Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Book Review- Bringing The Tarot To Life by Scott Martin

I was excited for this new release- it made my list of Tarot 'In' books out this year.

It was to be released May 8, but Amazon sent out copies early, and participants of the Readers Studio also had early access.

I give thanks to Llewellyn Publishers and Netgalley for a borrowed unedited preview edition for consideration, however this review is my own.

Onto it then!


What you'll get: Offered as both a 6"x9" journal sized paperback, or an e-book, this pages in at a respectable 263 pages. Most of the "activities" fit within about two pages each. Learning is meant to be experienced rather than read.

Why you may have overlooked this gem:
This book is, as previously predicted, a relatively niche book for Tarot activity, with more than 1/3 devoted to group activity that would be difficult for a solo reader, although perfect for a teaching or a Tarot monthly group- This would make a wonderful teacher's guide, for either Tarot, or for acting class, as is the author's background.

Section 1 is for solo journaling exercises, about 25 well thought out mind and imagination opening prompts where Scott shines as a teacher by showing you where to look, not what to see. This was my favorite part of the book. There is much emphasis of understanding "character", particularly when not in one's normal habitat, which is ideal for also learning to understand one another.
Sociology or Psychology students may find some worth here as well.

The bulk of the book is in Section II; group "Theater Games", which are quite impressive if only I had others to work them with. About 35 exploratory lessons that shouldn't be panned over just because I'm not hosting a group. There is no deficit of quality anywhere in the book, just the need to get this book to the right people.

The last portion of the book does have working definitions for all 78 cards with black and white images of the Llewellyn Classic Tarot Deck.
I like that instead of using the term "reversal", Scott notates instead "also", which allows for the cards to remain upright and still have depth.

Why it's worth it's place in the book nook:
To be honest, I'm not sure this one will stay with me permanently. I feel I can get much use from the journaling exercises, and then find a teacher or school group that could benefit from it much more.

What's NOT in this book (That may be important to you):
This is a guidebook, there really are no right or wrong answers, as each is left to explain their interpretation of the cards. You'll find structured activities, but you'll also be putting in the work.
You'll not find much help in 'learning' tarot from a traditional standpoint either, save for the few paragraphs each definitions at the end of the book.

TL,DR? Too Long, Didn't Read?
* This is a niche book, geared towards group "stage and theater" style learning of integrating Tarot and a life character study of others.
* The lessons and writing are very well written, it just needs the right audience
* This book's intent is not to teach one to learn Tarot, rather how to use it to bring depth and understanding as the characters we are and whom we encounter.

Rating 3.5 stars, 4.5 stars for Tarot learning or Drama groups

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