Celebrating the Tarot: A Journal for Tarot Enthusiasts
Article by Jill Broscious
My introduction to Geraldine Amaral was at Borders Bookstore in Virginia in 1998. She was there to promote her recently published book, Tarot Celebrations. At that time I had had no exposure to anyone in the Tarot community. I didn’t even know a “community” existed! Having recently read her lovely book, I felt compelled to go to Borders that evening to hear her speak.
Geraldine’s presentation was refreshingly professional and very down-to-earth. She introduced Carl Jung’s archetypal theory to explain, in practical terms, how the cards work with our unconscious mind. Her grounded, objective approach to Tarot reading as a tool for self-inquiry and discovery was very exciting to me.
Geraldine Amaral is a renowned figure in the Tarot community. She is a published author, exceptional teacher, and conducts numerous workshops in Virginia, where she resides, as well as around the country at various tarot conferences. She is one of a handful who hold the distinguished credential of Certified Tarot Grand Master. Geraldine is also the publisher and editor of a wonderful journal that embodies the professional, practical, and inspirational style I witnessed at Borders that evening several years ago.
Celebrating the Tarot was introduced in the Fall of 1998. The impetus to create this journal was Geraldine’s desire to provide a forum that could connect people who were interested in all things tarot. Many of us at the time were “studying in isolation,” as she mentions in her introductory remarks. The goal of this journal was to provide a vehicle for sharing ideas, questions, resources, individual experiences with tarot readings, new tarot spreads, deck and book reviews, upcoming events, etc.
The format from the first issue to the most current one has remained essentially the same. The front cover displays colorful images of specific tarot cards from various decks that represent a theme the editor has chosen for the particular issue. The remainder of the journal is in black and white, but still contains many pictures that provide visual interest. There are two columns per page. The font is a good size and is pleasant to the eye. There are insets with inspirational quotes. Advertising is minimal and unobtrusive. All these features make the journal quite enjoyable and reader-friendly.
Each issue of the journal has gotten lengthier and more information-packed than its predecessor. (The first was a slim 14 pages and the most recent issue contains 46 pages!). Due to its growing length, it is published less frequently. In 1999, three issues were published. In subsequent years the issues typically have been published twice a year. A subscription for three issues, randomly published, is currently $20.
Celebrating the Tarot is consistent in style and content. Each issue begins with welcoming remarks from Geraldine and an introduction to the current journal’s theme. The theme chosen often relates to world events, concerns, etc., which makes the topics presented in the issue even more meaningful and relevant. Numerous writers contribute most of the articles presented, but several of Geraldine’s articles are always included, which center and unify the issue.
The opportunity for so many people to contribute their writing is a great attribute of the journal. Eclectic vantage points enrich our understanding of the limitless ways we can use Tarot. Some of the most imaginative explorations (“Ask Knighthawk” readings, various poems, and even an Empress recipe for making wheat bread), give you an idea of just how broad the spectrum of tarot interpretation is and can be.
Some writers are more knowledgeable, insightful, and interesting than others, but overall the breadth of expression compensates for any limitations that may exist. Having contributed articles myself from time to time, I can attest to how wonderful it is to be published, to be able to communicate my experiences and thoughts regarding tarot to other tarot enthusiasts, without fear of rejection.
Each issue contains reviews of tarot decks and books. I find these reviews to be of great help when deciding what books and decks I want to read and own. There are usually new spreads to try. Every issue provides a list of tarot resources, web sites, and upcoming events. The reviews of recently held tarot conferences usually make me wistful that I missed out on them!
I particularly enjoy the interviews with various tarot luminaries. It is fun to learn about the people I’ve studied with, either in person or through their books, and to be introduced to others I‘ve not yet encountered.
Celebrating the Tarot, Year 2003, Issue No. 11:
The most recent edition of the journal is the best yet. The theme is “gratitude.” This is a significant value of particular relevance today. There is so much anxiety, fear, and uncertainty in the world that it is often easy to lose sight of this simple, practical tool as an antidote.
Several articles provide specific and various ways to use tarot to develop our gratitude. Geraldine’s opening remarks and her article “This Too, This Too“, “Spiritual Gratitude” by Debbie Johnson, “Gratitude for the Querent” by Suzanne Turner, and “Living our Gratitude” by Bonnie Cehovet. Geraldine suggests that if we have difficulty identifying something to be grateful for, we can randomly select a card, meditate on it for insight, and deepen our gratitude by working with a tarot journal. Or we can intentionally select a particular card as a talisman to keep us focused on our blessings. Even a challenging card like the Five of Pentacles (featured on the cover) can reveal what we have to be grateful for in times of despair and misfortune. Debbie suggests we ask specific questions of the cards. “What is the card telling you?“ “What lesson is being offered?“
I enjoyed Suzanne’s article suggesting a reader should be grateful for the person seeking a reading. At first this may sound counterintuitive, but when I first began reading for others I, too, was awestruck by the beauty revealed when a person is open, vulnerable, and truthful about issues that they would not have shared with me under other circumstances. Readers do give the gift of insight and helpful information that the querent doesn’t have conscious access to, and that is a valuable gift. But I believe we receive the greater gift, because we experience the miracle of an authentic soul willing to trust us.
As always, there are new Tarot spreads to try in this issue: The “New Moon Spread” by Mikhail Pokrovscky is an interesting and unique approach to the cards using the phases of the moon to reflect events and issues experienced throughout the month. The “Double Decker” spread by Larry Baukin is more a technique for reading than a particular layout. The technique centers on comparing the “inner” and “outer” aspects of each position of the cards. Unfortunately, these terms were not specifically defined! Perhaps it’s common lingo, but I have never heard the terms “inner aspect” or “outer aspect” and, therefore, I would not be able to utilize this technique, which clearly works very well for him.
I really enjoyed Diane Wilkes’ interview with Arnell Ando. I am not familiar with Arnell’s work, but I, too, like to use collage for creating art. I think it’s wonderful that she is inspiring others to create decks with this technique. Collage enables anyone (artistically inclined or not) to make their own personal deck, and it seems this is something more and more people want to do. A subsequent article by Alma Puissegur communicates her own journey through making a collage deck.
Of course, there are many more articles to read. The tarot deck and book reviews were particularly good in this issue. There is an update on practical matters regarding the American Tarot Association and the American Board for Tarot Certification. And, as always, a complete list of resources can be found at the back of the journal.
Eleven issues and four years later, I think Geraldine’s initial concept for Celebrating the Tarot has blossomed just as she envisioned it might. Each issue has become greater in scope and more bountiful in content for we “tarot enthusiasts.“ The journal is a terrific resource for practical and inspirational information and provides a unique forum that increasingly connects the Tarot community. It continues to motivate us to journey into the infinite potential of Tarot, and to share our discoveries with each other.
You can order a complimentary sample of Celebrating the
Jill Broscious has studied the Tarot with Geraldine Amaral for several years. Jill uses the tarot as a tool for self-inquiry and exploration and finds it helpful when seeking to understand confusing issues or problematic relationships. The decks she most frequently works with are the Universal Rider-Waite and Osho Zen decks.
Article © 2003 Jill Broscious
Page © 2003 Diane Wilkes