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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tarot & Astrology by Corrine Kenner - Book Review

(NOTE: This review was originally posted by Helen Howell)

Tarot & Astrology by Corrine Kenner.
Illustrated with the Wizards Tarot by Corrine Kenner & John Blumen
Published by Llewellyn

In a previous post I had said that I was privileged to see an advance draft of the manuscript for this book, so I was looking forward to receiving the published book and was excited when it finally arrived on my doorstep.  The book itself is a nice size, not too big or too small, easy enough to handle. The front cover design is just a delight to look at and the paper quality throughout is good.

In the introduction, Corrine tells us that it will enable one to learn astrology, or tarot or both—depending on whether you are already competent in either one or not. She also tells us that Tarot and Astrology will ‘give you the tools you need to combine the science of astrology with the art of tarot.’  Now to someone like me who is astrologically challenged, I was eager to see if this book lives up to its promise.

Before I tell you any more about this book and what I personally think of it,  I thought I would ask the Book three interview questions and see what it actually had to say about itself. Now you might say how can a book answer questions? But believe me I have found books are just as clever at answering questions as a tarot deck is!

With my first question in mind, Tell me what you consider to be your most important quality? I held the book gently in my hand and let it fall open—it opened at page 225-Houses of the Horoscope and the line that caught my eye was; ‘The planets, signs and houses all come together in a horoscope chart.’

My most important quality as a book is to bring together all the various elements and combine them, so that they form a working platform from which you can glean the information you need.  My strongest quality is to show you, not just how this can be done, but that you can do it.

Now I really like that answer.  You’re a very confident book.

Question two; What is the best way I can work with you? Closing my eyes I flicked the pages until I stopped at page 176. I ended up on the Three of Pentacles page!

The best way you can work with me is to take in the bigger picture, and formulate a working plan. One that you can adhere to, one that allows you to take each step with me, so that we build a partnership together. A partnership that will help you achieve your goal.

That’s very good advice Book!

And the final question; What is the potential outcome of us having worked together?  I ended up on page 95 - The Top Piece caught my eye - The Zodiac Wheel -  Understanding the Wheel of the Year is the key to understanding the astrological associations of the Minor Arcana.

The potential outcome of us having worked with each other, is that you will have gained an understanding of all the elements needed to bring everything together in a working order. One that will allow you to use the information to enhance either tarot or astrology in your use of it.

Well, thank you Book now lets see what I’ve got to say about you. 

In the Introduction Corrine goes on to talk about the History of Tarot & Astrology. This was presented in a way that didn’t overwhelm the reader with information but gave just enough to paint a rounded picture. I particularly liked the simplicity of the section ‘The Dawn of Modern Tarot & Astrology. 

In the final part of her Introduction ‘Tarot and Astrology in Action,’  she informs us that she will show us how to combine tarot and astrology by starting with the basics and work up to a complete reading utilising both these modalities. She says that this book will cover all aspects of astrology, along with how to relate them to tarot cards, but she also includes practical spreads and techniques.

In the section ‘Overview,’ we have a breakdown of what to expect to learn and gives us as a starting point the correspondence between the Major Arcana and astrology. This is set out in such a way as to be simple to understand and relate the specific cards to their planetary attribution. At the end of this section she gives us an example of astrology in action using her own deck the Wizards Tarot to illustrate this.

Part 1: Tarot Planets and Signs.
This examines the correspondence between the Major Arcana cards, the planets and the zodiac signs. But first it starts with:-

The Building Blocks of the Tarot - Corrine gives us a basic background of the Major and Minor Arcana and also the sphere of influence for the four suits, along with their elemental attributions of fire, earth, water and air. She tells us that we often describe people using these elemental descriptions such as ‘fiery person’ etc. and she says that these associations are essential to an understanding of astrology.

Included in this section is also an introduction to the Court Cards. She finally touches on number associations for the cards such as Ace being a number 1 and representing beginnings etc. and how that relates to the individual suit. For example: Cups being emotions etc.  For anyone unfamiliar with tarot this section gives a good basic springboard from where to start.

The next part of this section included a list of the planets. When I read it I went  ah ha, I see how that relates, and once put together with the individual cards it made understanding the planets that much easier.

I liked how scattered throughout the book,  we have Cosmic Connections, offering us snippets of information and background to enable us to gain just a little more insight in the subject of how tarot and astrology as a pair have evolved.

Also included in this section was a breakdown of the zodiac signs and their modes along with either their feminine or masculine characteristics.  Following this is a rather nice  Phases of the Moon Spread, which shows one how to set goals and see them through using the phases of the Moon.  - Now I tried this spread out for myself using the Wonderland Tarot Deck. It worked very well and did show me how to achieve that goal.

The section is finished off with a nice touch of providing a summary of the Major Arcana correspondences, so that the reader can see at a glance the astrological attribution given to each card - very useful when one is learning something new!

Part Two - The Minor Arcana
Corrine explains that the Major Arcana elemental correspondences are based on the zodiac signs and that the Minor Arcana are based on the nature of the four elements. For example: Wands relate to the fire signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. We are given the primary and secondary characteristics of the elementary dignities and how that determines how well they mix and match - an example Water is cold and wet as opposed to Fire which is hot and dry.

Next we’re introduced to the Aces and their correspondences. We learn that they go with the four elements and the four seasons. Following this is an introduction to Tarot, Astrology and Qabalah. I liked the detail in this section that gave me a basic insight into the belief and thought system of this philosophy.

So far we are traveling step by step in this book, which is good news for the beginner. I like that it is written in such a way that is not overly technical and therefore easy to grasp.

After that comes the numbered cards and we find that these relate to the 10 degree subdivisions of each sign (the decans). The first Cosmic Connection is showing a chart of the decans and the numbered cards and how they are distributed by element, number and mode. In this part it covers the Zodiac Wheel, Dealing the Cards, Elemental Associations and Planetary Rulers and Sub-rulers signs.

I like the way the elemental associations have been shown along with the modes and seasons, which simplifies the learning process of cardinal, fixed and mutable. Then another chart is presented that allows one at a glance to see the Minor Arcana Assignments.

I enjoyed the tour of the Minor Arcana—the decans were nicely explained by highlighting the sign, mode/quality, element, duality and corresponding Majors. I also think the wheel with each card illustration was a nice touch.

The Court Cards we are told are stationed around the wheel of the year—it appears that it’s their interaction that keeps it spinning. Court Cards in tarot can often be the most difficult to understand, but Corrine has made this easier by their breakdown into their elements and corresponding sun signs. This gives us insight into their characteristics by understanding which sign and element they are attributed.

For example it helps to know that the Queen of Wands is a Fire sign tempered with Water. Also that she represents the zodiac sign Aries, which tends to be more masculine—this helps explain her leadership skills for us. Understanding this connection helps to understand how and why the Queen has the characteristics she has.

The charts at the end of this segment supply a quick reference as to how the various elements describe the characteristics of these Royals. Also how the Wheel of the Year and the Minor Arcana works. A useful and practical aid to learning these correspondences.

Part Three - The Houses of the Horoscope
In this section we learn all about the Houses and that the wheel is divided into 12 pie like sections, one for each sign of the zodiac—easy to grasp? Yes it is!  We learn that the sun, moon and planets move through the houses as the earth cycles through space—the 12 houses then anchor the planets and signs in time and space—even I can remember that!

Again we have a chart that gives you in a glance an overview of the 12 houses along with their ruling planets and signs. There is a spread to try out called The Houses of the Horoscope Spread. Corrine then gives us another visual called Houses of Cards, where we can get to see the signs and planets in their houses and also place their tarot-card counterparts in position. Finally each house is explored focusing on their area of activity. To help us grasp this concept she shows us how to view them from the perspective of their tarot-card counterparts.  Example the first house is ruled by Aries, which is related to The Emperor, but Aries in turn is ruled by Mars, which then relates to the Tower  - this adds that Tower energy to this first house—now we have a feel for this house.

We are walked through polar opposites and shown how to look at them in pairs, again all very easy to understand and make sense of.  There is a brief section on a simplified guide to chart interpretation. Sample readings are provided also of famous people like Prince William and Marilyn Monroe just to name a couple.

What I have liked all the way through this book, is that Corrine has made learning what has always seemed to me at least, a difficult subject, very easy. This book is a springboard to get the student started in either tarot or astrology or both so that they can go on to learn more.

All in all I think that this book keeps it’s promise it made in its introduction, and offers the student the chance not only to learn either astrology or tarot or both in an easy to understand way. But it also shows you how both modalities compliment each other and can take tarot reading to another dimension.

If you have ever wanted to learn either of these skills or both,  then I would recommend this book as a starting point.

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that the item being reviewed was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.

1 comment:

  1. 4 comments:

    Zanna said...
    Excellent review, Helen! This sounds like a wonderful book (I wish I had written it myself!)

    October 16, 2011 9:01 AM
    Helen said...

    Thanks Zanna!

    October 16, 2011 4:45 PM
    Velvet Angel said...

    This book sounds great, Helen! Now I will be sure to add it to my shopping cart. I am sort of feeling a shopping spree coming on as I have not indulged in such a while. So I think this book will be among my new treasures. Thank you for this great review -- I probably would have overlooked this book had I not read this :)

    Velvet (a.k.a. Sharon)

    October 17, 2011 6:35 PM
    Helen said...

    Hi Sharon, so pleased you liked the review. The book is really easy to understand. But do be aware, in order to learn what it teaches, some study and effort will be needed as with all things. But if you are prepared to put in the time, this book will definitely get you started.

    Helen ^__^
    October 17, 2011 7:00 PM


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~ Zanna