i had the privilege of sitting next to liz worth, tarot reader and astrologer, at the tarot school’s readers studio earlier this year. i’ve admired her writing on both subjects and appreciated her warm energy and presence, so when she offered to send me a copy of her latest book, the power of tarot, i jumped at the chance.
liz has already written a guide book working through each card in the deck, so the power of tarot offers a deeper dive into how we can use the cards, what they can offer us, and the ways that they can help us develop our intuition. she spends a lot of time talking through major questions that impact how we use the cards, as well as exploring what they can teach us, how we can learn from them, and important things to remember while reading. she writes of the suits and elements in a beautiful way, connecting themes and insights together a way that is both easy to read and deeply astute. rather than telling us what to think or feel, liz explores different themes and perspectives, inviting readers to think critically about their relationship with tarot and think beyond individual cards to the deck as a whole.
i really enjoyed reading this book, and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in tarot, whether they are considering purchasing their first deck or have been working with cards for years. the questions liz explores and the wisdom she imparts are both powerful and useful for any reader, and have already helped me find deeper insight into my own readings, interpretations, and conclusions.
one of my favorite sections was an early one in the book, exploring the various ways that we view fate, higher powers, and free will. rather than offering a lengthy explanation of her own views, liz asks a number of questions, urging us as readers to consider exactly what power we feel that tarot holds, and the ways that it can guide our decisions or give us insights into what lies ahead. she emphasizes the power that we have to choose, the agency we carry, and urges us to consider the ways that we are able to shape our own destiny. rather than seeing the cards as definitive and predictive, we can instead view them as tools for our current pathways and emotions, and reflect on what we would like to change or adjust.
“rather than giving us grand promises, the cards
seem to help us see where our personal work is.”
i like to describe tarot as a lens in which to view our current position, another perspective to give us insights into our emotions, movements, and desires. so much of what liz says in these early chapters resonates with me, because while i feel tarot can be an incredible tool for learning and exploring our inner pathways, i don’t like to give the cards power over me. rather, i feel that they can help us shed light into areas that we have trouble examining, help us see obstacles or challenges in new ways, or understand a situation in a way we perhaps didn’t expect. using tarot to predict outcomes or futures takes away our own agency, but letting it broaden our understandings and expand self-awareness empowers us to make the choices we need in order to reach the future we desire. “to look at a reading, or any prediction, as a static outcome is too limited a perspective. tarot should help us stay open to change, not box us in with the belief that we have only one way to go from here.”
whether we credit the power of tarot to spirituality, magic, or free will, liz encourages us to acknowledge the ways that these forces can shape us, and the power that we hold as individuals in spite of those broader ideas. and whether we are experiencing transitions or stuck in old patterns, tarot can help us take control of our lives, make choices that bring us closer to our goals, and find the things that help us create meaning and beauty. she goes on to explore how intuition can power tarot, and the ways that it can confirm our instincts while also questioning what we truly know. everyone has an intuition, but it can take time and energy to learn how to develop it, as well as how to separate it from thoughts, advice, or psychic talents.
after providing a brief primer into the fascinating and often convoluted history of tarot, liz explores the various connections between tarot and kabbalah, astrology, numerology, and various religions. and while many practitioners link these practices together, she emphasizes the need to let the cards stand alone, and to take their messages separately from other systems.
“the pressure for tarot to be overly complicated can
actually become a major block to us as readers,
because it creates doubt in our own processes.”
the center of the book features a lengthy and lovely description on how to read tarot, from formulating questions to choosing the right deck to underestimating what tarot is and is not capable of. in the previous chapter liz emphasized that tarot cannot answer every question or situation, that sometimes astrology or intuitive readings or clairvoyance might be a more appropriate tool, which is an insight i really appreciate. i absolutely love reading tarot but it is not a band-aid or a vending machine, and is not always going to provide the insight or answers we may need for a particular situation. knowing when and how to use tarot is an essential part of reading the cards.
while this book does not offer an intensive card-by-card guide on the deck, it does offer overall views of both the major and minor arcanas, exploring cycles, stories, and themes. even as someone very familiar with meanings and lessons, i loved this broader view of the fool’s journey, and the ways that we can utilize the minor suits as tools and resources in our own path forward. liz includes a fascinating exploration on the four elements present in tarot, showing us how we can interpret and understand the ways that fire, air, water, and earth motivate, empower, and challenge us. as well as looking at how each element can help, harm, and teach, she also considers combinations of different elements, and how they can work together to expand our understanding of our readings.
“in tarot, you always have to be willing to push yourself to make broader connections to the cards.”
after providing some exploration for how to interpret and work with the cards, liz goes into depth about some of the basics of tarot reading: how to choose a question, how to shuffle and select cards, and how those rituals of reading are impacted by beliefs and understandings of what tarot can do. i really enjoyed this section, as these are questions i am asked often by clients and fellow readers, and liz’s answers are clear and logical, gentle but firm. when reading for ourselves it’s so tempting to rush, but taking the time and space to really listen to the messages and lessons of the cards can be an incredibly useful and important daily ritual, both for regular insights but also to get used to the process of listening to intuition.
i particularly loved the section on tarot and time, a chance to explore how tarot can be useful for timings and the reasons that so many people request readings around when something will happen. it can offer comfort and reassurance for the querent, but also raises interesting questions around free will, predestination, and fate, inviting us back to those first major questions in the book. who decides when things will happen? how do we surrender control? and why do we feel so much impatience when we don’t get what we want on our ideal timeline? liz and i have very similar feelings around these kinds of questions, often preferring to dive deeper and see what other insights we may be able to provide. as liz writes, often asking questions around a when indicates that we’re trying to rush a process, hurry something forward, and it may indicate that we aren’t actually ready for it yet. sometimes, we really should be asking how or why instead of when, teaching us about patience, self-love, and growth instead of just hitting particular milestones.
“asking when something is going to happen holds the same pitfalls as fate or destiny in that it can make us too reactive. we end up waiting instead of working on ourselves.”
but tarot can provide so much hope, giving us endless possibilities for the future instead of simply giving us a map of how our lives will play out. whether a reading provides healing, advice, or simply affirms our current path, the cards can give us so much. and in the final sections of the book, where liz explores how the cards can help us with questions around relationships, careers, money, love, life purpose, and outcomes, the overall advice is both simple and profound - we need to consider the depths of our questions, if we’re asking when while we really mean if, and how we view success. the last pages explore the need for both discernment and boundaries as a tarot reader, and liz urges us to continually approach the cards with honesty, humility, and receptiveness. as readers we should always be learning, exploring new perspectives, and staying open to how we can grow in our insights and viewpoints. tarot is not just about technique, psychic ability, intuition, or interpretations - it’s also about a willingness to listen, and a desire to share truth.