Tarot for Change Book Review
Updated: Jan 31, 2022
As you may know by now, I love tarot. I'm also very interested in fairytales, mythology, and psychology. So when I heard Jessica Dore was releasing a book that looked at tarot through these lenses, I smashed that preorder button.
Since receiving my copy in September, I have been reading Tarot For Change constantly and fallen in love. Now I lovingly refer to this book as my "tarot bible". Keep reading to find out why.
Genre: Metaphysical / Self-Help
RATING: 5/5 Stars
Writing: 5/5 stars
Content: 5/5 stars
Enjoyment: 5/5 stars
As stated above, I love tarot; but I am not someone who uses the cards to divine the future. I use them as a tool for personal growth and read mostly for myself (though I’ll pull cards for loved ones when they request it). So Tarot for Change is perfect for me and my relationship to tarot. That’s not to say Dore’s writing on the cards wouldn’t be helpful if you are using them for divinatory purposes; in fact, I’d be willing to bet her work would be just as helpful in deepening that practice, too.
I’ve seen some say this isn’t a book for beginners, and I have to respectfully disagree. If you’re someone who has little to no experience with reading tarot, Tarot for Change is still highly useful for helping you understand the cards. Dore explains what part of life each of the suits speaks to, takes into account their traditional interpretations, and connects them to psychological and mythological wisdom in ways that can be useful at any experience level. She also includes sections in the back for beginners, where she touches on things like choosing your own deck and shuffling.
Tarot for Change is unlike any tarot book I’ve read to date. It's not an instruction manual that tells readers what the cards are or are not. Instead, Dore uses her unique perspective (formed by a work history in psychology/self-help publishing and as a social worker, paired with her studies of folklore and mythology) to share “secrets” each card contains about life, behavior, emotions, intellect, energy, connection, and change.
The “charms” Dore offers readers throughout her book make the cards feel more relatable, easier to understand and integrate into our daily lives. Unlike many self-help books with basic, cheesy platitudes that feel obvious and not-so-helpful, Tarot for Change is full of wisdom and tools that can help you help yourself. The quotes and names used throughout also serve as a springboard for readers to dive into their own studies of mythology and psychology if they wish—which is why I think Tarot for Change is the ultimate self-help book for tarot lovers.
By reading cover-to-cover, readers are taken through the Hero’s Journey of the Major Arcana, then the Minor Arcana; but you can turn to whichever card you want to study at that moment. I did a mix, reading cover-to-cover but also reading about the cards I would pull for myself each day. No matter how many times I read about a certain card, I still make new connections. So I know this will be a book I come back to again and again throughout my own journey, and I suspect other readers will too.
Another beautiful thing about Dore’s writing is how she turns the “scary” cards into blessings while reassuring readers that wherever they are on their path—in their thinking minds, emotional realms, etc.—it’s perfectly okay. She confronts the monsters of shameful behavior and feelings, transforming them into tools that, while helpful to a certain point, we're welcome to let go of when we decide they’re no longer needed.
Last but not least is the aesthetic beauty of the book. Beneath the dust jacket is a gorgeous sapphire hardcover with rose gold lettering. Dore’s writing for each card is accompanied with an illustration by Xaviera López, inspired by Pamela Coleman Smith’s iconic artwork. And each section’s title page has a beautiful filigree border resembling a card.
I've found so much value in this book; I’ve underlined, starred, and tabbed so much of the content, it’s ridiculous. Tarot for Change has:
Deepened my understanding of the cards and their suits. As someone who processes emotions mentally, I had a difficult time untangling the Swords and Cups, as thoughts and feelings get knotted together and feed one another. Dore's explanation of the pentacles as having to do with behavior is also very helpful. Now my pulls make more sense and are more potent.
Helped me to understand cards that have been a big ol’ question mark for me, or whose traditional interpretations haven't resonated before.
Helped me make connections between individual cards.
Given me things to think about and tools to use in my own life.
Reading Tarot for Change felt like sitting around a campfire, listening to the wisdom of an elder. It has a gentle and loving voice, but the secrets within pack a punch. I cannot recommend this book enough. No matter how long you've been interacting with the cards or your intentions for them, I have no doubt Tarot for Change will whisper lessons to you about the tarot, life, and yourself.