This book only covers the major arcana and is therefore not very good for those who are just starting out with the Tarot. If you have been through the good beginners books, (like 'Learning the Tarot' by Joan Bunning ) and you want to move on to cover the major arcana in more depth this book is one of the best and cheapest. Amber Jayanti believes that to truly know a card you have to experience it, and each card has many ideas for integrating it into your daily life. She also includes anecdotes that illustrate her experience and understanding of cards, along with those of her many students. I found this very helpful as some other books can be very general and this helped me to understand the cards in the context of everyday life and experience. There is plenty of information on symbolism and a small section on how the cards can be interpreted in a divinatory reading, but this book concentrates on the cards as a spiritual journey. I would have given it 5 stars if it had covered the minor arcana too, but, nonetheless it is still well worth [it].
Amber Jayanti has been studying/working with the Tarot and Qabalah for very many years and in 1975 she founded the Santa Cruz School for Tarot and Qabalah Study. She has studied personally with the Builders of the Adytum, and is an honorary Grandmaster of the American Tarot Association. She has written a number of books, including `Tarot for Dummies', along with several articles. The author states in writing about her intention with this book that "This book addresses how the Tarot has, and is, fostering .....transformation in myself and others. It is about how the Tarot may be used as a powerful practical tool to guide us through the process of transforming our attitudes, actions, ourselves and our lives" (p.16). This is further backed up by her statement on p.22 - "I have found no better way to learn the Tarot than to make it real, to make it a part of my everyday world. The main purpose of this book is to teach, inspire and invite you to do likewise". Throughout the book Jayanti writes with great passion and from her own very personal experience of her journey with the Tarot, demonstrating the strength and depth of her connection with it. To quote a sentence which sums this up - "The Tarot, as I have come to know and love it, is a potent means through which to encounter life from an awake and aware perspective" (p.26). Jayanti presents the material in an erudite yet accessible manner, beginning with `The Four Steps to Tarot Mastery', i.e. getting familiar with the Tarot; applying its rules to daily living; doing so until they become second nature; and achieving enlightenment through the Tarot. Moving on from that, the author then describes the `The Four Gateways of Life', found in the Major Arcana, which parallel the Four Steps, outlining these as childhood, adolescence, adulthood and wisdom. Following this, she suggests a number of ways which assist with learning the Tarot, e.g. divination, dreaming, reflection and affirmations, offering very useful and relevant exercises for each one. Most of the rest of the book is devoted to looking at the Major Arcana in terms of the Four Gateways. The Gateway of Childhood - the Fool through to the Chariot; the Gateway of Adolescence - Strength through to Death; the Gateway of Adulthood - Temperance through to the Moon; and the Gateway of Wisdom - the Sun through to the World, examining the challenges and rewards of each. For each card Jayanti presents several aspects - general information and symbolism, which delivers excellent descriptions and explanations of the imagery; how each card relates to its Gateway; appropriate divinatory questions; the author's own experiences; examples of her students' experiences, and finally, suggestions for the application and integration of the learning into everyday living. The quality of what the author offers is second-to-none and includes material that can be revisited time and time again, always with new possibilities. The deck used for illustration purposes is the Builders of the Adytum and the pictures are black and white. At the end of the book, Eason gives colouring instructions, plus a table of correspondencies which includes, unusually, musical note, scent, herb and chakra. The only disappointment with regard to the book is that there isn't a final chapter or summary but this is a small thing compared with the excellence of the rest of it. So, has Jayanti delivered on her intention? She does indeed offer tools throughout for the student `to have and to hold' (my words) and if each person gainfully employs these tools and rules, it is beyond doubt that s/he will indeed grow and develop in every way. A superb read, not to be missed.