Tarot for the 21st Century!
This is a system all its own, and Playing Card Oracles should be on the required reading list for card readers of all levels. If you are a beginner, this book and deck could take you very far in your development. If you already have your own system of reading, this is still worth the time and effort. I am a professional reader with a style of my own, yet I simply couldn't put the book down. I found it a delight to read, and appreciated the way it opened up new ways of looking at the cards.
Most of the cards' meanings depart from traditional ones, and so that is why I mentioned earlier that this may be much more readily and completely applied by a beginning reader, but advanced readers may just find themselves adding some meanings to their card vocabulary.
The book is really two books in one, and there are so many golden nuggets within regarding various aspects of card reading, such as intent, shuffling, symbolism, elements, numbers, all of which come from her experience and her father's research. One such quote comes on page 109: "Surface questions get surface answers. Real questions invite the cards to speak."
The book presents six card spreads, all of them highly versatile, thorough and very practical for professional use, tailored to different situations. Ms. Cortez also has a delightful way of incorporating timing into her system.
The author also teaches you how to create a geomantic reading derived from a card reading, meant to complement and reinforce the message of the cards.
All techniques and principles are given ample attention in this book. I never found myself feeling like I had been shown *almost* how to perform a technique or apply an idea presented.
A few very interesting essays in the back of the book address the history of playing cards.
The cards themselves are simply fascinating. Each one bears a scene, much like tarot cards do. The reason for this is explained within the book - and is anchored in playing card history. The illustrations say a lot with little. For example, the four 4's of the deck are assigned each a Wind: the East Wind is the 4c, the South Wind is the 4d, the West Wind is the 4h, and the North Wind is the 4s. Each card bears only a male face with flowing long hair, and yet the quality of expression in the face lends many clues about the card's influence. Focusing on the 4s, the author writes, "this card represents an environment that is charged with strong dynamic force." The male face on this card is the only among the four facing the reader square on, as if blowing a gale wind directly at them. Other meanings of the card will relate to this strength, as well bear the influence of Ms. Cortez's spade designations.
This deck also evens out the gender in the court by attributing a female personality to the 10's. Of course, this is also clearly explained and supported.