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Top Ten essential tarot titles


Even a casual look browsing tarot books in online stores brings up masses and masses of tarot titles that I for one have never heard mention of here.

I am rather compulsive when it comes to deck-buying, but for some reason I steer clear of filling my bookshelves with excessive tarot titles. I find myself thinking that it must be so easy to accumulate books that are really not much use and I need all the space I can get. I find it very easy to go into a bookshop, see lots of tarot books and walk out empty-handed. There's so much guff out there!

I find myself thinking more and more that only a handful of serious tarot tomes are helpful, plus companion books of decks you know you're going to make headway with (I have decided to be brutal henceforth with companion books/ kits, when - in so many cases - deck alone will do). Oh and notebooks for my thoughts.

I'm determined not to clutter up my shelves with OK books

What I wanted to ask is what people here think are the essential, general tarot books. Not specific to a system (i.e not The Book of Thoth or DuQuette). Im sure this has been asked before, but I tried a number of combinations for searching and couldn't find anything.

I would probably include Decker, Dummet &c's Wicked Pack of Cards and the History of the Occult Tarot. Surely these two give a good grounding in the history?

Then I would say The Tarot Bible. easy to read, nice to look at, compact to carry around and flick through.

I also like Tarot Plain and Simple by Anthony Louis; exhaustive meanings and always great to consult at any time.

What would you say are the others?

What are the essential ten books; useful to read and nice to consult?
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Mary Greer's 21 ways to read a Tarot card MUST be on that list in my opinion!
I can't even begin to tell you how this book elevated me from a struggling novice to the much, much improved reader I am today. The change is amazing!
Lots of time, lots of practice did it too of course, but I truly love this book.

Rachel Pollacks' 78 Degrees of wisdom should be on every bookcase for the those who enjoy Tarot books.

I will also include Greer/Little's Understanding the Tarot Court
and Kaplan's Tarot Encyclopedia set. Does a set count as one book?

This thread brings to mind the question should Waite's classic Pictorial Key to the Tarot be on that list? For me, I say nooo...
not only that it's just for the Rider-Waite symbolism but also because I find Waite's writing style to be confusing and at times hard to follow.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minrice
This thread brings to mind the question should Waite's classic Pictorial Key to the Tarot be on that list? For me, I say nooo...
not only that it's just for the Rider-Waite symbolism but also because I find Waite's writing style to be confusing and at times hard to follow.
NO! The books have to be fun and readable! And besides, it's almost impossible to build up a tarot collection and not end up with a copy of it. Ive never even bought it and still I have three copies!

What about the latest Rachel Pollock book, Tarot Wisdom? Ive been drawn to this one...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Le Fanu
Ive never even bought it and still I have three copies!
I know what you mean!!! I have two copies I didn't buy either. I don't know anything about Tarot Wisdom but I do enjoy Pollack's 78 degrees of wisdom.
I would also possibly add Rickleff's Tarot Tells the Tale, a fun and different approach to learning tarot as that book isn't just a book full of the usual cookie cutter meanings/interpretations.
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I've spent more my money on buying decks than tarot books I have to admit it. I recently ordered a few books by Rachel Pollack (Tarot wisdom and Kaballah Tree) and I intend to get more after I've bought the scanner I want. Of the few I have I'd say the best I would suggest:

- Learning tarot by Joan Bunning. Well, I've never bought the book but I've used extensively Joan's website when my English was better and it was really helpful. I definitively suggest her book.

- Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack. The part on the major arcana is really awesome but her part on the minors is rather lacking.

- Tarot and the Tree of Life: Finding Everyday Wisdom in the Minor Arcana by Isabel Kliegman. This one too is really good and the author is apparently working on a book on the majors.

The other books I have are GD related and about the Thoth, also a few books on relationships.
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Interesting thead Le Fanu

These are books that I personally think are must-reads:

Tarot: History, Symbolism & Divination - Robert Place
Mystical Origins of the Tarot - Paul Huson
A Renaissance Tarot - Brian Williams (companion to Renaissance Tarot, but an excellent book in it's own right).

I also like Mary Greer's 'Tarot for Your Self', and agree that 'Tarot Plain and Simple' is a handy reference. Also the first half of 'Art and Arcana', which is the companion for the Medieval Scapini, written by Decker is packed with excellent info.

Interesting that in your first post you said not books that are for a specific system ie. Book of Thoth or DuQuette, and yet I'd say 78 Degrees of Wisdom was very specific to the RWS system, as are many other tarot books. I don't own it but I think Rachel Pollack's new book Tarot Wisdom is less RWS specific than 78 degrees.





I've just started 'Tarot Symbolism' by Robert O'Neill, but I suspect it's going to be a great read
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I recently picked up a book called "Tarot of an old Gypsy" on amazon. I was looking for info on gypsies when I came across this. I find this is the book I have been using the most recently so it has become my current top book. It's a great reference guide when doing readings. It's short and precise and has little tidbits in it that I have not seen elsewhere. It is NOT an in-depth book and I would say it's for beginners to intermediate readers. I find some tarot books give so many meanings and options for a card that it can leave one totally confused (especially beginners) whereas this one has only a few sentences (maybe 20 or so for each card) that are quite good and is more precise. It also has quite good "Reversed Card" descriptions and this is one of the reasons I like it so much.
The shortcomings of this book: the entire book is written in CAPITAL LETTERS with lots of grammar and some spelling errors. Too bad they couldn't afford a good editor.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sapienza
Tarot: History, Symbolism & Divination - Robert Place
I thought about buying this, but I find Place's writings in the Vampire companion book, Alchemical and also Tarot of the Saints really very good and thorough that I asssumed it was research which had "doubled up" in other books, so haven't actually bought it, though it is on my amazon wishlist.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapienza
Also the first half of 'Art and Arcana', which is the companion for the Medieval Scapini, written by Decker is packed with excellent info.
I have this! I bought it on your recommendation!

Interesting other suggestions...
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I have always received good insight from "Tarot: Your Everyday Guide" by Janina Renee. Her approach is on "practical problem solving and advice." Since I often read my own cards this focus is very useful. Many other guides are geared more to reading for others and provide some advice, but not in the depth that Renee does. (Of course, this could be handy when reading for others, as well!) I find her perspective very enlightening.
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I would like to see a book about relationships/love and the tarot on this list, but I don't know of any that are worthy. Thoughts?
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