Amendments to Text



Please believe me when I say I dedicated my best efforts to making Holistic Tarot as polished and comprehensive as possible pre-publication, but such efforts still resulted in errors and omissions. This page will be a list of amendments to the text. I won’t go into negligible typographical mistakes, but will cover the substantive edits that I feel are important for you to hand-write into your copy of the book. Thank you for your understanding and sympathies.

Also, did you catch an error that I didn’t post below? Contact me and let me know! Thanks!

Last Updated: 7/22/16


Chapter 1, “Tarot Analytics: A Holistic Approach”

p. 1

Last paragraph on the page: “I do not support fortune-telling…”

Either an end note should have been included or greater elucidation on the point. The text makes a clear distinction between fortune-telling and divination, and supports divination. The author’s contention is an echo of earlier works on esoteric tarot. The following quotes are provided for context:

“Tarot divination is not fortune-telling. The practice of fortune-telling is based on the false notion that human life is governed by luck, chance, or fate—by obscure powers that work outside the personality. True divination rests upon the occult truth that the causes of all events in human life are really internal, proceeding from the Cause of Causes—the Universal Intelligent Energy or Life-power.”

From Lesson 1 of Paul Foster Case’s Oracle of the Tarot (1933).

“For five centuries or more Tarot cards have been used in Europe, ostensibly for games and fortune-telling, but really [the cards are] to preserve the essentials of a secret doctrine. They form a symbolic alphabet of the ancient wisdom.”

From Chapter 1 of Paul Foster Case’s Introduction to the Study of Tarot (1920).

“This operation of the qabalistic sages, originally intended to discover the rigorous development of absolute ideas, degenerated into superstition when it fell into the hands of the ignorant priests and the nomadic ancestors of the Bohemians who possessed the Tarot in the Middle Ages; they did not know how to employ it properly, and used it solely for fortune-telling.”

From Eliphas Levi’s The Key of the Mysteries (1861) as translated by Aleister Crowley

However, note how in Pictorial Key, A. E. Waite seems to be using fortune-telling and divination synonymously (e.g., “These interpretations are comparable in every respect to the divinatory and fortune-telling meanings with which I shall have to deal in their turn.” or “There seems to be no record that they were used for the purposes of a game, whether of chance or skill; they could scarcely have lent themselves to divination or any form of fortune-telling”).


Chapter 5, “Anatomy of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot”

p. 32


The following sentences are incorrect: “Think of the red as indicating active energies and the black as passive.” (bold-faced words indicate errors).

Please strike out the words and note in the margins the correct attributions, as follows:

“Think of the red [black] as indicating active energies and the black [red] as passive.” (bold-faced words indicate corrections).

p. 34

A Note About Differing Elemental Traditions

By far the majority view on elemental attributions for the four suits is the one set forth in the Holistic Tarot text. Such attributions (i.e., Wands-Fire, Cups-Water, Swords-Air, Pentacles-Earth) descend from Qabalistic tarot, or western esoteric and ceremonial magic traditions that trace back to Hermetic cosmology.

However, in Spanish tarot traditions, the elemental attributions differ, and represent a minority view that the Holistic Tarot text should have mentioned in an end note but did not. Per the Spanish esoteric tarot tradition, Wands is Fire, Cups is Air, Swords is Water, and Pentacles is Earth. The reason for the Air-Water switch between the Cups and Swords is believed to be grounded in how the Holy Grail is viewed—rather than being a physical chalice, it is a state of consciousness, or a state of mind, and hence the Cups suit is better linked to Air, the mental plane.

p. 36 – Key 1–The Magician

In the table, in “Active Principle of Yang Energy,” under “Element of Air,” under “Major Arcana,” please add one more bullet point for “The Magician” with an asterisk, the same way Judgement appears under both the Fire and Water columns with asterisks. Add an asterisk to “The Magician” under the “Element of Earth” column. This will remind you that there are two differing elemental approaches to The Magician. The majority view is to attribute it to Air while the minority view, and my approach is to attribute it to Earth. The notes on p. 37 further explain the discrepancies.


The bottom of p. 37 has extra space for a note, if the Earth attribution for The Magician resonates with you. The Magician corresponds with Earth because the card represents power plus manifestation of that power in the Seeker’s physical plane. The symbolic imagery of all four suits displayed on the magus’s table not only indicate mastery of all four elements, but the ability to harness the metaphysical dimension of the four elements into physical manifestation of those same elements. The representation of all four elements also symbolize the four states of matter: Wands, or Fire for plasma; Cups or Water for liquid; Swords or Air for gas; and Pentacles or Earth for solid states. The material plane is governed by Earth, which is why The Magician is arguably attributed to Earth, not Air. Furthermore, the Aristotelian four elements form a square, the Taoist metaphysical symbol for Earth energy. The quality ascribed to Earth is dry, symbolic of self-determination, a key attribute to The Magician.


Per my own approach as a practitioner, the astrological explanation for why The Magician is Air just doesn’t cut it for me. Metaphysically, Mercury can take on other attributions, as I went into in end note 16 (p. 824).

p. 77, “The Emperor”

Optional note to write in margins:

The Emperor represents temporal power. Cf. The Hierophant is spiritual power.

p. 78, Reversed Meaning

Optional note to write in margins:

Entropy; lacking order and predictability; a possible decline to disorder.

p. 79, “The Hierophant”

Optional note to write in margins:

The Hierophant represents spiritual power, as noted in the symbolism of the Keys of St. Peter. Cf. The Emperor is temporal power.

Optional note to write in margins:

The Hierophant can indicate building and establishing your inner temple for Divinity to commune with you.

p. 82, “The Lovers”

Optional note to write in margins:

Free will. Cf. The Chariot is willpower.

Optional note to write in margins:

The Lovers can indicate a choice to be made between instant gratification and delayed gratification. Can also be a nod to evaluate your interpersonal relationships.

p. 85, “The Chariot”

Optional note to write in margins:

Willpower. Cf. The Lovers is free will.

p. 88, “Strength”

Optional note to write in margins:

Strength might show up in a reading when the inner beast or an aspect of the feral self needs to be tamed. To tame the lion, must first tame your heart.

p. 92, Reversed Meaning for The Hermit

Optional note to write in margins:

Study your self to gain knowledge. Then be the light that others follow.

p. 99, Reversed Meaning for The Hanged Man

Optional note to write in margins:

Can be a divinatory omen that Seeker needs to devote more effort to personal spirituality and permit time and emotional bandwidth for spiritual development.

p. 102, Reversed Meaning for Death

Optional note to write in margins:

Bring an end to what does not help you grow. Do not fear change. You have outgrown the status quo.

p. 103, “Temperance”

In the italicized block quote describing the card imagery, after the sentence, “The symbol also affirms the angel’s divinity, a symbol of the Holy Trinity,” write in: “”Above this symbol is the Hebrew Tetragrammaton, IHVH, for Yahweh.” You’ll see it inscribed in the details of the angel’s robe, right above the “Fire” patch.

p. 824, end note 17 (corresponding with Chapter 5)

The phrasing of this note is confusing. Under classical Western astrology, which follows day-night rulership, Mercury is the night ruler for the Air signs, and therefore the planet Mercury would correspond with Air, not Earth as the note states. Under Vedic astrology, however, the planet Mercury corresponds with Earth. Clarifying this point by handwriting notes into the margins on p. 824 for note 17 is strongly recommended.

p. 824, end note 18 (corresponding with Chapter 5)

In the margins, add the following: Jachin and Boaz symbolize the two paths: Dorian, or masculine, rational, dry, corresponding with Fire and Air, and Ionian, or feminine, mystical, humid, corresponding with Water and Earth. Source: Oswald Wirth, Tarot of the Magicians (Weiser Books, 1990), p. 27. However, Wirth’s Tarot of the Magicians was first published in 1927.


The two paths dichotomy bears a striking similarity to metaphysical left-right symbolism, which is touched upon on p. 275-276 in the text. Interestingly, in Eastern and Western esoteric thought, the left path exemplifies both the skeptic and the occult, whereas the right path exemplifies both faith and canonical.


Chapter 9, “Cyclopedia of Card Meanings”

p. 66 – Key 1–The Magician

Either along the top or bottom margins of p. 66, if your handwriting permits it to fit, or at the bottom of p. 69, or in your tarot journal notes, consider adding the following: The Magician expresses the “Will that creates the prodigy,” and the prodigy is a prodigy at the expense of normalcy. Source: Thorn Mooney, “Tarot Contemplations: The Magician.” Weblog post. Tarot Skeptic. 27 Jan. 2015 (date accessed: 03 Feb. 2015). Others view the magus as a prodigy, one born with innate talent or gifts. While the magus may have been born with a predisposition to excel in a given area, it is through practice, perseverance, and hard, laborious work that no one sees that truly makes the magus a prodigy. Thus, the prodigy is a prodigy at the expense of normalcy, because the time occupied by practice and perseverance means less time to share in the mundane joys and tasks that others enjoy. The Magician reminds us of the “unshakable impulse to keep pushing toward achievement.” Source: Thorn Mooney.

p. 85 – Key 7–The Chariot

The original line in the text reads: “The curtains on his chariot are blue, printed with six-pointed stars, like the six-pointed star on his crown.”

That would be an egregious typo by me. The charioteer’s crown does not feature a six-pointed star, but rather an eight-pointed star

p. 93 – Key 10–Wheel of Fortune

Either in the margins for the Key 10 entry in the Cyclopedia or on p. 826 corresponding with end notes 44 and 45, note the following: The wheel depicted on the card is the Wheel of Ezekiel. Waite based his rendering of the Wheel of Ezekiel on Eliphas Levi’s interpretation. Source: Wirth, Tarot of the Magicians (publication cited supra), p. 45 and Wang, Qabalistic Tarot (publication cited in end notes of text), p. 196.

Compare: The 1: The Magician depicts symbols of the four suits representative of the four elements. Here in Key 10, a turning point in the narrative that the progression of Major Arcana weaves, the figures in the four corners are also representative of the four elements. According to Oswald Wirth in Tarot of the Magicians, the angel depicted in the top left corner is St. Matthew for Water, the winged bird in the top right corner is St. John for Air, the winged bull in the bottom left corner is St. Luke for Earth, and the winged lion in the bottom right is St. Mark for Fire. Source: Wirth, Tarot of the Magicians (publication cited supra), p. 45.

p. 111 — Key 16–The Tower (beginning on p. 109)

There is sufficient space at the bottom of p. 111 to note the following about The Tower card:

The Tower card can denote important spiritual revelations sprung from Fire. It tells a story of people who held one notion of Divinity only to have that same Divinity break down their notion and cause the people to reevaluate their spiritual purpose. For the Seeker’s matter at hand, there must be heartfelt reevaluation for the Divine revelation to come. Compare: Key 20: Judgement, which indicates a more sudden revelation or insight.

p. 115 — The Moon

In the margins, I would note the following:

The soul mate card, or soul purpose. – James Wanless

Revelation 22:2 – Leaves from the Tree of Life are for the healing of nations.

p. 119 — The Sun

Inscribe an asterisk next to “sunflowers” in the italicized card description section. Then in the margins, I would note the following:

Sunflower symbolism: receiving Light; growth; manifesting fruition, then giving life and nourishment. – Lisa de St. Croix

The Sun card is about “radiating our confidence and our talents out into the world.” – Lisa de St. Croix

p. 127

In the margins, I would note the following:

“Pure, potent creative energy.” – Ellen Dugan

p. 176 — Queen of Cups (top)

There is sufficient space at the top of p. 176 or in the margins near the description of the card in italics to note the following:

The chalice that the Queen holds resembles a ciborium, which in the Catholic tradition, contains the Blessed Sacrament.

p. 179 — King of Cups (beginning on p. 178)

There is sufficient space at the bottom of p. 179 to note the following about King of Cups:

The King of Cups signifies a mode of masculinity that is tapped into compassion and emotional sensitivity, and so it is often a card symbolic of fatherhood. Compare: Key 4: The Emperor represents an austere, stern, and perhaps authoritarian father figure, whereas the King of Cups is a loving, gentle, and empathetic father figure.

p. 195 — Seven of Swords

At the top of the entry with the main keywords, add “trust issues.” It could also be noted somewhere in the margins that the Seven of Swords is “the thieves card.” Source: I heard a talk given by Mary Greer on the Seven of Swords during the Tarot Telesummit organized by Kim Wilborn of The Guardian Gateway, which took place on October 20, 2014. Greer’s insight into the card resonated with me immediately, so I incorporated it into my personal notes.

p. 196

There is sufficient space at the bottom of p. 196 for the Seven of Swords entry to note the following:

Upright: Seeker’s pursuit of an undertaking that diverge from the mainstream and him or her being quite successful at it.

Reverse: Seeker faces inordinate challenges for undertaking a pursuit that diverges from the mainstream.

p. 203 — Page of Swords (beginning on p. 202)

There is sufficient space at the bottom of p. 203 to note the following about the Page of Swords when interpreted figuratively:

The Page of Swords can also indicate encouragement to pursue writing projects or other forms of creative communication. The Seeker may want to consider picking up a new field of study or explore a different area of knowledge. Source: Christiana Gaudet publishes a weekly newsletter called Tarot Topics. I came upon Gaudet’s insights into the Page of Swords in her 10/29/2014 issue.

* * *

When the Page of Swords appears, the key is to think quickly and act decisively. Ellen Dugan, Witches Tarot Companion (Llewellyn, 2012), p. 158.

p. 227 — Ten of Pentacles

Note the section in italics describing the card imagery of the Ten of Pentacles. There is sufficient space at the end of that indented paragraph to add the following:

The ten pentacles are in the formation of the Qabalistic Tree of Life, representing the positions of the ten sephiroth.


Chapter 11, “The First Operation”

p. 246

There is sufficient space at the bottom of p. 246 under the diagram of the four card piles to note the following:

(under the “H2″ card) (under the “V” card) (under the “H1″ card) (under the “I” card)
Assiah Yetzirah Briah Atziluth
Active World Formative World Creative World Archetypal World
Primal Earth Primal Air Primal Water Primal Fire
corresponds with Malkuth corresponds with Netzach, Hod, and Yesod corresponds with Chesad, Geburah, amd Tiferet corresponds with Keter, Chokhmah, and Binah

Also note in the margins the following:

– Atziluth, the Primal Fire, activates all of the other Worlds

– Per Qabalistic tradition, there are Four Worlds, and each World is represented by one letter of the Divine Name, IHVH

Source: Wang, Qabalistic Tarot (publication cited in end notes of text), p. 39-40.


Chapter 12, “Interpreting Court Cards”

p. 255

In the diagram at the top of the page titled “Temperament by Suit,” add the following key phrases at the end of the section for Swords, Air Temperament: “well-educated and highly perceptive.” Source: Kim Krans, The Wild Unknown Tarot Guidebook (The Wild Unknown, 2012), p. 16.

p. 259

There is sufficient space at the bottom of p. 259 under the card images to draw out the following chart, which is meant to be a continuation of the chart on p. 252 for “Physical Attributes”:



Chapter 14, “The Fundamentals of Reading Spreads”

p. 308

(optional: instead of on p. 308, write in the amendments on p. 697 in the Appendix reference for the Simple Cross)

In an ink color that isn’t black, to distinguish it from the print on the page, write in the card number sequence for the Wirth Cross into the spread diagram, and in the blank spaces on the page, note the following:


Source: Oswald Wirth, Tarot of The Magicians (publication cited supra), p. 185-186.


The Wirth Cross is intended for divination with the Major Arcana only, though the modern-day practitioner can certainly adopt the spread for the complete deck. Also, note that in Wirth’s instruction, the cards should be shuffled seven times by the practitioner and then fanned out on the table per the Fan Approach (see p. 281 of the Holistic Tarot text). The Seeker then selects the first four cards and the practitioner selects the fifth and final card.

p. 337

Editorial on the 10 Cards of the Celtic Cross:

According to Eliphas Levi, the number 10 is grounded in the Qabalistic principle that 10 is the key of the sephiroth in the Tree of Life and how the Divine reveals itself between the physical and metaphysical realms. The number 10 is thus the “Absolute Number of the Qabalah.” Source: Levi, The Key of the Mysteries (publication cited in end notes of text), p. 24.

It is the author’s speculation that the totality of the 10 cards corresponds with the Tree of Life, with the numerology intended to unlock revelations found in the veil between the physical and metaphysical realms. Accordingly, the 10th card in the Celtic Cross spread, commonly noted as the “final outcome” or “most probable future” card, is the key to the entire reading.

It is at the reader’s option whether notes on the foregoing should be handwritten into the margins of p. 337. In the Celtic Cross quick reference sheets in Appendix A, there is also space on p. 709 for such a notation.

p. 417

“Telling Time with Tarot”

There is space along the right margin of the elemental correspondences table to expand it with an additional column, for a final chart as follows:



Chapter 15, “Considerations of the Spread Landscape”

p. 427-428

There is space at the bottom of p. 428 to insert a quick summary table as follows:

Reading with Reversals Reading without Reversals
  • Left-Brained
  • Corresponds with the Right Hand
  • Right-Brained
  • Corresponds with the Left Hand
  • Linear Thought
  • Logical analysis
  • Processing data
  • Compartmentalizing
  • Science and math
  • Nonlinear Thought
  • Spatial awareness
  • Intuition
  • Emotional expression
  • Art and music
Partial to reading with reversals because it provides more data and variables to input for reasoning and analysis Readings can often be hindered by card reversals because the art and imagery is what triggers holistic, intuitive impressions
Practitioner is more inclined to seek answer within the four corners of the tarot card The card imagery is only a trigger point for the practitioner’s intuition and imagination

See my January 4, 2015 blog post, “Mental Disposition and Reading Tarot Card Reversals,”


Chapter 19, “Assuaging Seekers When a Reading Seems Negative”

p. 503


The image file purports to show Major Arcana cards per the title of the image, “Negative” Major Arcana Cards, but the fourth card, left to right, shows the Ten of Swords. Needless to say, the Ten of Swords is not a Major Arcanum. The Ten of Swords image and caption should go on the subsequent pages, p. 504-505 under the heading, “Negative” Minor Arcana Cards. Apologies for any havoc that causes.


Appendix D, “Profile Tables and Ruminations on the Minor Arcana”

p. 771


The correspondence table for the Suit of Swords is missing from Appendix D3. For example, see the correspondence table under D1 for the Suit of Wands on p. 767, the correspondence table under D2 for the Suit of Cups on p. 269, and the one under D4 for the Suit of Pentacles on p. 772. However, that reference is provided for the Suit of Swords on p. 180, so you’re not really missing any information.




20 thoughts on “Amendments to Text

  1. Suzi Petito

    I am eagerly awaiting your book from Amazon. Thank you so much for your attention to detail, re: the errata; most definitely an attorney’s trait:-). I have viewed two of your YouTube interviews and knew that I was on the right path walking along with another Taroist who sees the endless and yet undiscovered ways this medium will be used in the future. Tarot is an adventure and a joy. I hope you get to work with a book on your interpretation to help us learn and use the I Ching – very interested in that!

    When you intimated that you were afraid of being judged by the seasoned elders in the tarot community, you made the most excellent point – that your ability to write this book is as a result of reading their books and coming up with your own path down the Tarot Trail…………..exactly, Benebel – This now gives me the freedom to do just what you have done. No longer thinking about all the twists and turns inside the Tarot Community and outside of it, I pick up where I left off and continue on this adventure with much JOY. Now, I think I’ll go and sign up for Twitter, which as a non techie person, I vowed I’d not ever be interested in doing, just so I can keep up with you. Love the enthusiasm!


    1. Hi Suzi! Thank you so much and it’s always great to connect with another kindred spirit! Love that I’ll get to see you around Twitter. I do think it’s important to know traditions and to respect the legacy that past tarot practitioners have left for us. However, we do need to seek out our own personal ways of transcending those traditions to pave our own paths and in turn contribute what we’ve learned to the greater body of tarot knowledge out there so that those that come after us have even more to work with. 🙂


  2. Got the book a couple of days ago and am very impressed. Enjoying it and learning more as well. Thanks for a great job. Your additional work with the supplementary resources and the errata is greatly appreciated. It sets a great example to other authors.


  3. Gina

    Benebell, I’m love, love, loving Holistic Tarot and appreciate so much your generosity in sharing your work with us. I’ve been using the First Operation and finding it to be a wonderful, consistent way to direct where my focus should be in a reading.

    One thing I’ve noticed though – in the book (Chapter 11), the cut of the deck is ordered HVHI, but I’ve seen other areas on this site where you refer to the order as IHVH. Are they both correct as long as you keep it consistent in your own application?

    Again, thank you for your wonderful, meticulous, work. gxx


  4. Denny

    This book and all your supplements form the website are just fantastic for a tarot beginner. Really appreciate your great work!

    One thing I was wondering is that are we expecting to have a new version of the book with all these amendments in the near future? Thank you 🙂


    1. Hey Denny! Unfortunately it’s not up to me. It’s up to the publisher. On my end I am happily willing. 🙂 so in terms of what I can control, it’s this page of amendments here. 🙂 sorry for any inconvenience! If it’s any consolation, I marked up my own copy of the book with the amendments and found that even though it’s now bloodied up with handwritten notes, it still works out great.


  5. Gina

    Hi Benebell, any thoughts on the HVHI vs. IHVH order mentioned in my question above? I purchased a copy of your book and sometimes the order is reversed elsewhere on your site, so I was hoping to clarify if order matters? Thanks again. Gina


    1. The order of spelling as written out is IHVH or YHVH. However, when drawing a diagram of the card piles, it *looks* like it’s HVHI because you’re cutting from right to left. The presumption is you’re reading the four letters from right to left, not the more common left to right you’d be used to. So both are correct.


  6. Susan

    Hi Benebell, Table 1.8, p.20 from your Tao of Craft – Could it be that the order of elements have been mixed up somehow? Metal gets mentioned three times while water only once.


  7. Hello,

    I hope this finds you well! Thank you so much for your fantastic book, as well as all of the extras you provide.

    Writing to point out a possible discrepancy in the text.

    Holistic Tarot [Paper Back].
    Page(s): 208-209
    Description of potential discrepancy: The last line of the King of Swords description [p. 208] reads: “Two black birds soar in the distance”. Yet, on on the subsequent page [p. 209], line five in the paragraph that continues from the previous page it states: “Like the Queen of Swords, the King of Swords is accompanied by a single black bird flying in the sky behind him”.

    Thank you again for all of your work, it’s truly amazing. Have a great rest of your week!


      1. Leela

        Do you have an update on a new edition by chance? I see your comment is from last summer, so I was hoping you have learned more about a 2nd edition coming. I have no idea how this works, but I assume there is communication between the publisher and you regarding the errors in the book?


  8. María

    Hi Benebell
    In the three card spreads, page 290, you show the order 2, 1, 3 for the cards. But on page 297, in Sadhil case study the order indicates Card 1, Card 2 and Card 3. I was not sure which was the correct order.


  9. Pingback: Some thoughts on Benebell Wen's Critique of Fortune-telling in Holistic Tarot - The Order of the Holy Tarot

  10. Pingback: “Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth” by Benebell Wen (kindle ebook version) – Magick Matters

  11. Pingback: The following study guides are intended to help you get the most out of your copy of Holistic Tarot. The book, plus these supplements, are designed to cover three levels of tarot education: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. - Professional

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