Everyday Tarot: Unlock Your Inner Wisdom And Manifest Your Future, by Brigit Esselmont
It must be admitted that tarot in general has within it certain assumptions about the power of human intuition that are, at best, highly problematic. Yet this book is not so much an exploration of esoteric thought, which would have been interesting, at least, but rather it is an appeal for women in general to view tarot in a positive light, to seek the insight of their own supposed inner light, to embrace the sacred feminine. As might be expected, these are not the sort of views that I am going to view all that positively, not least for the reason that I tend to have a dim view of appeals to the sacred feminine and to inner lights in general. Rather than seek a general esoteric introduction, though, the author seeks to make this a far more personal account by talking about the way that she has viewed tarot and the way that she has set up a business with a nickname she wanted as a child as well as some creativity when it comes to how she views the cards she is writing about. If you like the person behind this book, even in disagreeing with her you will find a lot to appreciate.
This book is about 200 pages long and contains several chapters. After beginning with an introduction the author looks at the way the author views the interaction between tarot and intuition (1). After this there is a quick-start guide to tarot that views it in a non-determined way that seeks to promote freedom and imagined insight (2). The author discusses the use of tarot for self-discovery (3), as well as the ways that card spreads can, in the author’s thinking, manifest one’s goals (4). The author discusses ways to use the tarot for decision-making (5), for work (6), and for love and relationships (7). After this there is a discussion of some “sacred rituals” that the author thinks tarot is appropriate for, and she spends some time talking about her own fondness for various supposedly significant astrological times like the retrograde period of Mercury and full moons (8). After that there is the usual acknowledgments section (labeled here as gratitude) as well as an appendix that provides a “full moon visualization” as well as a topical index. All told this book is neither particularly long nor particularly demanding for a reader.
What would make a book like this better? Assuming that someone wanted to talk about tarot and interject their own originality and personality into it, what would make a book like this more enjoyable and at least potentially more worthwhile in understanding the worldview of the writer? Well, for one, it would be wise for the author to recognize that this book is not only being read by women but by men too. The idea of inner lights and an authority that comes from intuition may be appealing for women who do not feel they have enough formal authority or who dislike the attention that is paid to rational analysis, if they are not equipped to use it, but one cannot assume that when one is writing about an esoteric matter that only women are going to read it, and so this book, like many others, loses some opportunities at building goodwill by assuming the audience is too small and too narrow. Aside from that, the author seeks both to encourage the use of tarot in decision-making while also cautioning the reader not to view it in a deterministic way but rather in terms of possibilities, which can be a tough thing to sell to people who are looking for answers rather than for a structure of one’s intuition and imagination.