Yes, you read that right. Cosmic Chat is back!
Confession: when Benebell Wen's Holistic Tarot arrived on my doorstep in an enormous box, I was confused. I didn't remember ordering anything that large! As I opened it, I realized that her newly released tome was not your average tarot book. It's encyclopedic both in size and scope, and in the best way possible. My copy already has a few creases in the spine, and I expect I'll be referring back to it lots more in future tarot work.
Benebell Wen is a rising star in the tarot community, and for good reason. She's whip smart, and a consummate professional (literally, she practices corporate law!). It's an absolute pleasure to host her here for the return edition of this feature.
You have Mercury, Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn all in Libra (and your eighth house)! How do you see this alignment playing out in your life?
Yeah, I have my sun, Saturn, Jupiter, Pluto, and Mercury all under Libra in the ninth house (per whole signs; or eighth house per Placidus). I suppose that renders me an elitist snob with pompous tastes if we’re assuming ninth house or neurotic, misunderstood, and likely to go through a mid-life crisis if we’re assuming eighth house. To be fair both sound about right.
What is your favorite part of your birth chart (if you had to choose)?
I find the party of planets going on under Libra’s watch in my ninth house (per whole signs; eighth house if we’re using Placidus) to be quite amusing. That Libra planet party situation (in particular Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn) is probably how I ended up practicing corporate law, even though I’m an Aquarius rising.
Is there a part of your chart that you find particularly challenging? If so, how do you make it work to your benefit?
Having a “bowl” chart pattern means I feel like there is something missing or lacking in my life and so instead of enjoying what I have, I’m consistently dissatisfied with the “have not” part, and strive compulsively to fill what I believe to be a void. I do see myself falling into that trap characteristic of those with “bowl” chart patterns. However, ultimately I suppose it does work to my benefit because it is what gives me drive and motivation to accomplish more.
My Scorpio Midheaven sign confuses me. Having Uranus sidled up right next to it is also confounding. Knowing that shines a beacon toward my so-called life purpose and knowing that my present actual life doesn’t reflect a Scorpio Midheaven conjunct Uranus is also challenging to me on both a spiritual and intellectual level. I’m not sure I’ve quite figured out how to make it work to my benefit yet!
This year, lucky Jupiter will get cozy with your Mars and moon. What part of your life would you most like to see expand, and how?
I would love to see my creative writing career expand and become something I can depend on financially. That would be very cool.
In Holistic Tarot, you talk about the astrology of tarot and how you can incorporate the zodiac into your tarot readings. Does astrology play a part in your personal tarot practice? If so, how?
Yes, as I learn more and more about Western astrology, more of it gets integrated into my personal tarot practice. When doing tarot readings, I often incorporate analysis of the client’s natal chart, though not a comprehensive natal chart reading. Instead, I’m looking specifically for facets of his or her natal chart that are relevant to the question at hand. I also like to dabble in horary astrology and see how the results there compare with the tarot reading. So far, every single time, the two align. That “as above so below” thing is no joke.
In my tarot practice, I use signifiers (aka significators), and I typically select a client’s signifier based on either the sun sign or ascendant sign. My “workhorse” professional reading deck also has the assigned decans and the corresponding astrological glyphs hand-written onto the corners of the cards, so I’ll often incorporate analysis of the decan correspondences into my tarot reading. When reading the cards for timing issues, I will incorporate astrology.
What message do you most hope Holistic Tarot conveys to your readers?
This is a tough question to answer. I don’t know if I have intentions for any one singular message. To those who start the book with no prior knowledge of tarot, I hope the book conveys to you that tarot is a tool for facilitating creative and intuitive thought. It’s a tool for tempering and reconciling otherwise disparate parts of your mind and helping you make enough sense of it to advance progressively in your life. To those who pick up the book as tarot enthusiasts who already have years maybe even decades of experience under their belts, I hope you will find the book to be a positive marker of where tarot practice is headed in the 21st century.