Trade Paperback, 288 pages
Publisher: Fireside Books
Publication date: June 1998
Current Price: Click for info
Power Tarot is co-written by a friend and member of The Cauldron, Phyllis Vega. This connection makes it a hard book to review fairly. This is especially true as it is one of the better new books on the Tarot I've seen recently.
As one might expect in a Tarot book designed for mass market appeal, a good portion of the book is taken up with suggested interpretations of the cards. MacGregor and Vega simplify things a bit by ignoring reversed meanings. This is a good idea as even without reversed interpretations about a page and a half is devoted the interpretation of each card. A general interpretation and interpretations for specific types of readings (relating to work, romance, finances, health, spirituality, and empowerment) are given for every card. The court cards, which are often glossed over with interpretations like "a powerful man" in other books, are given the same full treatment as the other cards in Power Tarot. As I've always had trouble interpreting the court cards when interpreting them as a person just doesn't make sense, this alone made Power Tarot a welcome addition to my library.
For example, Eden Gray's A Complete Guide to the Tarot gives the following meaning for the Knight of Cups:
A young man who is graceful, poetic, but indolent. He is a dreamer of sensual delights. Can mean the bringer of a message, a proposition, an invitation.
This often is not very helpful if a person simply does not make sense in a reading. While Phyllis and Trish do give a description of the card as a person, they also give a number of possible meanings that do not strongly imply a person. For example, here is the meaning they give for the Knight of Cups in a general situation:
A new kind of experience moves into your life. It buoys your spirits, stirs your compassion, and changes your beliefs about what is possible. This knight symbolizes the path with heart. Your tensions and loneliness ease as your emotions find an equilibrium that has been absent in recent months.
The most interesting part of the book, however, is the one hundred Tarot spreads. Most of these spreads are original. They range from one card spreads to twenty-four card spreads. While a few do look like they were created just to round off the collection to 100, most are interesting and might be useful to answer specific types of questions. I haven't had time to try all of them, but several of these new spreads have already become favorites of mine: the Desire spread, the Ladle spread, and the Treasure Chest spread. The only problem with this section is that the explanations of various positions in each spread are often a bit sketchy. While this is not a problem for more experienced readers, it might be a bit of a problem for less experienced readers.
They did leave out one interesting spread I was taught years ago. I call it the "Who is it?" spread and use it as a "sub-spread" when the main spread is clearly indicating a person, but I have no strong sense of who that person might be. It can also be used as an quick spread by itself to find out something about the nature of a person you wish to know more about. It's a three card spread. The first card is the person's inner or true self, that which she really is. Card two is the person's outer shell, the face they expose to the world. The final card represents the person's surroundings, his place in the world around him.
Overall, Power Tarot is an excellent addition to the bookshelves of anyone interested in the Tarot. I haven't been this pleased with a new Tarot book since Mary K. Greer's Tarot For Your Self came out in the mid-eighties. When you see it in your bookstore, be sure to take a look.
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