cover image The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life

The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life

Jessa Crispin. Touchstone, $22 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5011-2023-7

Tarot card readings can be a “tool for storytelling” to enhance the creative process, according to Crispin (The Dead Ladies Project), book critic and founder of the Bookslut literary blog. In this lively handbook she avoids mystical aspects of the cards, thought to originate in the Renaissance: “This is not about foretelling the future,” she writes. “This is about uncovering what you already know.” Assuming no previous knowledge, the guide answers common questions, summarizes the history of the tarot deck, and describes how artists and authors such as Italo Calvino have used it as a source of inspiration. The majority of the book is devoted to descriptions of the classic tarot cards; for each one, Crispin explores how its meanings are reflected in the creative struggles of artists, from the famous to the obscure, and provides a short but eclectic list of materials for further exploration, including books, films, paintings, photography, and music. Suggested layouts (“spreads”) and sample readings are included. Crispin presents a persuasive case for the tarot’s usefulness to writers and artists; her many insights into the creative life as well as her dazzlingly wide array of examples throughout make this a valuable reference for readers not remotely interested in the “psychic arts.” (Feb.)