Review: Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen

There are quite a few comprehensive books about Tarot, but Tarot Holistics tops them all. If you buy ONE book about Tarot that book should be Tarot Holistics.

At 874 pages, Tarot Holistics now holds the record for the longest book I’ve read since my years in graduate school. Despite its length, author Benebell Wen breaks the book down into manageable chapters that can be slowly enjoyed over time like a fine wine. I really took my time reading Tarot Holistics because, as with all truly great books, I did not want to see this one come to an end.

Consisting of 33 chapters with one chapter containing 39 chapter sections, nine appendices, thirty pages of annotated endnotes, and a 25 page index, the only thing lacking that I would have appreciated is a bibliography. Sources are mentioned throughout the endnotes thus making Tarot Holistics an indispensable addition to any Tarot library.

Chapter headings are as follows:

  • Tarot Analytics: A Holistic Approach
  • A Concise History Lesson
  • Allaying Fears and Offering Theories
  • Choosing Your Deck
  • Anatomy of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot
  • The Personal Journal
  • Beginner Rote Learning
  • Keywords
  • Cyclopedia of Card Meanings
  • Signifier Cards
  • The First Operation
  • Interpreting Court Cards
  • On Shuffling, Cutting and Drawing
  • The Fundamentals of Reading Spreads
  • Consideration of the Spread Landscape
  • Devising Tarot Spreads
  • Tarot Readings: A Step-by-Step Analytical Process
  • The Five Components of Circumstance
  • Assuaging Seekers When a Reading Seems Negative
  • Reading Tarot for Yourself
  • The Setting of a Tarot Reading and Energetic Supplements
  • Intermediate Ruminations and Practicum
  • The Value of Meditation to Tarot Practice
  • Inappropriate Questions
  • Ethical Considerations of the Tarot
  • Tarot and Love
  • Tarot and Professional Development
  • Using Tarot to Build Resilience
  • Depth Diagnostics
  • The Opening of the Key
  • Tarot de Marseille and the Thoth
  • The Professional Practice of the Tarot
  • A Personal Essay: How I Started
  • Appendix A: Tarot Spreads Quick Reference
  • Appendix B: Astrological Symbols and Elemental Associations
  • Appendix C: Ruminations on the Major Arcana
  • Appendix D: Profile Tables and Ruminations on the Minor Arcana
  • Appendix E: Profile Tables for Interpreting Court Cards
  • Appendix F: Numerological Associations
  • Appendix G: Pythagorean Numerology
  • Appendix H: Sample Logs and Templates
  • Appendix I: The Marseille Major Arcana

The most valuable types of information Tarot Holistics provides to new & seasoned readers alike in my opinion are:

  • discussion of court cards & the correspondences among them, which makes it simple to compare the different personality types
  • the analysis of the Rider-Waite-Smith that runs for 176 pages
  • the inclusion of 38 spreads that takes up 141 pages (see also Appendix A that discusses tarot spreads for an additional 46 pages)
  • card imagery and how it relates one card to the other in the landscape of a spread
  • Appendix G: Pythagorean Numerology

Personally, what I appreciate the most about Tarot Holistics is the writing stay of Benebell Wen. As an author myself I know that for a book of this length and type a conversational author’s voice is very important. How many long books have you picked up that had such a dry and boring tone that they put you to sleep? Tarot Holistics is not one of those books.

If you’re put off by the length do not allow that to stop you from adding this book to your collection. The writing style is quite personable. Throughout Tarot Holistics I felt as though Benebell Wen was speaking with me about Tarot over a cup of coffee in a nice little sidewalk cafe. The conversational tone of Tarot Holistics makes what may be an otherwise burdensome tome to digest a fun yet highly informative read.

I give Tarot Holistics the highest recommendation of any Tarot book I have ever read. If you’re new to Tarot, have limited space in your home in which to store books, or are on a tight budget so you require a book that covers Tarot completely & efficiently, I recommend Tarot Holistics to you.

You will not be disappointed.

As with most titles I review, I did receive this as a free review copy from the publisher. Receipt of an item does not guarantee I shall review it. I review only those titles I enjoy and think my readership will also enjoy and/or find useful.


~ Nefer

Spells/Enchantments, Readings & Visionary Art

Egyptian Lenormand signed & activated copies



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