by Sasha Fenton

Seeing the Signs

December, 2017

Three About the Tarot

If you are like me, the best gifts under the Yule tree are books. I like historical novels – Elizabeth Chadwick and Sharon Key Penman are favorites of mine – and books about goddess religions and divination – especially cartomancy. As I shop, I look for books that I want to give to my loved ones but I always find ones for myself. Here are three books about the tarot that might interest you – either as gifts for another person, or to give to yourself!

Here are three books about the Tarot that would make great gifts for any Tarot enthusiast.

The first one is Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards: A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Tarot, by Sasha Fenton.

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

I am well acquainted with the works of Sasha Fenton – I have her The Fortune-Teller’s Workbook, which was published back in the 1980’s – and it is one of my favorite books. Anyone who is versed in divination literature knows who Sasha Fenton is. This is a fine book, a little over an inch in width. Published by Hampton Roads Publishing, it’s a slick, shiny mass-market paperback in eye-catching red and yellow. Fenton stresses the “story-telling” method of using the cards – a way of linking the cards together to create a narrative that foretells the future for your client. This is quite like the method that Caitlín Matthews talks about in The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook – one card modifying another card and creating a complete sentence or concept. The one thing I found curious is that Fenton believes that VIII should be Justice and XI should be Strength – which is fine, many tarot decks switch those cards because of esoteric belief systems – but the Tarot cards shown in the book is the Rider-Waite deck, in which VIII is Strength and XI is Justice. I would have thought that Fenton would have picked out a deck that matched what she was writing about. But that’s really a small flaw in an otherwise fabulous book.

It’s a great little handbook. Each card is presented with a keyword or several keywords for easy memorizing. There’s an explanation of the card and then some additional information, with the reversal meanings as well. I’ll tell you one thing I like about this book – she has a diagram on how to turn the cards over. I was doing it wrong for years and years. I had no idea! One day I figured it out on my own but here it is – on page 153. There’s at least ten spreads with sample readings and examples of how to “link” cards and also how to tell time with the cards.

If I bought this book as a gift for a friend or family member, I would buy the Tarot de Marseille as a companion to it.

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

 

Tarot: Plain and Simple by Leanna Greenaway is also published by Hampton Roads Publishing Company.

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

This book is only an inch in width but is packed with information. Although Greenaway writes “that this book is intended to help a beginner to get a good start in the art of Tarot” (p 9), I wouldn’t buy this book for the novice. It is written for the serious Tarot card reader – the person who has decided to go into business. It is written for the person who wants to be a professional reader. There are handy charts to aid memory and exercises and tests throughout the book which, if used properly, will help the student to learn the Tarot to the point where they will be able to read for any client quite competently. There are only two spreads but there is a chapter on how to talk to your clients and the various kinds of clients you may encounter. For the person who is serious about reading the Tarot, this is definitely the book. I would purchase The Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti to go with this book.

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

The Modern Witchcraft Book of Tarot: Your Complete Guide to Understanding the Tarot by Skye Alexander is my favorite of the three.

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

A hard-bound volume, two inches wide, it is published by Adams Media. Thick paper, really nice printing. Quality all the way. This is one of the most informative books I’ve read about the Tarot in a long time – it ranks up there with books by Mary K. Greer and Sallie Gearhart. Written from a Wiccan point of view, it is definitely a modern book – it talks about the history of the Tarot but then brings it fully into the 21st century. Filled with quotes and charts and correspondences of all kinds, it’s far more than just a book about the Tarot. It’s a guidebook par excellence.

There’s a chapter on Numerology and the Tarot. Each Suit has its own chapter and the Major Arcana is covered in a large chapter. Each card has the usual keywords and description of the card and the upright and reversed meanings. There are also meanings for your job, your money and your love-life, since most readings are focused on one of those three issues. There are tarot spreads and spells and other ways to use the Tarot in magic.

I can’t recommend this book too highly. It is my new favorite Tarot book. Everything about it is wonderful. If I were to buy this for a Yule present, I would buy the Everyday Witch Tarot, because it’s a modern witch tarot deck, like the book. Maybe I’ll get it for myself for Yule!

For Amazon information, click image below.

 

Brightest Blessings!

References

Alexander, Skye. The Modern Witchcraft Book of Tarot: Your Complete Guide to Understanding the Tarot. NY: Adams Media, 2017.

Fenton, Sasha. Fortune Telling by Tarot Cards: A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Tarot. Charlottesville: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, 2017.

Greenaway, Leanna. Tarot: Plain & Simple. Charlottesville: Hampton Roads Publishing Company, 2017.

Matthews, Caitlín. The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards. Rochester, VT: Destiny , 2014.

http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/everyday-witch-tarot/

http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/gilded/

http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/marseilles/

For Amazon information, click images below.

 

 

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About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

Seeing the Signs

August, 2014

A Wonderful Book About divination

For the past few months, I have been busy transcribing my diaries. I have the years 1978 to 1989 completely typed and saved electronically, and I am currently working on 1990. I also have 1996 and 1999 done, as well as parts of 1993. I plan to change the names and some of the pertinent details and make it into a novel, while keeping it in a diary form.
The years 1987 and 1988 were the start of a spiritual journey. Being of a bookish nature, I searched through libraries and book stores to find all the books I could on women’s spirituality, astrology, the tarot, numerology, goddess religion and feminist thealogy. I recorded my findings in my diary, along with pages of notes, drawings, tarot readings and reviews. These sections of the diary would become the core of my Book of Shadows.
In 1989, at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, I came upon a book called The Fortune-Teller’s Workbook, by Sasha Fenton. I wasn’t so interested in fortune-telling as I was in spirituality but I borrowed the book because it had chapters on numerology and the tarot, of which I had a deep and abiding interest. I was also interested in the chapter on how to tell fortune using playing cards – how did one figure out what the card was about without a picture to tell you, as with tarot cards? I wrote that I wasn’t interested in foretelling the future – “well, not other people’s futures – I wouldn’t mind a peek into my own. I’m really into these methods as poetic aids – the language of poetry – the language of symbolism – I long to become learned in the arts of magic – earth magic – faery-faith – witch-craft.” Twenty-five years later, I am not so sure how learned I have become, but it has been a marvelous journey.
I recently bought The Fortune-Teller’s Workbook from Amazon.com. It was originally published in 1988 and it is still in print. It came the other day – used but in good shape. My copy was published by Aquarian Press. It’s a fabulous book. It covers nineteen forms of divination – ones that everyone has heard of, such as Numerology, The I-Ching, Tarot Cards, Palmistry, and Tea Leaves – as well as obscure ones such as The Oracle of Napoleon and Flower Reading. I will certainly be referring to this book in future columns when I talk about various divining systems.
Sasha Fenton is a prolific writer. She has written eleven books about fortune telling alone, and many more on the subject of the Tarot, Astrology, Palmistry, Chinese Astrology, Business, and even fiction. Her website is here http://www.sashafenton.com/ & there are links to her blogs and how to contact her.
I have some health issues – tomorrow I have blood work in the morning and then a Gastroscopy in the afternoon – so tonight I am going to perform a small ritual and try to see what my health future might be. Should I use the Oracle of Napoleon? Or throw the I-Ching? Perhaps I will try a simple deck of cards. Sasha Fenton’s The Fortune-Teller’s Workbook is a convenient and resourceful way of checking on the future. Perhaps your library has a copy – if not, Amazon.com and other book-sellers has it both new and used.