Tarot Outside The Box – Valerie Sim – BBBR February 2007

Tarot Outside the Box
Valerie Sim
Llewellyn, 2004
170 pages

I really had high hopes for this book when I found it on the clearance rack. While tarot isn’t a huge part of my practice, I do like people who come up with new ideas and practices–I am, after all, an experimental magician 🙂 So I was looking forward to the read.

And some of it did deliver. One of the key points of the book, comparative tarot, involves using cards from more than one deck in a single reading. I’d never even thought to do that, though I only own one tarot deck and one totem deck–I’m not a collector, though I do like the different styles of art in various decks. I really liked the way she explained how the concept worked and why she used it, as well as a couple examples of the theory in practice.

I also liked that she encouraged people to create their own layouts. While with tarot I primarily use the regular old favorite, the Celtic Cross, I did figure out a unique layout with my totem deck. And she had some good ideas for other types of readings and methods of practice that I found innovative–I really liked the idea of using the tarot to spark creative writing.

Unfortunately, all this material was wrapped in a bunch of filler. There were over a dozen pages just comparing a bunch of Nine of Cups cards from different decks, both pictures, and descriptions that were a couple of paragraphs long each. I know she was trying to emphasize the unique traits of each card and how these differences could be used in comparative tarot, but it was jsut too much. Additionally, I’m with Psyche of Spiral Nature on the opinion that there are just too many sample layouts in this book.

Honestly, the really good stuff in this book would have made a long essay; I really wish she’d given more ideas on really unique ideas for using tarot, instead of spending over half the pages on filler.

Two and a half pawprints out of five.

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