Review: Who Are You in the Tarot? by Mary K. Greer

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My pal Ankhie at Weiser Books was kind enough to send this wonderful book my way!  It arrived as I was heading to the airport for a trip, so I tucked it into my bag, thinking I’d read it on the plane.  Well, it was an idea . . . .

First, it’s by beloved Tarot goddess Mary K. Greer, so one goes into it with certain expectations of academic, philosophical, and creative excellence – which are met and surpassed.  While it can be read in bits and pieces, this is not a book to be skimmed and shelved, but a book to savor, to revisit, to work the exercises at various times and points in one’s life to see how one and one’s life has changed – or not.

Who Are You in the Tarot? by Mary K. Greer

Mary demonstrates finding one’s Soul Card, Personality Card, and Hidden Factor Card.  Even if you’ve done this guided by other books or in workshops, go through Mary’s system.  Even if you end up with the same numbers, the process is informative.  If you’re math-phobic, get a calculator or a friend to help you.

While it is certainly tempting, having worked out one’s own cards, to go straight to the chapters on those cards, once you’ve done that, go back and figure out the cards for other significant people in your life – family, friends, role models – to see how your cards and theirs frame your relationships. You may find some unexpected – and quite useful – information.  I’ve done this kind of work on my own family for many years, but it was helpful to have Mary’s unique perspective on them, especially issues dealing with my parents. (Do we ever really get over that first, and most complex, relationship?)  My mother and I have a shared card – her astrological birth card is Hermit, which is my numerical birth card – which made life interesting for us (and everyone around us).

Mary also discusses the idea of the Tarot year, both the calendar year and our personal year which begins on our birthday.  Being as my birthday is early in the calendar year, and the way the math works out, my personal Tarot year ends up the same card as the card for the calendar year. Sometimes that’s great – I’m currently in a double Emperor year! – but I can’t say the idea of a double Hanged Man year sounds as enticing.

Then, if you’re up for further adventures, Mary explains how to find your Name Cards. Once you’ve done that, check to see if any of them are repeats of your birth cards.  Also, if you’ve changed your name at any point, figure out the cards for the old and new names and see how they connect – or if they connect at all.  I have done two separate name changes as a conscious decision to identify more closely with my grandmothers.  Comparing the names was useful:

Desires and Inner Motivations Outer Persona Destiny
Birth name: Lovers Priestess Strength
Name #2: Magician Priestess Empress
Name #3: Emperor Hermit Emperor


Additionally, doing the math on the changes in the individual names in my full name was a chorus of 9s, even with all the changes – tying back to my numerical birth card, 9, The Hermit.  I didn’t do the math on the names when I did the changes, but mapping these cards against the course of my life was very interesting. Running the card’s on my husband’s birth and his chosen name was also enlightening – he went from

Chariot / Hermit / Chariot to

Lovers / Hierophant / Priestess.

Just a little bit of a change!

Mary also suggests laying out your names with the trumps to see what patterns occur.  This is easier to do if you have multiple decks – for example, I have five As in my name, so multiple decks really help.

In the final chapter, Mary discusses the court cards, significators, and people in readings.  It’s an excellent lesson on working with these cards, and this chapter alone can provide hours of consideration.

The book also includes three appendices – one on the 8-11 controversy, one on the Qabalah of the Nine Chambers, and a Summary of Card Names. If you’re not familiar with the first two topics, Mary’s work is an excellent introduction; if you are familiar with them, Mary provides her unique insight on the topics.

Once again, Mary Greer distills her immense learning with practical wisdom to create a work that gives its readers deep knowledge, useful techniques, and a Tarot resource to return to year after year to further their own work with the Tarot and their own personal development.

2 Responses to “Review: Who Are You in the Tarot? by Mary K. Greer”

  1. […] ¶ I will be interviewed this Wednesday, Nov. 9th on Blogtalk Radio – Pagan Perspectives by Rev Sylvanus Treewalker – 6pm CST or 4pm PST. We’ll be talking about my latest book, Who Are You in the Tarot? Follow the link to chat and listen to the radio interview live or after the show. Read the latest review of my book here. […]

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