It’s not a secret that nowadays, many start their Tarot journey by watching YouTube videos, Instagram IGTVs and Reels and simply reading posts on the internet or social media.
Are the books dead then?
They are absolutely not.
While all mentioned above provides with an enormous amount of information, this knowledge should not replace a proper education that includes courses and literature.
As someone who spent approximately 100 hours on educational COURSES ONLY, studying from various professional across the globe, I can still say that when I read a good book on Tarot, some aspects are mind blowing and eye opening.
At this time, there are so many different books available to purchase, both hard copy and electronical. Some give away their books and guides for free, while others come up with beautiful Tarot decks in addition to their published work.
What I’m really trying to say here is that for a beginner it will be difficult to figure out which book is worth investing in and which one is a waste of money.
For example, does a beginner need “The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals” by Mary Greer? What about “365 Tarot Spreads: Revealing the Magic in Each Day” by Sasha Graham? Does a beginner really need all these spreads when they are just starting out getting familiar with the energy of the cards?
Let’s figure it all out.
Does A Beginner Tarot Reader Need to Read Educational Books?
Of course, educational Tarot literature is necessary for beginners, especially those who are barely familiar with Major Arcana Tarot cards meanings. You need to understand key symbols, variations of interpretations and combinations.
On the other hand, here is something you need to be mindful of: nowadays SO MANY Tarot readers and authors start writing books based on their own PERSONAL views, interpretations and “author’s created techniques and methods” that sometimes they start to deviate from traditional card meanings and interpretations.
Is it good or bad?
Neither, really. When you advance in Tarot, you will start feeling each card in your own way and may also see some aspects slightly differently and that’s quite normal. BUT for a beginner it’s just not good at all.
When you are just being introduced to the world of Tarot, I always suggest that you stick to the classics. You just can’t go wrong with a traditional Tarot deck and a few good books to support your education.
Author’s opinion can certainly broaden horizons, improve and stroke your imagination, and really explain how the traditional meaning of the card can be expanded.
On the other hand, some beginners that don’t want to invest in proper education, may take this “point of view” as the holy truth and the only way to interpret the card.
As a result, their readings will be of poor quality and it will take time for them to understand why.
It’s important to mention that some of the books that come as a package with a Tarot deck are a true masterpiece and also a must-have when you are working with their deck. And truly, in my humble opinion, you should only buy a deck that comes with such book and not the teeny tiny black and white book that gets lost in your drawer.
Lastly, I’ll say that the best and most perfect Tarot book is the one that ignites your imagination, inspires you to learn and practice, and really helps you to believe in your abilities and trust your intuition.
What Types of Tarot Books Will You Find on The Market?
Before I give you the list of my Top Tarot books, let me explain to you what you can learn from them.
Tarot literature should be divided in the following categories:
· “Base” Books: these are your “must read” books that will help you to understand the cards well and really feel each card. They will contain practical examples and advice, as well as useful spreads with guidelines. These are the Tarot books I will be focusing on below in this Blog post.
· “Additional” Books: these Tarot books provide with additional materials to improve and deeper understand Tarot from all the different angles, mystical and occult studies.
Some examples would include numerology, Kabbala, astrology, reversed Tarot cards, Tarot and Ritual Magic, as well as some author’s unique techniques for using Tarot. An example could be creating a psychological portrait of a person using Tarot cards.
These are definitely NOT must haves for Tarot beginners but you can selectively purchase them later on based on your interests and also gaps in your knowledge.
I included reversed Tarot cards in this section because MANY Tarot readers, myself included, do not read cards reversed. It is absolutely not a must and you can give quality readings just the same without reading reversals. In fact, I’ve noticed that they tend to scare the beginners off from learning Tarot because people find them confusing.
· Literature That Comes With a Deck: this is something I have already briefly touched on in this Blog post. These books are written by a person that created a Tarot deck and wishes to make sure that a person using it, understands where they are coming from and should the meaning deviate from the original, it would be explained in a great detail why and what it means for you.
A good example of this is using Tarot: Journey into Egypt Tarot cards deck that is absolutely gorgeous and one of my favorites. This deck is definitely NOT suitable for beginners. Not only there are variations of card meanings based on the history of Ancient Egypt, the creator of the deck chose to switch Fire and Air elements in Wands & Swords suites and this dramatically changes how you would read the elements energy in a spread.
What Are Some of The Best Tarot Books for Beginners?
I want to just put it out there: these are some of MY PERSONAL TOP books for beginners and some Tarot readers may disagree with me and have their own list.
I trust that you have read some of my other blogs or have been following me on Instagram for a while to really establish a connection and understand what type of a Tarot Reader I am.
“The Key to the Tarot” which was later expanded and republished as “The Pictorial Key to the Tarot” by Arthur Edward Waite
These books are mentioned first because most people start their Tarot journey using a traditional Rider-Waite Tarot deck.
The book "The Key to the Tarot" describes symbolical and divination meanings for Rider-Waite Tarot deck and they are offered by the creator of the deck himself.
This really is the SOURCE for your Rider-Waite Tarot studies and a Tarot beginner should never skip this book because no one can give you better information than the creator.
Whether you are going to use Tarot for divination, meditation or magical and ritual work, this is your NUMBER 1 BOOK.
"The Holy Kabbalah" by Arthur Edward Waite
Now, IF you are planning on sticking with Rider-Waite deck for some time and work as a professional Tarot reader with clients, you should really consider "The Holy Kabbalah" book.
You probably heard people ditching this deck because it is highly "kabbalistic,” but this is some very powerful and ancient stuff and you really need to consider this before you switch this deck for some rainbows and unicorns.
This book by Arthur Waite is a very rich in information and well documented source.
"The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot" Book by Evelin Burger and Johannesburg Fiebig
This book is my absolute favorite companion to this day. I have mentioned it before in my other blog post because I am so in love with it, I feel like it is worth preaching about it again and again.
I was actually quite hesitant to purchase it.
It was my FIRST Tarot book and I bought it together with my first deck! So, here it is my absolute beginner book suggestion from a perspective of a beginner!
I have no regrets about purchasing it. I referred to it a thousand times while I was studying cards and here is why.
It was always my goal to become a professional. And I believe that as a professional you need to know your cards inside out.
And you can’t really do this without understanding properly WHAT IS ON THOSE CARDS!
What does the tree mean? What about a blue color? Is this an astrological symbol?
You NEED to know these things! Because this blue color or astrological symbol of Venus repeat thought the deck and unite the cards that contain them.
You will be able to truly know your deck when you know those symbols. And it’s the same thing with any deck. If you go with Thoth Tarot, you will need to spend some time learning about Alchemy because this was Crowley’s thing. And if you want to use Rider-Waite deck, you will need to learn his techniques and methods.
In this case, this book is your best friend.
The book gives a short description for each important element of the Tarot card. It also gives a short basic meaning of the card AND its meaning as a card of the day which is amazing because most beginners start to practice Tarot by pulling their daily card and journaling it.
Lastly, which I think is great, is that it gives Tarot card’s meaning in love and relationship. And let’s be real, relationship questions comprise 70% of all Tarot reading, if not more.
"Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot: The True Story of the World's Most Popular Tarot" by Marcus Katz
This book is considered to be one of the best on the market for Rider-Waite Tarot.
From this book we can learn more about the lives of Pamela Smith (the artist of the deck) and Arthur Waite.
Just when I started reading this book, I could already feel so immersed in the world of Waite's Tarot. The author of this book did an incredible research job to put all this information together.
This book has it all, from descriptions of each Arcana and examples of spreads and understanding how to use them, to the lives of two great people that gave us the most used Tarot deck of all time.
You will really feel being a part of the wonderful world of Tarot after reading this book.
“21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card” by Mary K Greer
Mary K Greer has come with a truly unique and wonderful method that gives you 21 ways to interpret each Tarot card.
Just as the Fool travels through “The Journey of the Hero”, the author offers anyone to join the journey and experience the transformational power of Tarot.
You will learn the mysteries and wisdom of Major Arcana and live through the cards to deeply connect with them and understand their true meanings.
Mary K. Greer shares her personal and unique knowledge and approach to Tarot that in turn will help you to get the answers to the most important questions using Tarot cards.
What is most encouraging is how she really draws out from your heart all those hidden negative patterns and emotions and guides you on how to turn them into positivity and growth.
The author also helps you to create your own new reality and encourages you that no matter where you are right now in your life, you can always start your journey again from scratch and accomplish your goals.
To sum up, the book will teach you the following:
· How to create and maintain a Tarot journal properly (throughout the years of my work with Tarot beginners, I have noticed that many start Tarot journals but don’t seem to go through with them for a long time).
· It will teach you the author’s own method of learning each card and obtaining additional information when necessary that still is applicable for your traditional cards use.
· The book will provide you with rather novel ways and methods of Tarot spreads interpretations.
· It will really broaden and deepen your understanding of each card which in turn will help you to interpret combinations better.
I personally think that this book is a real gift to those trying to become good Tarot readers from the start, but also to those who want to improve the quality of their own life and relationships with others.
The book of Mary K Greer 21 “Ways to Read a Tarot Card” is not only about studying the cards, like most others, it’s also about how to transform your life with Tarot.
And, honestly, lately I have seen a lot of beginner Tarot Instagram profiles of people trying to use Tarot to get through trauma, loss and challenges. But people tend to give up quickly because all they do is read cards daily for themselves and if this is all you do, trust me, you will get bored quickly.
This book will help you on this journey and will teach you how to use Tarot for transformation, growth and happiness.
Tarot for the Healing Heart: Using Inner Wisdom to Heal Body and Mind by Christine Jette
The book focuses on the utilization of your inner wisdom to heal your mind and body.
It is a very powerful book written by a nurse with 30+ years of work experience, bachelor in Psychology and a professional energy healer and a Tarot reader.
Wow don’t you think she’d have a lot to tell??
Because she definitely does.
Her focus is using Tarot cards for healing and, in particular self-healing.
So often I see people trying to use Tarot to overcome trauma, to heal their body and soul and they just struggle to figure out how to do this.
While I mentioned Mary K. Greer teaching somewhat similar things in her book, this one really expands the subject of healing.
The symbology of Tarot carries the healing messages that can activate and kick start self-healing processes in your body, ultimately guiding you to becoming whole again. And feeling whole is what paves a path to healing.
And in this book, healing process is divided into 4 levels by the 4 Suites of Minor Arcana in Tarot: physical (Pentacles), emotional (Cups), psychological (Swords) and spiritual (Wands).
By using symbology and Tarot spreads provided, you will be able to get information on which level is blocked and what you need to do to lift this block and allow energy to flow freely again.
“Tarot Tips” by Ruth Ann Amberstone, Wald Amberstone
This books is very unique in a way that it’s is more of a Q&A writing style.
The Authors Ruth Ann Amberstone and Wald Amberstone at this time have over 70 years of Tarot experience and are founders of The Tarot School.
The Tarot Tips books is composed of techniques and methods of work with Tarot cards. It contains information and very clear answers to 78 real questions that were asked by the Tarot readers from the various Tarot schools and backgrounds.
It will be equally beneficial to a beginner and an advanced Tarot practitioner.
If you are a beginner, the book will give you some incredible insights, ideas and recommendations on how to use Tarot.
This wraps up my list for some MUST have Tarot books that every Tarot beginner should read.
Thoth Tarot Books
Of course, it’s necessary to mention Thoth Tarot, particularly for those who are starting with it their Tarot journey. While I myself don’t recommend this, I have met those who used Thoth Tarot deck from the very beginning. There are way too many books on Thoth Tarot, so I want to tell you which ones I do AND do not recommend.
“The Book of Thoth” by Aleister Crowley
It is always best to start with the book written by a person who created the deck. Even though not all deck creators are the best writers and the books can be tedious and, at times, difficult to follow, you should still give them a chance. You should also check out other books by Crowley because he really was an incredible person.
"Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot" by Lon Milo DuQuette
This is also a very good work and is absolutely worth a purchase. The book gives cards descriptions and elements that Crowley added or changed based on his vision and work he’s been doing during his life.
Books I do NOT recommend:
Tarot: Mirror of the Soul: Handbook for the Aleister Crowley Tarot. Book by Gerd Ziegler
Keywords for the Crowley Tarot
Book by Brigitte Theler and Hajo Banzhaf
These books I would recommend to avoid amongst others “best sellers” for Thoth Tarot, due to the many inaccuracies and wrong interpretations. I don’t blame some of the authors. Thoth Tarot is not easy to understand and not everything was explained by Crowley himself, but you can clearly see that some people haven’t even tried.
"Tarot and Astrology: Enhance Your Readings With the Wisdom of the Zodiac" Book by Corrine Kenner
I want to also suggest you a few books that I would include into my "Additional literature" section because if you want to really dedicate your time to study Tarot on a professional level, sooner or later you will get into other aspects that are integral parts of divination.
Astrology has a very big influence on Tarot and I think Corrine Kenner has done an amazing job to put everything together for the reader.
The book starts with Astrology basics with regards to Tarot but also talks about the twelve signs of zodiac and the planets.
I personally offer 12 Houses of Astrology Tarot reading every year in December and it's always a huge success because it is an extremely informative and fun reading, so a book like this helped me to connect even deeper with Astrology.
Some actually use Astrological aspects of Tarot to predict and plan dates, so if that's something you are interested in, this book will also be very helpful for you.
Bonus Book 📚✨
"Understanding The Tarot Court" Book by Mary K. Greer and Tom Little
Lastly, I want to include this book because we all know that Courts cards tend to be the most difficult to understand and interpret in a Tarot reading.
While some think that Court cards solely describe a specific person, the authors of this book give a suggestion on how to use these 16 cards as a tool to describe different variations and sides of personalities of the querent and people in their life.
Whichever method you choose to follow, this book has a massive amount of information and will definitely make your Tarot journey so much easier.
This wraps up my list for now.
Drop me some of you favorites in the comment section below, I would love to check them out!