When I received Beyond the Celtic Cross, I was intrigued.

I hadn't heard of card counting before, and couldn't wait to read about this method, learn it, and then use it with my client readings.

Unfortunately, however, the simple card counting formula on its own could have been revealed and explained in a blog post.











The shortsighted folks who published Beyond the Celtic Cross mistakenly thought that building a book around a personal reading and email correspondence would expand and clarify the card counting technique.

Perhaps in more adept editorial hands, and with a more profound, practical central question to evaluate (not to mention a definitive answer to the reading), this approach may have worked.

But the book is centered around the rather lame query by newbie Tarot reader Catherine Chapman: "Will I meet my soulmate?" Personally, I was shocked that co-author and mentor Paul Hughes-Barlow would treat that as an adequate central question in the first place--let alone devote myraid email correspondences to 40 something year old Chapman's sophomoric question.

But alas, he did. And so we have the result in an overpriced book.

After taking the reader through the countless back-and-forths--some insightful, actually--the ending, and answer, was basically a resounding "I don't know."

So we've invested our time reading this slim 128-page book evaluating the 10 cards of the Celtic Cross Spread (read in linear fashion using the Golden Dawn's card counting method) just to hear "I don't know", with no clarity in sight.

Granted, Chapman seems to have had a revelation about her tendency to participate in the same unfulfilling relationship dynamic with different men, so maybe the reading will at least help her in her choice of future partners.

Not content to enjoy the brief mental masturbation of the new (to me) card counting method, I added it to a comprehensive reading with one of my clients. Barlow makes the case that carding counting adds value to a reading (that is, allows you to charge more money), but I didn't find this to be case. For my client, it merely revealed that her daughters were the center of her life--but this wasn't new to her, nor did it relate to her particular concerns and questions.

Hughes-Barlow shares good information of Elemental Dignities, including grayscale card images and examples using the Aces, and how it applies to triads within the 10-card Celtic Cross. But again, the text could fit into a blog post--right along with the description of the card counting method and a small chart on the numerical associations.

Beyond the Celtic Cross could have worked much better with competent editorial oversight, a great central question and a reader who adds more depth than one liners here and there (Chapman supplies far more thoughts and reactions than Hughes-Barlow does). As it stands, though, the actual mechanics of the card counting method could fit on an index card--and whether using it creates added value in actuality for a client is debatable.

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Beyond the Celtic Cross - Paul Hughes-Barlow and Catherine Chapman
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