Author: Phyllis Vega
Trade Paperback, 255 pages
Publisher: Fireside Books
Publication date: February 2001
Price & More Info: Click Here
Several years ago, Trish MacGregor and Phyllis Vega wrote Power Tarot, a superb book on the tarot. In 2001, Phyllis brings us Romancing the Tarot, a book with a similar format to Power Tarot, but specialized toward reading the tarot for some of the most important questions in life: love, romance, sex, and relationships. The areas are probably the ones the majority of tarot readings revolve around.
Romancing the Tarot starts off with a very brief introduction to the tarot, in four chapters and less than 15 pages. While this probably is a bit skimpy for a complete beginner, all the necessary information is present and written in plain English, though there is not a lot of hand-holding.
Of course, this leaves much more room for the meat of the book. The next three chapters -- and some 160 pages -- provide detailed love and romance-oriented interpretations for the major arcana, the court cards, and the pip cards. Each card is given about two pages of suggested interpretations. Each card receives a one word key idea and general interpretation to start things off. Seven specialized interpretations specific to relationships follow: Expectations, Emotional Potential, Sexual Potential, Material Potential, Spiritual Potential, Challenges, and Outcome. Finally, key words and phrases are provided for each card. Just reading through this material gave me new ways to see the cards I have been using for over 20 years.
As in Power Tarot, the court cards get the same full treatment and interpretations the other cards get. They are not glossed over with interpretations like "a powerful man" as they often are in other books. Given that relationship readings can be full of court cards, the chapter on them in Romancing the Tarot will be worth the price of the book to many students of the tarot.
The eighth chapter contains forty tarot spreads designed to answer specific relationship questions. These range from quick three card spreads like "Is It Love?" to complex twelve card spreads like "Horoscope for Two," "Infidelity," and "Sexual Healing." If it is a relationship question, chances are you will find a specialized spread for it in this chapter. Most of these spreads are original. The only standard spread I noticed was a couples-only version of the Celtic Cross. The only problem with this chapter is that the explanations of various positions in each spread are very sketchy. This might be a bit of a problem for less experienced readers.
The final chapter provides four sample readings. These are excellent, if brief, examples of how to put all the material in this book together.
Overall, Romancing the Tarot is a very successful book. It is understandable to novice tarot readers while providing food for thought for even advanced students. This book belongs on the bookshelf of anyone interested in what the tarot has to say about relationships. If you see it in a bookstore, be sure to take a look. I don't think you will be disappointed.
Truth in reviewing time, Romancing the Tarot is written by a friend and sometime member of The Cauldron, Phyllis Vega. Like Power Tarot, this book gets high praise because it is an excellent and very useful book, not because the author knows the reviewer.
Reviewed by Randall