Tarot for Self Discovery
by Nina Lee Braden
Reviewed by Solaris, CPTR
In Tarot for Self Discovery (ISBN 073870170X), you won’t find spells and divination or cards meanings. This book is different in that the exercises help you bridge the gap between the conscious and subconscious minds as you search for self-knowledge spiritual growth.This book is based on the author’s personal life experiences and was written at the request of her tarot students, and by those with whom she corresponded with in her ‘Tarot for Self Discovery’ online group.
This book teaches you that tarot is much more than just a spread and memorizing key words associated with the cards. By working the exercises, a person is able to admit his or her faults, validate hopes and dreams, and give voice to unspoken fears. From using the tarot for self-discovery, you will learn to discover the ‘truth in the middle’ and learn to live life in balance by accepting guilt, releasing it and moving on, which is what using the Tarot for self-discovery is about. Exercises are presented in three groups -- easy, intermediate, and for specific life occasions.
Self discovery involves tapping into the subconscious. The subconscious speaks through symbols rather than sentences. Tarot assists the subconscious in speaking to us by deciphering the language of symbols and pictures and by engaging our imagination. This will become apparent when you are working on an exercise. As supplements to the exercises, Ms. Braden includes useful information about astrology, chakras, and body parts as they relate to tarot.
Some of the many subjects presented in Tarot for Self Discovery are: Love Break, Stages of Life, Life Purpose, Unnamed Exercise (Grief), Time/Space Experiment, Just You and Me, Healing Hands, Healing Heart, Prosperity and Abundance, Maybe Later, and Farewell. These exercises delve into some of the most commonly asked questions in tarot readings -- love, money, health, and life in general. The exercises can be worked in any order, and if you really like one, you can do it as many times as you want to. Some, like ‘Healing Heart’, may be used in conjunction with others like ‘Healing Hands’ and ‘Love Break’.
If you find that working the exercises inspires you to write your own, Ms. Braden shares with the reader how to write self-discovery exercises. To use the self-discovery technique in the book, simply focus on a need, problem, or issue. Break ideas into small, easy to understand steps and take each step in order. Limit the number of cards you work with. Decide if you want to choose cards face up and work with subconscious, or face down and use direction from outside the Self. Keep the exercise doable in an afternoon. Really look at and think about the card. Connect the card to your life in one or more steps. Be sure to note in your self-discovery journal how you got the idea for your exercise. Sources of inspiration can be areas of your life you are having trouble in, songs, friends and family you may be experiencing difficulty with, and new concepts and ideas you want to explore.
Ms. Braden recommends keeping a self-discovery journal, which might includes: date, time of day, signs sun and moon are in, moon phase, name of exercise, deck you are using, grounding, centering or meditations used before beginning the exercise, your state of mind before and after the exercise, exercise notes, and space for notes to be added later when you review the exercise. If you choose to work the ‘Life Purpose’ exercise, you will find that this exercise alone is worth purchasing the book. In this exercise, you learn to differentiate a life purpose from a goal. While looking at the cards, you think about values and desires, notice trends and common elements, and find a uniting theme from which you will discover the overall message of the exercise.
The best thing about these exercises is that they can be used with any deck and with any level of reading experience. Pick any of the 47 exercises and begin your self-discovery. What makes these exercises work is that you complete each exercise with a concrete step and carry that step out. This leads from self-discovery to self-transformation. As you work the exercises throughout the150 pages, you won’t find yourself groaning, ‘Oh great, more key words to memorize.’ Instead, you may be surprised at what insights you discover and wonder why you haven’t used tarot for self-discovery before. Tarot for Self Discovery is available through Llewellyn Publications.