Life sometimes presents horrible uncertainties: Schrödinger’s cat, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, and worst of all, the possibility of bad hair days. When you read this book, there will be two horrible uncertainties: the possibility of running out of paper, or running out of ink in your pen. Consider this fair warning—have a fresh notebook and extra pens at hand before you crack open the cover!
This book is an updated re-write of Greer’s 1987 book Tarot Constellations (Newcastle). It’s an interactive text that offers a red carpet of tarot exercises and self-analysis activities that will delight beginners and tarot masters alike. Techniques first applied to yourself while reading the book (hence the warning about pens and paper) can later be easily applied to partners, family, friends and clients, as well as shared with tarot students.
The premise of the book is that if you know yourself and your basic traits and styles of being, and also know what lessons and challenges to expect in the coming months and years, you optimize your potentials for growth, awareness, understanding, and success. The philosophical and psychological foundation of the book is Hermetic (work with and not against the flow of cosmic energies) and Jungian (understanding key personal archetypes in order to evolve toward wholeness).
In an orderly fashion, the reader is guided through methods for translating birth date and name data into a set of Major Arcana cards that form a constellation of personality. While the basic concept for the original book came from tarot doyenne Angeles Arrien, Greer does a fine job of outlining methods for using the tarot to delve into innate personal emotional styles and motivations, personality, soul, hidden factors and inner teachers. The Minor Arcana cards represent learning opportunities in day-to-day situations where the reader can explore and improve his/her grasp of strengths and weaknesses. A section on Court Cards leads the reader through an eye-opening examination of their multiple roles in life, as well as the roles others play for them. Tarot beginners will benefit from these methods of considering the sometimes troubling Court Cards.
This book is more in-depth than the out-of-print “Tarot Constellations” and includes additional methods of integrating personal cards. Aleister Crowley’s unpublished “Qabalah of the Nine Chambers,” a short treatise aligning cards into single-digit number groups, is included at the end of the book. Crowley’s Major Arcana card groupings are the same as Greer’s tarot constellations.
The premier feature of this book is its usefulness over time. While a person’s birth name and date remain the same, other name and time changes encourage revisits for updates. Additional techniques supply ever-changing annual and monthly cards for timely guidance on the road of life. There’s a handy and ingenious table supplied that makes annual cards easy to calculate, and the cycles these reveal are fascinating when compared to one’s personal history. Time and experience change perception, and difference levels of wisdom seep through at each re-reading.
Since tarot expertise is unnecessary to work successfully with this book, I highly recommend it for any readers looking for avenues of personal exploration and insights. It’s informative and readable, and better yet, re-readable. Tarot teachers and students will enjoy learning these useful methods for inner exploration, and it’s a valuable reference text for every tarotist’s library. If you want to learn more about yourself, your potentials and personal possibilities, this is the book for you.
~Review by Elizabeth Hazel
Author: Mary K. Greer
Weiser Books, 2011
pp. 270 pages, $21.95