As most tarot readers know, tarot has a long history. Tarot is alive. It changes as we change. Sometimes the old ways are simply no longer relevant and sometimes they just fall out of popular use. In Tarot Time Traveller, Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin provide not just a fascinating overview of tarot reading throughout the ages but also how to apply these old methods to modern needs.

From Tarot Time Traveller:


You are about to take a journey through time with nothing more than a playing-card deck, a tarot deck and perhaps a Lenormand deck in your hands with the tarot time-traveller to guide you.

On this journey, you will learn how to read the future as you pick up pieces of the puzzle from the greatest tarot teachers throughout history. The tarot time-traveller will escort you in a series of travels to discover many of the eras of tarot and their mysteries.

You will set off to the very beginnings of cartomantic (card-reading) development and learn different ways to read a normal deck of playing cards. You can also time-hop if you wish and choose your own journey of discovery by exploring the time-zones which call to you. You might like to start in the present day and work backwards, for example, or go straight away to the swinging sixties and learn how to read from the rebels of the time or the late Victorian establishment figures who influenced modern tarot.

We hope you will enjoy the experience of learning the whole history of the cards in your hands as much as you learn all the special methods included in this book.

We have used a lot of historical research for this book, along with many unique exercises, so you will also find some fantastic reading lists and decks to explore at the end of each era. You will find each era brought to life with the vignette that opens each chapter and several sections.

And here is a sample of one of the special methods they include in their book. This is, in fact, one I’ve used. It’s very interesting and can, with practice, become quite useful. I’ve included a scan of the original page from Fate Magazine.

A Spread from Fate Magazine (1955)

It is refreshing to go back to the 1930’s-50’s and discover these rare curiosities, although as we have seen, we do have to take early writings with some caution as to their factual basis. In the article, we read about Irys Vorel’s encounter with a Swiss Gypsy, “Boudrie”, who used “colorful Tarots”. The author goes on to talk about “penticles” and the likely origin of Tarot in “the Far East” or “the land of Sumer”, also their popularity during the “Middle Ages”!

Despite these romantic and untrue assertions, the article does contain a couple of gems. It introduces the idea of “assemblation”, a term used to denote how a card is read in conjunction with the card next to it in a reading, and this Yes/No spread, which we reproduce here.

  1. Formulate the question which should have a yes/no answer.
  2. Remove the Wheel of Fortune card and place it face up in front of you.
  3. Shuffle the remaining deck and fan out face-down.
  4. Draw 7 cards at random with your left hand.
  5. Put these 7 cards face-down on top of the Wheel card.
  6. Pick up the 8 cards and turn the Wheel round so it faces as the others.
  7. Shuffle these 8 cards.
  8. Lay out the top four cards as shown in a square face-down, 1-2-3-4
  9. Lay out the next four cards on top, 5th on the 1st, 6th on the 2nd, 7th on the 3rd, and 8th on the 4th.
  10. You now have 2 cards in each corner of the Destiny Wheel.
  11. Locate the Wheel of Fortune in the pairs and the position of that pair gives the answer: Yes, Soon, Delay or No.

Even where there is a “No” answer, the skilled reader can look at the assemblation of the cards to divine what the obstacles and challenges may be to turning this into a positive result.

If you are an absolute beginner, it will give you a complete course in tarot which is rooted in what we might call a true tradition. As an existing expert, you may use it to fill in the gaps of eras which you may not have already explored in depth.

Written by Barbara Moore
The tarot has been a part of Barbara Moore’s personal and professional lives for over a decade. In college, the tarot intrigued her with its marvelous blending of mythology, psychology, art, and history. Later, she served as the tarot specialist for Llewellyn Publications. Over the years, she has ...