by Tina Gong
* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review *
This is a great addition to any tarot bookshelf, and it is especially great for a tarot newbie. I know that I say that about a lot of intro to tarot books, but I wouldn’t say that if it weren’t a truly good intro to tarot book. In fact, this is the kind of book I’d have loved to have access to when I was new to it. However, I am also a firm believer that the cards and their meanings are ever-evolving to adapt to the modern word — so you’re never too advanced to take a refresher.
The author of this book also runs Labyrinthos, one of the most reliable tarot reference sites, as well as the companion app, both of which I highly recommend. As such, this book is like having the info from the site and the app distilled into one handy reference guide. It is extremely well organized and navigates intuitively — you can see where the authors wireframing skills have come into the flow of the book and that is a very refreshing change.
I also enjoyed that the spreads are not confined to the end of the book, but rather, interspersed throughout. Not only do you get major/minor arcana breakdowns, but you also get as much page space devoted to reversed cards, and how they are not necessarily negative or strictly the inverse of the cards upright meaning.
The illustrations for each card are also lovely, sleek and clean images that depart from the traditional RWS decks imagery — also refreshing, because the images leave more up to what the reader brings to the deck. The figures are rendered in silhouette, so while many are clearly gendered, overall they are more inclusive than your average deck because they’re subject to how the reader chooses to fill in the details.
Likewise, many traditional card meanings are expanded on, reinvented, or redefined for a modern tarot reader performing readings for themselves and/or a more diverse cross-section of querents, which is also refreshing.
This is a beautiful tarot reference book that has a lot to offer readers and tarot enthusiasts at any level of experience, and it’s especially friendly to a new reader, with a welcoming tone that invites you to learn the skill and integrate tarot reading into your daily life as a meditative practice and an exercise in mindfulness.