By Prospero

Reviewed by Sue Phillips

Okay, so Tarot for Life doesn't fit into any of the genre descriptions you have come to expect here on Whispers of Wickedness, but before you switch off from this decidedly non-fiction book, consider the value of research. Whether as a writer or a reader, the more you know, the better you will write--or understand what others write. Did you know, for instance, that the famous psychologist chappy Jung based his character archetypes on what he learned from the tarot? Jungian philosophy runs through much modern fiction, as well as many magazine articles, and an understanding of its foundations will give you great insights into what you read.

Anyway, the review: -

Tarot for Life is perfectly named. The author teaches how to bring the spirit and energies of the tarot into every aspect of your life: physical, spiritual and emotional. Besides the usual description and explanation of each card in the major and minor arcanas, Prospero gives an exercise for the reader to practice to bring the spirit of the card under scrutiny into your own life. The book is full of little gems of common sense and unexpected wisdom. Chapter Eleven's exercise is entitled Disarming the Enemy and gives methods and techniques that actually work to defuse a dangerous or awkward situation. In fact, all of the exercises work and, whilst not always easy, are reasonably simple to do. Be warned though: you may become a better person if you do them properly.

The layout of the book is different from most tarot books I have read in that the cards of the minor arcana [roughly equivalent to a normal deck of cards, with an extra picture card called the Page] are grouped by number so that all the fours are listed together as are the fives etc. and a card of the major arcana [a separate set of cards numbered 0-21 and containing specific archetypes such as the Priest, the Moon, Death and so on] is placed in the same chapter. Lesson nine, for example, begins with a paragraph or two on using the tarot as a memory aid, followed by instructions for a spread--in this case, a single card--and then the meanings of the ninth card in the major arcana, which happens to be the Hermit, followed by a study of the nines of each suit.

At the end of the chapter is an exercise entitled The Why Game in which one is told to define a current wish. This can be anything from a new home to a banana, although the author advises concentrating on the thing that is most urgent--if you are hungry that may well be the banana, but if you hate where you live, then the home will be top of your list and then you start an internal dialogue as follows:

I want a new home.


Because I hate this one.


Because I don't get on with my neighbours.


Because they are always complaining.

And this is where things can get interesting because you may find yourself asking: why not just make peace and give the drum practice a rest when you know they are trying to get the baby to bed?

This may lead to more questions that point to the true source of a problem you may never have acknowledged. On the other hand, you may hate your neighbours because they are horrible, your house may be horrible too and moving could be your best option. But at least you would be clear on your motives. See how useful that can be in plotting a story?

I rest my case.

Tarot for Life, 120pp, £12.99

Published by Aeon, ISBN 1-904658-03-2

Available from

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