Book Review – Mindful Tarot by Lisa Frienkel Tishman, Ph.D

April, 2019

Book Review
Mindful Tarot
Bring a Peace-Filled Compassionate Practice to the 78 Cards
by Lisa Frienkel Tishman, Ph.D

preface gives the reader a very specific view into the interpretative
style and way in which Dr. Tishman is going to incorporate a Mindful
approach to using the 78 Keys as tools of integration and awareness.
This is a different ideology than is the norm in treating the cards
of the Tarot as tools for accessing predictive information or having
a specific spiritual practice in mind that these interpretations may
be fused into. Dr. Tishman is, after all, a Zen Buddhist minister, so
the underpinnings of this book’s methodology are grounded in a more
eastern, vs. Western Hermetic dialogue.

is separated into two
Parts, the first giving a very thorough set-up for the reader who is
more acclimated to the traditional hermetic approach in using the
Tarot. Part One: From Mantic to Mindful Tarot begins with the
author’s experience as she sat on the meditation cushion during a
break in the seven-day silent retreat. The author tells us of the
epiphany she had surrounding the simple phrase, ”This
is ALL there is”…
and the clarity
of meaning she derived from that phrase when looking through a
different perspective.

Two: Cartomancy and Mindfulness
even more insight to the interweaving of the tried and true Tarot
expectations and how these may be used in a more mindful way. She
sites the words of Tarot icon, Mary Greer as having been instrumental
is pushing her to seek deeper meaning for the individual…

Many people come to tarot in hopes of “fixing” their lives-obtaining information and guidance that will help them make the “right” decisions and no mistakes-guaranteeing perfection. I ask you, as a Tarot reader, how can we help the querent “embrace brokenness”? 1. Tarot for Your Self, 2nd Edition: A Workbook for Personal Transformation by Mary Greer

especially liked Chapter 7: The Daily
– Dr. Tishman using the acronym
for Pausing, Unknowing, Looking, and Leaning In. Many of us are
familiar with the concept of pulling a card daily, not only as a way
of learning the deck but also as guidance for the day’s energies.
The author encourages us to cultivate the (zen) “beginner’s mind”
of absolute aliveness and openness to “what’s that”. We then
move on to the practice of patience, an excellent reminder that
things unfold as they unfold, regardless of the amount of coercion we
attempt to place on the desired (immediate) outcome. Each of the
steps of PULL have an experiential exercise following the descriptive
of how to, which is very helpful In training the individual towards
being present and fully engaged in the action.

Two: Reading the Cards
is separated
into the usual format beginning with the Trumps (Major Arcana), the
Pips (Minor Arcana), the Court Cards. Each of the cards is given a
key word of focus and much like the books contained with a Tarot
deck, information is provided regarding that key word and its
application to a mindful Tarot practice.

Tarot is filled with references and quotes that those who have a
solid background in Buddhist or mystic practices will easily
recognize and be able to make use of, which may leave those who are
coming from a hermetic mantic approach may not readily embrace. I
think this is an excellent book directed towards an audience that is
both versed in the nuances of a “real” Mindfulness practice-not
the buzz word version so popular nowadays and has a firm grasp of
understanding of the Tarot Keys using the more traditional predictive
interpretations. The Works Cited section completing the book, gives
validation to Dr. Tishman’s research and exploration used in
penning Mindful Tarot. Many of these, again, are not your staple
tomes for Tarot studies, which makes it all the more fascinating to

such a background to draw from, I found Mindful Tarot to be a very
interesting read that gave me enough thought-provoking information to
easily direct my focus for the Keys use in the way most revealing for
what I was hoping to receive.


Freinkel Tishman, PhD
, began
studying the Tarot as a grad student at Berkeley in the late 1980s.
She has published extensively on Petrarch, the Renaissance poet
sometimes thought to have influenced the tarot trumps. An
award-winning teacher, Zen Buddhist minister, and certified
mindfulness educator, she is a former humanities professor and dean
at the University of Oregon (UO) and founding director of UO’s
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program. Lisa is now an interfaith
chaplain at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Springfield, Oregon, and
continues to offer mindfulness classes, trainings, and Tarot readings
through her business, Calyx Contemplative Care. She can be found on
YouTube and Instagram as “Mindful Tarot.”

Mindful Tarot: Bring a Peace-Filled, Compassionate Practice to the 78 Cards on Amazon


the Author:

Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

Written in the Stars


Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon


Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

the Paths on Amazon


Year With Gaia on Amazon

Eternal Cord

of the Sun and Moon on Amazon


Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

Collection of Esoteric Writings

Elemental Year on Amazon

the Parts of SELF

Enchanted Gate on Amazon

on the Magick of the Natural World

with the Goddess on Amazon

of Devotion

Weekly Reflection on Amazon

for the Year

books are available on Amazon
on this website
her Blogs
be found at

Instagram & Facebook.

The Sober Pagan

July, 2018

A Home Group, Finally

I have finally found a home group! I knew as soon as I walked into the room that this was going to be the group for me. The time is perfect – 7:15 a.m. – it meets Tuesdays and Thursdays – it’s easy for me to get to – the meeting room itself is lovely – very Zen, although it’s a room in a Presbyterian Church. But it has large windows that look out on a courtyard with flowering trees and well-tended gardens and places to sit and meditate – much like any Buddhist Temple might offer. I felt at home immediately.

This spring I have struggled through one of the worst depressions of my life – at least, in last ten years. I had trouble getting to the store for basic groceries, let alone getting to an AA meeting or anywhere else. My entire spirituality suffered. I was amazed to find that I didn’t want to live anymore – and I was sober.

There were many dark days and many long sleepless nights.

Even though I thought I had lost my faith, yet I sat in meditation. Sometimes I sat for hours. It seemed like my brain had stopped to utter stillness but it was simmering like a sober stew. I needed that time of quietude. No sound except the chirping of the birds, vehicles driving past the house and children laughing as they walked to the corner to wait for the school bus. I didn’t dwell on any of this – I just noted each sound and let them go.

My son’s father came to town on route to somewhere else. He has over ten years in AA and is a social worker – he works with the homeless in Florida. He is Buddhist and has many years of practice. We spent the afternoon together, talking and meditating.

The next day, I started going to meetings again. The next week, I found this particular meeting – my new home group.

Soon after this, my son – who has six months sobriety – moved back in with me. I am so grateful for his sober support.

It is still a daily struggle. I have to admit that. At least once a day, I have a wicked bad jones. Something always triggers me. It can be almost anything. The weather – the time of day – a certain smell. I white-knuckle it hour by hour. Then – it passes – and I am so grateful that I didn’t give in.

I know that I have complained about AA for years and found every excuse under the sun not to go to meetings. But now I actually look forward to going to the meetings on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I haven’t felt like this about a meeting in over ten years.

Now I wonder – will the Goddess come back to me?


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 She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.