Bringing the Tarot to Life is a unique tarot manual that invites the reader to use her own imagination in assimilating and interpreting the cards. I’ve never read anything quite like it.
Scott Martin was an actor and theater teacher for many years. “It struck me that just as an actor delves into his character, so a student of the tarot can explore the archetypes that are represented in the seventy-eight cards in the tarot. He can develop his intuitive abilities by participating in the written and performance exercises an actor uses to hone his talent and to create his role in a play.” loc 112-128, ebook.
He based the first two sections of the book on that idea and created a series of theater-inspired games and exploratory exercises to be played in groups or alone.
The last portion of the book consists of Martin’s interpretations of the cards. I found that section to be the least interesting, but there could be descriptions in those pages that others may not have heard. So, don’t let me deter you.
There was also some trivia included for tarot enthusiasts. Something that I didn’t know was that before Paul Foster Case helped to form The Golden Dawn, he was in theater. Paul Foster Case became interested in tarot in 1900 when someone asked him where he thought playing cards came from. … Prior to that, he was actively involved in the theater. He was the musical director on a showboat and later worked in musical theater and vaudeville.” loc 128, ebook. But old man river, he just keeps rolling along…
I agreed with Martin’s thoughts on improving your intuition: “How does one develop his intuition? One obvious answer is to expose the mind to more creative and imaginative ways to thinking and looking at the world. Creativity and intuition are inextricably linked.” loc 164. Indeed.
My favorite of the exercises presented in this book is “I Am What I Do” loc 231, ebook. It encourages readers to assign jobs to the different cards. “Many people in life, as well as characters in plays, define themselves to a great extent in terms of what they do. … the possibilities are virtually limitless: The Ten of Pentacles- a family counselor. The Five of Swords- a crooked hedge fund manager. The Knight of Cups- a poet.” loc 231. I thought that was hilarious. And, I was looking at the cards in ways that I never had before. Talk about ‘Bringing the Tarot to Life’!
Recommended for beginners or advanced practitioners of tarot cards. Every reader will most likely find an exercise or two to their liking because of the huge variety Martin offers.
Thank you to NetGalley and Llewellyn publishing for a free digital advance reader’s copy of this book. Reminder: the brief quotations that I cited in this review may change slightly in the final published version.
And, thanks for reading!