This page consists of a list the sources to which I regularly refer for my Tarot studies. This is not intended as a comprehensive list of literature on the Tarot. These are just the books on my shelf, readily available for my reference.
So, while this blog is intended primarily as a place for me to entertain musings, and anything posited within is therefore entirely subjective, I hope this post is helpful to anyone curious about where I get my information on the Tarot.*
I will edit this page as additions are made.
Hajo Banzhaf – Tarot and the Journey of the Hero. Published by Samuel Weiser, Inc., 2000. Using the RWS images as a basis, this book discusses the psychology and mythology behind the archetypes pictured in the Major Arcana. This book goes very deep, into the darkest recesses of the psyche. For that reason, it was sometimes hard to read, but I am very glad to have read it. No other source I’m aware of does a better or more in-depth treatment of the Tarot as it relates to the so-called “Hero’s Journey”. 235 pages.
Yoav Ben-Dov – Tarot: The Open Reading. Self-published, 2011. This book was written as a companion to Ben-Dov’s very fine reproduction of Conver’s TdM, but it works perfectly well with any Marseille. Methods for intuitive readings of the cards are discussed in a friendly fashion, with interesting examples for each card to serve as jumping-off points. 259 pages.
Evelin Burger and Johannes Fiebig – Complete Book of Tarot Spreads. Published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc, 1997 (originally published in Germany in 1995 as Tarot Praxis by Königsfurt Verlag). The (German) title says it all. Pretty handy, with some interesting insights on using the cards. 160 pages.
Richard Cavendish – The Tarot. Published by Michael Joseph Ltd, 1975. Big hardcover book about the Tarot in general, with a focus on the Major Arcana. Complete with a surprisingly informative history and fascinating interpretations. Possibly the most well-illustrated book in my collection, as well. 191 pages.
Aleister Crowley – The Book of Thoth: A Short Essay on the Tarot of the Egyptians. Published by Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, 1974 (originally published 1944). Not to be confused with the Etteilla-style deck of the same title, this is Mr. Crowley’s very own work regarding his CHT. Very complex; very dense; very deep; but entertaining in its own way (at least in my opinion). I added this book and Waite’s because I wanted the words of the deck-creators themselves available for reference. 287 pages.
Ronald Decker – Art and Arcana: Commentary on the Medieval Scapini Tarot. Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc., 2004. A concise and informative companion text to the MST, without which much of the symbolism of the deck would probably have been lost on me. It also provides one of the most up-to-date versions of the history of the Tarot in general that I have in my library. 282 pages.
Lon Milo DuQuette – Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot. Published by Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, 2003. This is a very well written and in-depth study of the CHT. I would strongly recommend this book as a pre-requisite to Crowley’s own Book of Thoth. It also has a pleasant sense of humor. 330 pages.
Cherry Gilchrist – Tarot Triumphs: Using the Marseilles Tarot Trumps for Divination and Inspiration. Published by Weiser Books, 2016. This book presents multiple levels of interpretation for the TdM trumps alongside methods and advice for reading with them, written in a conversational yet instructive tone. 295 pages.
Eden Gray – A Complete Guide to the Tarot. Published by Bantam Books/Crown Publishers, Inc., 1970. This one is a handy (albeit somewhat outdated) reference to the RWS, as well as a concise overview of some of the occult systems typically associated with the Tarot, such as the Qabalah, astrology, and numerology. 248 pages.
Mary K. Greer and Tom Little – Understanding the Tarot Court. Published by Llewellyn Publications, 2004. Part of the Llewellyn Special Topics in Tarot series. An in-depth study of various ways to interpret those pesky court cards, full of hands-on exercises aimed at getting you working with the cards. Very thought-provoking and useful. 265 pages.
Paul Huson – Mystical Origins of the Tarot: From Ancient Roots to Modern Usage. Published by Destiny Books, 2004. An excellent, thoroughly researched study of the history of the Tarot comprises the bulk of this well-rounded and insightful manual of the cards and cartomancy. 335 pages.
Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore – Shadowscapes Companion. Published by Llewellyn Publications, 2010. The companion text to the SST, this book includes a very basic introduction to the Tarot by Moore and very beautiful descriptions of very beautiful cards by Law. 253 pages.
S.L. MacGregor Mathers – The Tarot: A Short Treatise on Reading Cards. Published by Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1993 (originally published 1888). This slim volume is in my collection only because it was the first Tarot book I stumbled upon in a shop, before I ever even owned a deck. It’s not particularly interesting in and of itself, but it does have a catalog of the cards of the TdM and corresponding divininatory meanings, as well as a few cool, if dated, tidbits of general Tarot information. Mathers was at the head of the Hermetic order to which both Crowley and Waite belonged, although this pamphlet was published prior to its establishment. 88 pages.
John Matthews and Mark Ryan – The Wildwood Tarot: Wherein Wisdom Resides. Published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 2011. This book is the companion book that comes in a set with the WWT. An understanding of basic Tarot structure is taken for granted; this book wastes no time with that and only discusses symbols and systems specific to this particular rendition. The focus here is on a connection with the living earth and its cyclical nature, as well as the influence of pre-Christian mythic culture in North-Western Europe. 159 pages.
Teresa Michelsen – Designing your own Tarot Spreads. Published by Llewellyn Publications, 2003. Part of the Llewellyn Special Topics in Tarot series. This book examines the fundamental components of a Tarot spread, with the ultimate goal of facilitating spread design for personal reading needs. To that end, I found it helpful. 156 pages.
Rachel Pollack – Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot. Published by Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, 2007 (originally published 1980 in two volumes). Now considered a classic in the field of Tarot studies, and for good reason, this book discusses in-depth every card of the RWS deck, including the Minor Arcana. I would recommend it to anyone working with the RWS, if not the Tarot in general. 354 pages.
Donald Tyson – Portable Magic: Tarot is the Only Tool You Need. Published by Llewellyn Publications, 2006. This book provides a different perspective on how to use the Tarot than most other books. It also served as a valuable introduction for me to the history of the Tarot and the systems of the Golden Dawn, which is indispensable knowledge to students of the CHT and RWS. 230 pages.
Patrick Valenza – Deviant Moon Tarot. Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc., 2016. This hefty book is the companion text to Valenza’s DMT. It is immaculately done and describes both the meanings and artistic evolution of each card. 339 pages.
A.E. Waite – The Pictorial Key to the Tarot. Published by Dover Books, 2005 (originally published 1911). This is Waite’s publication explaining his RWS. Like Crowley’s book, this one is somewhat verbose, although Waite’s style is very distinct from Crowley’s. I know not many are fans of it, but I found, as I did with Crowley, that once I got acclimated it was actually fairly entertaining in its own way (both Waite and Crowley can be quite snarky at times). 229 pages.
Oswald Wirth – Tarot of the Magicians: The Occult Symbols of the Major Arcana that Inspired Modern Tarot. Published by Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC., 2012 (First published in French in 1927 as Le Tarot, des Imagiers du Moyen Age). A treatment of the French school of the occult symbols of the Tarot. Very informative, and an historically important contribution to the occult significance of the Tarot. 228 pages.
Gerd Ziegler – Tarot: Mirror of the Soul. Published by Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1988. This is a valuable guide to the CHT, but for a much different reason than DuQuette’s book. Rather than go into any kind of depth about the complexities of Crowley’s work, it sheds a much more meditative light on this deck, which can sometimes overwhelm with its richness of symbolism. It is a welcome break from the theory of the Thoth without forsaking enjoyment of the deck itself. 192 pages.
Anonymous – Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism. Published by Tarcher/Penguin, 1985 (originally published in French in 1980). This one’s a doozie. 670 pages.
Also, Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant – The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols, entries on the Tarot. Published by Penguin Books, 1994 (originally published 1969). The entries in this reference source are written with the TdM in mind. It gives concise definitions of the symbols found in this deck. This is basically an encyclopedia-style reference, and I found the entries to be satisfactorily thorough.
I also keep the companion instruction booklets (Little White Books – LWBs) which came with the various Tarot decks in my collection.
In addition to these written sources, I frequent the phenomenal www.aeclectic.net, and contributed occasionally to the forums on that site (while they were active) under the moniker Herodotus.
*There are many, many influences on my writings from sources not directly connected to the cards, most of which are derived from my personal fascination with myth; but to begin a bibliography of this material would be a hefty project to undertake, and is ultimately only tangentially related to the actual focus of the blog. I mean, if I really thought about it, I could make at least some kind of connection between the cards and any book I’ve ever read. So, for simplicity’s sake, I list only Tarot books here, no matter how heavily the influence of some other books may be felt.