“In every life there are things that can be adjusted for better results and other things that must be accepted as they are. Used well, Tarot can illustrate both and help us to exercise more freedom of choice in our lives.” –from the book
Tarot for Life is a jargon-free, no-nonsense book that not only explains the meaning of the cards but also unravels the spirit behind them. Instead of providing dogmatic interpretations, Prospero encourages the reader to create a unique relationship with the Tarot. In fact, he stresses the importance of following your instincts, because ultimately, you have the last word on your relationship with the cards.
Divided into 22 lessons and featuring Tarot images commissioned especially for the book, Tarot for Life provides spreads, instructions on contacting your spirit Guide, reading ethics, affirmations, meditations and more. In each lesson you’ll find:
•Some practical information, either about the structure of the Tarot or how to use it in readings or in other ways •A spread you can use, with some idea of where it can be most useful •Card descriptions—one Major Arcana card in each lesson and four Minor Arcana in lessons I to XIV •An exercise based on the Major Arcana for the lesson
Although this book can be used for individual study, Prospero offers that it may be more enjoyable and rewarding to experience this course in a group of six people or less.
Prospero shares his knowledge of the Tree of Life (Kabbalah), magick, and Thelema, and offers a great chakra meditation for grounding. When I read Tarot for Life, I felt like I was being taught by a friend sitting across the table; with some Tarot books, the information is presented in a dry, elitist manner—but not so with Tarot for Life. Immediately accessible, the lessons meld esoterica, common sense, and personal experience for a fascinating course on the Tarot.
The author writes in such an engaging style that it can be easy to miss the wisdom he offers. For example, regarding the meaning of the Knight of Wands he explains: “As a level of development, either a change in attitude from ‘I should be given’ to ‘I can get’ or a change in outer circumstances which removes a block.” For the meaning of the Knight of Swords, he remarks: “Be aware that the progress may be broadening rather than deepening knowledge.”
It’s tidbits like these that can contribute greatly to a reader’s understanding and use of the Tarot.
My only criticism of this book is that I wish Prospero would have delved even deeper for the exercise portion of the lessons. In Appendix Two, he explains that he intended to write a pathworking covering all of the Major Arcana and building up an inner landscape that you can return to any time. Yet, he says that if someone is capable of using such an inner space, they should be equally capable of constructing it for themselves.
In my opinion, this does a great disservice for those unfamiliar with pathworking; I would have loved to read a comprehensive treatment of pathworking with the Majors. Instead, we’re given a general outline on how to do it, within the constructs of the Tree of Life. No diagram of the Tree is given, so he merely describes the spheres and how they can be used as “houses” for the inner kingdom. Of course, those with no knowledge of Kabbalah or the Tree of Life would be quite confused by this.
This criticism on my part is quite minor given the aim and accomplishment of Tarot for Life. It just so happens that Prospero is such an engaging writer, I couldn’t help but want more. In this case, my criticism is actually a complement.
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