Tarot Book Reviews

I have been reading tarot for about 30 years, and I have not come close to understanding all the cards. In almost all of the lectures I have attended on reading tarot, I haven’t yet met a teacher that does not consider themselves “a student of the tarot”. I think that tarot is as much about learning who you are, as its techniques and meanings. This is a never ending, ever changing journey. I like tarot books that give me choices. I like the freedom to interpret the cards in a way that I am able to look at many aspects of a situation and apply those meanings to a circumstance. I like to use tarot to gain insight into my life by using different approaches and delving deeply into my psyche using self reflection, story and human behavior. I am a teacher, a poet and an artist, and I often use tarot as inspiration for my work. Here are a few reviews of books that meet that criteria for me and that I find myself going to again and again.

21 Ways To Read A Tarot Card by Mary K. Greer
Llewellyn, 2006.

This is, by far, my favorite book on the tarot. Mary Greer goes through 21 different techniques of reading a card. This opens up a whole new world of interpretation. She urges you at the beginning of the book to choose a card and take it through the different ways of reading.  Some of the techniques include: Looking at the emotion in the card, analyzing numbers, and even sketching. It puts you deep into each card to gain insight. This book can be followed step by step or just read through. Either way, when finished, you will never look at the cards just one way ever again. This book is also filled with useful charts, questions for reflection, and appendices including a 21 Ways Worksheet that recalls the steps using key phrases.

The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals by Mary K. Greer
Llewellyn 2002

In this book, Mary Greer again gives us choices. If you choose to read reversals, or not, this book is very helpful at working through the reading to understanding and interpreting what you see and feel in the cards. In the introduction she says, “ Reversals are certainly not evil, but they sometimes represent adversity; the kind that teaches us what really counts and what truly is important, the kind that tests our moral fiber and character. By struggling with reversals, we learn to respond with integrity and a determination not to turn away from the teachings of each circumstance.”  In the first chapters, she covers a bit of history and uses the hanged man as a metaphor for seeking the hidden components of a situation. She also outlines 12 ways of reading reversals. She then goes through the rest of the book giving card by card descriptions and meanings with various solutions through problems using the Rx as a possible remedy. I like her look-at-all-the-aspects-of-a-problem approach and then try to work through different perspectives for a solution. Here again, Mary Greer provides us with many helpful appendices using keywords for quick reference.

Heart of Tarot  An Intuitive Approach by Amber K & Azrael Arynn K
Llewellyn 2003

This book applies the Gestalt approach to Tarot. It begins with two brief chapters on the History of Tarot and the Gestalt method of reading. What follows is a workbook section on reading cards with a few different intuitive possibilities per card represented. It does not include every card, but I found it to be a good sampling throughout the deck so that the reader can get the feel of the method being used. There is a generous amount of room at the bottom of each page for notes. The authors have included sample spreads including an example of a step by step reading. There is also a section on working with  clients. My favorite part is a small section on teaching activities, where they include making your own deck. The Sample deck used was the Morgan-Greer and I was so taken with the illustrations, I had to go out and get my own deck!

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