Tarot for Real Life by Jack Chanek – A Review

Tarot for Real Life by Jack Chanek, published by Llewellyn Books, presents one of the best approaches to learning tarot that you can find. I love its focus on the Minor Arcana rather than the Majors, though it most certainly gives due treatment to the Majors as well.

The structure and layout of the book also makes it user-friendly, and the go-to reference you’ll want at your fingertips. If you’re looking up a specific card, there’s a separate table of contents in the front pages just for the 78 cards.

The meat of the book is subdivided into six parts: Practical, Intellectual, Emotional, Aspirational, Personal, and The Big Picture. Respectively they correspond with discussions on the suit of Pentacles, Swords, Cups, Wands, the court cards (under Personal), and the Major Arcana (under The Big Picture).

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Reading and Understanding the Marseille Tarot by Marsucci and Aloi

It’s not as easy to find good foundation primers on the Marseille system of tarot, so I’m pleased to share Reading and Understanding the Marseille Tarot by Anna Maria Morsucci and Antonella Aloi first published in 2018 by Lo Scarabeo and distributed by Llewellyn.

Morsucci is an Italian writer, former journalist, spiritual and life coach, who has organized numerous astrology and tarot conferences throughout Italy. Aloi is a psychologist, counselor, and director at the Italian Humanistic Counseling Center, with a background in communication sciences.

This is a comprehensive beginner’s guide to the Marseille Tarot that begins by defining what the tarot is: a deck of 78 cards grouped into 22 Major Arcana numbered 1 to 21 with an unnumbered or designated 0 Fool card, placed either at the beginning or end of the Major Arcana sequence, plus 56 Minor Arcana cards subdivided further into four suits– Wands, Swords, Chalices, and Pentacles.

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Star Child: Joyful Parenting Through Astrology by Briana Saussy

Star Child is a fun, light read that introduces astrology to the lay, with a particular focus on reading birth stars for children. Based on your child’s sun sign, what are the key personality traits they are most likely to develop? How will they do in academics? How are they with friends, play, and social situations? Are they more creative? Are they more athletic? What will be the best extracurricular activities to introduce to your child based on sun signs?

Briana Saussy is the author of Making Magic: Weaving Together the Everyday and the Extraordinary, a storyteller, writer, teacher, spiritual counselor, and ritualist dedicated to the field of Sacred Arts. She leads community rituals and ceremonies, is a professional astrologer and tarot reader, and most notably, is a general practice spiritual counselor. Basically, you can go to her for pretty much anything and everything magic and spirituality related.

Saussy wrote this book with two objectives, as set out in its Introduction, and both objectives center around rectifying glaring problems in conventional astrological practice.

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The Cards: The Evolution and Power of Tarot by Patrick Maille

The Cards: The Evolution and Power of Tarot by Prof. Patrick Maille was published earlier this year by the University Press of Mississippi. If your tarot bookshelf is populated by books such as Decker and Dummett’s A History of the Occult Tarot, or Robert M. Place’s The Tarot, Magic, Alchemy, Hermeticism, and Neoplatonism and Jung and Tarot by Sallie Nichols, then The Cards was written for you.

The book is subdivided into two main parts: Part I is a timeline of tarot origins and history, along with an overview of historically or culturally significant individuals that influenced the world of tarot, and Part II is about the tarot’s influence in arts and culture.

While the actual practice of reading tarot cards might not be as ubiquitous as other aspects of mainstream popular culture, Maille presents the argument that tarot cards have served as a powerful vehicle driving the progress of nearly all significant aspects of culture– art, music, television, and movies.

Specifically, Maille narrows his book’s focus down to four key areas where tarot has been influential: art, television, movies, and comics.

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New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic by Cory Thomas Hutcheson

New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic by Cory Thomas Hutcheson and published earlier this year by Llewellyn is a must-have for your personal occult library, and this book review will try to convince you of why.

The text is subdivided into Twelve Rites, from defining witchery and discussing initiation to coverage of common practices in North American traditional folk witchcraft, with exercises and practical work, all the way to commentary on witchcraft in pop culture.

That is one ambitious scope, and Hutcheson pulls it off– this is quite the hefty tome of a book!

Let’s start with defining who is a witch. I appreciate Hutcheson’s acknowledgement: “Whatever image pops into your head when that word passes by in conversation–whether whispered reverently or barked in anger– that will be the definitive image for you.” That kind of has always been my own bone to pick with the term “witch.” What does it even mean? How is the label useful today? He continues, “Many magical practitioners reject the term ‘witch’ either because of its negative or its religious connotations.”

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Tarot Skills for the 21st Century by Josephine McCarthy

Josephine McCarthy is one of the preeminent magicians of our time. She is the founder of Quareia and author of several incredible tomes, among which I’ve read The Work of the Hierophant and The Exorcist’s Handbook. I’m also a big fan of her deck, LXXXI, which I’ve reviewed here. I am now so excited to be sharing with you my thoughts on her latest endeavor, a comprehensive book on tarot that covers both the mundane and the magical meanings of each card.

The edition I received for review is hardcover, with a beautiful velvety matte book jacket. I love that the title anchors the book in the 21st century, while the book’s aesthetics feel Old World to me. I haven’t seen this quality and caliber of production value in a tarot book for quite some time now, so there is something quite exquisite about learning tarot from McCarthy’s text.

The book begins with a strong introduction, giving you a sense of who your teacher, the author, will be, and the context from which classical tarot interpretation sprang. Having read dozens of tarot books published in the last few years, this one is refreshing in its traditionalism, formality, and also its design as a handbook to teach tarot as a venerated practice.

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Tarot Tableau: The Fool’s Journey & Card Journaling Therapy

Click on photo to purchase book

Tarot Tableau: The Fool’s Journey (2020) by Thomas of Hermit’s Mirror is a versatile, power-packed tarot reading method based on the Grand Tableau from the Lenormand tradition. Thomas takes that method many steps further and presents a way of reading the cards that you’ll turn to time and time again, for your personal readings and for your professional client readings.

Skill LevelAdvanced

To start, let’s introduce the basic tableau, the foundation of Thomas’s Tarot Tableau: The Fool’s Journey. I’ve put together a Sightsee the Tarot video to guide you through the basic spread along with 22 tarot journaling prompts excerpted from Tarot Tableau.

In this workshop, we’ll be using the Tarot Tableau for a long session of free-writing as therapy. Writing therapy helps you to process your thoughts and experiences, which opens you up to new insights on how to get back to equilibrium, facilitate much-needed spiritual healing, and grow emotionally.

Working with your reading results from the Tarot Tableau method, you’ll answer 22 questions inspired by the 22 Major houses of the spread and after you’re done, you’ll attain newfound clarity in the situation you were inquiring about or, at the very least, understand the “why.”

22 Journaling Prompts with the Tarot Tableau

DOCX   |   PDF

Click above to download.

Print out the PDF linked above and free-write your answers to the journaling prompts. If you have a particular tarot journal layout and design going on already, you can download the DOCX and edit accordingly.

Click on worksheet to download fillable PDF

Download the above-pictured worksheet and either print it out or copy the layout into your tarot journal before you start the video. You’ll be recording your reading results on the worksheets.

The rest of this post will be my review of the book.

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Carole Louie’s Conversations with a Hungry Ghost: Memoir of a Reluctant Medium

Conversations with a Hungry Ghost: Memoir of a Reluctant Medium is a self-published memoir by medium, feng shui consultant, and past life regression therapist Carole Louie. She is also the founder of The Center, RVA, a spiritual growth center in Richmond, Virginia.

A slim, quick read, Conversations with a Hungry Ghost is Louie’s heartbreaking yet inspiring spiritual journey to overcome personal trauma and fully own her gifts as a psychic medium.

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Charting Your Goal: The Parade Spread

The launch date for the Pride Tarot, a collaborative artists deck from U.S. Games, is scheduled for this month, April 2020. This video and companion blog post is going up during difficult global times. We’re in the midst of a world-wide shelter-in-place quarantine and most of our business-as-usual has been put on pause. People are anxious, feeling insecure and uncertain. I’ve found great comfort and insight in my reading with the Parade Spread and I hope you will, too.

Download the Worksheet (PDF)

Charting Your Goal or Journey

The Pride Parade Tarot Spread

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The Little Work: Magic to Transform Your Everyday Life by Durgadas A. Duriel

The Little Work: Magic to Transform Your Everyday Life (Llewellyn, 2020) by Durgadas Allon Duriel is exactly the kind of book I want to see more of. A fresh, modern take on inner alchemical work, this primer text will help you weave magic into the mundane. On that count, Duriel begins by reminding us that there is no such thing as the mundane. Rather, it’s about seeing the magic in what we otherwise have always perceived as the mundane.

Well-researched, thorough, and the kind of beginner text on contemporary magic that we should be sharing with those new to the craft, The Little Work builds confidence, knowledge, practical experience, and gives you the tools to approach the craft with intelligence, discipline, and also compassion. Duriel also inspires you to trust your intuition and lean in to your very personal, unique connection with Spirit.

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