WRITTEN BY: STEVEN BRIGHT
Steven Bright is a professional tarot reader, mentor and author who lives and works in Kent, U.K. He is the creator of Spirit Within Tarot, released by Schiffer Books in 2017, and has written for a number of spiritual magazines. You can find out more about Steven and his work via his website stevenbright.co.uk
I first picked up a tarot deck over twenty years ago. Back then, it wasn’t as easy to obtain information about the tarot as it is now. While there were some great [and now] classic books on tarot reading available, there was not the shelf-loads that we have at our disposal these days. The majority of current high street bookstores will carry, at least, one volume of standard tarot commentary.
My first steps into the art of tarot reading were clumsy, to say the least. I’d bought a Thoth-style deck and had unknowingly teamed it up with a book displaying Marseille imagery and housing Rider Waite definitions. Looking from one to the other, I was confused. This confusion could have stopped me in my tracks but my curiosity for the cards and the secrets they might depart kept me going.
Learning to read tarot took longer than I’d expected. While part of this was down to studying fashion design at university full-time, the material available was scarce and I didn’t have the internet at my fingers back then. The few books I had on hand were either too advanced or contained interpretations I couldn’t connect to the images on my table.
When I was asked to write Tarot: Your Personal Guide, my aim was to write the book I’d have liked to be have been gifted back then. The tarot images can be tight-lipped and, depending on the deck you are using, are not always easy to relate to our modern age. Thinking about my own experience of learning alone, I wanted to write a book that was a true companion, helping the reader to understand the archetypes but also to assist them in finding their own personal connection. One of the best ways to develop a relationship with the tarot, I believe, is to step into them on a personal level. When we can relate a card to our own experience, we can comprehend it’s meaning more intimately.
Tarot: Your Personal Guide is straight-talking. There are many wonderful books already written, often explaining what we do know about the hazy background of tarot but I didn’t wish to replicate or provide a history lesson. Most people who come to me for mentoring wish to use the cards for personal questions or to help guide others with the ups-and-downs of their lives, so this was where I focused my attention. While there is a good amount of information about what tarot is (and isn’t) in the opening chapter, the bulk of my book is concerned with interpretation and reading skills.
I find that most new and, sometimes intermediate readers (since this is not a book purely for the beginner) find it hard to relate to the archaic tarot imagery. How can an old chariot have anything to do with my career or a man riding a horse at full speed speak of my argumentative ex? Explaining the true essence of these cards and how they relate to the lives of those seeking a reading became my greatest aim. As well as a section on how they can reveal the subject of a reading, I have included ways in which each of the seventy-eight cards can be viewed as a situation or a person. As an example, how can the eight shooting sticks in the 8 of Wands describe someone in your life? In my book, I suggest one possibility –
“The 8 of Wands describes anybody who is out and about and on the move. Within work, this could be a courier, delivery person, or traveling salesman. I the subject of the reading is the kind of person who is always dashing about between one place and another – dropping off the kids, getting to work, doing the shopping, and walking the dog – then that could well be the person this card is reflecting.”
For those who still need a little extra help in connecting with the tarot card on a personal and direct level, I also provide five questions for each card. In these sections, I endeavor to help you find a place of personal understanding. As an example, for Justice, Tarot: Your Personal Guide asks the following questions –
How fair are you being in a current situation?
Can you think of a time when you have been rewarded for your words or actions?
Who might you go to if you want a fair assessment of a situation?
How might your current words and actions have far-reaching consequences?
Each card entry also contains upright and reversed keywords, which should make good sense after the previous sections have been absorbed.
I believe that tarot reading should be both a fun and fulfilling experience. When we are confused or learning becomes a trial, we can lose interest and give up. My hope is that this book becomes a popular bridge between confusion and clarity. In the last section, I have taken the famous Celtic Cross Spread (amongst other useful spreads) and have broken it down in a way that I hope will illuminate its usefulness. I have delivered workshops on the Celtic Cross (most notably as a speaker at the U.K. Tarot Conference in London, 2017) and my method of learning this key spread, simply and effectively, is provided in my book.
There are many wonderful tarot books on the market these days. I didn’t want to create another basic guide because there are a generous handful of those already. Instead, I hope that I have provided much-needed material for anyone who is starting out on their tarot journey but wishes to expand and reach past the basic foundation of the cards and card reading.
Tarot: Your Personal Guide is a 192 page hardcover manual. It is broken up into four sections – Getting Started, The Major Arcana, The Minor Arcana and Becoming Adept and Spreads. The book is in full colour and is illustrated with the Universal Waite Tarot. Each copy comes with an 18 x 24-inch wall chart, featuring the Major Arcana cards. It sits within a sealed pocket at the back of the book.