A Review of Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence
My first thought when I read Brigit "Biddy" Esselmont's new e-book Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence was "Darn! I wish I had written this!"
Biddy has produced a unique and valuable tarot treasure. Although she and I do not always agree on card meanings and reading techniques, I endorse her concise, understandable and thorough method of tarot learning.
In her introduction, Biddy mentions something that seems to be true for tarot teachers everywhere. We all discover than many students find the concept of learning tarot a wee bit daunting. While Tarot Foundations does require a great deal of work and focus, it will make the task of learning tarot easier.
I like the title of this book, "Tarot Foundations," very much. The truth is this. No one can really learn tarot in thirty-one days. I am often irritated by courses and books that offer to teach tarot in fifteen minutes, or an hour, or a weekend. But I do understand the concept. The idea is to create a foundation that gives students the confidence they need to embark on the lifelong journey of tarot study.
Tarot Foundations is self -published as an e-book. Unlike many self-published e-books, it is well-written, well-edited and beautifully formatted. All of this, along with Biddy's clear and friendly style, makes it a pleasure to read. She includes many clickable links to her own sites and products as well as other pertinent tarot websites. This gives the book a very interactive feel. Biddy has even provided readers with a free website where they can meet and converse with other tarot students who are working on their thirty-one days of tarot learning.
In the introduction, Biddy makes it clear that the student can achieve the thirty-one day goal in more or less than thirty-one actual days. In this book, a "day" equals one focused lesson and/or activity. Students can skip days, or can do more than one day's work at a time.
The book assumes no prior knowledge. In the first "days" she guides the student through the process of selecting and purchasing a tarot deck, along with two or three tarot books. She teaches the basics of cleansing the cards and bonding with the cards.
Each day builds on the next. Students are to keep tarot journals, a practice of which I am a complete fan. The book also includes templates for creating key word charts, and clever tarot card profiles. Completing these forms is part of the lesson plan for particular days, but the finished charts and profiles will remain valuable to the student long after the thirty-one days are over.
Tarot Foundations separates itself from other beginner tarot books in that there are no actual card descriptions or instructions for interpretation beyond some key word charts in the appendix. It is the students' task to derive key words and deeper interpretations from the tarot books they read, and from their own intuition. Tarot Foundations teaches a nice mix of interpretive and intuitive reading styles. The exercises are varied accordingly.
I have very few criticisms of Tarot Foundations. Perhaps some of the finer points, such as predicting timing, are taught in an overly didactic way. My experience is that each reader needs to experiment with many techniques and traditions to figure out what works for them. To suggest there is just one way to do it and that way will be completely reliable seems disingenuous. While there is no harm in teaching students a specific tradition, I wish it were more clear that there are many traditions and techniques, especially when it comes to predictive reading.
I have taught tarot classes for years. After taking a few classes, some students really have a grasp on tarot; others less so. What is the difference? The successful students actually study every day in between classes. They do their homework. The other students choose not to study.
Tarot Foundations is a great guide for effective tarot study. Tarot Foundations doesn't just teach students how to read tarot. It teaches students how to actually study tarot, and then put that study into action. For some students, this distinction will make all the difference.
For more information, and to get your copy, visit Biddy's website here.