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 information system
Benebell Wen, The Holistic Tarot

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
Inspired Life

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.