on July 28, 2007
I purchased this set a few months ago and am really enjoying both the book and the deck. I have numerous decks that I have collected over the years, one or two of which I have consistently gone back to as they have felt most comfortable for me. However, since receiving this set I very rarely use any of my other decks - I simply love the artwork of the Ciro Marchetti deck and really connect with the images.
In addition, although I've been reading for many years, I enjoy exploring others' interpretations of the cards as I feel I am often able to gain additional perspectives and insights into the images, and I believe that really understanding and connecting with tarot is an ongoing, ever-expanding journey. Josie has done a wonderful job of explaining the cards' imagery, interpretations, and inter-relationships, as well as covering other very important topics that can really benefit those students new to tarot, as well as those of us looking to deepen our knowledge.
This book has definitely reignited my enthusiasm for and connection with the cards. Many thanks to Josie and Ciro!
on September 26, 2009
I ordered this card deck with the book in August ('09) and I was so pleased when i received the deck! It's beautifully designed with compelling artwork that depicts the interpretation of each card so clearly. The deck is easy to manuever and shuffle ... and the glossy finish feels rich yet not slippery in your hands when shuffling. Now here's the problem... I decided to COUNT the cards in my deck this morning... just some nagging feeling that's been on my mind for a few days so since it was a saturday and i had a few extra minutes i decided to count all the cards in the deck and discovered to my horror that i am missing (YES ...MISSING!!) 6 cards: the KINGS of each suit as well as the Queens from the Pentacles and Swords. I'm horrified. I've been using these cards for a month and NOW i learn that the deck is not complete... and not just missing ONE card.. it's missing 6!!! So if you purchase this deck which i would highly recommend doing because it's worth it... i would just double check once it arrives that you have all 78 cards... lay out each suit and the major arcana and make sure you have every card. I hope your luck is better than mine!
"When the time comes and you have someone sitting in front of you for a reading, the bottom line is this--they don't care how much technical knowledge you may have. They don't want to be blinded by science or your amazing knowledge (however great it may be). What they want is an accurate reading...end of story." - From the Easy Tarot Handbook
Using the popular Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti, U.K. resident Josephine Ellershaw teaches Tarot newcomers how to learn the cards step-by-step using her own method she calls The Tarot Technique. Stressing the importance of maintaining a Tarot diary and getting to know the cards one at a time, Ms. Ellershaw leads readers by the hand in the Easy Tarot Kit, encouraging patience and focus along the journey.
Divided into twenty-two steps, the 223-page Easy Tarot Handbook bypasses the oft-customary history lesson, as well as complicated esoteric systems, in favor of simply--and thoroughly--explaining how to prepare, care and connect with the cards. Explaining, "one card does not a reading make", Ms. Ellershaw reminds readers that the art of Tarot reading relies on associations among cards, where surrounding cards influence and inform the best interpretation for a card.
For example, Ms. Ellershaw relates a story where an inconsiderate reader told a woman that she'd be getting a divorce--based solely on the 3 of Swords absent of any supporting cards (i.e. the surrounding cards showed a happy marriage and home life). Confused and distraught, this woman turned to Ms. Ellershaw for guidance. Turns out that the original reader didn't bother to take the time to find out the woman's situation--for if she had, she would have soon realized that the husband was working away from home...and the couple missed each other terribly.
The Easy Tarot Handbook introduces each card from the Gilded Tarot one by one, beginning with the Minor Arcana, then the Court Cards and the Majors last. This refreshing departure from the norm (where the Majors are presented first and the Courts are lumped with the number cards) is sensible and accessible. Ms. Ellershaw emphasizes the importance of NOT reading for others "for practice" when first learning the Tarot, instead encouraging reading for yourself first.
Ms. Ellershaw addresses reading "awkward" cards that don't seem to fit, as well as those that seem to induce a "blank"--prodding readers to look inward for the reasons some cards seem troubling. The Easy Tarot Handbook also covers ethics, health readings (she advises against them), charging (or bartering) for readings, reading for minors, why the cards remain may remain silent on pivotal issues (such as accidents) and more. The Easy Tarot Handbook also provides "cheat sheets" for the Majors and Minors (but not Court Cards).
I enjoyed Ms. Ellershaw's treatment of the Courts (she points out that character and personality traits are more reliable than astrological Sun Sign associations or hair/eye/complexion data), as well as her systematic--but personable--approach to learning the cards. I also think it's great that she emphasizes the power of thoughts and beliefs, and how hope can be found in every reading--no matter how dire the cards may look.
However, I feel that the spreads Ms. Ellershaw teaches and recommends--such as The Celtic Cross and a twenty-eight card Life Spread, may be too complicated for beginners. She also describes a complex method for reading timing in the Celtic Cross, and asserts that smaller spreads (such as 3-card spreads) are actually more difficult to learn than larger spreads. Granted, she does provide lucid explanations and sample readings, but I would think much of this might be overwhelming to new readers. (When I first learned the Tarot, I tried reading with The Celtic Cross and found it complex, vague and discouraging.)
Because the Easy Tarot kit is designed specifically for use with the Gilded Tarot, Marchetti's deck must be one that appeals to you aesthetically and resonates with you intuitively--so keep this in mind if you want to learn the Tarot with one particular deck. While gorgeous, the Gilded Tarot doesn't speak to me on any level (see my separate review of this deck).
Surprisingly, some of the card interpretations are superficial and brief. For each card, there is a description based on the Gilded Tarot image and then an interpretation. For example, here's the interpretation for The Sun:
"The Sun is one of the most positive cards in the Tarot, for it brings happiness, success, and triumphs, excellent relationships, a happy marriage, contentment, prosperity, and good health. The Sun tends to shine favorable upon any situation. When this card is present, it is important to make the most of its favorable aspects."
Ms. Ellershaw doesn't cover reversed cards or the light/shadow of each card dynamic.
Another addition to the Easy Tarot kit: a large, glossy foldout designed for laying out the Celtic Cross spread plus Ms. Ellershaw's 4-card "Readers Fan" (that she never quite gets around to explaining sufficiently.) Each rectangle is the size of the Gilded Tarot cards (approximately 4 ¾ x 2 ¾ inches) with all positions labeled (e.g. Card Position 8 Environmental Factors: How Others See You).
Engaging and down-to-Earth, the Easy Tarot Handbook by Josephine Ellershaw is a refreshing introduction to the Tarot. If you love the looks of the Gilded Tarot, and feel that you'd be able to connect to the images on an intuitive level, then you may very well want to try the Easy Tarot kit for learning the cards. If you enjoy getting to know the cards via a Tarot diary as Ms. Ellershaw recommends, I think Mary K. Greer's 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card would be an excellent addition to this kit. If you'd like a book on creating your own spreads using a central method, Joan Bunning's Learning Tarot Spreads would be a great adjunct to this kit, as well.
(To see 10 card images from this deck, visit the Reviews--Decks section at JanetBoyer.com)
Janet Boyer, author of The Back in Time Tarot Book: Picture the Past, Experience the Cards, Understand the Present (coming Fall 2008 from Hampton Roads Publishing)
on February 1, 2013
After thoroughly reading the description, excerpts and several pages of reviews, I thought this book would give me what I wanted. I was looking for a good introduction to the Tarot, which would teach me the meanings behind each of the cards. Plus, it came with a deck, which to me seemed a bonus! I've received readings from a number of skilled practitioners over the years, and have always been impressed when they pointed out all the nuances in the card and what it could refer to. I had read cards myself as well, though I'd used a non-traditional deck; I was looking for a more traditional deck and a way to really get to know the cards, so that I could have a deep understanding of them.
I awaited its delivery impatiently, and when it arrived, I started reading it immediately. There is chapter after chapter of warning and rules: "Wrap your deck in a cloth...never let it touch a table...don't do readings for your friends...be careful what you say...read this book in order...keep a tarot journal...." I bore with it patiently, even though the sheer amount of structure started to become overwhelming. Finally, I reached a section that was conspicuously ABSENT from the excerpts shown on this page: "you don't need to understand the links between Tarot and astrology, numerology, alchemy, and kabbalah to produce good readings." Wait, what? This throwaway statement is her whole defense for not including ANY of the symbology for the cards. Tarot is ABOUT symbology. Artists work little details into each card because of the meanings behind them. Every single detail on the card is intentional. And she just flippantly mentions that she won't be discussing the symbols.
Stunned, I flipped ahead to look at the pages for the cards, because of course not one of the excerpted pages showed the actual card pages. Sure enough, each page has a scant amount of information. There is a black-and-white picture of the card, which is unnecessary if you have the deck that came with the book. Then there is a description of the picture, which is unnecessary if you have eyes to look at either the card or the picture of the card presented right there on the page. Finally, there is a VERY brief (as in, 3 sentences, give or take) paragraph of the basic meaning of the card. For example, the Two of Pentacles basically says "This is a card about juggling, so you might be juggling things in your life, like home and career, or finances. Try to find balance." That's it. There are a few more words used to describe this (mine is a synopsis), but there is absolutely no discussion of the nature of pentacles, the numerology or significance of the number two card, or even the symbology of the pictures. The description points out that there is a ship, a moon, and a dolphin in the background -- which, again, we can see ourselves -- and simply says that these signify the emotions, and they don't distract the juggler. No explanation of what they might have to do with the emotions, or their separate significance.
The amount of information given for each card is little more than you would find in the little booklet that accompanies most decks of Tarot cards. There is more space and energy and effort given to setting up ridiculous rules and hoops to jump through than there is to actually impart any information. I'm quite shocked that this author managed to get a whole book published, let alone convince the artist to let her bundle his deck with them. There is nothing of any help in this book, and I am extremely disappointed to have wasted the time and the money on this book. I will be returning it immediately. I feel deeply misled by the description and the excerpts, which did nothing to warn me of the true contents of this book. Amazon has a responsibility to its customers to provide HELPFUL excerpts, not pages that have nothing to do with the actual subject matter, and are mere introductions to the book at best.
I write this review only to warn other potential buyers that this book is not all it seems. It would be impossible to overexaggerate how LITTLE information this book has. I can't imagine that even Tarot for Dummies (if there is such a thing) could have less substance than this.
on January 22, 2010
Ciro Marchetti's 'Gilded Tarot' earns 4 stars easy. Josephine Ellershaw's book on the other hand, probably 3 stars. If you are a true beginner than this set will definitely get you interested in further developing your tarot reading, but you should really use the book as a guide rather than the definitive word on the meaning of the cards. She does teach some very important techniques and concepts that other authors tend to ignore. Such as the importance of a Tarot Diary, I can not express how crucial this little notebook will be to you and your study of the Tarot. I did mine digitally by using a wordpress blog that only a logged in Administrator can read. Another useful nugget of information is that you have to understand how the meaning of the cards play off of each other and how they associate not only to each other but to the person you are reading for as well. The reason(s) why this is not a 5 star set, is because of the way she dictates information to you, and how she very clearly forbids you from deviating from her teachings. Now, if you know anything about the occult then you understand the effect of doing what you feel is right for you. If you are not comfortable then it probably wont work for you. So learn the concepts and techniques you can from the book and expand on it, do not let this be your first and only jump point. Listen to your instincts.
Although the deck is beautifully rendered, there are a few symbols and imagery that I take issue with, especially if you know the Fools Story from the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) classic deck that will be necessary for a beginner to know...
The Fool - the cliff and the little pack is missing. The whole point of it in the story is that although the fool has everything he needs and is looking ahead he is not looking at what he is doing and even though the little dog is missing I like the metal hoop that is wrapped around his foot because the dog seemed like an outside influential force here it is by his own doing that he is going to fall. It can be argued that the fool is juggling the signs of the zodiac and all he needs is what the universe provides him but to a novice that meaning can easily be lost on them, especially when the magician unfolds the pack in the story.
The Chariot - There is no sense of conquest in this image, to me it is more about the post-conquest, this woman has already achieved what she has set out to do and is now being held on a pedestal even. The importance of having living creatures pulling the chariot (not sphynx statues) is so the reader understands that you have to put this advice into action. When the man in the chariot tells the fool that he should come up along side his enemy, match its momentum with your steed but remain in control of their direction, it is one of the more memorable times in the story for me.
Death - A good way to decide if this deck is right for you is to pay attention to the death card. Death is one of the hardest things to deal with and if you can look it in it's face and extract some meaning from it then you will probably be happy with that deck. This death card does not do it for me. The rising sun in the distance, the child in the field and the field itself are all missing. 'Death humbles all' but it is the only way to begin anew. That is why the clergy man is praying to death in the RWS card. The absolute most important piece of symbolism on this card is the rising sun, it teaches you that a new dawn approaches and you realize that letting go of who you are is the first step in transformation.
The Devil - Another misunderstood card and here it can be misinterpreted. There is a reason for the Pentagram to be inverted on this card, it is because your world has control over your spirit. The absence of the two people here make it easy to forget that the lesson in the RWS card is that they are not chained by the devil, but that they have chained themselves to him. They are there by their own will. Remaining blind to faith will leave you with nothing more than frivolity (the grapes in the woman's hand). You can unhook yourself at any time, but only you can do it and most people do not want to.
Please learn the story and when you are finished with this set, take the time to learn the classic RWS Tarot, the original deck is to much for my eyes and I cannot stand that stark yellow that is used everywhere. My favorite deck thus far (until i get my hands on the Legacy of the Divine Tarot) is the 'Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot' artfully re-crafted by Virginijus Poshkus. A masterful update to the one that all others are based off of.
on June 23, 2011
I have played with Tarot decks for many years, but never used the Minor Arcana because it seemed to hard to learn all those cards. I liked Rider-Waite, bought Tarot of the Witches but didn't care for it, then bought a deck with cats in the art. I like the cats but the artwork isn't my taste. I decided to order this set based on the reviews and am SO happy. The deck is very nice, I really feel an attachment to certain cards in particular, and the artwork incorporates the meaning of each one. My cat deck shows the Six of Swords as someone standing there with six swords and a cat. The same card in this deck depicts what's going on and meaning of it. They all are like that. Book goes into more detail on each card than another book I have. It's more specific. For the first time, I can learn all the Minor Arcana. Before, they all looked the same except for number of wands, cups, etc. Thought went into the artwork for this deck. Oh, and have to mention this morning. I finally had some good news via phone, something that made me want to yell,"Whoopee!" Went outside with coffee to read more of this book, picked up the shuffled deck for the heck of it and looked at the bottom card, it was Three of Cups. For one thing, it means a celebration of sorts, AND the page in book on the Three of Cups was exactly where I left off reading last night, bookmark was still there. I'm not one to put complete faith in this but it is becoming a fun hobby to play with! I totally recommend this for anyone who wants to learn, above any other book I have personally seen.
on September 25, 2007
This deck has no "Reversed Meanings"; however, the book(s) lives up to its Title:EASY TAROT with Ciro Marchetti's GILDED TAROT beautiful Deck. This is for both Beginner Initiate and Apprentice Levels. Everything to know at these levels are simply explained. Gilded Tarot follows the industry standard of Rider-Waite-Smith 78 card deck of each cards meanings and tarot interpretive readings. I recomend this kit for the tarot novice to get experience doing readings. Reversed Meanings are absent in the book for the cards; however,Novice is referred to the R-W-S book: Pictorial Key to the Tarot,A.E. Waite,USGAMESSYSTEMS.COM and The 78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack to gain upright and reversed meanings of any 78 card deck. The Novice should acquire this kit and the others mentioned in this review..Good Luck!!!..
on December 12, 2013
There are plenty of comments about the extremely poor quality card deck so there is no need to add anything else - except to say they are right...
With regard to the book it is a well bound, good quality product so why the cards themselves are such poor quality is bewildering. However upon reading my alarm bells started ringing very quickly as the bulk of what is presented in this book is more about New Age Superstition than actual Tarot.
When Tarot is eventually approached this is confusing to say the least, for example, the authors almost disdainful view of reversed cards as being unimportant after shuffling the deck going on to say "When a card turns up reversed I simply put it in it's upright position". That's it! I can't quite believe any serious Tarot reader, and definitely not a "Teacher" would say such a thing. They may well give their reasons for not using reversals but to just brush them off with a few words is concerning to say the least.
Certainly this is inconsistent with the previous pages that are more about teaching New Age Superstition than learning Tarot and there is definitely an element of fear-mongering used on people who are new to the subject. (don't let other people handle your cards, don't read for other people, make sure you "clean" your cards with moonlight, charge a special quartz crystal, wrap them in a silk cloth.....and on and on). Paying minute attention to these details while dismissing a big part of the Tarot itself is baffling and indeed whomever put this together is certainly inconsistent in their method.
I would have given it a better review but as the author claims to be teaching people Tarot "Once and for all" then they have a responsibility not to put people off with irrelevant rules and regulations and make the book actually about Tarot, not their own Personal Superstitious beliefs. If anything this will do more to put people off than want to explore the cards because of the implied "threat" that something could go wrong if the rules aren't followed precisely - this is meant to be Tarot learning not deep Hermeticism!
Of course in a sense there is no right or wrong in learning the Tarot and no doubt some will find this to their benefit, however the rigid structure of this with the Authors New Age superstition is misleading and makes this publication very much a "Bait and Switch" affair and this I believe is the true reason this product has been released - as a ruse and commercial hokum to get people to buy more New Age books from this publisher.
I continued a little further and noticed that the content of this book can be found in any number of free PDF downloads so I think the publisher has just cut and pasted some generic text in order to release this and then give it an "Author". Overall I feel this set (with its extremely poor quality card set) is just a Gimmick purchase cashing in on the Harry Potter audience and to advertise New Age books, not a serious beginners tool. Fun for some and a good comparative reference for card meanings but very watery content.
on January 19, 2016
Not only is this Deck great for the beginner Tarot Cards Reader, it is just as great for the medium and advanced Reader as well. I have used it to perform different kinds of Readings, from the spiritual to love relationship Readings, and was spot on each time! I most especially love using this deck when doing larger spreads... The suggested spread found in this book, is great when doing a Reading with several questions...
on September 23, 2009
This set of cards and book was the first for me. The cards resonated with me deeply. I now have several decks of different types and this is the one I keep coming back to. I find the graphics visually appealing. But unlike some of the other reviewers, I find the graphics helpful for interpretations and meanings. I find little reminders that jog my memory or give me a little tingle of intuition that gives me more accurate readings. Of course, this is highly individual and what works for one person may or may not work for another. No doubt about it. I also firmly believe picking out a deck, especially a first deck, should be a hands on approach. Ihad in my mind to purchase a Rider-Waite tarot deck as my first one. There were dozens of decks including the RW decks, but this one just kept drawing me back and that decided my first purchase. Simply could not put it down. I find I connect better and can do a much more thorough reading with this particular deck.
The book I found to be a great start to tarot. Another reviewer mentioned the reverse for cards were not mentioned and that the descriptions were at times too brief. This is a beginner's book. Reverses can be intimidating and confusing. The author clearly states that she does not use reverses herself and has better results that way. I definitely believe when someone is comfortable with the meanings and is able to read for themselves, incorporating reverses may be something to add to their repetoire.
This has been a perfect beginning for me. A great foundation to build upon.