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A short look at the book Reading Your Future in the Cards, by Louise Woods.

This is a lovely book on cartomancy from a woman who seems warm and full of good advice; but I find that I’m of mixed feelings on it.

I think it’s a well-written book, entertaining and humorous. It oozes personality. Woods’ layout methods are fine; and she does emphasize the interaction of the cards throughout the book. Her reading method is based on layouts involving a few groups of five card fans. She seems to know her stuff.

The extras on card “mixers” are probably more useful after one is familiar with the card meanings Woods’ uses. These mixers are intended to show groups of cards that would give an idea, unequivocal answer to a question or ideally represent an person or situation. I skimmed through these though, and it gives cards that one could look for to answer questions, such as “will we have a purely sexual relationship?” or “is this the right job for me?” This is a helpful addition as it shows how the prospective card reader can build up a vocabulary with the cards.

Woods’ meanings, however, did not grab me. I had a chuckle at the 3 heart including menage a trois as one of its meanings. And there seemed to be a lot of love cards, particularly in the hearts, at least to my eye. She really downplayed the negativity of the spades, notably the infamous Ace of Spades, which is more of a creativity card. I think I understand her reasoning — she wants to give people hope in readings. I just found it hard to break with what I know. She does introduce the book with a suggestion to “forget everything you know,” and start with her meanings upon a blank canvas. Overall, I didn’t feel like her card meanings gelled for me. They seemed different enough from what I often think of for several cards, with little overlap of some “traditional” meanings, or at least commonly accepted ones.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, the author is very entertaining and she does have some good advice. I didn’t find the meanings resonated with me, but that’s okay. It’s a book that I was happy to have, even if I am not likely to use it a lot (although I may try out her card spread in the future). I think it would work for a newcomer though, who has nothing to unlearn, and wants a somewhat meaty method that utilizes card combining.

Here are some thoughts on the book It’s All in the Cards by Chita St. Lawrence. This is a great book for someone who wants to get quickly started with reading playing cards. I’ve found it to be a good foundation for me, and I’m carrying forward some of the method while incorporating other material.
The book was a very enjoyable read, starting with the history of her card-reading method and how it began, and traveled through five generations of women to the author herself. I didn’t like her statement that women have that extra something, that “women’s intuition,” that makes them the best readers. (I think she was explaining this mainly in the context of why gypsy women read cards.) Other than that, I liked the book.

Her method is interesting. It consists of up to three spreads. First, a quick read by cutting the deck and reading two cards at the cut; a 5-card reading in a Y-shape; and finally an in-depth reading of 22 cards, most of which are in pairs. So there is card interaction, but not the same as doing a line of 4+ cards. This is the part I had trouble with, because although pairs can be descriptive, I find it more appealing and helpful to read card triplets.

One thing that initially struck me is that Ms. Lawrence uses the K heart and Q heart to represent the querent and the querent’s significant other. (Like the Man and Woman in Lenormand.) Her K diamond represents a father/son/younger man, and Q diamond is similarly mother/daughter. Then the J diamond is expectations. So the red face cards are already a departure from the usage that most people else seems to use, which tend to group people by age, color and/or temperament. I have found her court descriptions very helpful, and incorporate her basic face card usage as I work with other systems.

The cards are supposed to talk about whatever they want; the querent, which Ms. Lawrence calls the Principal, is not to ask a specific question. For the 5-card layout, cards are drawn in pairs at first until a pair with the significator ( K heart or Q heart ) turns up. The meaning of the pair differs depending which of the pair is on top.

Someone once mentioned that Chita’s meanings and system are straightforward and uncomplicated. This may be true, but Chita does write that the fewer descriptive words that a card has, the more the reader can get out of it (or words to that effect). I think she expects the reader will get a feel from the overall cards layed out in a reading, with experience, and not be limited. She perhaps doesn’t feel it necessary to dwell on this, and she even writes that the peron will learn the basics of this method then “be on your own.” In other words, only experience will be a real teacher.

This also fits in with some views on tarot that I am familiar with, namely that it’s better to only have a couple of keywords per card rather than extensive lists of meanings which jostle each other and hamper the reader’s intuition.

Lawrence includes a lot of sample readings, which is both helpful and interesting. I liked them a lot. A lot of these are presented as practice exercises, where the learning reader should layout and interpret an example spread, then compare to how Ms. Lawrence would interpret it.

All in all, I find her approach appealing. It seems a bit simplistic for me, as I am fond of having “systems,” and things like timing cards and interaction that can provide more detail. As given, this method seems fairly straightforward and high-level event-driven. Yet it’s easy to get started with, I really like the sample exercise style, and I think this book could carry someone a long way in card reading. I’ve had some good success with accuracy in reading for people with this method. I also suspect that someone who uses this system over a longer period of time will get quite a bit out of it; more than might be written in the book.

Only time and experience will tell. The person who isn’t interested in memorizing a bunch of attributions and definitions will especially like this book. It even includes a one-page “tear sheet” at the end, which makes for a great reference to have on-hand while reading, when reference is needed. I have no problems recommending this book to a beginner or someone looking for something a little different.


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