How to Learn Tarot by Jess Carlson || Book Review

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Your guide to modern tarot―it’s in the cards.

How to Read Tarot is an essential and straightforward guide for anyone interested in mastering the art of tarot reading. Find all the answers here that you can’t in other tarot books―then find the answers in the cards.

Does the Empress mean good things for someone’s career? How should you use the Three-Card reading? Get the most modern interpretations out of any tarot books, along with easy-to-reference guides that make it simple for new and experienced readers alike to jump straight into the most important part of tarot―reading cards.

— Blurb from Amazon

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Note: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher for the purposes of review.

The Basics

This book was refreshing to see because of the way it approaches learning tarot. This is not a book that you pick up to learn the meanings of the cards. It doesn’t go in-depth with symbolism and history. Instead, it helps you connect personally with the cards using journal prompts to better understand the cards and yourself. I appreciate that it is exactly what it says it is. I really enjoy the cover, too. The colors play well together and the image does a great job incorporating the traditional symbolism in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.

The Parts

The book is divided into two parts — The Tarot Unfurled and The Tarot Applied. The first part of the book contains one journal prompt for each of the 78 cards in a standard tarot deck. Each journal prompt is relevant to the traditional meaning of the card but ties that meaning in with personal exploration to develop a deeper sense of meaning. The second has journal prompts to help the reader develop their reading style and set boundaries as well as different tarot spreads to practice.

One journal prompt that I really appreciated says, “There will be times when people will ask you to read the cards for them but you may not feel comfortable doing so. Write about how you can maintain your boundaries as a tarot reader while still holding compassion for those in need of support and guidance.”

No one in the tarot community that I have encountered — I’m sure people are probably talking about it — but I haven’t encountered anyone who speaks about boundaries as a tarot reader and where that line is for each individual person. So I really appreciate that Jess Carlson took the time to come up with a journal prompt that helps the person reading the book and using the prompts really explore their own personal boundaries with who they will and won’t read cards for and what they’re okay with.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I would recommend this book for anyone that is just learning tarot or anyone who needs a refresher, or someone who just might need a different perspective and they’ve been reading for a while. A lot of times when people are learning how to read tarot, they can become overwhelmed by the fact that there are 78 cards with 78 different meanings — double that if you read reversals — and this book serves as a good starting point for anyone so that no one gets overwhelmed and you have a simple place to start. Because the hardest part of learning tarot is getting started.

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