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Interview — Bonnie Cehovet: Tarot, Birth Cards, and You

October 3, 2011

Tarot Birth cards and you coverWhile I have done quite a few interviews here on my blog with deck creators, I’m doing something a little different this time. I’m interviewing Bonnie Cehovet about her book, Tarot, Birth Cards, and You: Keys to Empowering Yourself.

Bonnie has been a professional Tarot reader for over fifteen years. She also writes Tarot reviews, interviews, and articles, so doing this interview with me was an interesting role reversal for her. Her book describes a system that uses your Birth Card among the Tarot’s Major Arcana. It then combines the archetypes of those cards with affirmations and something Bonnie calls “journeying” to empower you to reach your highest potential.
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. (September 16, 2011)

James: The use of birth cards is not your average Tarot reading technique. True, the birth card calculation method has been around for a while, but you really fleshed out the use of birth cards a lot in this book. How did you come to develop this material?
Bonnie: Years ago I took the Birth Cards teleclass from Ruth Ann and Wald. I was very impressed with their technique, and how they determined the Birth Cards. Empowering my clients, and empowering people in general is a big focal point for me. When I was looking for material for a book, I wanted to do something that meant something. Birth Cards act as a lens into any given lifetime, so I started there. Then I asked myself what techniques I worked with personally that would work well with Birth Cards, to put them to use in the Seekers life.
I have worked with affirmations for many years, as I know you have. You yourself have written a book on affirmations associated with each of the archetypes. Whether one is working with the archetypal energy alone (as in outside of a reading), or whether the affirmation is developed through what the Seeker wishes to take from the reading, the use of affirmations is very powerful.
Asking the archetypes questions (or dialoging with them), is something that I developed for myself as a way to get to know the cards. It can be done alone, or as part of meditation or journey work. Which brings us to journeying. I have been doing this work for many years now — since I was in my mid-twenties. I tried to create a journey that was safe for my readers, but one that would bring them maximum benefit. I show them the options — i.e. recording the journey, or having someone read the script to them to take them into the journey. This is done after they have created sacred space.
Placing the Birth Cards above a reading, and using them as a lens to interpret the reading, has been a powerful tool for me personally, both in my own readings, and in readings with clients. It may not be an average reading technique, but it is an option, and it does bring results.

James: It sounds like you sometimes use the Birth Cards sort of as a “Significator Card?” And by “Journeying” it sounds like you are talking about what I call a guided visualization into a card. Is that right?
Bonnie: I don’t view Birth Cards as significators. Birth Cards describe the energy “vortex” through which an individual enters a given lifetime. It determines the theme of their lifetime, and defines their gifts, abilities, and challenges.
No, journeying is not a guided visualization into a card. When I describe journeying with the cards, I take the Seeker into sacred space, where they dialog with the “Gatekeeper” for that card (the Gatekeeper being the archetypal energy of the card).

James: I’m interested in clarifying a bit more about your use of birth cards in a reading. Do you have any interesting stories about using Birth Cards in a reading and within the context of journeying?
Bonnie: Using Birth Cards in a reading, in my humble opinion, allows the Seeker to take a step back from themselves. I once read for a client over the phone that was going through a very difficult period. She was going through a divorce, her husband was a lawyer, and he had been going through some personality changes over the past few years of their marriage. He was confrontational, and she was afraid of what he was going to do next. In fact, she was afraid that she was not going to be able to move out of their house without his physically interfering. Her Birth Cards were Justice/High Priestess. Through the reading, it was clear that Justice was functioning on overtime, and not in a healthy manner. My approach to the reading was through the High Priestess, and through my client’s highly developed sense of intuition. I had to keep reminding her that who she married was not the man in front of her at this time, and that she was not responsible for his change. We went over how he had changed over the years, and how that had manifested in their life. His mental condition was such that she could not even attempt to deal with him in a logical manner. That was at the basis of a lot of her problems — she kept trying to make sense of who he was, the things that he was saying, and how he was acting. It helped her to acknowledge that talking to him, and using logic to try to understand him, was not going to work. If she had a different Birth Card pair, she would have been reacting differently to this man, and to the situation, and I would have been using the energy of those birth cards to help her make her way into the new life.
Tarot of the Crone Hermit
As another example, at one point in time I was going to journey with the Hermit, which is one of my Birth Cards. This was all well and good, but I was going to journey with the Hermit from Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s Crone Tarot. In her deck, the figure is female, and that brought out a shadow in me. I was so afraid to journey with this card (although I was determined to do this, and face my fear) that I called in not only my Higher Self and personal Guides, but a couple of the Archangels and a few other “helpful” entities. I was ready, and that room was packed! Once I entered the sacred space, of course, all went well. The Hermit was very benevolent, and the messages that I received were to the point and helpful. In my experience, I have never seen a message come through to myself, one of my clients, or anyone that I was journeying with that was too strong, or too strange, to handle.

James: Can you explain more about your concept of a “Gatekeeper” for a card and what kinds of things a seeker might get out of a dialogue with it while journeying?
Bonnie: A “Gatekeeper” is the energy of each archetype. At the point in the journey that the Seeker meets the Gatekeeper, they are ready to enter the realm of that energy. The Gatekeeper is there to answer their questions, as well as to bring them information that they need to have about that archetype. This could also be specific information that is applicable to the Seeker’s life and life issues.

James: I’m not sure what you mean by “the energy of the archetype.” Does the Gatekeeper manifest in the visualization journey as a figure in the card, such as, for example, the angel on the Lovers card?
Bonnie: The Gatekeeper is pure energy. The Seeker will experience the energy in a form that is acceptable to them, which can be in the form of the figure in the card from whatever deck they are using.

James: Moving on now from your technique to your book… Tarot, Birth Cards, and You came out at almost exactly the same time as Mary Greer’s Who Are You in the Tarot?: Discover Your Birth and Year Cards and Uncover Your Destiny, which also covers the topic of birth cards. (Seriously, it’s rather eerie that their release dates are less than a month apart considering that these are the only books about Tarot birth cards that I know of. The Universe has a weird sense of humor, doesn’t it!) So my question is this: Were you aware that Mary was writing a similar book when you were working on yours?
Bonnie: No, I was not aware that Mary was writing on the same topic that I was writing on. We do have separate publishers. The timing is eerie. The systems themselves, however, are very different.

James: Mary’s new book is an expanded and updated version of her 1987 Tarot Constellations. I think you’ve read both books, right? What do you think your book brings to the Tarot table, so to speak, that is different and unique from what Mary has written?
Bonnie: Mary works with a system that defines, at its basis, the Seeker’s Personality and Soul cards. Then she goes on to work with things such as Hidden Factors and Teachers. This system works very well. One of the things that Mary works with is Constellations. When we are looking at, say, the High Priestess, then we would also be looking at all of the 2’s – Judgment, Justice (or Strength, if you place Strength at XI), and the 2’s of all four suits. This is something that I might work with separately, but that is not part of my Birth Card system.
What is unique about the Birth Card system that I work with is that the Birth Card pairs determine the theme for each lifetime, as well as the gifts, abilities, and challenges that the Seeker comes into each lifetime with. The job, as it were, of the Seeker is to keep their Birth Card energy in balance.

James: I wanted to compare what you and Mary said in your books about my birth cards, but I discovered something very interesting before I could do that. The method that you describe for calculating birth cards is slightly different from what Mary describes. I suppose that it doesn’t usually make a difference in the final result, but it did for me! According to Mary’s method, I’m a 20/2 (Judgement / High Priestess), but with yours I’m an 11/2 (Justice / High Priestess). It’s a subtle but vital difference! How would you suggest I resolve this difference?
Bonnie: This is one of the first things that Wald Amberstone pointed out when he and Ruth Ann taught their Birth Cards class. It does make a difference how the numbers are calculated. His point was that to use his system, you needed to calculate the numbers in the manner that they had developed. My thought is that each system works well within itself.

James: As a final question, I’d like to ask what you would tell someone thinking about buying your book. What would you tell them is the most important thing they might get out of it?
Bonnie: I would tell someone considering buying my book that it will touch them on many levels. The Birth Card pairs speak for themselves – they are the gateway into each lifetime. The choice of how to make best use of them is up to the Seeker, but I have provided them with the powerful tools of dialoging, affirmations, and journeying as a way to start.

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From → Tarot Books

3 Comments
  1. I have and love Bonnie’s book. It’s well-written and very easy to use. Nice to see this interview with two of my favorite Tarot people.

  2. Bonnie has done a wonderful job with this book. I especially love the affirmations and the journeying that she uses for each Birth Card combination.

  3. Very good Interview James an oldie but a goodie. I have enjoyed visiting your blog today. Bonnie’s book is an excellent read.

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