10 Best Tarot Books for Beginners and Pros

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, a variety of instructive and insightful tarot books are available to help you learn and grow your practice. From basic instruction on traditional tarot symbolism to in-depth discussion of esoteric interpretations and spiritual guidance, we have compiled a list of the 10 best tarot books for beginners and pros to help you on your journey.

Best Overall

The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings 9.8 Check Price

Best Mid Range

Tarot Plain and Simple 9.4 Check Price

Cheaper Choice

Classic Tarot Spreads 9.4 Check Price

Tarot Masterclass 9.2 Check Price

The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals 9.2 Check Price

Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings 8.4 Check Price

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card 8.2 Check Price

Understanding the Tarot Court  8.2 Check Price

Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot 8.1 Check Price

Beyond the Celtic Cross 8.0 Check Price

1. Tarot Masterclass

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Paul Fenton-Smith has developed an excellent reference for tarot practitioners at all levels who intend to be professional readers. Not only does he offer a summary of card interpretations and layouts, he also explores the basic ins-and-outs of being a professional tarot reader. Although it can be easy to focus on spreads and symbolism, it is equally important that practitioners consider the ways in which they interact with the person for whom they are doing the reading. Tarot Masterclass fills the gap between knowledge and practice in a clear, concise manner that is useful for any tarot professional. 

THE PROS: THE CONS:
  • Great resource for professional tarot card readers
  • Fills the gap between
  • knowledge and practice
  • Some of the information may be too specific to professional tarot card readers

2. The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings (Best Overall)

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The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings by Brigit Esselmont is a definitive guide to meanings and interpretations for each of the 78 cards in the standard tarot, as well as comprehensive explanations, card placements, and inversions. Esselmont further delves into different ways the cards can be interpreted depending on the nature of the question at hand, providing insight into love, career, family, and other possible conditions that can affect the overall meaning of each card. For beginners and even more advanced readers, The Ultimate Guide is an excellent resource that you can use throughout your tarot career.

THE PROS: THE CONS:
  • Comprehensive explanations
  • Exploration into many facets of life including love, career, and family
  • Flimsy cover

3. Tarot Plain and Simple (Best Mid Range)

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Tarot Plain and Simple by Anthony Louis is the book you've been waiting for! As the title indicates, this book presents the Tarot in clear language that anyone can understand. If you've had trouble...

In his book Tarot Plain and Simple, Anthony Louis provides an excellent outline of tarot reading, from card interpretations to spreads. His explanations of the history of tarot provides the perfect foundation from which to launch into individual card meanings, as well as the ways that different spreads and surrounding cards can affect the meaning. He further provides real examples of spreads, to allow readers to better understand the ways that interpretations differ in real life situations. Tarot Plain and Simple is a critical text for any beginner who is serious about growing their tarot skills.

THE PROS: THE CONS:
  • Easy to understand
  • Clarifies concepts for beginners
  • Examples to bring the concept to life
  • May be too simple for advanced or professional tarot readers

4. The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals

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Used Book in Good Condition

Reversals in a tarot reading can be especially challenging even for advanced readers. In fact, many tarot interpreters choose to avoid reversals entirely, opting for upright interpretations of each card. For those readers who wish to cultivate a more nuanced approach, Mary K. Greer’s The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals provides an easily-accessible guide to incorporating tarot reversals into your practice, including an explanation of her philosophy and theory behind reading reversals. This book offers an excellent opportunity for both intermediate and professional level readers to develop new skills and methods for enhanced reading clarity.

THE PROS: THE CONS:
  • Allows readers to understand how to incorporate tarot reversals into their practice
  • Includes theory behind reading reversals
  • Challenging concept for tarot readers

5. Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings

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Used Book in Good Condition

Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings allows advanced tarot practitioners to deepen their practice with further historical and psychological interpretations of each of the 78 cards of the tarot. With additional insight that incorporates artistic and spiritual exploration, Pollack will help take your professional tarot readings to the next level. 

THE PROS: THE CONS:
  • Ideal for professional tarot card readers
  • Incorporates artistic and spiritual exploration
  • Lacks basic explanations and meanings covered in other books

6. Classic Tarot Spreads (Best Value)

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Used Book in Good Condition

Sandor Konrad’s Classic Tarot Spreads features an extensive selection of spreads for readings ranging from love and money to family relationships. Konrad takes a practical approach, detailing the different ways that cards can be interpreted within certain contexts and further providing detailed interpretations from both psychological and metaphysical perspectives. Ideal for intermediate practitioners, Classic Tarot Spreads helps readers to understand the significance of card placement and different spreads for accurate and useful interpretations.

THE PROS: THE CONS:
  • Extensive collection of spreads
  • Covers many different topics from love to money
  • May be considered a little outdated by some tarot readers

7. 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card

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Drawing on nearly forty years of tarot experience, Mary K. Greer has developed a new energizing approach-made up of twenty-one stimulating techniques to interpret or deepen your understanding of ea...

For practitioners who don’t wish to flip through a book for every interpretation during a reading, Mary K. Greer offers a series of alternative methods in her book 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card. Greer’s approach is ideal for users who take a more intuitive approach to tarot reading. Rather than focusing primarily on traditional interpretations, Greer offers advice on how to open yourself to the meaning of the cards in the moment. Although the approaches included in 21 Ways can be useful for tarot readers at all skill levels, users can benefit most from Greer’s approach if they already have solid understanding of the general meanings and uses of tarot symbolism and layouts. For this reason, it is best for readers who are moving from beginning to intermediate level tarot reading.

THE PROS: THE CONS:
  • Offers unique interpretations of each card
  • Encourages readers to find new ways of connecting to the cards
  • May be difficult for beginners to understand
  • Requires a solid foundation of tarot symbolism and layouts

8. Understanding the Tarot Court 

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Just who are those kings, queens, knights, and pages in the Tarot deck? Generally considered the most difficult part of the Tarot to interpret, they actually represent different characters or perso...

The Tarot Court is one of the most difficult aspects of tarot to fully comprehend and interpret. A full appreciation of the meanings of each court card allows you to deepen your practice and enhances your overall interpretation of a given spread or question. In Understanding the Tarot Court, authors Mary K. Greer and Tom Little provide comprehensive explanations of the court cards of the four Minor Arcana suits, to help you further your ability to interpret these challenging cards. Understanding the Tarot Court is an outstanding resource for intermediate to professional-level readers looking to expand their knowledge.

THE PROS: THE CONS:
  • Comprehensive explanations of the court cards
  • Helps expand knowledge
  • Difficult concept for beginners

9. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot

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The two volumes of 'Seventy Eight Degrees of Wisdom' have inspired a whole generation of students of the Tarot. Described by many as ‘the Bible of Tarot readers’, the books brought awareness of myt...

For those tarot practitioners seeking to deepen their knowledge, author Rachel Pollack provides two volumes of expanded interpretations that help to clarify and expound upon standard tarot card interpretations. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot delves into the ways that tarot can help the reader along the path to self-enlightenment and personal growth. With her in-depth analysis, Pollack takes the reader through the historical and psychological aspects of tarot divination, while helping the reader to access their own personal understanding. For professional tarot readers, Pollack’s Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom is a must-read.

THE PROS: THE CONS:
  • Expanded interpretations of standard tarot card meanings
  • Ideal guide for self-enlightenment and personal growth
  • Not suited for beginner tarot readers

10. Beyond the Celtic Cross: Secret Techniques for Taking Tarot to an Exciting New Level

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Used Book in Good Condition

Another valuable resource for the professional tarot reader is Beyond the Celtic Cross: Secret Techniques for Taking Tarot to an Exciting New Level  by Paul Hughes-Barlow. In this comprehensive guide, Hughes-Barlow provides the reader with more secrets of the trade that successful practitioners use to build their abilities and improve their interpretations. With a targeted focus on the Celtic Cross layout, he takes readers on a journey through numerology and elemental symbolism that can be applied to a range of subjects and spreads. For advanced practitioners who want to take their professional readings to the next level, this guide is indispensable.

THE PROS: THE CONS:
  • Great resource for professional tarot card readers
  • Offers secrets of the trade
  • May be too complicated for beginners

As with any worthwhile endeavor, learning and expanding your knowledge of the tarot requires dedication and study. Even when you feel confident in your tarot knowledge, there is always something new to learn, including new symbols, modern interpretation of old characters, and enhanced layouts. As a beginner, it is important that you gain a thorough understanding of the basic tarot meanings and layouts, as well as honing your intuition and interpretive skills. However, your journey does not end there. Even experienced pros who have been doing tarot readings for years have room to grow. Much like the nature of life, the art of tarot is fluid and ever-changing.