The best tarot books

8 authors have picked their favorite books about tarot and why they recommend each book.

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The Complete Illustrated Guide to Tarot

By Rachel Pollack,

Book cover of The Complete Illustrated Guide to Tarot

I like many of Rachel Pollack's books, but this was one of the first tarot books I read. This kind of book is perfect for me to learn something. It reads very easily, more like a course than a book with pages full of text. The layout is light and each page is richly illustrated with colour photos including tarot cards from all over the world, so you can compare and get a good idea of ​​the character of each card.

All facets of tarot, which you can delve into later, are discussed: origin, history & the different traditions, symbols & colours, the Tree of Life & the Hebrew letters, numbers & the paths of the Sefiroth, Kabbalah & astrology, the journey of the fool through the Major Arcana, different readings & card spreads, different ways to use the tarot cards: to meditate, to work with dreams, games, storytelling and…


Who am I?

Since I was a teenager, I have been attracted to astrology, Jungian psychology, synchronicity, symbolism, alchemy, and Jewish esotery. Someone gave me my first Tarot deck as a present. Since then I collect old and new decks from the entire world and created my own Sun and Moon TarotI continue to deepen my knowledge of tarot and all the systems associated with it. At times I focus more on the Sefiroth and Kabbalah. Sometimes I’m more interested in different ways of interpreting tarot. I've been illustrating Astrological Learning Cards for a while now, trying to better understand the different astrological archetypes and to make art.


I wrote and illustrated...

Sun and Moon Tarot

By Vanessa Decort,

Book cover of Sun and Moon Tarot

What is my book about?

By playfully incorporating mythology and astrology, I bring unique interpretations to traditional tarot. The deck follows the traditional structure of Crowley Thoth Tarot but is also influenced by the book Mind MirrorThe Minor Arcana features Crowley’s keywords, but has people in the imagery and is influenced by the symbolism of Pamela Colman Smith's illustrations. Major Arcana cards show the associated Hebrew letter in the artwork.

Sun and Moon Tarot is a multi-cultural tarot deck with symbolism borrowed from Hinduism, yoga, ancient Egyptian and Greek mythology, the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and more. The Sun and Moon Tarot was published in 2010 and the pocket-sized version in 2017, it’s presented in a tin and features the black borders as originally designed.

Mind Mirror Close Encounters with Yourself

By Rufus C. Camphausen,

Book cover of Mind Mirror Close Encounters with Yourself

While designing and illustrating my own Sun and Moon Tarot, I followed the normal order of letters of the Hebrew alphabet and therefore also their values. And I respected the original Western Hermetic order of the cards on the paths of the Tree of Life and their corresponding Hebrew letters. This system is explained in detail in this book.

Rufus C. Camphausen describes in detail how the numbering of the tarot cards has been changed by different groups of people (Kabbalists, Astrologers, the Hermetic order of the Golden Dawn & Aleister Crowley, A. E. Waite of the Rider Waite Tarot). The same is true with the assignment of the planets and zodiac signs and the assignment of the numbers and the Hebrew letters on the paths of the Sefiroth (Tree of Life in Kabbalah).

Together with Van Leeuwen he also created ‘The Kabbalistic Tarot/Tree-of-life Tarot’. This tarot deck…


Who am I?

Since I was a teenager, I have been attracted to astrology, Jungian psychology, synchronicity, symbolism, alchemy, and Jewish esotery. Someone gave me my first Tarot deck as a present. Since then I collect old and new decks from the entire world and created my own Sun and Moon TarotI continue to deepen my knowledge of tarot and all the systems associated with it. At times I focus more on the Sefiroth and Kabbalah. Sometimes I’m more interested in different ways of interpreting tarot. I've been illustrating Astrological Learning Cards for a while now, trying to better understand the different astrological archetypes and to make art.


I wrote and illustrated...

Sun and Moon Tarot

By Vanessa Decort,

Book cover of Sun and Moon Tarot

What is my book about?

By playfully incorporating mythology and astrology, I bring unique interpretations to traditional tarot. The deck follows the traditional structure of Crowley Thoth Tarot but is also influenced by the book Mind MirrorThe Minor Arcana features Crowley’s keywords, but has people in the imagery and is influenced by the symbolism of Pamela Colman Smith's illustrations. Major Arcana cards show the associated Hebrew letter in the artwork.

Sun and Moon Tarot is a multi-cultural tarot deck with symbolism borrowed from Hinduism, yoga, ancient Egyptian and Greek mythology, the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and more. The Sun and Moon Tarot was published in 2010 and the pocket-sized version in 2017, it’s presented in a tin and features the black borders as originally designed.

Histoire du tarot - Origines - Iconographie - Symbolisme

By Isabelle Nadolny,

Book cover of Histoire du tarot - Origines - Iconographie - Symbolisme

When you delve into different facets of the tarot, you come across quite a few different models or systems with different assignments of numbers, Hebrew letters, paths, astrological signs…which can be very confusing! I was quite confused myself when I was looking for the correspondence between the 4 Tarot ‘suits’ and those of a regular card game and find different contradictory correspondence with the pips of regular playing cards.

In a lecture, Isabelle explained to me very clearly with many examples how the 4 elements or colour symbols of the 4 suits in the regular card game originated and changed over the years and how they evolved in different systems of the tarot cards.

Isabelle Nadolny has done a lot of research working as a historian in the National Library of France and has compiled her findings, based on multiple references and documented resources, in this thick and very richly…


Who am I?

Since I was a teenager, I have been attracted to astrology, Jungian psychology, synchronicity, symbolism, alchemy, and Jewish esotery. Someone gave me my first Tarot deck as a present. Since then I collect old and new decks from the entire world and created my own Sun and Moon TarotI continue to deepen my knowledge of tarot and all the systems associated with it. At times I focus more on the Sefiroth and Kabbalah. Sometimes I’m more interested in different ways of interpreting tarot. I've been illustrating Astrological Learning Cards for a while now, trying to better understand the different astrological archetypes and to make art.


I wrote and illustrated...

Sun and Moon Tarot

By Vanessa Decort,

Book cover of Sun and Moon Tarot

What is my book about?

By playfully incorporating mythology and astrology, I bring unique interpretations to traditional tarot. The deck follows the traditional structure of Crowley Thoth Tarot but is also influenced by the book Mind MirrorThe Minor Arcana features Crowley’s keywords, but has people in the imagery and is influenced by the symbolism of Pamela Colman Smith's illustrations. Major Arcana cards show the associated Hebrew letter in the artwork.

Sun and Moon Tarot is a multi-cultural tarot deck with symbolism borrowed from Hinduism, yoga, ancient Egyptian and Greek mythology, the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and more. The Sun and Moon Tarot was published in 2010 and the pocket-sized version in 2017, it’s presented in a tin and features the black borders as originally designed.

Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom

By Rachel Pollack,

Book cover of Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Tarot Journey to Self-Awareness

Though Tarot readings themselves don’t always feel clear or straightforward, this book is both of those things. It does an excellent job of demystifying the cards, providing both practical card meanings and the history and symbology behind the art and iconography. It’s my go-to when I have questions or need clarification. Pollack manages to organize a huge amount of useful information into a format that makes sense and isn’t at all intimidating. There’s a reason a lot of people call this book their “Tarot Bible.”


Who am I?

I began reading Tarot in high school – or at least, trying to. Like most people, I was pretty intimidated starting out. It took several teachers, a stack of books, and a lot of years before I understood that Tarot cards are simply repositories for symbols of the human experience. That’s how they continue to be so popular: they speak to something deep within us all. It was only natural that my art endeavors and my passion for the ancient Minoans would eventually dovetail with my love of Tarot. The end result was The Minoan Tarot, which I’m delighted to share with you along with these excellent Tarot books.


I wrote...

The Minoan Tarot

By Laura Perry,

Book cover of The Minoan Tarot

What is my book about?

Ancient Minoans meet modern Tarot in this vibrant 86-card deck and guidebook that call on archetypes of Tarot through iconography inspired by beautiful works of art from ancient Crete. Connect with mysterious snake priestesses, labyrinthine temple complexes, and courageous bull-leapers. Explore gender-balanced face cards reflecting the egalitarian nature of Minoan society that makes this deck especially relevant for modern users: Priest and Priestess, Lord and Lady, Youth and Maid.

Each card displays symbols from an ancient writing system reflecting literal image concepts or pointing to deeper meanings. This deck and comprehensive guidebook can also be used for meditation and personal growth. Experienced or new readers will find The Minoan Tarot a natural tool.

Guided Tarot

By Stefanie Caponi,

Book cover of Guided Tarot: A Beginner's Guide to Card Meanings, Spreads, and Intuitive Exercises for Seamless Readings

Guided Tarot is a how-to book for Tarot readings: how to lay out the cards and get some sense out of them. There’s more to Tarot than just memorizing the card meanings, and this book walks you through the process of developing your own card reading style. If you can’t figure out which spreads to use, or if you’re having trouble trusting your intuition and letting the reading flow, this book will take you through exercises to figure out the answers to those questions so you become a more powerful Tarot reader and can take the training wheels off, so to speak.


Who am I?

I began reading Tarot in high school – or at least, trying to. Like most people, I was pretty intimidated starting out. It took several teachers, a stack of books, and a lot of years before I understood that Tarot cards are simply repositories for symbols of the human experience. That’s how they continue to be so popular: they speak to something deep within us all. It was only natural that my art endeavors and my passion for the ancient Minoans would eventually dovetail with my love of Tarot. The end result was The Minoan Tarot, which I’m delighted to share with you along with these excellent Tarot books.


I wrote...

The Minoan Tarot

By Laura Perry,

Book cover of The Minoan Tarot

What is my book about?

Ancient Minoans meet modern Tarot in this vibrant 86-card deck and guidebook that call on archetypes of Tarot through iconography inspired by beautiful works of art from ancient Crete. Connect with mysterious snake priestesses, labyrinthine temple complexes, and courageous bull-leapers. Explore gender-balanced face cards reflecting the egalitarian nature of Minoan society that makes this deck especially relevant for modern users: Priest and Priestess, Lord and Lady, Youth and Maid.

Each card displays symbols from an ancient writing system reflecting literal image concepts or pointing to deeper meanings. This deck and comprehensive guidebook can also be used for meditation and personal growth. Experienced or new readers will find The Minoan Tarot a natural tool.

Holistic Tarot

By Benebell Wen,

Book cover of Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth

If you’ve ever thought about using the Tarot for personal development instead of just divination, but didn’t know where to start, Holistic Tarot is the resource for you. Tarot cards are no substitute for a good therapist, but in this book, Benebell Wen shows you how to use the cards to better understand your emotions and desires and to help you remove blockages to your creativity and satisfaction with life. This is a structured and methodical approach that will give you practical results.


Who am I?

I began reading Tarot in high school – or at least, trying to. Like most people, I was pretty intimidated starting out. It took several teachers, a stack of books, and a lot of years before I understood that Tarot cards are simply repositories for symbols of the human experience. That’s how they continue to be so popular: they speak to something deep within us all. It was only natural that my art endeavors and my passion for the ancient Minoans would eventually dovetail with my love of Tarot. The end result was The Minoan Tarot, which I’m delighted to share with you along with these excellent Tarot books.


I wrote...

The Minoan Tarot

By Laura Perry,

Book cover of The Minoan Tarot

What is my book about?

Ancient Minoans meet modern Tarot in this vibrant 86-card deck and guidebook that call on archetypes of Tarot through iconography inspired by beautiful works of art from ancient Crete. Connect with mysterious snake priestesses, labyrinthine temple complexes, and courageous bull-leapers. Explore gender-balanced face cards reflecting the egalitarian nature of Minoan society that makes this deck especially relevant for modern users: Priest and Priestess, Lord and Lady, Youth and Maid.

Each card displays symbols from an ancient writing system reflecting literal image concepts or pointing to deeper meanings. This deck and comprehensive guidebook can also be used for meditation and personal growth. Experienced or new readers will find The Minoan Tarot a natural tool.

Tarot 101

By Kim Huggens,

Book cover of Tarot 101: Mastering the Art of Reading the Cards

This is a Tarot how-to book with a difference: It organizes the cards by theme, making it way easier to understand and remember their meanings compared to the usual memorize-them-one-at-a-time approach. The book is really a Tarot course in 22 lessons (it’s no coincidence that there are 22 Major Arcana cards in a Tarot deck!). Tarot 101 is an excellent resource for demystifying the Tarot and breaking it down into manageable chunks that make sense and that you can remember and use for the long term.


Who am I?

I began reading Tarot in high school – or at least, trying to. Like most people, I was pretty intimidated starting out. It took several teachers, a stack of books, and a lot of years before I understood that Tarot cards are simply repositories for symbols of the human experience. That’s how they continue to be so popular: they speak to something deep within us all. It was only natural that my art endeavors and my passion for the ancient Minoans would eventually dovetail with my love of Tarot. The end result was The Minoan Tarot, which I’m delighted to share with you along with these excellent Tarot books.


I wrote...

The Minoan Tarot

By Laura Perry,

Book cover of The Minoan Tarot

What is my book about?

Ancient Minoans meet modern Tarot in this vibrant 86-card deck and guidebook that call on archetypes of Tarot through iconography inspired by beautiful works of art from ancient Crete. Connect with mysterious snake priestesses, labyrinthine temple complexes, and courageous bull-leapers. Explore gender-balanced face cards reflecting the egalitarian nature of Minoan society that makes this deck especially relevant for modern users: Priest and Priestess, Lord and Lady, Youth and Maid.

Each card displays symbols from an ancient writing system reflecting literal image concepts or pointing to deeper meanings. This deck and comprehensive guidebook can also be used for meditation and personal growth. Experienced or new readers will find The Minoan Tarot a natural tool.

The Way of Tarot

By Alejandro Jodorowsky, Marianne Costa,

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

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.

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 Esoteric Tarot

By Ronald Decker,

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

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.


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 Book of Thoth

By Aleister Crowley, Frieda Harris (illustrator),

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

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.


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.

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