Tarot Flip | Book review

8 May 2016

Tarot FlipWhat is the fastest way to learn to read Tarot? If you yourself have not asked this question, you’ve probably seen it on a forum or Facebook-group for sure. We all know that learning Tarot is a never-ending study and to be able to interpret the cards decently, will take practice, practice, practice on a daily basis for at least a year (or more). But what if there *was* a way to speed that process up and not only have you read with RWS, but also pip-decks? Enter Tarot Flip, a little book by Marcus Katz & Tali Goodwin.

Tarot Flip is a 51-page book. Available in a very reasonably priced paperback-y with a glossy soft-cover or as a Kindle edition. The publication is part of the Tarosophy Kickstart series (Tarosophy Tarot Association), which also includes Tarot Twist, Tarot Turn and Tarot Inspire, to name just a few.

The subtitle of Tarot Flip is ‘Learn to read tarot straight from the box’. In other ways: no companion books, LWB’s or internet searches needed for you. With this paperback you will have all you need to start on your tarot journey. Quite a bold statement of course, so what does it offer to be able to do that?

Keywords & meanings
In these 51 pages you will read, so it says in the introduction: “the actual meanings of the Tarot cards as they have come to be seen by a range of experienced Tarot Readers.” Hundreds of Tarot readers were asked for meanings and those were put together to “provide an essential quick-start reference guide for new and experienced readers alike.” And if you were thinking of using (or already doing) reversals, that part is covered too.

The amount of pages might make you think: how on earth could this mini guide live up to its claim?! Simple: it skips any tarot history, explanation of symbology, elemental dignities or imagery. You get access to the conclusions of people who already have that in their heads, all bundled up in a simple, but effective method. If you’re a visual kinda of girl/guy, sorry this paperback is not about being pretty. It is all about the words. Keywords and sentences.

Minor arcana reading
More specifically, in Tarot Flip every suit and every number/court gets a keyword. Starting with a list and explained more thoroughly afterwards per card. The Majors are given a few pages at the end of the book, but – dealing with archetypes – in my humble opinion this book is mostly useful for the Minor Arcana and the court cards, not so much for the Major Arcana. But not to worry: you will still get a keyword, which is ideal if you’re still a novice. I’ve never used them, but don’t let that stop you.

So back to those keywords: 1 for each of the 4 suits, 1 per court and the numbers 1-10 makes 18. 18 words that will allow to read *all* the minors of *every* deck there is and more importantly: in every situation. Perhaps advanced readers remember that beginners ‘huh’ moment, when you had all cups in a career-reading or just pentacles in that relationship and that didn’t make any sense? Not that you should mind pentacles in a relationship reading, but that’s another topic. That ‘huh’ will be resolved with this method, because you’ll learn to apply the keywords and thus every card to different parts of life.

Example of a page from Tarot Flip - Sword suit

Example of a page from Tarot Flip – Sword suit

Pentacles = resources
A little example: the suit of Pentacles has gotten the keyword ‘Resources’ and the number two stands for Organization (planning). Instead of looking at the Two of Pentacles/Disks and wreck your brain over ‘juggling’, mentioned so often for this card, you can now play around with the concept of ‘organization of resources’. Perhaps a couple is considering to move in together, or – depending on surrounding cards – one of them could have two options for Mr/Mrs Right. Or you’ve been noting down ideas for a new business plan here and there. See how easily you can apply these two combined keywords in completely different ways.

Same for the Knight of Wands as advice for example, which consists of Ambition (Wands) and Responding (Knight). Basically this creates the idea in your mind that the knight is racing towards his goals. If this is an advice it means to go for it and use your passion.

Extra & Flip
Besides these two keywords, Tarot Flip also gives you the so-called oracular title, usually a concept or metaphor symbolically linked to the imaging or deeper meaning of the card – too vague for me honestly, but it could work for someone else. Then there’s a possible sentence to say to a querent during a reading, the card’s theme (order for the 2P, positioning for the KnoW) and the possibilities for reversals; which is where the title of the book comes from. You just flip the keywords (organisation ==> disorganisation).

I have used this booklet. Actually I still do on occasion. I can honestly say: it is one of the most useful books to start working with the cards. And I wasn’t even a beginner when I bought it. I was an intermediate to advanced student of the Waite-Smith but wanted to branch out to pip-decks like Thoth and the Tarot de Marseille. Basically I asked myself that same question: how can I learn to read those quickly? I got my answer. The Tarot Flip method clicked instantly and from there on out I could start reading and diving into correspondences that were of interest to me without being bothered by the – what most people fear when seeing pip cards – lack of symbology.

Contributors to Tarot Flip, part of these hundreds of readers asked for their meanings and keywords on tarot decks

Contributors to Tarot Flip, part of these hundreds of readers asked for their meanings and keywords on tarot decks

I do advise everyone to make those keywords more your own or create extra ones flowing out of the Tarot Flip words. Some words did not resonate completely or were just extended along the way. The word Resources for me has also become ‘the body’ or ‘materials’, things you can touch. The Ambitions named for Wands got company from values/ideals, passions and sexual energy. But that is different for everyone.

Conclusion
What I wanted to say is, that this is an excellent method to start with and to make your own with a deepening of the use of elements and numerology. Tarot Flip comes on Kindle for the price of a coffee and in paperback for the accompanying pie…if you have a cheap coffee place that is. It is worth way more than what you are paying for and don’t let yourself be fooled by its size. Being 1.58m (5”2) I can speak from experience when I say that tiny packages can hold a lot of interest. Use it and before you know it you might become one of those hundred tarot readers being consulted for the next method…

Other reviews on titles by Marcus Katz & Tali Goodwin:

Author or artist Publisher Publication
M. Katz & T. Goodwin Forge Press October 2010
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Wrap Up

Tarot Flip

  • 9.5/10
    Usefulness
  • 9/10
    Practicality
  • 9/10
    Readability
  • 8/10
    Originality
  • 6.5/10
    Look & Feel

Array

  • Easy to understand
  • Effective method
  • useful for both beginner and advanced
  • Involves all tarot systems

Array

  • Mostly for minor arcana & courts, not majors
  • No card images (but perhaps logically so)
  • Oracular titles definitely not for beginners, little vague