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Llewellyn's Little Book of Tarot*
Nuggets of Insight into the Tarot
This small book is a fun introduction that gets you thinking about tarot in different ways, whether you’re a novice or more experienced. Its structure is simple, much like you would believe, with early sections on the history of the tarot as well as structure and symbolism. The bulk of the book is about the cards themselves, a page for each, naturally divided into the major and minor arcana. The book ends with a section on how to do readings and layouts and is followed by one about other activities you can do with them. The book has a fantastic further reading section, listing both classic and newer books on tarot, where she not only gives the book title and author but also a sentence about the book’s topic. The table of contents is helpful because it gives the page numbers of all the different extra information in the book, like the tips, prompts, and exercises.
For each of the card pages, there is a picture from a contemporary tarot deck and keywords with a paragraph or two about the card in general followed by either an exercise, tarot tips, information about symbolism, or a journal prompt. Each page about a card ends with a line or two that will give you an instant answer if you use the book for bibliomancy, where you flip open to a random page of a book for an answer to a simple question. There are eight exercises altogether, including the bibliomancy mentioned above, figuring out your birth card, choosing a card of the day, journaling with tarot, and creating affirmations. There are 41 tarot tips scattered throughout the book. The topics range widely, as you might imagine from the number of them. Sometimes she talks about groups of cards, like the court cards; other times, she discusses working with the tarot, like what to do when cards are confusing or working with reversals (if you choose) and negative meanings. The symbolism tips sometimes focus on a very specific element in a specific card, like the Fool’s dog, or a specific card’s symbolism more in-depth. The symbolism of abstract notions like grief or justice is also addressed. The journal prompts are, as you might imagine, based on the particular card it is attached to, like mother issues for the Empress and rebirth for Judgment.
I really liked having exposure to so many contemporary tarot decks. While I own quite a few, as I’ve studied the tarot for over 30 years, I’m not as familiar with what’s currently available as I might be. Some of these decks are quite beautiful, and I might have to research a few to add to my collection. Having worked with the tarot for so long, I was surprised that this little book actually had me thinking about my work with the cards differently at times. Some concepts were wholly new to me, like using different decks for different types of questions or readings. I might have to try that. I liked her brief descriptions of the cards; it is clear the author has studied tarot wide and deep, and her viewpoint on it is very open and uplifting. I will definitely be incorporating some of her ideas into how I use my cards.
In all, I found this to be a delightful little book that will spark many an idea and insight into my work with the tarot.