Book Review: The Cards You’re Dealt by Theresa Reed

When I heard that Theresa Reed, aka The Tarot Lady, was releasing a tarot book about grief, loss, healing and other hardships, I was excited.

Finally: A resource that will help tarot readers take their skills beyond the usual Tarot 101 fare and learn how to work with common yet challenging topics.

If you have tried to learn tarot based on guidebooks alone, you might have found yourself hitting walls along the way. Standard card meanings can offer a stepping stone towards your foundation, but when it comes time to actually perform a reading and answer a querent’s specific concerns, those general meanings can fall short.

And yet so many people seek out tarot readings when they are facing challenges and looking for support.

That’s why Theresa’s work with The Cards You’re Dealt is so important: This book helps to fill a gap for tarot readers of all levels – especially those who read for other people, or who aspire to.

“Is this a good book for beginners?”

One of the most brilliant things Theresa has done with this book is to include an introductory section about tarot that covers so many bases.

Not only has Theresa included foundational meanings for every card, she has also provided valuable guidance about asking questions, paying attention to context, and developing your mindset as a tarot reader.

While this book may not be marketed as a straight up beginner guide (it’s much more than that), beginners will learn a lot from adding this one to their library, and they will be well supported by Theresa’s teachings within.

This book is especially useful if your goal is to read for others: You will learn a lot about how to hold space for your querents.

“What deck does the book use?”

The Cards You’re Dealt references images from the classic Rider-Waite-Smith deck in its introductory chapters, but the content is easily adaptable to other pictorial deck.

“Is this a good book for more advanced tarot readers?”

If you are looking to learn more about working with sensitive topics such as illness, grief, caregiving and more, you will uncover a collection of spreads, tips, and techniques to help you expand your tarot skills.

One of the things I appreciated the most about The Cards You’re Dealt is the advice Theresa offers about how to respond to querents who share sensitive, personal information. Tarot readers hear it all, and it takes a lot of compassion and sensitivity to read for others.

Soft skills are an important part of a tarot reader’s development, but unfortunately this is an area that is often overlooked in tarot teachings.

Theresa has set out to change that.

This book provides helpful guidance when you are put in the role of counselling someone in crisis and focuses on how to give effective readings in such situations, as well as suggestions as to how to respond and converse with querents in times of need.

This book is a reminder that tarot readings aren’t just about tarot cards: It’s a personal interaction between querent and reader that requires a human touch.

“What kinds of spreads does this book use?”

 Theresa offers a selection of spreads unique to each topic covered in the book. Many of the spreads use three cards, but some are bigger.

The reliance on three-card spreads reinforces the beginner-friendly feeling of this book, and also serves as an important lesson for readers of all levels: We don’t have to get fancy when the topic is already complex enough.

So often, when querents are seeking support over the loss of a job, an uncertain future, or devastating news, they are looking for grounded, practical advice. They are also looking for a sense of hope, to come back to Theresa’s overall aim of this work.

The spreads included in this book are geared towards such: We’re not getting deep and philosophical, or overly esoteric. Instead, Theresa shows you how to use tarot in a grounded, down-to-earth way that querents will appreciate.

Check out the book here.

Until next time,



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