theresa reed, also known as the tarot lady, is someone whose work i've followed and admired for years - and when i finally met her at a tarot and photography workshop earlier this year, i felt an instant kinship with her. theresa is a deeply talented writer and tarot reader, someone who doesn't bullshit and is generous with her wisdom, experience, and knowledge. i've learned so much from her in the months we've been connected, and have been incredibly excited to dig into tarot for troubled times, a collaborative effort between theresa and shaheen miro, an intuitive consultant and energy worker.
divided into three main segments, tarot for troubled times explores the different ways that we can utilize tarot to confront our personal shadows, break free from tangled or destructive patterns, and transform ourselves as well as the world around us. it's both timely and intensely useful, offering readers new ways to consider the struggles they're facing both internally and externally. in such a challenging world, where we're constantly confronted with political nightmares, climate change, natural disasters, hatred, hunger, poverty, homelessness, greed, sickness, and war, this book provides simple but effective ways to work through these difficulties, navigating our own personal shadows and eventually taking our knowledge out into the world, using it to fight some of these larger battles.
the first section of this book is titled the fool, and emphasizes the personal. it's here that we consider what kinds of resources we have access to, what fears we carry, and how regular practices of tarot, meditation, and quiet reflection can help us find inner strength and deep personal power. theresa and shaheen offer some different perspectives on challenges, giving us another lens through which to view our most intense doubts, worries, or beliefs. our shadows can limit us, changing the narrative to one of negativity. and yet when we stop fearing our shadow, when we learn to explore and even embrace those darker parts of ourselves, we often find a core of strength and resilience that has been lost in anxieties or fears. this section offers several methods to find restoration and understanding, providing simple tools that can help expand our view of ourselves and be deeply, powerfully present.
there are some lovely and simple exercises in this section, meant to providing grounding, stable energy and help readers feel a bit more connected to themselves. breathing, tapping, and living in the present are just a few ways that we can accept the shadows we carry, the struggles we've endured, and reframe them in a way that celebrates how far we've come instead of obsessing over our failures. instead of feeling that we have to control every aspect of ourselves - something that is nearly impossible to do! - we instead set up boundaries, learn to empower ourselves, and set intentions for growth.
the second and largest section is called the tarot, and dives deep into ways that we can use the cards for self-discovery, intuition, and empowerment. after giving brief but helpful descriptions of the archetypes and elements that give tarot structure, the book goes on to explore various ways that these cards can provide healing, new perspectives, and solutions to struggles or challenges. birth cards and life path numbers are explained and explored, along with sets of mantras and intentions for each major arcana card.
then we move into a fascinating section on magic, where the authors provide overviews of spells and rituals using tarot, candles, colors, moon cycles, crystals, and meditations, emphasizing the uniqueness and individuality of this type of work. i've only started exploring spellcraft in the last year or so, and yet i've found so much peace and joy in working through very simple candle and tarot spells, following my own instincts and creating rituals that feel right for me. and while theresa and shaheen offer plenty of specific spells and magic rituals that can be followed to the letter, there's plenty of space for customization, reminding readers that magic is up to the user and can be deeply powerful for setting intentions and focusing goals.
the book ends with its final section, the world, which shows us how to take these lessons and understandings and put them into our more outward work. the second section explored birth cards for the individual, but this third section expands that knowledge into year cards, giving new perspectives on how tarot can speak to broader themes and the unique energy of this period of history. a number of tarot spreads are offered as well, giving new tools for exploration and finding our place in activism. theresa taps into her deep roots as an anarchist to provide useful tips and advice for working as an activist, in getting involved with local groups or even running for office. and mirroring the section on personal spells in the second section, the authors make space for a number of other magical practitioners, offering spells from the community that can provide greater social consciousness and change.
i was amazed at the wide spectrum of information that this book was able to provide - it moved seamlessly from the individual to larger groups to the world community, offering methods of growth, reflection, and deeper understanding at every level. the spreads and spells are ones i will absolutely be using in my future practices, and i loved the deeper exploration of birth cards, both for the individual and for the present year.
i highly recommend this book to both beginners in tarot and magic as well as more experienced practitioners. this is no little white book, instead offering broader perspectives on the kind of growth and power that tarot can harness, as well as providing incredibly useful tools and methods for channeling this power in a more personal way.
you can find tarot for troubled times at amazon, barnes & noble, or through your favorite local independent bookstore. and don’t miss theresa’s newest offering, astrology for real life, which i’ll be reviewing soon!