Book Review: Psychic Tarot by Nancy Antenucci and Melanie Howard

Since I’ve started reading tarot for others more often, I’ve been making an effort to read more books about tarot and about different reading styles. I’m already pretty darn familiar with the cards and confident in my own reading style, but I think it’s helpful to see what other people are doing. It helps me deepen my relationship with the cards, which benefits both me and my clients.

Psychic Tarot is something new for me. I love digging into the history and symbolism of the cards, and I’m big on the idea that tarot represents common archetypes and patterns. While my readings are definitely intuitive, they’re also very analytical and very grounded in the history of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot tradition.

And yet, I can’t deny that some of the information that comes through in a reading comes not from the cards, but from the clients themselves. I’ve had several people tell me after a reading that it was weird or freaky how many specific details I knew about their situation, things that weren’t in the cards. Call it intuition, call it energy reading, or call it cold reading, but there’s something happening in a reading beyond just interpreting the cards. That something is the focus of Psychic Tarot.

This was recommended to me as an “intermediate” tarot book, but it’s explicitly written for beginners. I think this would be a great introduction to tarot if you’re more interested in intuitive readings or if you plan to use tarot cards as triggers for your own psychic senses. It’s an especially good fit for people who are interested in more New Age elements, like channeling, spirit guides, reincarnation, etc. Those concepts do pop up frequently here, but not so much that I think it would bother folks who aren’t into it.

There’s not a ton of concrete information here. What this book does is provide a framework that can be used for intuitive divination, with tarot or with any other method. Everything is left very general, and readers are encouraged to do their own homework and create their own system based on the guidance given here.

This is the first beginner’s tarot book I’ve read that doesn’t include any list or discussion of the commonly accepted meanings of the cards. The focus is very much on how YOU react to the cards and what they mean to YOU. Some people will love this approach to learning the cards. Some people will absolutely hate it. It really depends on your learning style.

One thing I thought was really cool was the way the authors cover multiple approaches to psychic tarot readings, some that rely more on tarot and some that rely more on psychic messages. I really appreciate that they acknowledge different reading styles, and that they included examples to help new readers find their own approach.

I also liked the attention given to ethics. The authors talk about how to set healthy boundaries with people you read for, including not giving unsolicited advice based on your intuition, only reading for people who ask for readings, and the question of whether or not to read for family and close friends. They explicitly mention that tarot readings do not replace therapy and/or medical care. There’s even a section on setting boundaries with spiritual allies, which is something I really think everyone should be more comfortable doing.

My gripes with Psychic Tarot are very minor. There are the usual issues with cultural appropriation, but they only show up in a couple of places and are not the main focus of the book. For example, in one place the authors suggest using a chakra-balancing exercise to ground before a reading, but this is only one of several possibly grounding methods listed.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and while it didn’t dramatically change the way I do readings, it was a fresh new perspective on tarot.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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