Tarot Fundamentals is the first in the three part series. This first volume provides over 600 pages of everything you need to develop a strong foundation in tarot. In addition to card meanings and how to do readings, this book includes lots of other information that many people don’t realize they need to know. For example, when someone goes out to buy their first tarot deck, they can be overwhelmed by the many choices. If they don’t know much about tarot, when they get their deck home, they might feel confused because it seem to match up with the book they just read or the deck their friend uses.
Tarot Fundamentals has a section called “Unmatched Illustrations” and talks about the reasons why some decks don’t seem quite right to someone. They cover some basic reasons such as sometimes decks are rushed and poorly designed. Sometimes decks are using a different underlying system. An interesting point they make is that sometimes decks have differences in emphasis. They write:
“A dramatically different illustration may emphasize a different aspect of a familiar meaning. For example, someone who associates “travel” with the Six of Swords may be very comfortable with the illustration for this card in the Universal Tarot. But upon seeing the same card from the Tarot of he 78 Doors, the reader may ask, “What does a young man surfing the Internet have to do with travel? Only upon reflection might the reader notice the maps and masks on the wall and conclude, “Ah! He’s researching vacation destinations!” or “Travel is seen as a metaphor, and browsing he Internet is just another form of travel.”
After describing some reasons for sometimes jarring differences in decks, they provide some ways to deal with them. My favorite is:
“Embrace the difference. Many readers, citing an obligation to honor the unique voice of each deck, set familiar interpretations aside. They embrace new meanings wholeheartedly. This process enable the reader to see the Tarot from a radically different perspective and enriches the library of memorized meanings the reader uses.”
There is a lot here for the beginner and even intermediate and advanced readers. In addition, it is so beautifully designed and illustrated, it is a visual treasure as well as an informational delight.