Tarot shelves at bookstores are filled with beginner level books. Do we really need so many? Arenâ€™t they all essentially the same?
I think we do need so many and that they are not essentially the same. First, they all differ in terms of voice and presentation. People learn differently and respond better to some styles of communication than to others. Every author has his or her own voice and way of explaining things. Second, not every tarot reader interprets or reads the cards in the same way. By seeing that there are so many different methods and schools of thought, new readers are encouraged to explore until they find what works for them.
This book is a great starter book. I like it because it is small. This appeals to many beginners because it is not much of a commitment in terms of time or money (it has a very affordable price point of $8.95). It gives a fine overview of the structure of the deck. For the Majors, it provides the astrological and elemental associations.
But here is what I love about this book. It uses a keyword system and matches the numbered Minors up with their appropriate Major (by number). For example, the 3s are all related to the Empress. I liked this way of connecting and comparing the cards so much that I carried it over into The Gilded Tarot Companion.
It is interesting that there are five spreads included and they are all rather large. No one card spreads for these intrepid beginners! Luckily there are sample readings to help the newbie see how to tie everything together.
Finally, the book prepares readers to advance their studies and understanding of the cards by concluding with a chapter on symbols, with a list of symbols commonly found in tarot cards and a suggested reading list to learn more about symbols.
This will likely not be a beginnerâ€™s only book, but for the curious but not ready to commit tons of time, it is a perfectly solid and effective introduction to tarot.