Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings by Brigit Esselmont

The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings by Brigit Esselmont is the long-anticipated print book copy of a text on tarot card meanings she had published previously as an e-book and which formally memorializes much of what had become one of the most popular go-to card meanings site on the interwebs, BiddyTarot’s Tarot Card Meanings.

If you don’t know Brigit of BiddyTarot, then you simply do not know anything about the tarot community either– meaning, this woman has a loyal cult-like following of avid tarot enthusiasts who have propelled her to the top of the ranks for all things tarot. She defines the present generation of tarot readers and in many ways, her latest book The Ultimate Guide reflects that newfangled epistemology of divination-can-be-for-the-masses camp of thought. That has become the new wave of thought in tarot, collectively the loudest voice in current modernity, and leading that camp really is the BiddyTarot culture.

The Ultimate Guide is a fresh, contemporary voice in the body of tarot literature and will resonate more with those who embody the modern approach to card meanings. Not to be confused with The Ultimate Guide to Tarot by Liz Dean (the two titles can be confusingly similar), Esselmont’s The Ultimate Guide expresses a new consciousness of tarot, which is to integrate it into everyday mainstream, to normalize tarot, and to promote the practice of personal spirituality through living a tarot inspired life.

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Spirit Cats Oracle Deck by Nicole Piar

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If you’ve ever uttered the words “the cat is my spirit animal,” then you don’t even need to read my review–click here and order the Spirit Cats inspirational oracle deck right now. Nonetheless, keep reading. I am about to cause a cute overload.

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Artist Nicole Piar has hand-painted 48 cards that call upon the familiar spirit of the cat to heal us, guide us, inspire us, and bring us joy. When I’m hit with a bout of anxiety, feeling stressed, fatigued, or need comfort, going through these cards will lift my spirit up immediately. There is a soft, playful, and gentle energy about the Spirit Cats oracle deck that will absolutely elevate your mood and put a smile on your face.

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Piar has depicted these cats as kami, or nature spirits, and reflect a cat kami that is here as your guardian spirit or spirit guide. The deck in its entirety is the embodiment of a cat animal totem, which you can call upon for daily guidance, creative or intuitive inspiration, and to cultivate peace of mind.

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Astrology Course for Beginners (Independent Study)

$55.  USD

This is a beginner’s course on how to read both a Placidus and a Whole Signs astrological chart with the tropical zodiac (the sidereal zodiac is not taught in this course, though we will cover the differences between a tropical and a sidereal zodiac). Yep, that’s right. Both will be taught. The mission of this course is to get you to know how to read both Placidus and Whole Signs, even if Whole Signs is my preferred system. (Meaning, there’s going to be a bias in favor of Whole Signs…)

This course does not teach chart construction and will only cover how to read a chart that you already have on hand, Placidus or Whole Signs. After covering the basics, you will learn how to read a natal chart, perform transits astrology readings, get a sense of both traditional astrology and modern astrology, dwarf planets and asteroids included, and if I’ll be damned, you are going to have one rock solid foundation in Western astrology that won’t be beat.

Competitive in content, by scope and depth, to beginner astrology courses that cost in the hundreds, Astrology Course for Beginners is intended to be budget-friendly, so everyone can learn how to simplify the complexities of Western astrology.

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Review of The Tarot Activity Book by Andy Matzner

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The Tarot Activity Book by Andy Matzner was first published in 2013 but has recently resurfaced in a surge of popularity. I speculate that it might be attributed to the recent rise in interest for the intersection of tarot and psychology and use of tarot in life coaching. That particular facet of tarot practice is on trend right now, so perhaps that’s why there’s this collective revisit of Matzner’s treasure trove of a book.

Matzner is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker, life coach, adjunct professor, and published author. His other works include Male Bodies, Women’s Souls: Personal Narratives of Thailand’s Transgendered Youth and The Buddha Diet: A Guide for Creating a Positive Relationship with Food and Eating. You can read Matzner’s full biography and background here.

By the way, I also came across the podcast interview of Matzner on psychology, self-care, and the tarot. The theme of the podcast is centered on the intersection of tarot and psychology. You can listen to it here, on The Hermit’s Lamp podcast.

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The Tarot Activity Book is an indispensable resource to be included on any tarot enthusiast’s bookshelf and I maintain this stance for several reasons. The prompts in the book help you to build relationships, not just a relationship with yourself, relationship with others if you work through the exercises collaboratively in a group setting, but also your relationship with any particular tarot deck.

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One of my favorite uses for this book is to follow a handful of the exercises with a newly acquired tarot (or even oracle) deck that I want to connect with better. Although maybe not shadow work per se, many of these prompts are incredible for personal reflection and rumination, so they’re great to incorporate into your private journaling, especially if you’re trying to wrap your head space around a particular situation.

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An I Ching and Tarot Divination How-To– Give This a Try

I’m going to walk you through an easy beginner’s methodology for I Ching and tarot divination. We’ll be doing a simple one card tarot draw plus casting I Ching hexagrams by the coin toss method. So in addition to the instructions here for the I Ching divination, I’m presuming you have a tarot deck and know how to operate one. If not, no worries. This doesn’t need to be I Ching and tarot. It can just be I Ching! 🙂

I use traditional coins for my personal practice, but we won’t be needing those today. Any three coins of the same value in your change purse will do. Go find three pennies, or three nickels, or three quarters–whatever pleases you. And give them a good wash.

Here I’m using disinfectant soap and water. Dry them thoroughly. You can use a towel. Anything. Just be practical.

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Book Review: Going Beyond the Little White Book by Liz Worth

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Going Beyond the Little White Book: A Contemporary Guide to Tarot was published in 2016 and is one of the best and most readable Tarot 101 books I’ve come across. It’s the book I’d give my sister, along with a tarot deck, if she asked me for a book that will teach her tarot.

(True story: Actually I gave my sister a copy of my own book, Holistic Tarot, but she never touched it and now it collects dust. When I called her out on that, she defended herself by saying she just wanted to know what the Three of Cups means when she pulls it for a question about a guy she’s dating and she isn’t out to earn an advanced doctorate degree in tarot or become the next great tarot master. Ergo, a more palatable and practical guide to the tarot is needed, such as Going Beyond the Little White Book.)

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Going Beyond the Little White Book is by Liz Worth, a Toronto-based author, tarot reader, and astrologer. She’s also published previous works of nonfiction (specifically on the Toronto 1970s punk scene), fiction, and poetry. Worth brings that command of language to explaining how to read tarot. It’s incredible. She’s such an incredible writer and it’s a treat to have someone like her teach tarot in a comprehensive, meaty, yet easy-to-read, user-friendly manual.

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