It’s worth noting again that I haven’t been paid for any of these book reviews. Today I’m reviewing Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen. Goodness, where to start?
This book is giant! That was actually part of it’s draw for me. It’s 837 pages total including the appendixes, many notes and the index. It is an incredibly comprehensive compendium of tarot and includes advice for those seeking to become professional readers. Her book is best used with a classic Rider-Waite deck. I didn’t use a classic Rider-Waite deck, (mine is a variation of it) yet I gained immensely.
Her approach to tarot is analytical and she is very much about reading tarot ethically. When you pick this book up be prepared for a long study course. Much of it is reading and studying. Her section on card readings takes much time to work through and is insightful and well worth the effort. There is much to be gained by working through it. It is clear that she had the student in mind when writing this book.
This book is fabulous resource for beginners as well as seasoned tarot readers. She has a study guide available on her site to go with this book, as well as an avalanche of other free resources available.
Some of the things I liked best about this book were her inclusion of inappropriate questions to ask the tarot, her comparison between the Rider-Waite, Thoth, and Tarot de Marseille systems, and her analytical approach to reading Tarot. An analytical application is a good way to test and stretch your reading skills. I’m personally partial to the intuitive approach, but I liked this book.
Her chapter on different tarot spreads is abundant, which is another point of enjoyment. I spent a great deal of time in this chapter specifically. Holistic Tarot is down to earth, instructive but not overbearing, comprehensive, and a study guide to return to again and again.
The only real negative for me is the history of tarot at the beginning because there isn’t a consensus among scholars about the true history of tarot.