When I grab an introductory book, if not to get started in said subject, is to get a more organized idea of what I’m reading about, or to learn about the details I could be missing after some self-taught lessons. Liz Dean’s book The Tarot Companion: A Portable Guide to Reading the Cards for Yourself and Others helped me achieve both goals when I started reading.
After using Tarot cards for some years with family and friends, I thought it was time to read a serious book on the subject so I could give more shape to what I already was working with and using for my benefit and those around me. I’m happy I did it and did it with this book.
Ms. Dean’s writing style is simple, direct and easy to follow. The ideas and descriptions she has used in the book to illustrate the meaning of the cards was a complete approach to each of them, presenting them in an understandable way to newcomers and even giving me new perspectives and information about certain signs they could become depending on the case and diverse factors I had no idea about.
I also loved how the layout was designed, with two pages for each card, one with the card’s image and key words of its meaning and the next one with a text that summarized its meaning on a more complete manner. There was more information on some cards, others were just too short, but they all gave a well-balanced description on the meaning and connections between certain cards.
However, it is worth mentioning that The Tarot Companion is book more based on providing a meaning card by card than teaching the reader how to actually use them. There are just a couple of pages with a general description on the subject, but when compared with the rest of the content it’s an abysmal difference the one we find, not to mention the fact that the procedures are not explained or offer a reason for why they should be done like that. It feel as if someone told me “it has been like this since I remember” when I asked why.
I would have liked to see some of the cards’ history, some correspondences, when to use them, when not, maybe some spells, anything else to give it a more interesting look to Liz Dean’s book than just leaving it like a general, compressed encyclopedia that looks pretty fin in design terms, but I guess it’s a good point for starters to get familiar with Tarot and how to interpret the cards.
There’s hardly anything else that could be said about The Tarot Companion, as it follows a safe-bet idea for its content, playing it fair for the readers, and despite I’m okay with it and understand why someone would do this, I still feel there could have been something else, anything, to make a more complete, interesting book. Maybe the market still needs updated introductions for some topics, who knows.
In spite all of this, Liz Dean gives a useful tool for starters on this book that will help them as they take their first steps on divination. Although I find it hard for experimented Tarot Readers to give it a chance, I would recommend doing it. You never know what else you may discover in a book, and I certainly learned that lesson with Ms. Dean.
Print Length: 176 pages
Publisher: Fair Winds Press (April 2, 2018)
Publication Date: April 2, 2018
About the author:
Liz Dean is a professional tarot reader and Angelic Reiki Healer at Psychic Sisters in Selfridges, London. She had studied divination for over 20 years and is the author of The Golden Tarot, The Ultimate Guide to Tarot, The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Spreads, The Victorian Steampunk Tarot, Fairy Tale Fortune Cards, and 44 Ways to Talk to Your Angels. Liz is also one of the “Tarot Masters” included in Kim Arnold’s eponymous collection of 38 essays. She is also a former Co-Editor of the UK’s leading spiritual magazine, Kindred Spirit (2011-2013), and an award-winning poet.
About the reviewer:
Bader Saab is a digital journalist and self-published writer; a solitary, eclectic wiccan interested in the darker side of magic and divination; a gothic guy that tries to educate whenever he cans. Hopefully, someday he will succeed in one of them.