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How to Read Tarot

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on October 5, 2010 | Comments (5)

Tarot shelves at bookstores are filled with beginner level books. Do we really need so many? Aren’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 month we will look at eight different books that might be appropriate for beginners. Today’s pick is How to Read the Tarot by Sylvia Abraham.  

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 beginner’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.

Reader Comments

Written By Theresa
on October 5th, 2010 @ 10:43 am

I couldn’t agree with you more – I have a lot of those so called “beginner books” and they all have a unique spin on tarot. And in some of those books, there are some very advanced tips – so look beyond the “beginner” title and you may be surprised at what you find.

Also, not every beginner book spoke to me – some were more in tune with my tarot view, some not and some actually were in a surprising way.

Many of my “advanced” tarot books gather dust. Some of them are too esoteric to be of any practical use for my clients.


Written By Blackbird "BB"
on October 5th, 2010 @ 1:15 pm

I’m very firmly in the other camp, in fact I have for the last 2 years been working on a manuscript for the Tarot book I’ve always wanted but never found; for obvious reasons I dont want to go too deep into it on a public board, but I believe there is a great deal more that can be done with Tarot literature if it breaks out of its current box, and I believe my experiance as a Chess player allows me to see that path clearly.

Barb if your interested in chatting about this please feel free to email me off list. Blessings BB.

Written By Blackbird_61
on October 5th, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

Just in case you cant get my addy easily from LLewellyns Techie folkes.

Blackbird_61@yahoo.com; Assuming you interested.

Blessings, BB.

Written By Blackbird "BB"
on October 5th, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

Actually I am rather frimly in the other camp.
In fact I have spent the last 2 years working on the manuscript for Tarot Book I’ve always wanted. I wont go into details here on a public board for obvious reasons, but I feel Tarot literature can be so much more than it now is if only it broke out of the box it’s penned itself into, and I believe my experiance as a chess player shows me the direction that breakout would go ..
Please feel free to email me off list if your interested. Just in case you cant get my addy easily from LLewellyns Techie folkes. Blackbird_61@yahoo.com; Assuming you are …
And my apologies for the Multiple posts, I forgot my email the first time, tried to post that seperately and when I refresh one post comes up or the other, I expect they are on seperate servers. I hope you will see this one, and the moderator can scrath the other 2. Again my apologies for being clumsy in this.
Blessings, BB.


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