~ Media Review: Transformative Counseling: The High Art of Reading by Katrina Wynne ~
An Introduction to Transformative Tarot Counseling: The High Art of Reading by Katrina Wynne is a short book—only 75 pages, though packs in a lot of information. A couple of weeks ago I was going to review this book, but because of the intensity of the information, I had to put it off because I needed time to chew on it.
This highly instructive manual was published by Sacred Rose Publishing in 2012, and takes the reader through the stages of transformation that can be applied in a Tarot reading.
About the Book
As I mentioned earlier, this is a very short book, only 75 pages. It’s divided into seven chapters which breaks down:
- What Transformative Tarot Counseling is
- Explains Tarot and Magic(k)
- Explains Jung and Alchemy
- Gives an overview of Counseling
- Lays out the Ethics of being a Tarot reader and a Counselor
- Gives examples of readings
When defining Transformative Tarot Counseling (which is trademarked and abbreviated to TTC), Wynne breaks down the words in the title.
- Transformative – ‘It is the process by which magic can occur. Magic is the art of changing from one form to another, moving from the known through the unknown, bringing the conscious to light’ (location 58).
- Counseling – ‘The practice of interacting with others in an affirming and supportive way…the job of a counselor is not to give simple advice or direct clients on what to do, but rather, to assist clients in uncovering issues and support them in finding their personal power and wholeness’ (locations 58 and 74).
She explains that the difference between an ordinary/standard tarot readings and a tarot counseling session is that in standard readings, the reader is telling the client what the cards mean, thus leading the client. In a counseling session, the reader is letting the client state what they see, and following them along the reading. It takes the power from the reader and put it in the hands of the client.
A more challenging approach involves listening to or “following” the client, engaging them in the reading process, inviting the client to open to their own intuitive relationship with the cards, and then supporting them in discovering their own solution, action, meaning. The reader takes a back seat to the client and their cards, while allowing the client’s wisdom to shine on their own with the reader’s experienced guidance in the process…This may not be the most popular position for those clients hoping to transfer responsibility for their decisions or actions to some third party, such as the reader.Location 91
As Wynne discusses Tarot and Magick, she refers to Israel Regardie and several of his writings, and uses his ‘basic stages of magic’ as a jumping off point:
- Divination – accessing intuition
- Evocation and Vision – evoking “spirits”
- Invocation – Integrating the essence, union with God
- Initiation – repeating the process with others (location 134)
Wynne says these four stages are influenced by Regardie’s study of Jung’s Individuation process which is ‘the personal “alchemical” journey of one’s soul, and the unfolding and discovery of one’s authentic and deepest self’.Location 134
She explains how each of these stages inform and direct our potential in life’s journey.
A large part of the book is spent on this concept. This is the premise for the transformation that occurs during Transformative Tarot Counseling sessions.
This moves on to Jung and his ideas of Alchemy, archetypes, and the Shadow self.
Through Jung’s study and writing on alchemy, active imagination, dreams, individuation, symbolism, synchronicity, and the journey of transformation, many mental health professionals and Tarot counselors alike have developed tools to better support the life journey of their clients.Location 350
Wynne takes the time to define the Shadow self, or the Shadow, that frequently occurs in our lives. She says
It is that part of our personality we cannot bare to see for it is in violation of the idealized Self. As an unconscious personality, shadow material contains repressed energy, often depressed emotions, which can hold the key to our hidden powers. Not being integrated or even acknowledged by the conscious mind, the shadow resides in the unconscious, occasionally acting out or projecting onto others those unknown parts.Location 365
The shadow was defined by Jung, and it is through this that we can discover what is blocking us from our success that we can’t even see. The transformation from observing the shadow self in relation to our goals is likened to alchemy.
When discussing the difference between a traditional tarot reading and a tarot counseling session, Wyn explains that it’s the difference between advising and guiding. It is like giving a man a bread to solve hunger in every situation vs. the man discovering they can grow and nourish themselves with a garden of vegetables. Both solve the hunger, but one involves the man exploring tastes, sensations, and gaining better nutrients, and then providing this for himself in the future.
Tarot readers with counseling skills know, in essence, they are assisting the journey of the client’s soul, while tending to the psyche. Overall, there is a greater sense of following the client, listening to their impressions, honoring subtle feelings, and empowering the client’s interpretation of the meaning of their reading. No predictions or prescriptions are made (location 465).
Before giving sample readings, Wynne provides a 4-card layout that she uses for her clients.
Position 1 represents the subject of the reading. Position 2 is the known/unconscious. Position 3 is the unknown/unconscious. And the final position, Position 4 is the possible outcome/next steps (location 740).
When I fist picked up this book, I thought it was just going to be a book to promote the Transformative Tarot Counseling course. It is that, but it is so much more than that. Once I got past this idea, I found this book so rich with information and resources that I would recommend this book to anyone.
It’s a really short read, but you have to spend time with the book. It brings together philosophy, psychology, and alchemy into a practical and real-world setting. This is how we can apply all that fun stuff in a professional and productive way.
I recently put the information provided to use in a reading (of course with the client’s permission) and had beautiful and very successful results.
If your intention is to be a reader to help people in really deep and meaningful ways, it is essential that you read this book. There are ample leads for further reading in the bibliography of the book. It is rife with information, and very well researched, and presented in an extremely professional way.