Talkin’ Tarot With is a monthly feature designed to introduce my readers to different tarot readers from our wonderfully diverse community! Each month, I’ll be asking various tarot readers 3 questions about their tarot philosophy and style, plus pointing you to their websites and blogs so that you can learn more about them! I like to hand pick tarot readers that I feel are talented and interesting.
Every once in a while, someone comes into my tarot life out of left field and surprises me. That’s what happened with Benebell Wen, author of Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth. Benebell contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in checking out an advance digital copy of her book. Although I no longer do book or deck reviews, I was curious so I said yes. I’m glad I did.
Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth is over 800 pages and weighs almost three pounds (yes, I purchased the hard copy as soon as it was available – and I weighed it like a geek). You have to see it to believe it! It’s HUGE.
This heavy-weight is the mother of all tarot books, full of useful information and details unlike any other I have ever read. It’s obvious Benebell knows her stuff. Holistic Tarot is a well-written and thoroughly researched piece of work. It contains interpretations, spreads, reading techniques, charts, legal matters, Astrological correspondences, and so much more. Whether you are a tarot newbie or a seasoned pro, you will learn something from this book. Put this on your list of “must have” tarot books. It belongs on every serious tarotist’s shelf.
Benebell is a certified tarot master but she’s also a corporate transactions attorney based in the Bay Area. She also practices Feng Shui, astrology, numerology and the I Ching. She brings all of this wisdom into her work (and into that book!). With so many accomplishments, you’d expect her to be arrogant. But that’s not the case. I found Benebell to be exceptionally warm and humble. And that’s the best part: a super-smart tarot reader who remains down to earth. Get her book and, more importantly, get to know her. You’ll be glad too.
Learn more about her in all these fab spots:
Check out her answers to my questions below:
Q: What is your philosophy about tarot reading?
Benebell: I believe in a collective consciousness that we are all connected to, all sentient beings. Some folks are born physiologically with a better ability to connect into the collective consciousness, and so then the word “psychic” or, in the cases of connecting beyond our physical human world, “medium” or “channeler” gets thrown around, but it’s an ability everybody has. Unfortunately, it’s like a muscle we haven’t exercised and so it’s often weak and not useful when we need it to be. That’s where tarot comes in.
Now, the part of our brains we’re normally using does not seem to have the ability to tap into that collective consciousness and connect. That ability seems to reside somewhere latent in our personal unconscious. I’m playing fast and loose with all sorts of terminology here, but bear with me and try to hear the essence of what I’m saying.
What tarot seems to be able to do is help us access that latent part within ourselves that can connect to the collective consciousness. And the answers are all there, in that collective consciousness. That connection is facilitated by a tarot practitioner, the archetypal imagery on the tarot cards, and the mind of the individual who is getting the reading.
In this particular procedure, all three have to be present—the practitioner has to be present, the tarot imagery, and the individual who wants the reading also has to be present. Then a very strong connection can be established and quite a bit of useful information from that collective consciousness can be retrieved for the benefit of that individual.
Q: How do you feel a client might get the most out of a reading with you?
Benebell: Being present for that connection is important. And while conceptually the connection can be established with any individual, any tarot reader, and any deck of cards, our own biases, prejudices, preconceived notions, and limitations are significant blockages. That’s the reason why the connection isn’t always established with any individual, any tarot reader, or any deck of cards. To reduce the chance of blockage, try to align as much energy as possible. Reader and client have to feel like they’re on the same wavelength. The right deck with just the right images to resonate has to be employed, and what that “right” deck is can vary case by case. Then, when these factors are aligned, it’s just so much easier for everybody to proceed.
In a professional reading, the client is in a better position than I am to gauge whether that connection can be made (because if and when I say yes, I’m on, giving my best), and so I would tell a client who wants a reading with me to first see whether there’s positive rapport between us. I don’t know how else to put it. Do you feel like you’re getting good vibes from me? If yes, then there might be rapport. As long as there is that rapport, everything else seems to just fall into place.
Q: What is your best piece of advice for an aspiring tarot reader?
Benebell: I don’t know if this is my “best” piece of advice, but it is an important one. Don’t limit yourself in any way. In other words, don’t limit yourself to a single deck or a single tradition, and don’t feel the need to exclude, separate, or compartmentalize different esoteric studies (i.e., Kabbalah, I Ching, numerology, astrology, Enochian or Thelemic mysticism, Taoism, etc.). Of course you’ll discover your preferences (and do make sure they’re preferences, not prejudices). You’ll discover what works best for manifesting your intuition and you’ll want to keep to that best practice for you, but try everything first. Read lots of books, lots, but never follow a book at the expense of your own intuition.
Major thanks to Benebell for introducing me to her wonderful work and taking the time to share her wisdom with my readers. You can learn more about Benebell at her site: Benebell Wen. And be sure to grab your copy of Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth. You’ll be glad you did.
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2015