Like many Tarot readers, I started with the Marseilles Tarot, but eventually I found it difficult to move forward with that deck. The French school of the Tarot is quite popular in Russia, but it is represented rather by decks of the Papus heritage like Russian Tarot (mixed tradition), Tarot of Twelve Rays. Naturally there are not much Russian books in regards of the Marseilles decks so I was instantly attracted to Yoav Ben-Dov’s book “Tarot – the Open Reading“ and bought it when it was issued in English without waiting for the Russian translation. Time passed, but unfortunately I had no chance to read the book right away. I have read it only very recently. Though I have already decided not to “fool” with the Marseilles decks any more (they are still too complicated for me), I read the book with pleasure and want to share some impressions.
I have read a lot of Tarot books meanwhile, both in English and Russian, and perfectly know their possible types – manuals, book of spreads, experience shared, historical references, and I know it well that the original methods or ideas are quite rare. “Tarot – the Open reading“ will be a pleasant surprise especially for those non-familiar with Jodorowsky’s works (I suspect there CAN be similar ideas there as Jodorowky and Ben-Dov interacted).
In short, one can find the following in the book:
- brief historical insight
- the author’s view of the reading as a whole (querent, deck, signs, spreads, etc)
- the description of the symbolic language
- general and detailed insight into each card of CBD Tarot de Marseille re-created by Yoav Ben-Dov from the classic Marseille decks
- spread examples and advice for the Tarot enthusiasts.
The book is written in a very sincere, simple language (no “listen-to-me-I-am-an-expert” attitude), but its contents are quite complicated and multi-layered. For many Tarot readers, including the Russian ones (since there is a good translation published) this book might become an everyday guide. According to the forum reviews, Ben-Dov’s approach can be used on other ancient decks (Italian ones, not only Marseilles). But I am still of the same opinion – nothing could be better for me than the English (Waite) Tarot school and Minor arcana with the rich scenery.