Invitation to Wonder: Real Life Insights Through the Tarot by Jeanne Fiorini
Review by Diane Wilkes

If you would like to purchase this book, click here.

Invitation to Wonder: Real Life Insights Through the Tarot is atypical of most books on the subject of tarot. There is no list of card interpretations, no advice on how to store or charge your deck. Instead, Jeanne Fiorini's book focuses most on what she refers to as "case studies"--sample readings organized by topic. Fiorini covers the two most popular subjects--relationships and work issues--as well as personal growth and children. She also has examples of her "Miracles" readings, readings that display evidence of synchronicities that are not amazing to experienced readers, but which might come across as startling to neophytes or "non-believers." These examples are not doused with the outlandish Miss Cleo gasoline that once polluted our airwaves, but, for the most part, are rather routine--Fiorini suggests the querent might explore meditation and it turns out she just signed up for a group meditation class, that kind of thing.

My favorite section, though, is also the most unique: a sampling of readings that offer comic pictorial "puns" that the cards can sometimes form when answering questions. You rarely read about using humor in conjunction with the tarot, but Fiorini writes insightfully about doing just that:

"I take my work with the cards seriously. I believe it is important to approach the unconscious with care and with clear intention, and I truly value the trust that people place in me and the reading process. That doesn't mean, however, that it can't be fun. Sometimes a situation is so complex that we have to laugh over the ridiculousness of it. Often a person leaves a reading with a lightened load, because problems have been seen from a new perspective."

All of Fiorini's readings are illustrated with the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) Tarot, and the author clearly has a bias for that particular deck. In one example, she refers to the irises found in the Temperance card and claims that they are "depicted in most Temperance cards, regardless of the particular deck." I doubt that her statistics are correct, though they would apply to most RWS variants. The readings are wise and sensible, and new students of the tarot could learn a lot from her examples. I found myself in concert with the majority of Fiorini's interpretations, and occasionally picked up some new concepts on cards, like the Five of Swords, which the author describes as a "card of clear boundaries and encourages one to stand clear of the influences of others." I am, however, still puzzling over her describing the Eight of Cups (in conjunction with the Nine of Cups) as indicating a "sensitive, likable, "I-just-want-to-be-happy" kind of guy...maybe too likable and fun loving?"

This self-published 133-page book is easy-to-read, and is no re-tread of the trite-and-true. While the readings aren't particularly in-depth, they effectively demonstrate what the author wishes to teach. There are more than a few typos (the bane of many self-published books, mine included). The one that diverts me most is the author's references to Mary Kay Greer--I keep thinking of the Lipstick and Eye-Shadow Tarot Lady whenever I come across them.

The author is an experienced reader who has worked intensively with the RWS Tarot and this knowledge pervades this slight volume. I found myself agreeing with many of her general observations about reading for others, and seeing my own readings with new eyes when I finished Invitation to Wonder.  I recommend this book to readers who use the RWS deck and/or those who are interested in perusing wise, down-to-earth sample readings on a wide range of subjects.

You can read more about the book and the author on her website.

If you would like to purchase this book, click here.

Excerpt:

A woman comes for a reading with concerns about her husband's prospects of returning to work after having had a back injury.  He has been out of work for several weeks and things are getting tight financially.  She pulls two cards for the general energy around the idea of him returning to work soon:

Four of Swords              King of Cups

This man is staying put!  The Four of Swords connotes a healing period or a time of needed rest after some difficulty.  The King of Cups can have negative implications, as seen in previous examples, but in this reading feels kindly.  This King can be parental, a nurturer, someone who is the emotional support the family, regardless of gender.  These two images converge to give a picture of the husband in an apron making meals for the family, tending to the needed household, but taking it easy physically so that his back to heal.  My comment to the client is, "He'll probably end up being the sandwich maker!"

"I guess that would be fine with him," she replies, "but what is my place in that scenario?" She pulls one card:

Emperor

The Emperor is the archetype of the creator, the builder, and the worker in the world.  This woman has been substitute teaching, but this card makes me think this position is apt to lead to a full-time job.  If her husband needs to rest and be at home with the family, the challenge for her becomes to go out into the world and earn a living.  The Emperor showing itself here states that it is not only the right time for her to be taking this step but also that she has the experience and skills necessary to make a success of it.  Apparently she will be the breadwinner and her husband will be the sandwich maker!

 

Cited text 2002 Jeanne Fiorini
Review and page 2003 Diane Wilkes