Tarot Plain and Simple
by Anthony Louis
with illustrations by Robin Wood
Here is a complete guide to understanding and interpreting traditional tarot cards, in a practical and enjoyable manner. Anthony Louis, whose background in clinical psychiatry gives him a bit of a logical or rational approach, offers a very straightforward and accessible explanation of every card, as well as thorough information on Major and Minor Arcana, suits, tarot spreads, reading for self and others, as well as a brief tarot history. Louis says of the tarot, "the Tarot is a device for meditation, reflection, contemplation, problem analysis, brainstorming, decision clarification, stimulation of intuition, self-understanding, spiritual growth, and divination." He presents the tarot as a practical tool, something that can be used by everyone, and devoid of any particular religious influence. This makes for a highly readable and usable book.
There are a few things I really like about this book. It is quite intelligent. It has no spiritual or religious affiliation . I am not averse to this in general, but enjoy a book that simply presents the information for what it is. It makes no preference for either gender, or for masculine or feminine energies. I enjoy its rational approach, which avoids assigning too much mysterious meaning to tarot in general. The tarot is explored as a very real and tangible tool to access the intangible within us, or within our range of knowledge and wisdom. There are no warnings or threats about handling the cards improperly, shuffling or cutting in the right or wrong way, etc. I appreciate this point because many people seem to attach too much significance to how they store or shuffle their cards, when it is certainly the intuitive interaction with them that means the most. And, I simply enjoy the incredibly straightforward, well laid out organization of the cards themselves.
Each card is introduced with its traditional name and number in the tarot, along with alternate titles or titles in foreign languages, or appropriate keywords. The images used are from Robin Wood's popular tarot deck, which is a great choice not only for its familiarity to many, but also because it is a great representation of the tarot. The images are in black and white. Each card receives the following sections of information: Upright; Key Words and Phrases; Situation and Advice; People; and the same sections for the reversed card. These sections are comprehensive and wide-ranging. For beginners and for experienced readers, these interpretations will offer much new meaning, and awaken clear intuitive responses. Additional sections of the book include charts on astrology and tarot, and numerology and tarot.
I would highly recommend this book for those needing a simple, straightforward yet interesting and enjoyable guide to tarot card meanings, and an introduction to common spreads. It is not only recommended to beginners, as the book also shares new and worthy insights. It would certainly work incredibly well as someone's first tarot book, alongside a first tarot deck; and it would be an appreciated gift for a new tarot enthusiast.
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