Book Review of the Chrysalis Tarot Companion Guide

by author Benebell Wen

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I reviewed the Chrysalis Tarot deck by Toney Brooks and Holly Sierra earlier this year and now I’ve got my hands on the incredible companion guidebook. For so long tarot readers have been pushing for a companion book to the Chrysalis Tarot deck and now we’ve got one. This 216-page book by U.S. Games is a must-have for anyone who works predominantly with the Chrysalis.

The creator of the deck Toney Brooks opens the Introduction with a backstory of how the deck was conceived and the grueling yet spiritual process of creating a tarot deck. In his own words:

This companion book to Chrysalis Tarot details a mental and spiritual journey of resonating frequencies. Tarot refers to this journey as the hero’s journey, a catchall phrase that has been a feature of humanity’s stories since the time of Gilgamesh nearly 5,000 years ago. In our own time, the whole of humanity is embarking on an epic journey of self-discovery and a collective re-examination of values and priorities.

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The guidebook is subdivided into two parts. The first part is general, addressing spiritual theory, creation myth, and the interplay between mythology and psychology, and how both are woven into the Chrysalis Tarot. Part One covers Papa Legba, Gaia, Merlin and the Holy Grail, Tarot and Magic, and so much more. Part One was an incredible read for anyone interested in the woo.

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Part One is mostly authored by Toney Brooks, where we’re covering the theoretical premise of tarot reading. He associates the word “magic” with “synchronicity” and defines both as “meaningful coincidences in life that cannot be explained.”

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In Part Two, the illustrator Holly Sierra’s voice comes through in first person when you see the italicized passages. We get to hear from the artist about her perspective when she created the art for Chrysalis. Part Two is a practical guide to reading tarot and more specifically, interpreting the 78 cards of Chrysalis. Here, we also learn that the deck creators do not recommend reading with reversals when using the Chrysalis. The deck is intended to be read with upright cards only.

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Part Two is well-organized and comprehensive. Each card is covered over the span of several well-detailed pages, in both creator and artist’s point of view. You get both. You get the backstory for how each card came to being. You also get the reasoning behind the imagery and symbolism and, for the Majors, the archetypal attributes that had left many confused in previous years. Now all of it is illuminated and explained.

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Those with a contemporary sensibility of New Age spiritualism are going to fall in love with this companion guidebook and find it indispensable when working with the Chrysalis Tarot. Brooks and Sierra have a New Thought new consciousness point of view when it comes to spirituality that is resonant with modern perspectives blending mythology and psychology, following the paths of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. The penetrating perspective of Brooks is balanced out by the soft, whimsical, and poetic art of Sierra. It’s no surprise that the Chrysalis Tarot has been recipient of many tarot awards.

The companion book to Chrysalis that Brooks and Sierra have produced is a well-written documentary of how this deck came to be, of the mythical and psychological basis of tarot, and a final thesis that encourages the belief in magic. Altogether a beautiful book that is sure to please.

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FTC Disclosure: In accordance with Title 16 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Part 255, “Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” I received the Chrysalis Tarot Companion Guidebook from U.S. Games for prospective review. Everything I’ve said here is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion of the deck.

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You Must Die to Live

Reprinted from Science and Nonduality

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“Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.”
― Adyashanti

Awakening is not a walk in the park. It is a ride through hell. It is the tearing down of all of your cherished beliefs and everything you thought about yourself. There is no way around this. We must come face to face with our shadows. It is there that our false ideas of who we are are shattered. It is there that all of our false beliefs are destroyed. We must face these false notions and see them for what they are. This is the only way to heal, to become whole again, to live in integrity.

exploded_mindIt is a complete surrender, a process of brutal self honesty. It is a path of complete acceptance of the truth, no matter how difficult it is to bear. We go through life with so many false notions – of the world, of spirituality and of ourselves. We build up masks and we believe the facades. It’s all a charade. It is all based upon illusions and deceit. We deceive ourselves at every moment, and the world also deceives us at every moment. We live in perpetual cognitive dissonance, justifying the most absurd things in our minds. We constantly lie to ourselves…. and we believe it.

To awaken to the truth that you seek, you must tear down the lies. But we are too attached to the lies. We want to hold on to the illusions and to become enlightened at the same time. That is not possible. But there are hundreds of phony gurus and “spiritual teachers” that will tell you it is. They offer you processes to become happy, fulfilled, calm, find your soulmate, be positive, get the right job, make lots of money, balance the chakras, become healthy and whatever else you may be desiring. This has nothing to do with awakening. This is only polishing the ego. They all lead you right back into the matrix. You may even be lucky enough to get a golden cage, but it is still a cage, and you remain imprisoned in slavery. This is the road that most people choose to follow. This road is well traveled by the herd.

It takes courage, discernment and self honesty to walk the road to truth and freedom. Not many people have that. We have been weakened by the onslaught of programming since our childhood. Most people want to remain in the herd, as they find comfort in the company of other deluded souls. It takes a certain individual to break free of the herd. The Siddhartha road is not easy. It is a treacherous road that will shatter every part of your existence. No, it takes a certain type of person to walk that road; a person that is willing to give up everything to find his true Self.

But when you do awaken, and you do see the world with new eyes, you soon realize that no one else is seeing the same thing. I tried to tell a few people what had happened to me, but no one believed me. They thought that perhaps I cracked under the pressure of suffering and had gone crazy. No one wanted to hear anything I said, as it exposed their false beliefs. So I remained quiet for eight years.12730078_f520

“I awoke, only to find the rest of the world still sleeping.”
– Leonardo daVinci

When one decides to take the Siddhartha road to the Self, he soon realizes he is alone on that road. The herd is going in the opposite direction. One must be prepared for that, to find comfort in being alone, not understood by others.

As Eckhart Tolle has stated, you don’t have to wait for the dark night of the soul to dismantle your false notions, your false self, your life story. You can consciously take that road. But it demands courage, discernment, and a brutal honesty of yourself. The mind is a very tricky opponent, and will deceive you at every step, as your awakening is the end of its control over you. But it can be done. Nisargadatta Maharaj did it. You must simply allow Grace to act within you.

“As far as inner transformation is concerned, there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot transform yourself, and you certainly cannot transform your partner or anybody else. All you can do is create a space for transformation to happen, for grace and love to enter.”
– Eckhart Tolle

So the choice rests with each of you. No one can do this for you. All I, or anyone else, can offer you are sign posts, pointing in the direction. But you, and you alone, must take that road. It does little good to read my writings and not act upon them, to not take that road yourself. Otherwise, you are only hanging out at the signposts, believing that you have already arrived at the destination.

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This road is not for the timid or the faint of heart. not at all. But there is no other road. No one will simply wave a magical wand over you. It is a road of destruction and the question is, “How much are you willing to give up? How much can you endure?” Because on this road, you must give up everything. Every piece of you will shatter. Can you endure that? As the great Bhaktivinode Thakur has written, “You must die to live.” So how serious are you? How much do you want it? How much will you pay for it?

This article is adapted from Awakening is a Destructive Process by Greg Calise.

Reprinted from Science and Nonduality