Everyday Tarot - Gail Fairfield
“The only limit to the ways the Tarot can be used is your own imagination. Each life event, each emotional interaction, each inner awareness, presents us with an opportunity to understand ourselves and our Universe better. Every new problem or question is a challenge; with each challenge we discover new ways of using the Tarot.” – From the book

Author Gail Fairfield advocates a choice-centered approach to Tarot, which encourages Tarot readers and querents (“readees” as she calls them) to use the cards for making better life decisions. In her book Everyday Tarot: A Choice Centered Approach, Fairfield explains the structure of a Tarot deck, the development of number (such as “Two-ness”), the four suits, designing a layout (card spread) and more.

An excellent book for both Tarot beginners and experienced readers, Everyday Tarot provides an overview of the Major and Minor Arcana. According to Fairfield, every card is neutral in value, i.e. neither good nor bad in and of itself. However, the meaning of the card can be stretched along the entire spectrum of positive or negative. She likens cards to rain: rain is neutral, but too much can cause a disastrous flood and too little can cause a drought. Determining whether a card is to be interpreted positively or negatively depends largely on a querent’s personality, question, and spread position.

Regarding reversals, Fairfield doesn’t feel that the basic card meaning is affected, although the way an individual experiences the concept may change quite a bit. Upright cards indicate that an individual is experiencing the concept in a public, clear, objective or obvious way. Reversals, however, indicate that an individual is experiencing the concept in a more subtle, private, subjective, internal way.

For each suit and card, the author provides General/Neutral meanings as well as Positive, Negative, Upright, and reversed.

Arguable the most intriguing part of Everyday Tarot is the development of number throughout the Minor Arcana. Fairfield groups all the Minors in sets of three, except the 10’s and Kings. These groups describe four different cycles—each having a particular level. She explains that every triad contains THIS, THAT, and THE OTHER. THIS refers to something new that is established, THAT challenges, confronts, changes or expands THIS and THE OTHER resolves and integrates the interaction between THIS and THAT. For example, Aces start the first cycle of three (the conceptual level) and are THIS, while Two-ness solidifies or confirms the direction of the Ace (THAT). Three-ness (THE OTHER) then unifies the aggressive energy of the One/Ace with the stabilizing energy of the Two. (The way she explains these groupings and cycles are easier than it sounds.)

The 10’s are described as “hesitating” and aren’t included in the triads or cycles. The Kings represent a completion point, and thus are outside of the triads as well.

Everyday Tarot also includes information on the reading process, choosing a Tarot deck based on symbols, ways to use the cards, and expanding your reading skills.

Personally, I found a lot of new, helpful information in this book. For example, I hadn’t considered numerical values all that much when performing Tarot readings, but Fairfield’s methods are so sensible and accessible, that I’ve started employing her system. I am also enjoying exploring reversals as internalized versions of cards as opposed to interpreting them merely as blocks, hindrances, or opposites of upright meanings.  Everyday Tarot has also provided me additional insight regarding the suit of Wands. Fairfield considers Wands the suit of “Self”, representing personal growth, awareness, and personal direction. It’s the suit asking, “Who am I and where am I going?”

I’ve highlighted my copy of Everyday Tarot to death, and refer to it often. Overall, it’s probably the best Tarot book that I’ve read thus far. Fairfield writes in the engaging style of a fellow reader as opposed to some high-minded “expert” pontificating in brittle prose. Her explanations are clear, her organization is tight, and her methods are empowering to both the reader and the querent. At 153 pages, it’s not a huge book, but it’s packed with immediately useful information and new ways of looking at—and using—the Tarot. 

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