Updated: Dec 15, 2022
CLASSIC TAROT SPREADS by SANDOR KONRAAD - BOOK REVIEW
Most Tarot Readers, newbies and advanced, tend to build a collection of decks and books over time. I know I have more decks than I can use in a month. But when it comes to books, I'm very picky and I do not allow many people to come into my Tarot World to tell me how it's done.
I learned Tarot in my early years and I love keeping an intuitive approach on my journey. But sometimes you find a book, flip through it and find yourself nodding. That's exactly what happened when I started reading "Classic Tarot Spreads" by Sandor Konraad. A book full of spread tutorials, card meanings and personal notes from the author that are extremely enlightening and interesting.
EASY TO NAVIGATE AND WELL STRUCTURED
The book is made of 4 parts plus the introduction or "Confessions of a Reluctant Tarot Reader", a very interesting testimonial for anyone who is either contemplating reading for others or has already started.
In Part One Konraad explains his views and experience of what a Tarot reading is (and is not), comparing it to a journey into space as well as a "journey into inner space". I like that analogy a lot and relate to this approach entirely. In my practice, a Tarot reading is all about connecting with and reading the personal energy of a consultant (which is also why I always tell people that free will remains - but that is a different topic entirely). For the author, a Tarot reading is not about fortune-telling, that is debatable and different readers have different approaches. But we all know that Tarot is an intuitive tool for guidance above all and here again, I very much agree with the author. That's not to say that predictions are being ruled out.
Part One continues with a couple exercises to practice and an introduction to the Major and Minor Arcana. It also includes a table of root number associations in the deck followed by general meanings of the numbers. That's an incredibly clear and useful tool for beginners. Memorising this table can help anyone navigate the deck better and faster.
That is probably one of the best things about this book: it is very well structured, clear and easy to navigate.
CARD MEANINGS, ASSOCIATIONS AND MORE
The book continues with meanings and predictions for all 78 cards and combinations too. That section is very concise and amazing for beginners looking for a simple effective tool or anyone who needs to go back to the basics. The only issue with those is that they can be limiting/subjective.
"6 of Cups - Decision involving love or marriage. Emotional decision"
That is absolutely correct. But it is also not the only things the 6 of Cups can refer to or announce. And the author does not imply that either. An ultimate beginner should just keep in mind that there is always more and such lists, while helpful, only show the tip of the iceberg.
Each card of the major arcana then gets a full page. And to be honest, that is the only part of the book where I sometimes disagree with the author. Some of the meanings, based on my training and reading tradition, are not entirely accurate or partially so. And that is fine! Tarot is not set in stone and there is no Tarot police. That's why it's important to use different sources and always listen to one's intuition when reading or learning about the cards.
CLASSIC SPREAD TUTORIALS
Part Two "provides spreads, which address any questions the consultant might have". This is a collection of classic tarot spreads for specific questions related to love, work, finances etc. For instance "will I get into a new relationship soon?", "is this new job opportunity a good idea?" etc.
This part is absolutely wonderful. Most of the spreads are well known but having them organised in such a concise and clear manner comes in very handy. This part includes the Horseshoe Spread that I personally love and have been using for years, the Eastern Cross, the Celtic Cross and more (16 in total). Each tutorial comes with useful tips that keep proving, page after page, the immense knowledge of the author.
Part Three is the second collection of spreads and tutorials. It is dedicated to Life Readings. Those are different from classic spreads focusing on immediate concerns and questions such as "will I get a promotion this year?".
Life Readings look at your entire existence and are all about the big picture. They look at the path that is yours and the core of who you are. I love that the author encourages an intuitive approach for such readings: "the most profound results are usually obtained in a life reading by interpreting the cards intuitively. Just say the first thing that comes to mind; trust your instincts and do not hold back what intuitively comes to you". Amen! For me this is true of most readings but sometimes even more important than others.
Follow seven Life Reading spreads including the Cross of Destiny, the Jungian Spread and a Past Lives Spread.
FINAL CHAPTER AND CONCLUSION
Finally, Part Four is a most interesting chapter presenting Tarot Reading transcripts that use spreads included in the tutorials. For people trying to decide whether they feel ready to read for others or who are curious about how a Tarot reading can go, this is invaluable knowledge. For me as a reader, it was very interesting too as I've had countless sessions, each one very unique depending on the consultant and the questions.
I could highly relate to the transcripts and found them very touching too.
They remind us that Tarot, behind divination, is a deeply human tool that drives conversations. It brings answers and healing. It connects, enlightens and helps us on our journeys through life without judgement or limitations.
To conclude, if you are looking to add to your collection of books about Tarot or are a beginner looking for concise, helpful tools to up your game, this book is for you!
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