Rated 1 out of 5★ by 1reviewer.
Rated 1 out of 5★ by Oudler Distortions of a Tarot Reader Jane Stern has jumped the shark! I really hate to do this because I thoroughly enjoyed the Encyclopedia of Pop Culture and the Encyclopedia of Bad Taste but I cannot give more than one star for this steaming pile of woo derp.One of the major flaws in this book is that it's based on the common but now discredited notion that the Tarot has always been used for occult or for divinatory purposes. Contrary to what mystery mongers like Stern would have us believe, the Tarot was originally intended for a type of trick taking card game still played in many countries in continental Europe. It is not only Tarot game players and skeptics who realize this fact but a growing number of Tarot readers also acknowledge it.This title could have passed muster back in the 1970's when more people were gullible and before the publication of Michael Dummett's Game of Tarot which debunked the occult Tarot myths and before the common use of the internet which allowed previously ignorant Americans to be exposed to the realities of Tarot game playing. However, in the 21st century, the views of Jane Stern regarding the history of Tarot are sadly dated as they've been found to be utterly false!Concerning the so-called "Magician" card, Stern gives a false impression regarding its original significance. That card actually was intended to represent a lowly stage performer, a mountebank or juggler, and it wasn't even originally called a "Magician" Until the occultists got a hold of it, it was never intended to signify paranormal Magic(k)! Her analysis of the Fool card is also indicative of her cultural ignorance. The Fool was actually intended to be a different kind of card than the other members of the so-called "Major Arcana" I should note that the terms "Major Arcana" and "Minor Arcana" were inventions of the occult writer Paul Christian and were not employed when the Tarot first appeared in the 1400s and are seldom used by contemporary Tarot game players. The Fool isn't always numbered as zero. It was employed as a wild card to excuse players of having to follow suit in the original Tarot games and in some modern games played in central Europe, it is the highest trump card.There are other falsehoods too numerous to mention and the more I examine this train wreak of a Tarot book the less I like it In summary, because the book is based on dated Tarot history, I give this an EPIC FAIL! grade as a Tarot book. Stern should be ashamed of her falsifications of history and culture!I feel a need to make an update here. I did not expect this review to have the kind of impact it did but of course I'm not the one claiming to have psychic powers. This brings me to the important question of why didn't Stern's psychic powers and her Tarot deck allow her to anticipate such a scathing review?She could have then made the much needed corrections before it appeared in print.On her website and in her book Stern boasts of this post-graduate degree she has earned from Yale University.Shortly after writing this review I did some research on her educational background and it turns out she's no more upfront about her qualifications to give "practical advice" than she is about the Tarot.She earned that degree all right but what she isn't saying is that it's a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting. Painting is quite an admirable thing but how is this MFA degree pertinent to the field of mental health or to giving any advice regarding one's life choices?As much as I admire the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh, I wouldn't go to him for any sort of psychological counseling.Confessions of a Tarot Reader was not uplifting for me in any way. I find the applied spiritual philosophy to which Stern subscribes to have minimal therapeutic value and is perhaps counter productive to healthful living as it leaves one crippled by irrational fears of the unknown. Jane Stern is afraid of a great many things such as Ouija boards, feathers, Opal, and incomplete Tarot decks as objects to be avoided.This supposedly educated woman encourages a phobia about a wooden board which is indistinguishable from other such boards save for the appearance of letters and numbers. The name "Ouija" is a trademark formerly owned by Parker Bros. and now Hasbro. I believe "talking board" is a non trademarked generic name. A scientifically accurate name for such boards would be "ideomotor boards" as that explains all that spooky business behind them.On the subject of complete Tarot decks, Stern appears not to be playing with one so this is one item I would avoid.Remember that episode of the Munsters in which Eddie removes the mask from Zombo? It is the 21st century now and it's time more of us realize that the "occult" mask of the Tarot has also been lifted! 07/19/2011