The Minor Arcana:
One consistent thread throughout this extended review is ‘ease of interpretation’ of the cards. Second is the reference to traditional Tarot symbolism being worked into contemporary imagery.
Simon changes the names of suits from pentacles, swords, cups and wands to gems, swords, hearts, keys. As the deck is an excellent teaching tool, the changes seem a logical move.
One of the most challenging aspects of tarot reading is the court cards. Traditionally, the cards are used as signifiers of the querent (client). They can indicate people within the client’s life. A necessary explanation for the King of Keys could be ‘ A stable man who is wise and hardworking’. A good reader would form her own ‘significance’ to the card or use Simon’s primary meaning which is discovered on the sheet accompanying the deck.
Some advanced readers study Jung’s archetypes and work out the psychological associations of the court cards relevant to the archetypes. This information can be integrated into a reading. However, this type of reading is advanced and beyond the scope of this review. It is mentioned because there is sufficient information on these decks court cards to follow this method.
A reader worth their salt can give a full reading from three cards. This anecdote is an indication of how effective a simple methodology can be:
“One of the best Tarotists this writer encountered, used three cards readings and The Celtic Cross Spread for all of her work. One weekend in Bedford I watched her read all weekend: Three clients an hour from ten til’ five both days. Edith was a friend of long standing. The simplicity of her working method was the reason for her success. Edith knew The Tarot – The Method and Her inner-self. She did not need anything other than a reputation built up over twenty years of consistency”
We will test Simon’s deck with a three cards reading: Let us get a feel for the ease of interpreting the cards. The cards are drawn from the well-shuffled deck:
Five Hearts – Six of Gems – Ace of Keys
The cards are reviewed with care – The interpretation follows:
The initial observation is one of emotional discord. Consideration should be focussed on the reasons for the issue. These are likely to be selfishness of a partner, and an inability to accept the situation must be confronted. All previous avenues of repair have come to nothing. It is suggested the rift is also causing material difficulties. The client must now consider the future as one of difficulty and restrictive: unless the focus of attention is clearing debt and learning and abiding by new financial rules. The guidance is: by working together to clear debts and ensuring economic balance (The root cause of the issue) the relationship will thrive. So, the key to the solution is to talk about debts and waste. And realise this as the root cause of the unhappiness. If there can be no acceptance of the problem. Then the client either continues until the inevitable occurs or she chooses to prioritise her future alone: The six and ace are dominant and suggest the probability is of return to happiness.
I hope the reader of this article can see how intuitive Simon’s cards are to use. This style of three card reading can only work when the cards blend during interpretation. Pamela Smith’s deck achieves this requirement. This is why one-hundred and nine years after first publication it is still the deck of choice for thousands of people. And the reason the majority of ‘new’ decks are ‘clones’ of her masterpiece. Simon’s deck is perfect for a free-style modern approach to reading. He has achieved this difficult task AND produced a unique minor arcana. The implication of this statement must not be underestimated.
A good Tarotist will work with the client to consider the cards after the initial statement. The ability to help the client see a route of change is imperative to good reading practice. Three card readings are straightforward if the cards are seen as a ‘whole’ picture. Simon’s deck opens the mind to see the ‘whole’ picture. It is an advanced method of Tarot work: rather than attempting to learn specific meaning to each card and then piecing together the issue. Simon’s cards guide the reader to look at ‘the whole picture’. Incidentally, the reader using these cards has an advantage: Because of Simon’s record of thousands of readings. He has revealed many modern day problems, weaknesses and traps within the cards. In the same way, he has also isolated tens of wonderful attributes of contemporary life.
Look carefully at each card. Do not be tempted to make a spontaneous interpretation. Look for the ages of the characters depicted in the symbolism. Consider the colours of the skies and objects drawn on the cards. And ask ‘what is the relevance of the objects in the pictures?’ Readers (of this article) will not discover my interpretation of the cards. To do this would cause debate. The lessons learned in yesterday’s piece about the major arcana should enlighten a Tarotist on the importance of bonding with the cards and establishing one’s meanings. Simon’s cards help the reader achieve this goal. So, look at the whole picture, allow the mind to combine the imagery, be brave with your interpretation and magic will happen!
As with any discipline requiring long-term study and practice, it is inevitable some will consider themselves as ‘expert’. Truth to tell full knowledge, wisdom and understanding of the Tarot is as deceptive as an understanding of Mankind. Having a basic understanding of The Tarot does not make a ‘reader’. If one is intent on this difficult path, Simon’s cards and courses are the right places to begin. Study them well, practice two and three card readings with friends and family. it will not be long before the symbolism becomes clear and relevant.
For the tarot to work well the reader must be able to make an accurate statement of the client’s situation without prompting. After the initial statement, the ‘reading’ becomes a two-way dialogue. The cards now become reference points to finding solutions or routes to success. An authentic reader does not describe the personality of the client. Anyone can tell a lady with chipped nails and grey hair roots they are victim to self-neglect and guess at the causes. The genuine reader is working with situations, issues, weaknesses, strengths, good choices and the future. Authentic readers see the issue, cause, and see what is available to provide the client with keys to change.
Simon’s cards have been a good companion over the last four weeks. I have enjoyed seeing the unlimited possibilities of using this deck. Yesterday, I read for a stranger; this is the first Tarot reading made since retiring from the profession three years ago. As I walked away from the girl in the bar, her friends tried to drag me back for an evening of reading. “We’ll pay you, Ian, you cannot know how accurate Candy’s three cards were!” I politely refused. The point I am making here is the cards resonate with clients, and in a group of people, they produce entertaining readings. Candy and her friends loved the spontaneous three card speed reading!
If there is a deck of Tarot which dovetails perfectly into modern life Simon Goodfellow’s Spiritual Deck is the one. Not only is this deck well designed. It is deceptively simple and intuitively brilliant to use.
In conclusion: Simon’s Spiritual Tarot is one of the most elegant decks available.
See You Soon