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

April 1st, 2019

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

The 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.

Mindful Tarot 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.

Chapter Two: Cartomancy and Mindfulness-gives 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

I especially liked Chapter 7: The Daily Pull– Dr. Tishman using the acronym of PULL 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.

Part 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.

Mindful 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 read.

Having 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.

About Lisa:

Lisa 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


About the Author:

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

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

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars


The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon


The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon


A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

  • Uncategorized
  • Comments(0)

Comments are closed.