13 Essential Tarot Books Every Reader Must Have

There is a wealth of information on the Tarot out there — from books to blogs (like this one!) to how-to guides and cheatsheets. Reading Tarot books is a great way to learn about the cards’ meanings, symbols, and traditional interpretations. But books can also help you develop your intuitive Tarot skills and provide insightful exercises to get your Tarot juices flowing.

Here’s my personal list of 13 must-have Tarot books to improve your readings, whether you’re a total beginner or an advanced reader.

Let’s dive in!

Please note: links to the books below are NOT affiliate or sponsored links. I’m recommending these books because I’ve read them myself and stand behind them 100%.

1. Tarot Fundamentals

Authors: Giordano Berti, Tali Goodwin, Sasha Graham, Marcus Katz, Barbara Moore, et al.
Edited & compiled by Sasha Graham
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo (2015)
Ideally suited for: beginner Tarot readers

This big, bold, colorful hardcover book is not only encyclopedic in its Tarot information, but also beautiful to display on your coffee table. Editor Sasha Graham has done a fantastic job of compiling this book, which offers traditional card meanings for each card (with keywords) and sections on “How to Read Tarot,” Tarot history, and Tarot techniques. The book also includes a Tarot Fundamentals glossary featuring key terms such as “archetype,” “Golden Dawn,” and “Marseille.” The photos throughout the book are stunning and inspirational.

More info on this book here.

2. Tarot 101: Mastering the Art of Reading the Cards

Author: Kim Huggens
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (2010)
Ideally suited for: beginner-intermediate Tarot readers (though advanced readers might benefit from the creative exercises in this book, too!)

Kim Huggens has created a classic, go-to Tarot book with Tarot 101. The sections are divided by category, covering the “Language of the Tarot,” feminine and masculine archetypes in the Major Arcana, Tarot spreads, the “dark side” of the Major Arcana, approaches for dealing with the Tarot court cards, and more. In the preface, Huggens tells us: “This Tarot course is designed to enable you, the reader, to study the system of Tarot in a personal and meaningful manner. It is suitable for readers of all levels of experience, as it leads the reader from the very basic skills through to the more advanced topics concerning Tarot.” Very helpful!

More info on this book here.

3. Around the Tarot in 78 Days: a Personal Journey through the Cards

Authors: Marcus Katz & Tali Goodwin
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (2012)
Ideally suited for: all readers

Around the Tarot in 78 Days proclaims on its back cover: “Welcome to the land of Tarot, where each and every card is an adventure of discovery.” Indeed! This book is wonderful for readers of all levels because it presents its material in an innovative way, leading the reader through 78 days of daily work with the cards. This is more of a workbook than a Tarot encyclopedia or collection of card meanings, with tons of practical exercises and Tarot spreads to try out. The 78-day course does not progress through the cards in “traditional” order (i.e., Major Arcana first, then each suit of the Minor Arcana, and so on) but moves through the deck in a more intentional and narrative way. You’ll move through the “Outer Courtyard” into the “Labyrinth,” the “Garden of Delights,” and the “Chasm of Night,” to name a few of the book’s sections. Highly recommended for beginners who want to learn the Tarot in an intuitive, personal way and for seasoned readers who want to reconnect with the cards in a fresh way.

More info on this book here. 

 4. The Way of Tarot: The Spiritual Teacher in the Cards

Author: Alejandro Jodorowsky (with Marianne Costa)
Publisher: Destiny Books (2004)
Ideally suited for: philosophically-minded & advanced readers

With book #4 we’re moving into more philosophical territory. The Way of Tarot is a complex, nuanced, sometimes dense study of Tarot through the French Marseille deck. (But don’t worry — this doesn’t mean you *need* the Marseille deck to understand it.) Jodorowsky offers sections like “Structure and Numerology of the Tarot,” “the Major Arcana,” “the Minor Arcana,” and “Reading of the Tarot.” The most interesting section is, perhaps, “Tarot Two by Two,” where Tarot “duets” are read side by side: the Magician with Strength, the Emperor with Temperance, the Chariot with the Star, and so on. Jodorowsky offers a complex and detailed system to unlock the meaning and power of the cards. This book is recommended for intermediate to advanced students.

More info on this book here.

5. Tarot Masterclass

Author: Paul Fenton-Smith
Publisher: Inspired Living (2007)
Ideally suited for: beginners

Paul Fenton-Smith’s Tarot Masterclass guides new readers through the Tarot deck with helpful color charts and individual meanings for both upright and reversed cards. There’s a strong emphasis on reading the Tarot for health and finances throughout the book. In the introduction, Fenton-Smith tells us that the book “offers unique color charts for easy access to card meanings. It also includes detailed health and financial meanings for each card” and that it “highlights the importance of the Tarot as a tool for self-development.” This book is ideally suited for beginners who want to learn the cards’ traditional interpretations and start practicing their Tarot spreads.

More info on this book here.

6. The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals

Author: Mary K. Greer
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (2002)
Ideally suited for: all levels

To read or not to read reversals? This has been one of the major Tarot questions since, well… ever. Personally, I do read reversals and I recommend that my students incorporate them into their Tarot spreads as early as possible. Reversals add a layer of complexity to your Tarot readings. In the book’s preface, author Mary K. Greer states that “Tarot Reversals is the first book to fully and exclusively address a vitally important area of Tarot reading that is virtually ignored — interpretation of the cards that appear upside-down in a spread.” In addition to laying out individual meanings for each reversed card, the book also explains why reversals are fascinating and worth incorporating into your readings, and offers a whole chapter on Tarot spreads. Read this book and you’ll soon be able to confidently use reversals in your Tarot readings.

More info on this book here.

7. Tarot Interactions

Author: Deborah Lipp
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (2015)
Ideally suited for: intermediate+

Deborah Lipp’s Tarot Interactions assumes that you’ve already learned the traditional Tarot card interpretations, since it won’t be giving you that information. Instead, the book challenges you to look at — as the title implies — interactions or connections between the cards. In the introduction, Lipp states: “Tarot isn’t static; it interacts with its environment in a wide variety of ways. I started by thinking of various ways that cards relate to one another, and the way that various combinations of cards create unique wholes.” Moving beyond just how the cards interact with one another, the book helps you see new ways in which the cards interact with the reader, the querent, the chosen spread, and with the context of the reading. I recommend this book to readers who are familiar with the Tarot and who can read individual Tarot cards, but who want to learn how to weave a fuller, more interesting, and more nuanced story out of a spread.

More info on this book here.

8. Professional Tarot: The Business of Reading, Consulting & Teaching

Author: Christine Jette
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (2004)
Ideally suited for: advanced & professional readers

Book #8 moves us into a whole new realm: professional Tarot. Christine Jette has written this resourceful guide for advanced readers interested in starting or expanding their own Tarot business. The book includes sections like “Taking the Leap,” “Building Your Tarot Practice,” “The Business of Tarot,” and “Teaching — and Learning — Tarot.” This is a wonderful resource to learn the ins and outs of the Tarot business, how to set up your own shop or private practice, and some of the nuances of being in spiritual business (e.g., bookkeeping, legal matters, setting up an office space, keeping client records). Highly recommended if you’re looking for a quick guide to jump-start your own Tarot business.

More info on this book here.

9. 78 Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot

Author: Rachel Pollack
Publisher: Weiser Books (first edition 1998)
Ideally suited for: all readers

78 Degrees of Wisdom is a classic book, often cited by readers of all levels as an influential and important Tarot resource (written by one of the world’s foremost experts on Tarot interpretation). The book is divided into two sections: Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. It offers a card-by-card guide to the Tarot deck and its wisdom, symbols, and meanings. 78 Degrees also provides a concise history of Tarot and introduces new spreads to the reader. In reviews, this book has been described as “insightful, educational, inspiring, and knowledgeable.” Pollack offers traditional and intuitive insights into each card, expanding the reader’s interpretive horizons along the way. A must read!

More info on this book here.

10. The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an Inspired Life

Author: Jessa Crispin
Publisher: Touchstone (2016)
Ideally suited for: creative readers & artists

The Creative Tarot offers a fresh and original way to understand (and maybe re-interpret!) your Tarot deck. I recommend this book especially to Tarot readers who are also artists, writers, painters, crafters, or singers — anyone involved with the creative process. Although the book does illuminate each card and its possible meanings, its main focus is on how you can use the cards to get your creative juices flowing. The book also includes a helpful and concise history of the Tarot. If you have no time or patience for memorizing traditional card meanings from a Tarot encyclopedia, this book is perfect for you.

More info on this book here.

11. The Modern Witchcraft Book of Tarot: Your Complete Guide to Understanding the Tarot

Author: Skye Alexander
Publisher: Adams Media (2017)
Ideally suited for: beginner-intermediate readers

The Modern Witchcraft Book of Tarot not only offers individual meanings for each card in the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana, it also teaches you how to read the cards and features an entire section on incorporating your cards into your magick work. Skye Alexander includes spells for love, abundance, prosperity, and success to harness the power of the cards. An interesting section offers a variety of spreads including the Harmony Spread, the Feng Shui Spread, and the Spiral Spread. This book is especially good for witchy students of the Tarot, whether they’ve been working with the Tarot for a long time or are just getting started.

More info on this book here.

12. Tarot at a Crossroads: The Unexpected Meeting of Tarot & Psychology

Authors: Kooch N. Daniels & Victor Daniels
Publisher: Schiffer (2016)
Ideally suited for: advanced readers

Tarot at a Crossroads is a different kind of Tarot book. It doesn’t offer traditional card-by-card readings. Instead, it suggests insightful ways of using the Tarot in counseling and psychotherapy settings. This doesn’t mean, though, that you need to be a counselor or therapist to benefit from the book’s guidance. Reading the book’s sections — including “Infinite Possibilities Beckon,” “Representational Uses of the Cards,” and “Unlocking the Mysteries” — will help make your readings deeper and more healing for yourself and others. The book also teaches you how to work with Tarot meditations and Tarot groups.

More info on this book here.

Holistic Tarot book13. Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth

Author: Benebell Wen
Publisher: North Atlantic Books (2015)
Ideally suited for: all levels — but might be overwhelming for the Tarot newbie!

And, finally, we arrive at Holistic Tarot — my absolute favorite book on this list (and often cited throughout this blog!). Benebell Wen is an author, Tarot expert, and lawyer who has compiled a masterful, unbeatable, timeless resource for Tarot readers of all levels. But be warned: if you’re totally new to the Tarot, you might be a bit overwhelmed at first! This mammoth tome (over 650 pages) covers absolutely everything you could ever need to know about the Tarot, from individual card meanings to the fundamentals of reading Tarot spreads, to reading Tarot for yourself and others, to setting up a proper (and legal) Tarot business. For new Tarot students, I recommend starting with other books on this list — maybe Tarot 101 or Tarot Masterclass — and working your way up to Holistic Tarot.

More info on this book here.


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