Link: Benebell Wen Interview

A podcast at That Witch Life today features an interview with Tarot expert Benebell Wen. I have seen a number of her YouTube informational pieces on tarot: they have both high informational content and excellent presentation qualities. She is an excellent organizer and teacher of tarot information.

The podcast itself is also informative. If there is a quibble, it is that the three hostesses utilize a “happy talk” format, and laugh far too often for little reason. This is particularly a shame in that they seem to be very intelligent, they don’t lack for interesting content, and seem quite good at interview questions. I don’t think that I am alone in complaining that the “happy talk” format is liable to “dumb down” (may be paywalled) content of all types.

There are a few notable moments in the podcast. The interview with Ms. Wen starts at 20:00. The dicussion centers on her 2015 book (which I believe has a new printing or distribution channel). She speaks of the authoring process, stating her book grew out of her journals and notes, in which she meticulously kept citations. The book is a compendium with detailed information on a card by card basis. Ms. Wen states that her number one recommendation for someone interested in Tarot who is looking for the right resources to learn is that “context matters a lot.” The idea is that in a world of social media and so many sources, you must know yourself in order to judge the best aid that will help you to learn. There will be a media that is best for one’s self. It may be visual, as in YouTube videos, or it may be immersing in the gritty details, as the “Tarot de Marseilles level.” As an “immersion guy,” I can appreciate that.

There’s a good section on relating to the querent, in particular, a discussion of how to deliver a negative outlook. Ms. Wen states the keys are first emotionally connecting with a client during such a reading. She notes that this involves a matter of power; if you can read tarot, you have some power, and you must therefore have a sense of responsibility about that power. Simply put, in this case, if the outlook is bad, “present their options,” as if you’re a doctor. This is in order to help the querent “find the path of light.” She suggests the reader “Look for the point of no return” that the cards indicate, as well, which also helps to provide the full context to the querent. If the reader does this right, she says, the querent sees the reader and themself at the same level and can be more receptive.

All in all an outstanding interview.

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John Iacovelli

I have spent 30+ years in the computing industry. In it I've pretty much done everything from tech support for elderly people doing genealogy, to documenting compilers, to software evangelist, to direct mail guru, to CIO of an international corporation. And here I am, older and gray, getting interested in Tarot?