Tarot Kaizen is a wonderful ebook created by Alison Cross. This lovely lady was the Chair and then Co-chair of TABI for more years than she cares to remember. She also writes a blog which focuses on Tarot Court cards. She’s been reading professionally for longer than she might care to admit, too. So, from the get go, you know she has a lot of Tarot knowledge to share.
So, what about the book? Available through Amazon to read on your Kindle or any compatible device, it offers 111 exercises to help you turn those unloved decks buried in a drawer or cupboard into beloved working decks. It’s also great if you just want to dive deep with a deck you already like.
The exercises are structured to be done daily during the week, taking weekends off. Though of course, part of the joy of having a book is that you can do them any way you like.
One of the basic ideas is what Alison calls Tarot Pidgin. What sentences do you get if you combine keywords for the suit and the number of the card/s you’re looking at? How well does that jibe with your normal understanding of the card, and with the actual image in the particular deck you’re working with. You do this exercise for all the Courts and Minors, in one form or another, but it doesn’t stop there. Not by a long chalk!
There is a huge variety of different suggested exercises, as well as lots of spreads and other techniques for thinking about and playing with the cards. Thoth keywords are also present, to add an additional perspective and see how that lens may influence your interpretations. Alison also throws in philosophical questions, and debates around the ethics of reading for yourself and others. There’s even poetry in the form of haikus, to give examples if you’d like to write some of your own – which I love doing 😄
One of the things I like best about this book is the sheer variety. For instance, for the week when you look at the twos, you do so as a group. Each day there’s an exercise: considering the twoness of the cards; thinking about the pidgin tarot for the twos; just looking at them as pretty pictures; reflecting on the concepts of heaviness and lightness; and of course a duality spread.
The following week, focusing on the threes, you look at each card in turn: the Three of Pentacles, then Wands, Cups and Swords. On Friday, you then have a spread to round out the week. As I say, it’s about as far as you could get from being told: just draw a card each day and journal about it!
As for the Majors, exercises include haikus, comparisons of different cards to see how they relate or are different, and how they may connect with associations such as to the elements and the seasons. There are linguistic insights, historical explorations, and novel understandings.
The Bottom Line
All in all, the book is written in a style that is intelligent, approachable and amusing by turns. Reading it, I came across some interpretations and perspectives I’d never seen before. And it definitely made me appreciate the deck I was exploring in a quite different way.
Alison also runs a Facebook group called Tarot Kaizen, should you want to work through the practice exercises with support and feedback from others, rather than on your own. Or you could do both, at different times or for different decks 😃