TAROT FOR DUMMIES
Reviewed by Lynn Black
When authoress of the classics “Living the Tarot” and “Principles of the Qabalah” writes a book, we know to expect great things. In “Tarot for Dummies,” Amber Jayanti not only lives up to our expectations she far exceeds them. You cannot believe how much useful information is packed into this book.
With her usually expert writing skill, Amber gives us a strong examination of a wide range of tarot aspects, that will be useful to all levels of the reader’s expertise. With sensitivity she maintains her gentle sense of fun and humor, giving her views in a non-threatening way that is especially valuable to her beginner readers. In giving concise, thorough explanations, this work becomes valuable to her intermediate and advanced readers.
It is truly no wonder and with much deserved credit, that Amber’s books bring rave reviews, with use of such words as ‘compassionate,’ ‘knowledgeable,’ and ‘insightful.’ Her work itself proclaims these attributes loud and clear. She will without a doubt, be a historical figure in the Tarot World with such books as these.
In this work we are getting Amber’s views, which while influenced by her Qabalistic leanings, do not demand that her reader have such knowledge. There are 22 sections to this book...beginning with the Introduction we are started off with some ‘behind the scenes’ thoughts. “Making Friends With Tarot,” covers pictures, archetypes, and making the tarot personal. “Who Uses the Tarot and Why,” contains examples of how tarot can be put to use. “ Let’s Go Shopping,” is a discussion of many of the popular decks and choices available to you. “History and Mystery,” is a fascination look at the historical aspects of tarot. Mystery School tradition, looks at which such groups are and are not, as well as what they teach or not.
“A Magic Mirror,” contains excellent advice and opinions on how to handle reversed cards. “Hitting the Big Time,” (the 22 major arcana), describes each of these cards then asks pertinent matching questions. Strength, Death, and the Moon have some of the best descriptions I’ve ever seen in print. “Certainly Not the Minor Leagues,” (the minor arcana), shows different ordering choices for the suits and then the individual number cards of the suits.”The16 Court Cards,” offers different ways to view these cards. I thought the Queen of Wands was especially good!
“Experiencing the Tarot,” covers finding your Soul and Personality Cards, but also has an excellent segment on linking cards to historical events. “Handling, Mixing, Interpreting the Card,” gives detailed suggestions for setting the proper ‘stage’ of respect and spiritual mood, without the usual foolishness some people get into. More importantly in this section, Amber covers situations that a person might get from their client, but are better left to the experts (for example a doctor) and proper questioning methods. “Meditating with the Tarot,” gives various ideas on these useful practices, as well as covers the interesting aspect of color usage. “Tarot Spreads Aren’t for Sandwiches,” is insightful and ethical guidance when dealing with others. (Be sure to check out Amber’s own spread!) “Help Wanted,” covers becoming a professional in realistic terms.
Several important related sub-topics are covered in easy to comprehend sections showing how to connect the Tarot to Qabalah, Astrology, Numerology and Alchemy.
The books closes with the “Top Ten Tarot Misconceptions" and “The Ten Cards Most Likely to Cause a Freak-Out,” which are wonderfully covered with good choices of cards. I was especially impressed with “Additional Resources,” as this section is covered with a firm grip on the reality, that different people need different books and teachers.
Amber’s strength is in not just handing out answers, but in making readers think for themselves. She aids them to decide how they, as an individual, feel about each card. Emphasis is always on doing what feels right for the individual, rather than dictating some personal dogma as many writers do. You never get the impression of, “it’s my way or the highway!” with Amber.