Hi everybody, Choice Centered Tarot has been republished as Everyday Tarot, here's an Aeclectic/Amazon (U.S.) link
I have both Choice Centered Tarot and Choice Centered Relating and the Tarot. Personally I prefer the Relating book. The meanings are presented more succinctly, which for me is a good thing. And although I'm not that
interested in doing readings about relationships, there is a great amount of interesting relationship-oriented material in the book. Most importantly, there are lots of sample readings, which is sorely lacking in the Choice Centered Tarot book. Those sample readings really help in understanding Fairfield's approach. (By the way, I've seen new copies of the Relating book at several used bookstores, being sold as remainders for half price.)
The curious thing is that, while Fairfield takes a numerological approach to the Minors, she never ever, in either book, addresses the issue of how you would use her system to read with illustrated decks, since in most illustrated decks the pictures would be at odds with her meanings. In her first book (CCT), she has a whole chapter on choosing decks, and although she doesn't mention any specific decks by name, one gets the impression that Motherpeace would get the Fairfield seal of approval. But one couldn't use Motherpeace along with her system without getting awfully confused.
Fairfield has on online newsletter at her website
, and I wrote in a question once: How do you reconcile your system with illustrated decks? Her answer was that when she reads with illustrated decks, she goes more with what the picture shows, and she is more likely to use her numerological meanings with unillustrated decks.
Personally this struck me as a little dishonest, as her books present the system as usable for any
deck, and she actually doesn't use it that way. Nowhere in her books does she say that this system is most suited for non-illustrated decks.
Also, her system for the minors is extremely psychology-oriented. Everything is interpreted as a facet of one's personality or subconscious. Wands are self-identity; Coins are feelings of security. A reading done with this system will be great at exploring one's inner self, but it won't tell you much about what's going on in the outer world.
Nonetheless, there's lots that I do like about her system. I like the way that every card, Major and Minor, is interpreted strictly neutrally. There are no positive or negative cards. They only become positive or negative in context. So the Devil, for example, means restrictions. Restriction could be positive or negative depending on the context, and the card is no more negative than any other card. Whether a card is positive or negative is determined by intuition, by surrounding cards, or by position placement (i.e., a position called "What I'm doing wrong" would elicit a negative interpretation).
Fairfield uses reversals but only to differentiate between outer and inner manifestations. So the Devil upright would mean restrictions felt from outer influences, and the Devil reversed would mean restrictions one puts on oneself. I like this neutrality, it means you don't have to get that sinking feeling when you see the 10 of Swords come up as the Final Outcome card.
She also has some interesting interpretations of the Majors. Most authors like Pollack and Greer don't agree with Fairfield at all on the Majors, but I like her takes on them. The Wheel of Fortune, for example, means you've set something in motion and now must wait for the universe to respond.
I also like it that for her, the Courts don't mean people or personalities. Pages mean risk, Knights focus, Queens maturity, and Kings, completion or leaving. Blessedly simple.
I've tried to study and use her system several times over the past few years (that is, with non-illustrated decks like the Marseilles), each time giving up in frustration. There's something very attractive about her system, yet it doesn't seem to result in satisfying readings. Maybe because it's a very intellectual, Swords-y system. Or maybe I'm just not doing it right.
But it's definitely worth looking at. I believe Fairfield is the only Tarot author writing in English who has gone into numerological meanings for the Minors in depth.
Boy, I didn't mean to write so much... I'll stop now.