Using the Tarot for Creativity and Empowerment

Book Review: Tarot Masterclass


I stumbled across a book awhile ago that somehow had escaped my radar. It is called the Tarot Masterclass by Paul Fenton-Smith. Being an avid Tarot book collector, I snatched it up immediately and was delighted with all of the wonderful tidbits I found inside.

According to the book blurb, the author, Paul Fenton-Smith has been the principal of the Academy of Psychic Sciences in Sydney since 1985. He has been a teacher and reader of Tarot since 1978 and he has eight books under his belt. I am familiar with one of his books entitled, The Tarot Revealed, a Beginner’s guide. I haven’t had the opportunity to read it however.

First off, I will say that even though the title of the book is Tarot Masterclass, it could easily be used by beginners as well as intermediate readers, as he does cover basic card meanings and provides simple steps to learning the Tarot. The book then builds on this information, leading the reader into a deeper understanding of the cards. The book is not only well-designed but easy to read and the fun anecdotes & real-life stories that Paul provides makes the it fun as well as informative.

In addition to basic card meanings, the author also provide additional meanings for finances and health (both upright and reversed) for each card, which I believe many readers will find helpful as these are two questions we often receive from clients. He also adds Spiritual Meaning to the Major Arcana section. He does delve briefly into astrology but other than that, no esoteric information is presented in the book.

Included are several chapters on Court cards of the the four suits, in which he discusses personality types, spiritual purpose, compatibility, business traits and more. He discusses how people of a specific suit (wands people, cups people, swords people and pentacles people) react in various situations – how they act when upset, their sense of humor, how they act when frustrated and who is compatible with whom. Lots of interesting and entertaining information here – a nice overview of human nature as it relates to the Tarot.

The book provides a variety of layouts, both practical and spiritual and discuss how to card combinations in layouts. In his chapter on Understanding Layouts, he briefly discusses using reversals and says, “Reading reversed cards is an integral part of a tarot reading. If all cards are upright in a pack, your accuracy is limited when advising a client.” This is the only opinion in the book that I have to disagree with. There are many readers out there who do not use reversals and yet provide powerful and accurate readings. Plus, this statement doesn’t take into consideration other techniques such as Elemental Dignities. The choice to use reversals is up to the individual reader and neither method is incorrect.

The book contains a lot of additional information such as how to read conflicting cards, how to phrase a question, trusting and building your intuition, and plenty of helpful tips on becoming a professional reader.

Below are the chapters that make up Tarot Masterclass:


Part one: The Power of the Tarot

1. Why use the tarot?
2. Learning the tarot
3. The reader’s quest

Part two: The Minor Arcana and the meaning of events

4. The suit of Wands
5. The suit of Cups
6. The suit of Swords
7. The suit of Pentacles
8. Understanding the Minor Arcana
9. Personality traits and the Minor Arcana
10. Spirituality and the Minor Arcana
11. The four suits in business
12. Court cards and the client

Part three: The Major Arcana and the meaning of our lives

13. The Major Arcana
14. Useful charts for the Major Arcana
15. Health meanings of the Major Arcana
16. Glimpse of the Major Arcana

Part four: Gaining experience

17. Understanding a layout/cards in combination
18. Tarot layouts
19. Clarifying the questions
20. Trusting your intuition
21. Conflicting cards in a reading
22. Fate and free will
23. Learning through direct experience
24. Identify the card exercise

I recommend this highly informative and innovative book to all levels of Tarot readers as I feel it can deepen your understanding of the cards no matter what your level. I consider it an excellent learning tool.

Buy Tarot Masterclass HERE

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