Everyday Tarot: a choice centered book | Review

3 February 2016

Cover Everyday Tarot choice centeredI decided to give you a golden oldie. Sure, a review site usually shows the newest releases, but I do not want to forget about tools and books that are still useful years after their first release. So today: Everyday tarot: a choice centered book.

The title of the publication, a choice centered book, becomes immediately clear in the introduction. Author Gail Fairfield says we, not others make and form our own lives, we choose and we respond.

We as readers have a choice on how to deal with life and everything that the universe throws at us. Whether it is dealing with our sexual preference, the fact we need to make tough career choices, or how to handle a sickness. And, with tarot you can come to better life decisions.

Coaching decisions
After reading just the introduction I was immediately hooked on the way Fairfield speaks to the reader. No difficult jargon, approachable, but more than that: it rang true for me. Not only do I believe that *how* we deal with life has a huge impact on the quality thereof, but from the start it seemed like Fairfield’s method applies to the way I use tarot as well: help people deal with challenges. Anyway, after reading a few pages it became clear this book is obviously about life decision’s, difficult or not, and coaching someone through a process like that.

The whole book is sectioned in a few specialized chapters. Think: how to choose a deck, the elemental correspondences and after that all the 78 cards separated, dissected and made clear on + / – / = / Rx ways within the choice centered approach. While the courts usually have a separate chapter in most tarot books, the author of this one obviously sees them as the next step after the 10’s and treats them as such. It opened up a new perspective for me on the court cards, who still seem to have kept some secrets from me after all these years.

Everyday Tarot: a choice centered book focuses also a lot on numerology

Everyday Tarot: a choice centered book focuses also a lot on numerology.

Numerology & elements
Fairfield doesn’t use a specific deck to illustrate her way of reading, which is especially fun if you already have a go-to deck or are still looking for the one that suits you. But fair warning: her way of reading would most likely not work with a deck that has scenics. (A Tarot de Marseille deck or other system that uses pips would be best).

Okay, ‘not work’ might be overstated, but she focuses a lot on numerology and elemental correspondences, not on the symbology. It is my expertise that (1) this way of reading tarot usually works a lot better when decks have pips and (2) some meanings differ so much from some Rider-Waite-Smith cards it could become a little difficult to separate the two if you’re practicing the system. A Thoth might be a possibility as long as you ignore Crowley’s titles when implementing Fairfield’s meanings.

Psychological approach
The choice centered interpretation is all about philosophy, psychology and what we have inside of us; mentally and emotionally. And while using element, number or psychological insight is not new, Fairfield has definitely given it her own twist and thus a new way of reading. For example the 7 of cups, upright. Element: Water, number: 7, which is imagining/experimenting for Fairfield. Something that sounds logical to me.

In Every Day Tarot: a choice centered book this means: “Emotionally, things have been pretty calm for awhile and now you’re ready for some excitement. You’re seeking new sensations and a variety of emotional experiences. You may want to interact in several relationships or experiment with a variety of feelings within one relationship.”  All in all a very good example of how different a meaning can become if you use this system. A card that usually advises you to carefully make a choice out of many or to face illusions suddenly becomes emotional experimenting.

Little ‘minuses’
The book is very easy to read, so it is my guess that it is just as useful for advanced readers as it is for beginning tarot enthusiasts. However, I would advise novices to learn Fairfield’s system next to other possibilities. You’ll be missing out on some ‘regular’ divinatory meanings otherwise. Actually, out of curiosity I applied the system to an already interpreted reading. Because of that I would advise anyone to decide upfront, before doing a reading, if you’re using ‘Choice centered’ or the divinatory meanings in your own tarot vocabulary. I think either choice will have quite an effect on the advice you’ll give if you decide *afterwards*. If you decide upfront the cards will most likely work for you in that way. Unless you’ve already found a way to mix it up of course.

I think my only true complaint with Everyday Tarot: a choice centered book is the quality of the paper overall. It is a simple rectangle paperback with a less than fancy cover and my guess is that the paper used for the contents is not very expensive either. But the price is very decent, so in that regards I can’t complain too much. I think it is just the fact I am used to covers that draw you in or a better looking lay-out and feel. If you know that this book has been printed and reprinted for more than three decades, you’d expect a little more. Well, I did. I just hope it can physically stand the test of time and, most likely, intensive use. All this did make me feel less conflicted about writing in my book though, which is something I am pretty sure everyone will do at one point. It is one of those books that you look up stuff in, that gives you an aha-moment and before you know it, you’ll find yourself scribbling along the sides.

The little chapter on YES/NO readings came as a surprise in Everyday Tarot: a choice centered book. I mean, where's the choice? But Gail Fairfield gives a disclaimer; only when the sitter is so overwhelmed that his gut feeling needs to be given a 'punch in the stomach'.

The little chapter on YES/NO readings came as a surprise in Everyday Tarot: a choice centered book. I mean, where’s the choice? But Gail Fairfield gives a disclaimer; only when the sitter is so overwhelmed that his gut feeling needs to be given a ‘punch in the stomach’.

Conclusion
So, this book feels very complete. Besides meanings in the neutral, negative, positive and reversed position for every single card, Every Day Tarot also gives some extra surprises at the end ( A YES/NO section and how to make your own spreads). Very useful and a go-to book would be my keywords for this publication. I like the way the book is set up and how relatively short but to the point Gail Fairfield explains everything. It is a true addition to everything I already knew, so I am sure a true addition to the collection of everyone who read tarot in a more advisory way. Plus, Fairfield gives some nice pointers on a reading process without ‘pushing anything’. After all, it is a choice centered book and the choice is yours. In everything.

NB1. Gail Fairfield wrote a similar, second book on choices and in that volume she focuses on relating and relationships in life. Choice Centered Relating and the Tarot is still available on Amazon.
NB2. Since I also look at the quality of the physical book itself; images, hard-cover, type of paper etc, the overall grade has become an 8/10. But if you are experiencing some hesitation because of that (To buy, or not to buy), please take a long hard look at my wrap-up…that might change your mind.

Author or artist Publisher Publication
Gail Fairfield Weiser Books 2002 (1984)
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Wrap Up

Everyday Tarot: a choice-centered book

  • 9/10
    Usefulness
  • 8/10
    Practicality
  • 9/10
    Readability
  • 8.2/10
    Originality
  • 6.5/10
    Look & Feel

Array

  • Focuses on all parts of reading
  • Accessibly written
  • Cheap
  • Very useful for every (coaching) tarot reader

Array

  • Afraid this paperback won't hold a long time
  • Preferably not for complete tarot novices