The introduction in Rachel Pollack’s, “The New Tarot handbook” triggered my own memories of when I started reading cards. I was first exposed to the Gypsy Method of reading the 32 skat cards when I was about 13 years old. I used to hang around with a girl from Macedonia who read coffee grounds and the regular playing cards. As I have written before, the Lenormand and Gipsy cards came into my life on that Eastern European visit (1971) to my birth place in Slovenia.
When we returned back to Canada, I went to visit my cousin/family in New York. It was there the Tarot cards discovered me via a friend of the family residing near Brooklyn. I still have this original 44-year-old deck which was heavily used in the 1970’s. The reason I am sharing this story is because I had forgotten about the earlier years of Tarot. Those of us who started our Tarot journey in those days remember quite well the lack of books/information available on the Tarot. I went on and joined a mystical school in California receiving correspondence lessons which were rooted in Cabalah. But enough about me …
I have read most of Rachel’s books beginning with “Teach yourself Fortune-Telling” (1986). I’d been reading fortunes for two decades by then. I remember writing to Rachel to share my feelings on a book she wrote plus a few other things going on related to bringing the Tarot out of the closet. She wrote back to me. I have the letter framed, ha-ha. I will cherish her handwritten letter to me.
➡ And now back to the theme of today’s post – The New Tarot Handbook.
I would recommend the handbook to those of you who are embarking on the Tarot journey. Consider yourself lucky because the grunge work has been done by many of us probably before you were born or were little kids. Those learning Tarot these days have a real advantage insofar as the availability of information on the topic. You can pick and choose how you want to learn the Tarot cards.
Rachel’s approach in the handbook is from a less structured viewpoint. She encourages that you find your own way when reading the cards. Each card is reviewed by image (which opens the magical Tarot doors to the beholder). The Divinatory meanings for both upright and reversed cards are worded in such a way that you will not have any problem understanding what they mean. In the Major Arcana section there is an additional exercise including questions to ask yourself about the card. Yes, you can read the Tarot for yourself. It’s the road to self-discovery and self-healing. (When my partner of 8 years passed away about ten years ago I used the Tarot as a tool to help me with the grieving process. The Tarot became my grief counsellor. I did daily draws and recorded my findings. When certain cards appeared on a steady basis I reviewed my notes…also knew I was stuck in that energy.)
At the end of the book, there are several layouts which are so beautifully simple that even the experienced Tarot practitioner should try them. I really enjoyed reading the New Tarot handbook. It was light as a feather in its message on the Tarot cards.