The best books about the Esoteric Tarot

Peter Mark Adams Author Of The Game of Saturn: Decoding the Sola-Busca Tarocchi
By Peter Mark Adams

Who am I?

I have been a tarot devotee since my early teens and have offered both training and divinatory sessions using the tarot. My book on the fifteenth-century tarot deck known as the Sola-Busca, The Game of Saturn, was nominated The Best Esoteric Book of the Year and was reviewed in two of the world’s leading academic journals. My non-fiction is published by Inner Traditions and Scarlet Imprint; literary prose and poetry by Corbel Stone Press and Paralibrum. My essays on energy healing appear in the peer-reviewed Paranthropology Journal and the Journal of Exceptional Experiences and Psychology as well as on my academia.edu page.


I wrote...

The Game of Saturn: Decoding the Sola-Busca Tarocchi

By Peter Mark Adams,

Book cover of The Game of Saturn: Decoding the Sola-Busca Tarocchi

What is my book about?

The fifteenth-century Sola-Busca tarocchi is one of the earliest and most artistically accomplished fully-figured tarot decks in existence. The Game of Saturn leads the reader, step by step, in a process of patient detective work to decode the clues embedded in its complex imagery. Decoded, the imagery reveals the Neoplatonic metaphysics and ritual practices of an elite Cult of Saturn active amongst the elite families of the Italian Renaissance.

The books I picked & why

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The Way of Tarot: The Spiritual Teacher in the Cards

By Alejandro Jodorowsky, Marianne Costa,

Book cover of The Way of Tarot: The Spiritual Teacher in the Cards

Why this book?

The famed filmmaker and esotericist, Alejandro Jodorowsky, has poured decades of profound spiritual and divinatory understanding into this text to create one of the most significant systems for using the cards as a divinatory tool. Based on the Tarot d’Marseilles - arguably the stylistic form that constitutes the tarot’s most fundamental iconography - the text includes a comprehensive training system that can be used to provide a foundation for professional divinatory work.

The Esoteric Tarot: Ancient Sources Rediscovered in Hermeticism and Cabalah

By Ronald Decker,

Book cover of The Esoteric Tarot: Ancient Sources Rediscovered in Hermeticism and Cabalah

Why this book?

Tarot scholar and art historian, Ronald Decker, provides a solid and up-to-date grounding in the history and esoteric sources that informed the design of the earliest tarot decks. Decker balances the demands of historical scholarship with esoteric insights derived from Hermeticism, Neoplatonism, and the Kabbalah to provide a foundational text in the various traditions underpinning the notion of an esoteric tarot.


The Book of Thoth: (Egyptian Tarot)

By Aleister Crowley, Frieda Harris (illustrator),

Book cover of The Book of Thoth: (Egyptian Tarot)

Why this book?

The Crowley-Harris Thoth Tarot remains one of the greatest tarot decks ever conceived in respect of the artistry employed in its design and the esoteric depth conveyed by its underlying system of metaphysics. Supervised personally by Aleister Crowley, one of the most important esotericists of the past century, this essay - suitable for advanced students - remains a tour de force in the evolving tradition of the esoteric tarot.


The Alchemical Tarot

By Rosemary E. Guiley,

Book cover of The Alchemical Tarot

Why this book?

This truly great, visionary re-conceptualisation of tarot imagery combines profound mystical insight with inspired artistry to render familiar tarot imagery through the transformative lens of alchemy. The Alchemical Tarot deck is one of the most outstandingly beautiful and inspiring decks in existence. Based on my own initiatory experience I can confirm that The Alchemical Tarot is an inspired, true, and faithful transmission of the esoteric current underpinning the notion of an esoteric tarot.


Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism

By Anonymous, Robert Powell (translator),

Book cover of Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism

Why this book?

This classic text is perhaps the single greatest work combining mysticism with the tarot; one that is viewed through the rarely revealed lens of Christian esoteric tradition. The text guides the reader through a series of extended meditations on each of the Tarot d’Marseilles trumps. Irrespective of your belief system, these meditations provide a valuable source of spiritual insight and a ladder in the evolution of one’s own spiritual path.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in tarot, tarot cards, and divination?

5,215 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about tarot, tarot cards, and divination.

Tarot Explore 34 books about tarot
Tarot Cards Explore 9 books about tarot cards
Divination Explore 11 books about divination

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Tarot 101: Mastering the Art of Reading the Cards, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Tarot Journey to Self-Awareness, and Guided Tarot: A Beginner's Guide to Card Meanings, Spreads, and Intuitive Exercises for Seamless Readings if you like this list.