After hearing an interview of Jaymi Elford on a podcast, I decided I needed to read this book.
I picked up the e-book version (though I do wish I’d had the physical copy, but I think that’s true of any book I read), and gave it a go.
Published in January this year (2019 for you future readers) by Llewellyn Publications, Tarot Inspired Life: Use the Cards to Enhance Your Life shows the ways in which you can use the cards daily in practical, creative, and spiritual uses.
While normally I breeze through books fairly quickly, but with this one I really took my time. There are plenty of exercises through the whole book, and I wanted to make sure I took part in whatever I could to ensure that I did the book justice.
As most Tarot books do, Tarot Inspired Life starts with the history of Tarot, providing a background. The entirety of the first part of the three-part book is dedicated to the how-to basics of tarot. This includes different ways to read the cards so that a beginning reader can find their own learning style, and a good chapter on spreads and how to use them. Elford writes about how use basic spreads such as a 3-card spread, and then how to create your own spread–choosing purpose and shape of it.
Part 2 however is about what an individual can do with the tarot and how they can incorporate it into their daily living.
The first chapter of Part 2 was for folks like me, who just want to write. Elford gives exercises for journaling so that you can tap into your inner thinking and record it. She sets ground rules to keep you writing until you’re done, and prompts to involve different types of draws into your journaling practice.
One particularly effective, though somewhat rough exercises she gives is called Rewriting Memories, in which you spend time meditating on a particularly difficult memory and then use the tarot to work through it. I won’t deviate from the book too much here to go over it, though Benebell Wen in her YouTube series ‘Sightsee the Tarot‘ (last week’s Media Review) has a video on this particular exercise. However, while very difficult, it is definitely worth doing, and is a very beneficial exercise to take part in, at least from my experience.
The book moves on to look at creative practices with the tarot including writing prompts for creative writers, exercises to do with crochet, personalizing your decks with your own artistic flare (I didn’t do this exercise as it’s a little beyond my comfort level), creating shrines/altars (there are some really fun ideas in this section), abs sewing projects.
For those suffering from writer’s/creator’s block, there is a spread for that too. There are spreads for those needing to check and see if they’re on track with their work, and exercises to check in with editing, and whether a piece is ready to send off for publishing.
To me it feels as though this whole section is devoted to writers, but that is also because I’m not crafty, and I probably didn’t spend nearly as much time with the craft section as I did with the writing section–though I’m pretty pleased with my crochet project.
For every point during which there is something about the tarot or something about life to be taught, Elford has created a tarot exercise to go along with. She explains how to create guided meditations for spiritual workings, how to use Tarot as a tool for mystical practices and attraction, and how to communicate with your own personal guide. I did take issue with this part though, as she it is how to communicate with your guide rather than how to find and discover your guide. As someone who has never worked with guides, I felt a bit lost here, and didn’t know how to ‘select’ one. I felt more could have been added here.
Finally, in the last part, Elford talks about how to set up your own tarot-reading space and eventually how to read for other people. I personally enjoy these types of sections purely because so many people have such different practices, and I like seeing what their own particular flavor is.
At the end of each chapter is a list of books that she pulled reference from or that she’s recommending for further study. I really enjoyed this aspect as it gives the reader a direction to go to.
I did quite enjoy this book, though not as much as I’d wanted. It started some pretty good habits for me, and like I said, some of the exercises are pretty powerful and effective, but I did expect more from it. I don’t know what I expected, but I did just expect a little bit more.
Because of this, I will give it 4/5 Stars. I would of course recommend it to people, especially those within their first couple years of learning tarot.