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Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Spreads

When I opened the parcel in which this book came, I fell in love. It is beautiful! The cover and each and every page is so well designed, I find it really difficult to talk about anything else! I’d like to give all respect and congratulations to the designer of the book, “Sporto!” You have created something truly wonderful!

Moving on from judging the book by its cover: in this case, the content is of equal quality. Everything written in it is clearly communicated, easily understandable, useful and fun, and loaded with information!

The book is 191 pages long, and flexibound; if you are like me and have no idea what that means, just imagine something between hard and paper cover. It makes it light but sturdy, although to tell you the truth the book is so beautiful that it deserves a hard cover. Regarding its dimensions: I am the mom of an eight month old baby, so for me it is a little difficult to read in its current format: it is too wide and too flexible to hold with my one free hand in the times of feeding baby – the only time I have the privilege to be undisturbed for any length of time by other family members. But, its wideness is completely justified: they had to fit the spreads in somehow! So, if you have two (!) free hands, or are able to sit at a table, then it will not mean any hindrance whatsoever. It works with the Rider-Waite Tarot by US Games Inc. 1971. A good choice, as this deck is universally understood and colourful enough to suit the feel of the book.   

It starts with the contents page, clearly indicating the chapters and main topics which makes it super easy to navigate the book. Then, after a short introduction, comes the first chapter, Preparing your Cards and Setting your Space. It is very informative and very detailed; if you are a beginner in tarot, you will get everything you need to know to use your cards in this book. If you already know your way around, it is still a nice read, so don’t skip it. It helps you in choosing your deck, getting to know it, and shows you all the cards of the Major and Minor Arcana.  Other topics covered are connecting with difficult cards, attuning to your deck, etc. Liz has managed to compress a whole beginner’s book into this part.

The next chapter is Essential Reading Techniques and Spreads. Man, this was an express train through the art of reading the cards. Starting with how to shuffle your deck it goes over symbols, colours, numbers, elemental dignities, etc… It might feel a little overwhelming for a beginner; I am not really sure all this info was needed in a book about spreads. After the information overload Liz shows us seven basic spreads. Everyone knows these: one card, the Past-Present-Future, the Horseshoe and Celtic Cross… And then come Liz’s spreads.

Each subsequent chapter has its own theme: Romance, Money, Healing, Decision making, Spirituality, Creativity, Timing Techniques, spreads inspired by books that the author found life-changing, the Spreads of the Occultists.  All that is followed by the Appendices, full of extra information. All the chapters are colour coded: Romance is red, Spirituality is blue, Creativity is orange; you can find the chapter you want really easily and quickly, in case you need a spread fast. All the topics are discussed thoroughly, and there is a great variety of spreads ranging from one card to 66 – the longest spread in the book is Eteilla’s ‘Great Figure’. I love long spreads so I am really happy this is listed here! 

The only thing I want to mention that might not suit everyone’s taste is the fortune telling aspects and occasional third party readings. In many spreads you will find ‘Outcome’ positions, and naturally the whole chapter of timing techniques is about telling the ‘When’. Third party readings occur most of the time in Romance spreads, with positions about the other person’s feelings, of course. 

At the end of the book you have a handy quick reference of the meanings and symbolism of the 78 cards of Tarot (the RWS decks anyway), book suggestions, acknowledgements, a short bio of the author, and the Index. 

I have read many excellent reviews of this book and I completely agree with them. This is a lovely piece, inside and out. It is well worth its price, and Liz can be very proud of what she has created. Whether you are an absolute beginner or a Tarot Grandmaster, I am sure you will enjoy this book!

Published by Fair Winds Press, 2016
Author: Liz Dean


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