Review: Corrine Kenner’s Tarot Classroom, Lesson One: Focus on the Fool

The opportunity to review Corrine Kenner’s Tarot Classroom Lesson One: Focus on the Fool came at a time when I was already reading something else by Corrine, her Tarot and Astrology. I have been so impressed with both works that now I really want to go out and read everything this very prolific author has ever written. It’s obvious to me from these two experiences alone that here is someone who is very committed to, and very good at, tarot eduation. But the focus of this review is on her Tarot Classroom.

Tarot Classroom, Lesson One: Focus on the Fool is an e-document, available for download for $6.95. If you are a veteran ebook reader, you may think that this amount is a little pricey. Most ebooks (if they are not in an e-reader format such as Kindle format) come as plain text pdf files. Not so in this case. Although the file is a pdf, I have never seen a pdf that looked more like a real book page than this one. I also work as a book editor, and have to say that this pdf file looks more beautiful and professional than ANY trade book I have ever been asked to proof in a pdf “ready to go to press” form. I don’t know what went into the making of this file, but this is NO ordinary ebook. The images on each page are unbelievably gorgeous — and you’re hearing this from someone who isn’t really into art — I’m more of a words person. Take it from me — the images on these pages alone may be worth the price of the document, which isn’t a book in and of itself (though combined with other lessons, I suspect it eventually will be), but rather a glossy magazine-style do-it-yourself tarot workshop that any reader could learn something from.

So let’s segue from images into content. Corrine makes a remark in her introduction, “Eyes on the Prize,” that I think must explain her whole approach to what I presume will be a series of Tarot Classroom lessons: “To get the most from the experience,” she says, “we want to take the scenic route — not the overnight express.” Thus, this first tarot lesson gives us the “scenic route” for just one card (a standard tarot deck has 78 cards): The Fool. She begins with an exercise that asks us to connect the Fool to our own approaches to tarot, using a series of guided questions to elicit personal responses. I found that doing this exercise gave me new insights into my approach to tarot and to life, and brought back memories of the beginning of my own journey. Several years ago, before I even knew what the Fool looked like or that he played a role in tarot, there was a time when I imagined myself stepping off a cliff deliberately as an act of faith, not knowing how far down the ground might be. That vision was connected with that particular time and events in my life, but Corrine’s meditation on the Fool made me realize that although my mental image of myself as a “fool” predated my interest in tarot, that point in time was actually the point when I first set foot on this path. I also found myself connecting the flower that the Fool holds with my own interest in flower essences and essential oils, and the mountains with, first, my own history with mountains (I’ve lived in both Alaska and Arizona, though I am sadly far from mountains now), and secondly, with my craving for rocks and crystals. Both of those interests could lead me deeper into a long journey of self discovery, but I’ll save that for my own journal and let you know a little more about Corrine’s lesson.

I jotted down my own impressions about the Fool and then turned to Corrine’s comments on this card — and found that although I thought I had written a lot about the Fool in my answers to her questions, Corrine had still more insights for me that I hadn’t seen in this card. For example, historically, she notes, Fools were “sometimes the only people who could speak truth to power.” To me, that one insight opens the door to another whole set of possible interpretations for the Fool. But Corrine doesn’t stop there–she also gives us a detailed analysis of the symbols (both large and small) that are typically included on the Fool’s card, and explains the geography of the card itself. By the time she was done, I found myself wondering if it might be possible to do a tarot reading for anyone, on any question, based on just one card. Do we really need a whole deck?

Then we come to the bonus that comes with this lesson: Corrine’s Inkblot Tarot. Corrine has created a series of ink blot images, like the ink blots traditionally used by psychiatrists to analyze mental patients. You can use these ink blot images, which are more different from each other than you would expect a series of ink blots to be, to create an individualized tarot deck. I think this is a brilliant idea, but I have to admit that I couldn’t get into it. For many of you out there, though, I suspect these ink blots could prove to be very freeing, giving your intuition a chance to suggest meanings that you might not pick up in a more conventional deck of tarot cards. And I like that the concept of the Ink Blot tarot makes the point that it isn’t the cards themselves so much as the person looking at them. If you needed to do a reading and didn’t have a deck handy, you could find a way to contrive a set of cards out of found materials in such a way as to still be able to access your inner voice. Corrine’s ink blots provide some practice in doing exactly this.

My favorite part of this lesson, however, was the feature at the end: “Lost and Found: Tarot Layouts From the Vault of History.” Here, Corrine provides a wonderful spread dating from 1892. I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you about it, but I tried this spread out and got an eerily accurate reading from it, one that gave me several useful insights into the question I asked. I really hope that all the future Tarot Classroom lessons will include a “layout from the vault of history” at the end!

All the way around, this Tarot Classroom lesson has left me craving more! I’m hoping, and betting, that more Tarot Classroom lessons are in the works, soon!

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