Tarot Experience is the second in an innovative and wonderful series. The first was Tarot Fundamentals and the final volume will be Tarot Compendium. This book, like its predecessor, is a whopping 640 large, full color pages, each one with a creative interior layout. The presentation of the juicy content is beautifully executed due largely to the efforts of Sasha Graham who took on the Herculean task of synthesizing Lo Scarabeo's years of content into what will be three complete volumes. She understood the vision of the books to be something "beautiful to look at, a pleasure to peruse, yet full of essential information." Her writing and deft editing ties the material together and does it with style: her writing is often creative and dreamlike but always grounded in tarot.
The content was originally generated for something called Partworks, which is popular in Europe; it is a serial/magazine series that comes with an item. For the tarot Partworks, the magazine came with half of a deck (the other half came with the following month's edition). When I've travelled in England, I've purchased knitting Partworks that came with a magazine and yarn and needles for a specific small project. Lo Scarabeo's Partworks content was generated by several authors, including myself and Giordano Berti, Tali Goodwin, Sasha Graham, Marcus Katz, Mark McElroy, and Riccardo Minetti. The work was done as "work for hire," which meant that Lo Scarabeo owned all this material. The material was only ever published in Italian.
Luckily they decided that the content was too good to not use again, so they decided to compile it, package it as beautifully as possible, and offer it in English.
As the second book in the series, Sasha, the editor, assumed that it would be the most difficult to compile. When we think of, for example, classic dramatic structure, we have the beginning, the conflict, and the resolution. Even in tarot, the fives, which are squarely in the middle, are about conflict. However, Sasha was surprised to realize that of the three volumes, this one came together the easiest for her. She thinks that is because it is based on experience. While there are fundamentals and advanced techniques in any subject, there is also experience, which no one can teach you. People can provide inspiration and ideas to help create an experience, but whatever you come away with is uniquely yours. There are no "shoulds" when exploring spiritual experiences. No one gets to dictate your end result. This open-endedness, this opportunity to explore and let people find their own truths made this volume particularly exciting for Sasha and hopefully for you, too. The other fun aspect of this volume is that you can jump in anywhere, based on a random flipping of the pages or based on whatever topic grabs your fancy. Throughout Tarot Experience you will find ways to encounter, interact, and interface with the cards.
There are nine main sections, not including the bonus material unlocked via the Kickstarter funders.
Personal Practice is just that: activities and techniques to experience tarot in your own life and in your own way. Topics include writing, magic, working with the energy of the cards, how to live symbolically, and dream work.
Nuts and Bolts gets a little more practical in terms of readings. There are essays about significators, clarification cards, customizing spreads, reading for a client who is not present, and more.
There are sections on the art of spreads (including spread creation) and helpful essays on how to read for others (such as strangers, friends and family, skeptics, people with no questions, and more including ethical issues).
As befitting an intermediate volume, this book tackles some important issues, such as how to deal with various things a reader may encounter with clients (such as clients looking only for validation, clients prone to transference, or clients who get addicted to readings). It also has advice for readers who get frustrated when they want to shake the client and tell them what to do rather than patiently help them find their own way with the use of the cards.
There are so many topics and so many techniques in this volume that there will be something for any reader at any level. While some of the methods are presented as if for professional readers, those methods can easily be applied to ones personal life as well. So whether your read for others or not, your tarot journey is definitely going to deeper as put the ideas on these pages into practice.
Deepening one's understanding of the cards isn't abandoned in Tarot Experience. About eighty pages are devoted to exploring various themes through all seventy-cards. For each card there is information on:
- Personal life: Love, work, and money
- Divination: Answers, tips, and timing
- Psyche and Soul: Self-esteem, meditation, and spirituality
- Questions for Yourself/Client: Questions for reflection for each card
Tarot Experience promises to be just that: a wonderful collection of experiences that will deepen and broaden your understanding not only of tarot but of yourself as well.