents were likely to hang up otherwise. This led the authors to devise spreads that packed a lot of information in a minimum number of cards.

Chapter One - What is Tarot? provides the usual introductory information about Tarot, such as the fact that a Tarot deck has 78 cards, 22 major Arcana, 56 Minor Arcana, etc. The authors advise the novice to acquire the Rider Waite (Waite-Smith) deck or one of its clones. The card interpretations provided in later chapters do not usually describe the scenes depicted on the cards, but they are easily recognizable as being appropriate for the Waite-Smith scenes. Chapter One is where we find information about things like reversals, deck cleansing and timing.

Chapter Two - How Tarot Works provides a psychological explanation for the cards based primarily on Jung and Maslow. This is a not a long, detailed section, just a brief overview. Chapter Three - The Major Arcana recommends that the novice begin their study with the Majors. Interpretations for each card fall into several categories beginning with a general interpretation, followed by interpretive sections titled In a Reading, Work, Romance, Finances, Health, Spirituality and Empowerment. The Empowerment section provides an affirmation or quotation for each card. Chapter Four - Court Cards describes the difficulties many readers experience in working with the Court Cards. The authors give some recommendations for overcoming these difficulties in interpretation. The interpretive section is similar to that for the Major Arcana, in that it gives a general description of the Court Card's character, followed by interpretations for the areas of Work, Romance, Finances, etc.

Chapter Five - The Minor Arcana is where we find information on the suits and numbers. There is a section titled Personal Loss Cards, which discusses how to interpret what some would call "negative cards," such as the ten of swords, in light of the cards surrounding it in a spread. Interpretations are given for each Minor Arcana card in the same subject areas as the Major Arcana and the Court Cards. This is a refreshing change, as many books short shrift the Minor Arcana when it comes to interpretation. Chapter Six - The Spreads is the section where we find the heart and soul of this book. There are over 100 spreads in this chapter, but they are organized by the number of cards used and have descriptive titles so that the reader should be able to find a spread for a particular need quickly. Few topics are not covered. In addition to the usual decision and romance spreads, there is a spread for travel, a spread for luck, even a spread for pets. Most of the spreads are 10 cards or less with 24 being the most cards used in any spread. If you are looking for a 78 card, once in a lifetime spread, this is not your book, but if you want a selection of spreads suitable for the most commonly asked questions, then you will be more than pleased with the selection provided here.

Chapter Seven - Putting it All Together provides advice for dealing with those situations where a card just makes no sense to you in its present position, or where you can not seem to see the connection between a group of cards. Chapter Eight - Point of Power discusses how to use the cards as tools of personal empowerment rather than letting the cards control your actions. This chapter is followed by an index.

Overall, this is one of the best spread books in my collection. The authors take a straightforward, practical approach to Tarot card reading. This book provides information that will be useful to anyone who wants to read tarot for others. It provides both spreads and interpretations to cover all of the most common areas about which querents seek information. The interpretations provided are fairly traditional - users of the Waite-Smith deck or its clones will recognize them even though no description of the scenes are given. The topical interpretive sections make this book a useful reference when one gets cards that seem out of context in light of the subject.

I recommend this book for just about everyone. While it does not devote much time or discussion to Tarot as a tool for self discovery, it does provide spreads that can be used by those who only read for themselves, as well as those who read for others. The layout of the book makes it quick and easy to find just what you are looking for. This is an excellent reference tool which will enhance any Tarot library.

Power Tarot
Authors: Trish MacGregor and Phyllis Vega
ISBN: 0684841851
Publisher: Simon and Shuster
Price: $12.00 USD


Spreads form the heart of Tarot. They create the stories the cards tell and depict recurring patterns that are both visible and invisible, known and unknown, obvious and hidden.

Some spreads work best for specific questions, others describe general situations and conditions, and still others answer questions that haven't been asked yet. The collection of spreads given in this book covers a spectrum broad enough to fit most people's needs.

We've designed these spreads to obtain concrete, direct answers to the questions most people ask about their daily lives: romance, work, finances, health and spirituality. You won't have to wade through pages of mythological associations, historical data about the tarot or esoteric information. Just get out your deck, find a spread that seems to fit your question and lay out the cards.

Power Tarot, pg. 17

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This page is Copyright 1997 by Michele Jackson