Tarot for Beginners


Image copyright (c) 2010, Llewellyn Worldwide and used with permission.

By Terri C.

Tarot for Beginners, by Barbara Moore

Published by Llewellyn Worldwide

ISBN: 978-0-7387-1955-9

The minute you open this book and read a couple of pages, you will feel that you’ve magically been transported to Barbara Moore’s living room.  While there, she is offering you a cup of tea, to compliment the discussion of the basics of Tarot.  You can truly hear her voice lifting itself from the ink on the pages.

In Tarot for Beginners, Barbara breaks Tarot down to its simplest form, giving a nice framework, for the beginning reader.  She provides core meanings, archetypes and a break down of many of the symbols, for each card.  The decks chosen to illustrate Tarot for Beginners, are three very popular decks and they provide a nice compare and contrast.  The decks used are the Universal Rider-Waite-Smith (Mary Hanson-Roberts), Legacy of the Divine (Ciro Marchetti) and Shadowscapes (Stephanie Pui-Mun Law).   By choosing these particular decks, it gives the new reader an opportunity to see three completely different variations of Rider-Waite-Smith based decks.

Here is what Barbara says about the core meaning for the Sun card:

“This card is straightforward.  Like a perfect sunny day, it is positive, happy and joyful.  What was in the darkness is now revealed.  We can see clearly, and what we see pleases us.   …The Sun brings a clarity that says all is right with the world.  The Sun is the quintessential feeling of being present in a particularly good moment:  everything is exactly as it should be.”

Here is what Barbara says about some of the symbols in the Moon card:

Universal:  Crayfish, represents deep fears, a wolf represents animalistic responses.

Legacy:  Crab, represents fear.  Woman, representing beauty, a pair of ibises, representing truth.

Shadowscapes:   Mushrooms, indicating the hallucinogenic property of the moon.  A mask, representing deceptions.

After establishing an easy to follow framework, Barbara then starts adding layers that can compliment a reading, such as suits, numbers, and reversals.  She does not go into deep detail, for these layers, but instead offers just the right amount of information to pique the reader’s curiosity and interest.  This might influence the reader to study more in any one particular area.  Barbara also offers a varied list of books for further study. 

From there you will find Tarot for Beginners, taking your through some simple ritual ideas.  These ideas, though simple, can add a little flavor to the reading. By following your own personal reading ritual, in gives you the opportunity to express you own unique style and showmanship.  

Barbara also offers some fun experimental type exercises to further develop your reading style and skills.  For example:   Pull the 2 of Cups, 10 of Cups and 10 of Pentacles.  Now consider how all the cards are the same.  How are they similar?  Then take a look at how they are different.

There are quite a variety of spreads discussed in Tarot for Beginners.  These spreads start out with simple one card spreads, move to three card spreads, to the Celtic Cross, and finally a twenty-one card Life Spread.  This variety gives the new reader plenty of options to work with as they are learning and developing their skills.

Following the spread chapter, you will find a handful of sample readings, in a scripted style.  This gives the beginning reader the opportunity to follow along with some readings in action.

Even the Appendix is filled to the brim with information.  You will find Suggested Reading, Suggested Decks, a section that details Significators, and several tables laying out many types of Correspondences.  For example:   Astrological Association, Hebrew Letter, Seasons, Direction, Elemental Creature, Angels, and more.

All in all, I feel that Tarot for Beginners, by Barbara Moore, would make an excellent resource for the novice reader.  It provides a buffet of information and encourages the reader to pick and choose what is of interest to them.  I would highly recommend this book to someone who was expressing an interest in learning how to read the Tarot.

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Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2011

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