The Elemental Array by Wald Amberstone and Ruth Ann Brauser
Report by Valerie Sim-Behi

Having long-corresponded with Ruth Ann Brauser and Wald Amberstone by e-mail, and having many list-members who rave about their classes at the Tarot School, I was eagerly awaiting meeting them “in the flesh.” I was not disappointed. Ruth Ann is one of the warmest people I have ever met, and Wald’s sharp intellect and caustic wit had me in stitches. Their workshop was one I had marked for attendance in my program as soon as I received it. 

This workshop introduces a tarot exercise they have named The Elemental Array. Using only the four aces, we were taught a complex technique which gives the reader detailed psychological information about the querent -- even when the querent is a complete stranger--based on his/her attraction (or repulsion) to each suit. They stated the technique could be used as a stand-alone reading or as a warm-up for a longer reading session.

My experience with this array was quite enlightening.  In my array, the Ace of Pentacles was the least favored card, which often reflects a problem of some kind with the mother. This can manifest as a dislike of the mother, an inability to talk to or understand the mother (and vice versa), a lack of a mother figure as a child, etc. In my case, this Ace was not disliked, but was last, although not remarkably so. This is appropriate as I love my mother dearly, but we sometimes have trouble relating due to our radically different natures and approaches to life.

There were many insightful observations made by the instructors that added to the experience. I heartily endorse this method as an added window of insight obtainable via the tarot and encourage everyone who can do so to take a teleclass from Ruth Ann and Wald that explains this method in full. I often use it now in longer reading sessions as my opening spread.


Valerie Sim-Behi
is the founder and moderator of Comparative Tarot, an email list devoted to studying cards of different decks  in comparison to each other.   She has worked with the tarot for over 30 years.  Valerie created a spread that will appear in the book accompanying the Victoria-Regina Tarot by Sarah Ovenall, and has written various articles, including one on the Comparative Tarot method that will be published in Llewellyn's Tarot Calendar 2002. 

Report and photograph of Ruth Ann Brauser and Wald Amberstone © 2002 Valerie Sim-Behi
Page © 2002 Diane Wilkes