I always get excited when I’m restocking the non-fiction shelves and a book like this crosses my path. I love my job, don’t get me wrong, but so many of the titles that I toss around on a daily basis hold zero interest for me. This one, on the other hand, is right up my alley!
The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life is an excellent manual for beginners to the more experienced card reader. Its only weakness, in my opinion, is that I wanted more… more stories, more examples, just more! I understand that we’re dealing with 50+ cards and they can’t all receive extremely detailed treatment, otherwise we’d get the George R.R. Martin version of Tarot card books, but a girl can dream. Also, Crispin lists and explains the cards from the aces to the tens when most mystery schools study them in the opposite order, from the tens to the aces. Nit-picking, I know, but I think it changes the flow of the book. Are you ascending the hill or coming down it? Do you start out complete as the Universe or with not a care in the world as the Fool? It’s different.
I loved that Crispin gives novel, art, and film suggestions for each card so that the reader can immerse themselves in the “feel” or “mood” of them. That was a lovely touch and different from any other book on the subject that I’ve examined.
A.E. Waite’s beliefs, which Crispin includes in A History of the Tarot chapter parallel mine pretty closely: “Waite believed that the magical systems (tarot) of the Golden Dawn and other systems were not about imposing your will on a situation… or about telling the future… He believed they were for elevating the soul and for bringing what is unconscious conscious.” pg 7
I liked Crispin’s description of Temperance: “Temperance is an easily misunderstood card, as it has become associated mostly with abstention. Not drinking, not participating, denying yourself something. But that breaks away from the origins of the card, which traditionally portrays a hermaphrodite blending two cups of water- one hot and one cold- to create something in the middle between these two extremes.” pgs 76-77 Finding the middle.
How about this blurb about the Tower: “Remember that scene in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, where Amy throws Jo’s stories into the fire? That’s the feeling of the Tower: the realization that all is lost, and you will have to start over from the beginning.” pg 83 One of my favorite books! Yeah, that scene captures the card perfectly.
Finally, a bit from the Moon that I thought was brilliant: “The Moon rules our dreams, and that’s a good way to think about this card. They don’t make sense on a logical level, but on a personal level, on an emotional level, they do. The location in a dream will shift without warning; dead people will walk beside the living; your mother will show up, say something nonsensical while wearing a jellyfish on her head, and then stab you in the heart. And you wake up and think, “Oh, of course, this is about that incident that happened when I was five.” Ha, my dreams are just like that.
The tone in The Creative Tarot is very friendly and conversational, as if you asked your best friend to teach you a little bit about her favorite hobby. Highly recommended for artists, dreamers, and aspiring tarot card readers.
Thanks for reading!