Friday, May 18, 2012

Tarot in Reverse (Book Review)

Written by Janet Boyer and published by Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
                                             ISBN: 978-0-7643-4101-4
                                                         192 pages

Ahhh, tarot reversals. The bane of many novice and experienced tarot reader's existence alike. Myself included! I've been on again, off again with them for years. In the past, I just couldn't seem to make peace with those upside down cards in a spread. Do they have the opposite meaning of the upright card? Or do I just pay "special attention" to that card, turn it right side up, and then go on my merry way? So, when I heard about Tarot in Reverse, I was very excited to get my hands on a copy and read it. Janet kindly arranged for me to receive a review copy, and when it arrived, I promptly put on my reading glasses and dove right in. As it turned out, this was exactly the book I needed to gain a clearer insight into those pesky reversed cards! 

The book itself is absolutely stunning. And as far as quality goes, it's top notch. The pages are heavy, thick, glossy, and every picture in the book is fully color-saturated. And it's the perfect size for a comfortable reading experience. Measurements are approximately 8 and 3/4 inches long by 5 and 3/4 inches wide, and a half of an inch thick. Just right! 

The book's introduction is a little gem all by itself. Within those nine pages I found a wealth of information. Most notably, a list of what Janet has discovered the reversed cards can indicate in a reading. One good way to possibly interpret that upside down card? Extreme or Unhealthy Manifestation of Energy. Not the opposite of, but maybe way too much of! Hmmm... *light bulb pops on* Chapters one through three feature all the cards and their reversals in an easy to read format. Chapter one covers the Major Arcana, chapter two covers the Minor Arcana, and chapter three the Court cards. I really love the page layout for each card. On the left is a picture of the card in both the upright and reversed perspectives (images are from the Universal Waite deck), and to it's side is a comprehensive list of key phrases that are guaranteed to get the thought processes moving along in the right direction towards understanding the energy of that particular reversed card.

Pop culture and modern interpretations are included, and I find these to be extremely helpful in making more meaningful connections that are easy to remember. As someone who sees the tarot at work all around them in everyday life, quite a few of those modern day examples brought a smile of recognition to my face. And along with that, more than a few "AHA!" moments. The anecdotes that are found under the key phrases are spot on for each card as well. Each card entry also has a quote that encapsulates it's meaning, an "advice from the card" blurb, and 20 affirmations to go with it. The affirmations would be WONDERFUL as a meditation focus when dealing with the energies described by the reversed card in question. Or as Janet describes it in the introduction, "Dealing with Life's Reversals". 

The last few pages of the book contain several examples of sample readings that have reversed cards. I feel that it is ALWAYS a good thing to see the author's techniques in action. And the last two pages have one of my favorite things that can be found in a book about tarot techniques... A notes section with lines! Perfect for those times when you have a stroke of genius and need to quickly write your thoughts down. Bravo! And I would also like to mention the font size... It's medium-large, which makes it very easy on these 43 year old eyes. lol I've had 20/20 vision for most of my life, but lately.. well.. I need reading glasses. I can actually easily read this book without them, and NO squinting or holding the book at arm's length until it comes into focus. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I highly recommend this book for any reader who wishes to get a grip on the reversed cards in their readings. This book will have a place of honor beside me at my computer desk, where it's within arm's reach. Never again will I have to struggle with, "What the heck does that card standing on it's head mean?!"

Any complaints, you ask? Yes, there is... This book should have been written and published YEARS ago! Then it would have saved me much grief, self-doubt and seemingly endless confusion. If you're struggling with reversed tarot cards, buy this book. You'll be glad you did! :)