Return to Cauldron Home Page

Please donate now to pay our monthly server fees:
Donate to The Cauldron
[More Info]

Community Menu
Community Home

Message Board
Board Home
Board Rules
Board Extras:

CauldronMUX [Client]
Sister Forums:
   Asatru Lore


Site Info & Rules
Site Archives
Volunteers Needed
Advertise Here

Pagan Supplies
Buy Pagan Books
Buy Pagan Supplies

Books & Media
Books Home
Games Home
Music: Free | Pagan
Online Books
Pagan Book Browser
   Academic Books
   Divination Decks
   Fiction Books
   Pagan Books
   Speculative Books
   DVD & Videotape
Submit Review

Pagan Features
Article Library
Chat Log Index
File Library
Pagan Holidays
Pagan Primer
Pagan Rituals
Pagan Supplies
Pagan Youth
Spell Grimoire [Blog]
Web Resources

Pagan Living
Cauldron Cookbook
Take Political Action

Back Issues

Other Features
Greeting Cards
Syndicated Articles
World News/Opinion

Cheap Web Hosting
Doxy's Bazaar
Witchcraft Course

Old Indexes
Article Index
Webcrafting Index

Network Sites
Cauldron and Candle
Cauldron's Grimoire
RetroRoleplaying: The Blog
Software Gadgets
The Terran Empire

Site Search
Entire Web
The Cauldron

Member - Pagan Forum Alliance
Charter Member

Get Firefox! While this web site is designed to work in all major browsers, we recommend Firefox.

This site hosted on
a Linode VPS
Formerly hosted by

Why Use Dreamhost?

Site copyright
© 1998-2009
by Randall

Home > Books & Reviews > Pagan > Tarot for Beginners Search

Book Review:
Tarot for Beginners: An Easy Guide to Understanding & Interpreting the Tarot

Author: P. Scott Hollander
Paperback, 384 pages
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: April 1995
ISBN: 1567183638
Price & More Info: Click Here


There are hundreds of different Tarot decks and, at times, it seems that there are hundreds of Tarot books for beginners. There probably aren't that many books, but if you are new to the Tarot and trying to select a book or two to help you learn to read the cards, it can certainly seem like there are that many to choose from. The late P. Scott Hollander's book, Tarot for Beginners: An Easy Guide to Understanding & Interpreting the Tarot, is apparently a popular choice as over 100,000 copies have been sold since it was first published in 1995.

Hollander's book begins with a brief description of the history and use of the Tarot and then jumps right into the cards. Each card in the Major Arcana is well-described with at least three pages of written material describing the appearance of the card in general terms as this book is not deck specific, the esoteric meaning of the card, and the meaning of the card in readings. Black and white pictures of each card in at least three decks accompany the text.

The second part of the book covers the Minor Arcana. This portion begins with two fairly long chapters on the general meaning and interpretation of Minor Arcana cards. Then each card is described. If the book falls down anywhere, it is in the descriptions of the individual cards of the Minor Arcana. Most cards only receive one or two pages of specific meaning and reading information, and half of that is usually taken up by pictures of the card. The court cards are generally well-described, but the pips often seem a bit short-changed.

The final -- and shortest -- part is on reading the cards. The basic principles are stated and three spreads are presented with a brief sample reading given for each. The first spread is the Celtic Cross (called the "Ancient Celtic Method" here) and it is described in fair detail. The second spread is a 5 card Major Arcana only spread. The third is a 7 card spread designed for yes or no questions. These two spreads are not given nearly the detail that the Celtic Cross spread is given.

I really like the fact that multiple tarot decks are used in this book. The ones used in this thirteenth printing are the Universal Tarot, the Buckland Romani Tarot, the Legend Tarot, the Nigel Jackson Tarot, the Witches Tarot, and the World Spirit Tarot. This demonstrates the wide variety of card symbolism found in Tarot decks. Given the large number of Tarot decks on the market, this is an excellent practice for a beginner book. The days when it was safe to assume that beginners will be using a Rider-Waite deck are long past.

I can see why this book is popular with beginners. It is well-written and enjoyable to read. The large number of decks used in its illustrations is a definite plus. However, I'm bothered by the somewhat skimpy information on the individual Minor Arcana cards. The two introductory chapters on the Minor Arcana somewhat make up for this, but I still suspect that many beginners will find themselves wanting a second book with more complete information on the Minor Arcana. Therefore, I can't recommend Tarot for Beginners: An Easy Guide to Understanding & Interpreting the Tarot as a stand alone book for the complete novice. If one is willing to buy a second book with more complete information on the minor arcana, however, this book is a fine introduction to the art of Tarot reading.

Reviewed by Randall

Top | Home | Message Board | Site Info & Rules | Report Site Problems
Thanks to Cauldron Sponsors
(Sponsor The Cauldron!)

Cheap Web Hosting Report | Pagan & Magick Supplies
Witchcraft Course
Download Hundreds of Magic Spells