Ten Doors, Ten Books
Essential guides for the Tarot paths
In Ten Doors to Tarot, I outlined various ways of engaging with Tarot studies. If one of them appeals to you as a point of entry — or a next path to explore — you might want a companion on the journey.
So I’ve suggested one exceptional guide for each path, and provided the title of his or her most essential work. Several of these books are long-respected classics, and all offer intelligent, informative points of entry.
For the most part, these are not “how-to” books. But if you’d like to add some hands-on engagement, I’ve made a few suggestions at the end of this story.
1. Tarot as a symbol system
Robert Place, The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination
2. Tarot as an esoteric system
Michael Dummett, A Wicked Pack of Cards (with Ronald Decker)
3. Tarot as an aesthetic system
Stuart Kaplan, The Encyclopedia of Tarot
4. Tarot as an historical object
Helen Farley, A Cultural History of Tarot: From Entertainment to Esotericism
5. Tarot as a magical practice
Gareth Knight, Tarot and Magic: The Treasurehouse of Images
6. Tarot as a divinatory instrument
Mary K. Greer, Tarot for Your Self
7. Tarot as a therapeutic modality
Art Rosengarten, Tarot and Psychology: Spectrums of Possibility
8. Tarot as a meditation aid
Emily Auger, Tarot and Other Meditation Decks
9. Tarot as a creative space
Jessa Crispin, The Creative Tarot: A Modern Guide to an
10. Tarot as a social space
Various essays, Part IV of Tarot in Culture (edited by Emily Auger)
If you want to take just one book with you for starters, I recommend Rachel Pollack’s classic Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom , or her more recent Tarot Wisdom, a deeper exploration that blends wide-ranging knowledge with personal experience.
Mary Greer’s Tarot for Your Self was the first volume of a trilogy that explores almost every aspect of Tarot with a combination of scholarship, creative imagination, and practical advice. The other two volumes are Tarot Constellations and Tarot Mirrors.
For hands-on Tarot engagement, Diana Heyne’s Tarot by Design Workbook: Color and Learn Your Way into the Cards is a charming way to explore visual dimensions of Tarot. And Journaling the Tarot, from Banana River Press, offers a two-page spread for each card, with an open space for sketches and notes on one side, a series of guided prompts on the other.