Holistic Tarot (Review)

It’s been a little while since I posted a book review here, but when Benebell Wen contacted me about possibly reviewing Holistic Tarot, I couldn’t resist! I was delighted that her publisher sent me a physical copy of the book — and shocked to realize what a hefty tome it is! Holistic Tarot is 896 pages of pure awesome.


Holistic Tarot by Benebell WenHolistic Tarot
by Benebell Wen

Published: January 6, 2015
My Rating: ★★★★★
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In Holistic Tarot, author Benebell Wen provides a complete guide to using the tarot to foster personal development. Wen gives a comprehensive overview of the history of the tarot and a wide array of theories on its use (including its relationship to Jungian archetypal psychology and traditional Chinese divination practices) before digging deeply into one of the best-known tarot systems, the Rider-Waite-Smith. Beginners will find a complete guide to working with the tarot, including choosing and caring for a deck, how best to learn and remember the attributes of the major and minor arcana, the interpretation of cards and spreads, the role of meditation in a tarot practice, and how to use the tarot for improving relationships, professional development, and personal resilience. More advanced practitioners will appreciate nuanced theoretical discussions of the tarot as well as practical advice about reading others’ tarot cards and setting up a practice. Containing over 500 illustrations and detailed information on each card as well as numerous spreads, Holistic Tarot is a complete compendium of tarot study that every practitioner should have in his or her library.


My Thoughts on Holistic Tarot

Have you ever read a book and just felt an instant kinship with the author? That was me while reading Holistic Tarot. With some nonfiction books, I am tempted to skip all the introductory content, but I was eating up every single word of this book. This is one of the few books that was just asking for me to break out a pencil and underline passage after passage.

“Tarot is a mirror. It reflects back who you are. It shows you your strengths and weaknesses. It makes you confront the decisions you have made in the past, your attitude, both good and bad, and how these components have affected your life.”

What sold me on Holistic Tarot very early on was that Wen’s approach to tarot is analytical and not *woo-woo* in nature. I loved that she describes it as “tarot analytics” and compares a tarot reading to making a mind map. As I’ve been creating mind maps aplenty recently, and I am drawn to the analytical, this seemed like the perfect book for me!

Holistic Tarot is comprehensive and exceptionally thorough. Whether you’re completely new to tarot or a seasoned practitioner, there is something (many somethings) for you in this book. Everything is well laid out and the chapters follow a logical and smooth progression from one topic to another. You’ll encounter a plethora of reference charts, spreads, techniques, and things to consider from multiple perspectives.

“Don’t use the tarot only because you want to know what will happen next or you might lose sight of what is happening now. Instead, use the tarot to understand why and how. You influence your future through action and attitude, not through cards.”

Each chapter is illustrated with images, but also with example readings to help expand upon the ideas and suggestions. There are even chapters on devising your own spreads, in depth operations, and things to consider if you plan to practice tarot professionally. I found the breadth and depth of advice and reference information in this book impressive!

So far, I’ve tried out many of the techniques and spreads in this book, but there is still so much more that I plan to delve into for a long time to come! In fact, when it’s my turn to host my “tarot book club” meeting, I’ll be sharing some of what I learned in Holistic Tarot!

This is absolutely the BEST tarot resource I’ve found.

I’m seriously considering getting the ebook version as well, so I can have it with me everywhere I go! Highly recommended for anyone interested in the tarot.

[Many thanks to Benebell Wen and North Atlantic Books for the opportunity to read and review this fine tome!]

The Spiritual Power of Empathy (Review)

In my other life, I read and review a LOT of books, which means I’m a member of NetGalley. When I saw this book come up in my radar, I knew that it was something I needed to read, so I sent in a request and it was granted! Thanks again to Llewelyn Worldwide for providing this galley free of charge and allowing me to review an early copy of the book.


The Spiritual Power of Empathy by Cyndi DaleThe Spiritual Power of Empathy: Develop Your Intuitive Gifts for Compassionate Connection
by Cyndi Dale
Coming: October 8, 2014

My Rating: ★★★★

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For some the empathic gift provides insight and inspiration, but for others empathy creates feelings of confusion and panic. The Spiritual Power of Empathy is a hands-on training course for empaths, showing you how to comfortably use this often-unrecognized ability for better relationships, career advancement, raising children, and healing the self and others.

Join popular author Cyndi Dale as she shares ways to develop the six empathic types, techniques for screening and filtering information, and tips for opening up to a new world of deeper connections with the loved ones in your life. Also includes important information for dealing with the difficulties empaths often face, such as being overwhelmed in a crowd.


This book really called out to me because for a long time I have been struggling with the overwhelming feelings I get from empathic data on a daily basis. I’ve found it difficult to distance myself from the emotions emanating from strangers nearby, and even harder to differentiate between my feelings and those of people close to me. I sought out this book, hoping to gain some wisdom and guidance for creating boundaries and learning to better interpret the empathic information I receive.

My expectations were met — and exceeded.

Cyndi Dale clearly knows her stuff when it comes to recognizing, processing, and dealing with empathic data. This book goes into detail about the six different types of empathy, and how they might affect us in our daily lives — whether it be in our own personal issues, in relationships, or at work. The book includes charts and worksheets to help you determine the strength of your own empathic gifts, and then provides a series of practical and very helpful exercises that can help you use, strengthen, and recognize these gifts in your everyday life.

Though some of what this book talks about goes a bit too deep into the spiritual realm for me, I still find most of the advice within very applicable to my situations. It has helped me recognize my gifts, the ways in which I’ve been having trouble with them, and I’ve already begun to use the tools and exercises provided in this book to build boundaries and help recognize which feelings are mine and which are not.

This is one book that I will definitely want to add to my physical shelves, because I know I will want to refer back to it time and again. I’m really grateful to have found a book like this, especially during a point in my life when I really needed some guidance in the area of empathy. I’d recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about empathy, understanding others, and/or understand their own feelings.


Tarot Beyond the Basics (Review)

In my other life, I read and review a LOT of books, which means I’m a member of NetGalley. When I saw this book come up in my radar, I couldn’t resist, and I requested a copy of this book. Thanks again to Llewelyn Worldwide for providing this galley free of charge, in exchange for my honest review.

I am so glad that I did.


Tarot Beyond the Basics: Gain a Deeper Understanding of the Meanings Behind the Cards by Anthony LouisTarot Beyond the Basics: Gain a Deeper Understanding of the Meanings Behind the Cards
by Anthony Louis
Coming: April 8, 2014

My Rating: ★★★★★

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Most tarot books are for beginners. Here, Anthony Louis, famous for Tarot Plain & Simple, shares decades of insights and information that can help you become an advanced practitioner. Not merely “more of the same,” Louis provides real world examples of how to use your intuition to improve your readings, how to understand tarot reversals and how to include the meanings of numbers, the elements, and the tarot’s court cards.

Louis reveals the common background of astrology and tarot, explaining astrology for tarot readers clearly and in a way that makes sense. Then he shows how to use the tarot with astrological concepts to give advanced readings that change people’s lives.


I had intended to write this review a month before the book’s release date, and here it is almost two months AFTER. Partially, this is due to my overstuffed schedule and ridiculously hectic life, but partially this is because Tarot Beyond the Basics was way more intense than I had expected it to be!

Research, organization, and information collecting are some of my favorite things, so when I saw how comprehensive and complete this book was, I just fell in love. Certainly, this means that there were some chapters I couldn’t delve very deeply into (I don’t know enough about astrology to get much out of those chapters — yet), but the rest of the book was just a joy to read.

As tarot readers we use the cards intuitively to trigger associations derived from our life history, the metaphorical meanings of our native language and culture, our own study and theoretical understanding of the cards, and our personal as well as the collective unconscious.

One thing I appreciate most about this book is that Louis doesn’t just go with what he knows — he references information, history, techniques, and anecdotes from all kinds of tarot (and other esoteric) authorities. His personal accounts, anecdotes, metaphors, and interpretations made this book so much fun to read.

There are whole chapters on different aspects of the tarot, including: astrology, numerology, intuition, shuffling, how different decks can affect a reading, the elements, sarcasm, and more! I can’t tell you how many passages I highlighted throughout this book — either because I just liked the quote, or I wanted to remember the techniques/information for later. I gained a much deeper and more complete understanding of the cards and I feel like I have a thick resource to refer to now!

…what if a tarot divination is valid only if the querent shuffles the deck with the sincere intent to receive a valid answer from the cards?

To date, Tarot Beyond the Basics is probably my favorite resource for tarot. You can bet I will be adding a physical copy to my shelves as soon as possible!

365 Tarot Spreads (Review)

In my other life, I read and review a LOT of books, which means I’m a member of NetGalley. When I saw this book come up in my radar, I couldn’t resist, and I requested a copy of this book. Thanks again to Llewelyn Worldwide for providing this galley free of charge, in exchange for my honest review.

This book was an excellent choice!


365 Tarot Spreads: Revealing the Magic in Each Day by Sasha Graham365 Tarot Spreads: Revealing the Magic in Each Day
by Sasha Graham
Coming: May 8, 2014

My Rating: ★★★★★
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For many cartomancers, tarot is a hallowed daily practice. Now you can navigate important life choices every day, all year with 365 Tarot Spreads. Featuring spreads for multi-cultural traditions, holidays, rituals, lore, and magic, this daily guide explores a tarot quest for every occasion and helps you discern answers to any question with interesting and magical results. Use 365 Tarot Spreads year after year with spreads falling on every possible calendar date. Each one is based on an important historical, magical, or fascinating occurrence on that particular date in history. This daily guide is concerned with the essential journey to find truth and answers, rooted in every spread with topics from love and money to career and life path. With an explanation of each spread and questions to focus on while reading, you’ll achieve your quest for answers every day.


My Thoughts on the Book

This book is exactly what the title says. It contains 365 different tarot spreads, each one assigned to a particular date, from January 1 through December 31 (including February 29). At first I was a little surprised that they were assigned to specific dates, but once I realized the depth and care taken for each choice, it all made sense.

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