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What's in the Cards for You?: Test the Tarot [Paperback]

Mark McElroy
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

July 2005
A sampler of Tarot applications, with exercises covering divination meditation, memorization, problem-solving, and more! Best of all, a simple review at the end of the course helps you pinpoint the applications that intrigued you the most.

Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications,U.S. (July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738707023
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738707020
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 18.8 x 23.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 930,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Develop your insight and enjoy it! 26 Sep 2008
By Bookish
I've been reading the Tarot for many years - just as a tool to help me make decisions and to help me see a way forward in times of confusion! I do read for other people, but not professionally.

I have, to some extent, relied on the card designer's suggestions for interpretations, or else I'll consult a book. But this book has been a revelation to me!
It takes you through 30 days of exercises designed to help you to interpret the cards YOUR way - disregarding the maker's suggestions altogether. Using any deck, the author helps you to develop your intuition and to consider all aspects of a card or spread's message.

It's also a lot of fun! He encourages the reader to use the cards every day, for all kinds of purposes including brainstorming in meetings at work, plotting a novel, interpreting your dreams, and even tackling The Big Questions like 'what is the purpose of life?'

The author's writing style is very easy to read: very chatty and irreverant. I thought it might irritate me, but it didn't at all: it felt like he was talking directly to me....

It's a great shame that Tarot cards are viewed with nervous suspicion by many people, because they're missing out on a brilliant tool to help them in all kinds of ways that has nothing to do with 'the occult' or 'weirdy stuff'!! This book will definitely help anyone to hone their intuitive and problem-solving skills. The author also has produced his own set of Tarot cards called the Bright Idea Deck (which obviously, I bought at once!) and they are an excellent purchase if you're a bit shy about bringing out Tarot cards in front of friends and family. They have every day type images on them and wouldn't scare anyone!

I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who would like to take their Tarot reading up to a new or different level. I'm now using the cards to help me plot my next novel!
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tarot Must-have 12 July 2005
By ReadsALot - Published on
Having started learning Tarot in late 2001, I'm not quite a newbie, if not exactly a seasoned professional. Prior to buying this, I already owned the author's previous two books, "Putting the Tarot to Work" and "Taking the Tarot to Heart", as well as his "Bright Idea Deck", and I was already favorably disposed towards McElroy's writings. All the same, I thought it was for pure beginners, and furthermore, I had just started Teresa Michelson's "Complete Tarot Reader". I wasn't sure if wanted to plunge into another study course. A couple of enthusiastic comments on the author's website convinced me otherwise, and I'm glad I took the plunge. This is a great book even if you've been reading cards since your grade school days, as the author has.

Some of the reviews below go into detail about what the book contains, so I won't duplicate their material. Why do I recommend it? First, the exercises give you applications for Tarot that can help change your life here and now. The book's subtitle could easily be "Change Your Life For The Better While Thinking That You're Just Fooling Around With a Pack of Cards". Second, it is hilarious to read while being (as far as I can tell) absolutely sound in its Tarot scholarship. McElroy has both a deep sense of humor as well as a deep sense of respect for his readers. Third, the exercises can truly be completed in 15 minutes or less. This is something that I think is genuinely important for many of us: if we're going to commit to a 30 day program, we need to be able to fit it into our lives readily.

While not a professional reader, I do own a number of recommended Tarot classics (all of which I cherish, or almost all). McElroy's approach is definitely different, very empowering, and has helped me use Tarot cards to not only gain insight into issues into my life, but to help resolve those issues. Get this book, grab a deck if you don't own one already, and go for it. You'll be glad you did.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful introduction to the world of Tarot 5 Jun 2005
By Errol Mclendon - Published on
I received this book today and, contrary to the way a normal consumer should do it; I read it cover to cover in one sitting. Mark's humor and down-to-earth suggestions are nothing short of brilliant. In this short book, Mark provides thirty days of experiments designed to either change the skeptical mind about Tarot or provide the inquisitive mind new and fertile ground to explore. I look forward to spending the next thirty days experiencing these exercises.

If you have never touched a Tarot card before, but are just interested in "What is all this about?", (Exactly how I got into the business ten years ago) this is the most comfortable and guided introduction you will ever receive. This is not a beginning Tarot book whose pages are filled with the meanings of each card. In his second chapter, Mark guides the reader through ten different ways to look at a card and determine the meaning. This is much easier than being burdened with memorizing 78 different cards.

After the reader feels comfortable with "making meanings" in the cards, they have all the tools they need to explore the cards through some of the most original exercises I have ever seen. Some of the exercises are wrapped up in one day (some with specific instructions for the beginning of the day and others for the end of the day) and some can span several days (or years, in one case). Each exercise also offers "For Extra Credit" exercises which give variations or expansions on the original exercise. So if a student finds an exercise that really works for them, they can choose to expand their knowledge in that area.

Another nice feature of Mark's book is that he charts at the end which exercises relate specifically to six various fields of study. This chart allows a new student to identify an area of expertise based on the exercises which held the most appeal. For advanced students working in one of these six areas, the chart provides a reference of exercises which may be useful to the student in their daily activities.

"What's in the Cards for You?" by Mark McElroy (ISBN 0-7387-0702-3) has just taken its place next to Mary K. Greer's "Tarot for Your Self" as my all time favorite hands-on Tarot book. Sorry, Mark, you are still number two. Buy this book and have a blast.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What A Fun Book! 16 May 2005
By Janet Boyer - Published on
"What's in the Cards for You? is like a Whitman's Sampler of Tarot applications...with a twist. Instead of it telling you what Tarot can do, you'll determine for yourself what you can do with Tarot. By completing a series of thirty fast, fun, hands-on experiments, you'll conduct a personal investigation into whether Tarot works for you." -Mark McElroy

The Tarot has long been shrouded in mystery. Some people lump this "wicked pack of cards" with crystal balls, purple turbans, and carnival fortune-tellers. Others fear the Tarot, thinking it's a tool of the "devil" that has the ability to foretell the future (which, of course, includes impending disaster.)

In his book What's in the Cards for You? Mark McElroy demystifies the Tarot once again, inviting the skeptical and the curious to venture on a first-person voyage of personal discovery. Rather than telling YOU what to think about the Tarot, McElroy has created 30 fun exercises so the Tarot can be tested on your OWN terms.

This book contains 30 different self-guided experiments to be conducted over the course of 30 days. Engage the cards, record your experience, and then evaluate the effectiveness of each exercise. McElroy acknowledges that not all of the experiments will appeal to everyone. Yet, personal preference for certain exercises contain clues as to what you enjoy MOST about Tarot-but more about that later.

Chapter 2 is the foundation of What's in the Cards for You?, because McElroy shows you how to tap into your innate power of association which will allow you to generate meaning for any Tarot card-even if you've never touched a deck before! He has also created a "secret weapon" template (which you can use in the book or download from his website) so you can decipher card meanings for yourself. The "secret weapon" is a clever tool for generating insights and creating applications for each and every Tarot card. As one familiar with the Tarot, I was surprised and delighted at how many new meanings rose to the surface after using the "Answering Mining" template.

One of my favorite exercises in the book is Day Three: Suit Yourself. McElroy invites you to rate your satisfaction with life-on a scale from 1 to 10-in four different areas, and then write your score in the blank (ignoring, at first, the words that came after the blank):

Material and Physical Satisfaction: ________ of Coins
Emotional and Spiritual Satisfaction:________ of Cups
Mental and Intellectual Satisfaction:_______ of Swords
Creative and Occupational Satisfaction: _______ of Wands

Then, you find the corresponding card in the Tarot deck. Going by the personal meaning you attribute to the card image, you then convert the illustration on the card into a "tip". For example, my score for Mental and Intellectual Satisfaction was 10. I laughed out loud when I saw the 10 of Swords, which shows a man with 10 swords, plunged into his body. I immediately saw the message as "You're too much in your head! Calm down that mind of yours because your over-active mental energy is affecting your physically!"

Although this knowledge came as no surprise, it was interesting to me that the corresponding Tarot card accurately reflected one of my banes.

Another exercise I enjoyed is from Day Twenty-Three: Creating Compassion. Likening the Tarot to a mandala, McElroy demonstrates how you can take any individual that you don't get along with, understand, or are irritated by and see them through the "lens" of 3 Tarot cards. By doing so-with the help of his pointed questions-you can literally shift your perspective to one that is more compassionate and centering.

A few of my other favorites include Deal Me a Story, Answering the Big Questions, Breakfast with da Vinci, and Exploring Past Lives.

In the last chapter which asks What's Next?, you're invited to look back through the 30 experiments and identify the 5 you enjoyed most, and which day the experiments occurred. (Believe's hard narrowing it down to just 5!) McElroy has created a chart so you can highlight your favorite days, and then see which of six application/s you most prefer: Psychological, Creative, Educational, Predictive, Magickal, and Planning.

For me, my least favorite experiments had to do with Predictive Applications. My favorites were the Psychological and Creative exercises. McElroy then breaks down each of the six applications should you want to study the Tarot further-and aren't sure where to start.

If you wondering if this book has any value to those familiar with the Tarot (including Tarot readers) the answer is YES. I admit to having misgivings when I saw the title of this book, wondering if it would be a re-hash of the guidebook that accompanies the Bright Idea Deck (also created by McElroy). I am pleased to say that What's in the Cards for You? is NOT a re-hash of McElroy's previous works (I own them all), and presents fresh applications for the Tarot-including practical tips on how to put your own unique spin on the cards and using the Tarot for meditation, creativity, visualization, dream interpretation, and much more.

Those new to the Tarot will be introduced to this enchanting symbolic world by one of the most adept, down-to-earth, and rascally of teachers.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun 26 July 2008
By Seven Kitties - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You can get the gist of the contents of the book from other reviewers. It's a fun book and helps build the habit of grabbing your deck every day. It positions itself as a beginner book, presuming NO knowledge of Tarot, which is wonderful for a starter book. But don't think that it's ONLY another Tarot 101!

I bought this book because I was looking for new ways to play with my cards. I can do readings (boy howdy) for people, and I knew about Tarot meditation, but I wanted a new repertoire. And this book delivered. Sure, some of the 30 activities didn't really send that special happy breeze up my knickers (there's an image for ya!) but I found enough new stuff to keep me happy as heck with this book.

My favorite new thing is the pro/con reading. He gives several options how to use the Tarot for pros and cons, but what's worked for me is to draw five cards and deal them into piles by what meaning each cards suggests. In the end, one pile will be bigger than the other, pro or con. It's something I'd never thought to do with Tarot. And the several options he gives kept me interested enough to try it several times to see what worked best for me.

At root, that's what this book does best--focusses on the reader. Unlike a lot of Tarot books that will tell you this card ALWAYS means X or Y, he invites you to 'Make Meaning' on your own. This approach can apply to ANY deck you use.

So, why not five stars? Weee-ell, he keeps hinting/pushing readers in his book that there is a treasure trove of resources available on his website, such as the "What Would the Trumps Do?" worksheet. It ain't there. The link is broken. The site itself hasn't been updated in over a year, as well, as if he's just stopped caring about supporting the book. That's fine; I'm sure he's got other great projects in mind, but he made a commitment and promise to the reader when he said the addtional info would be on the site.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and Effective way of broadening your tarot knowledge 4 Jan 2007
By Dana M. Burns - Published on
This book is a wonderful addition to your standard favorite tarot guide. It gives you simple everyday practice that makes learning the tarot more enjoyable. All of the enties are easy to comprehend and apply. The best part of this book is that it can be used many times over. You will always learn something new about the cards because they are not predetermined, you pick one or more to study. Excellent read.
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