Well, hello there! I’m back again to talk about tarot, one of my favorite things and something at which I am a complete newbie. I spoke about tarot on this blog once before, and that post is a bit more thorough when it comes to my thoughts about tarot in general. Today I just want to talk about one specific book that I recently added to my collection: Kitchen Table Tarot by Melissa Cynova.
Right off the bat, my favorite thing about this book was Melissa’s super casual tone. I really connect best with casual voices, people who speak as if they’re already my friend. And when it comes to learning something new, I find it especially helpful to hear it in this really laid-back way. It puts me at ease and makes whatever the new thing is feel accessible, and suddenly I have a lot more confidence in my ability to pick it up.
So it was with this book. I’ve been working on using tarot to learn more about myself and for help with decision making for about a year now, and there’s a lot more to learn. I still don’t read for other people (too intimidating!), but hearing about Melissa’s own process with learning tarot (like the fact that she used a book to help her with the card meanings for ten years) has been extremely helpful for me. I don’t worry so much about learning everything all at once.
I found her approaches to learning how to use tarot cards—how to understand their meanings and apply your own methods to using them—to be especially helpful. She strongly encourages everyone to begin learning the tarot with a basic deck (and lists a bunch that will work) so that the art of the cards is the classic, easily interpreted sort that lends itself to beginner work. She also introduced to me the idea of pulling a single card every day and using that to learn the meaning of the card generally and see how I can learn from it throughout the day, which I’ve now been doing faithfully every morning since. Already I feel like my understanding of the cards has grown exponentially.
A few basic spreads are presented, and, of course, the cards and their meanings are explained throughout the bulk of the book. And I absolutely love her explanations—they make so much sense to me! I almost never have any trouble understanding how to relate a card to my day or my question with the help of her commentary. And since I showed Maggie Stiefvater’s Death card in my last post, it seems fitting to share Melissa’s interpretation of this oft-misunderstood card:
One thing I will say about this book that I didn’t much relate to is that she seems to have a more mystic relationship with her cards. I’ve said before that I don’t personally believe that tarot cards hold some kind of innate “magic”—I find them a helpful tool to dig into our own confused thoughts and untangle them into something that we can explore and use to understand ourselves better, but nothing beyond that. That’s just how it is for me. But the great thing about Melissa’s book is that there’s nothing in the way that she presents her information that makes me feel like “my way” of doing things is wrong, or not fancy enough, or not mystical enough. She encourages the reader to find their own approach to the cards, make their own meanings, make their own spreads; in essence, to take ownership of their readings and what tarot can be for them.
If you’re on the lookout for a helpful beginner’s book to learn tarot, this is a great one. And like Melissa, I encourage anyone stepping into learning tarot to invest in a basic deck—it really has been helpful for learning the meanings of the cards, and I feel more confident reading more artistic styles of cards with a more solid foundation of the meanings under my belt.
Happy tarot, friends!